2024 Force Gurkha Review: Has It Caught Up To The Thar?

The 2024 Force Gurkha is more robust looking, more feature-packed, and thanks to some changes made under the hood, it’s also more powerful than ever. With that has returned the 5-door version of the Gurkha. 



8 mins read


Published on April 29, 2024

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  • 2024 Force Gurkha gets more features and a more powerful engine
  • The updated engine makes 138 bhp and 320 Nm
  • The new Gurkha also marks the return of the 5-door version

There might be many to whom the Force Gurkha might not mean a lot, much less the 4x4x4 tag. But the off-roading SUV has been the choice of many thrill seekers and off-road enthusiasts in India, and that tag is an iconic symbol. However, people who know and appreciate the Gurkha are part of a niche group, which is why Force India wants to make the Gurkha appealing to a much wider group of modern SUV buyers. And the company wants to do that with the new 2024 Force Gurkha.



What has changed you ask? Well, it’s more robust looking now, more feature-packed, and thanks to some changes made under the hood, it’s also more powerful than ever. And with that has returned the 5-door version of the Gurkha. All things that promise to make the SUV not just a more capable off-roader, but also appeal to consumers who are looking for a lifestyle vehicle. But can it live up to those promises? Let’s find out in this review.


Looks & Size!


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The G-Wagen of India! That is what people affectionately call the Gurkha, and this 2024 model still does justice to that name. You still get the same G-Wagen-inspired boxy design with sharp edges and straight lines. The clamshell bonnet, the LED ring around the LED headlamps, and the signature fender lamps all have been retained. The rear section too remains unchanged featuring the same vertical taillamps and the Gurkha badging on the spare-wheel-mounted tailgate.


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What’s new is the set of larger 18-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, shod in beefy all-terrain tyres, which not only give the SUV a robust look but also aid in increasing the ground clearance by 23 mm to a total 233 mm. Now, you get both the 3-door and 5-door versions of the Gurkha, and it was the latter that I was more interested in, given the fact that it’s returned to the market after 4 years.


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At 4390 mm long, 2095 mm tall and a wheelbase of 2825 mm, the 5-Door Gurkha is 425 mm longer, 15 mm taller and comes with a 425 mm longer wheelbase compared to the 3-Door version. And that makes all the difference. Because while the former can seat 7 passengers, the latter is good for only 4.


DimensionsGurkha 3-DoorGurkha 5-Door
Length3965 mm4390 mm
Width1865 mm1865 mm
Height2080 mm2095 mm
Wheelbase2400 mm2825 mm
Ground Clearance233 mm233 mm


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You can also give your Gurkha a more adventurous look by adding accessories like a heavy-duty roof rack, a beefy windshield brace and a tailgate ladder, which will be sold separately by Force India.


Cabin & Features


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One of the tasks that Force had on its hands was to improve the cabin experience of the Gurkha to make it more palatable to customers looking for a more lifestyle vehicle. A trend we saw become popular with the new Mahindra Thar. And I believe that Force has taken a step in the right direction.


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So, what has changed? Well for starters you now get a bigger 9-inch touchscreen. A simple Android-based unit with mirroring technology, however, you do not get integrated Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Given how common this feature has become, it’s very surprising that Force did not offer a better unit. That said, you do get a 7-inch digital instrument cluster here with crisp colours and plenty of vehicle information, including an integrated tyre pressure monitor, instead of a separate unit we saw in the previous model.


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The seats are also new, and they come with better cushioning, and the quality of the upholstery too has immensely improved. You now get a combination of fabric and vinyl with dual-tone treatment. While the 5-door version gets a bench seat in the second row, the third row’s side-facing seats seen in the BS4 model have been replaced by forward-facing captain seats. 



Space is decent across all three rows however while the driver’s seat doesn’t get height adjustability, the seats in the other two rows can’t be reclined either, something you don’t expect from a 2024 model year SUV.


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What could have also improved is the quality of plastics and the attention to detail. The steering and the plastic planes all look very basic, the air-con system is manual, and the roof-mounted AC vents at the back are also flimsy and look very dated. That said, you now get individual armrests for the front seats, and a retractable central armrest with cup holders in the second row.


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That said, Force offers multiple USB ports, power windows, a steering that can be adjusted for height and reach, and electronically adjustable ORVMs adding some amount of convenience. But they don't seem enough.


Safety Features


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In terms of safety, Force has taken care of the basics offering a bunch of standard features like – dual airbags, front disc brakes with an Anti-locking Braking System with electronic brakeforce distribution and rear parking sensors. The list also includes rear parking sensors with a camera, three-pointed seatbelts and a tyre pressure monitoring system. However, the rear seatbelts don’t get pretensioners, and the centre middle-row passenger only gets a lap belt instead of a 3-pointed seatbelt.


Engine and Performance


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Now both Force Gurkha’s come with only one engine under the hood, which is a 2.6-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine that has now been up-tuned to make more power and torque. And it’s a substantial leap. Going up from 90 bhp and 250 Nm, the motor now makes 138 bhp and a meaty 320 Nm of peak torque. On paper, the numbers are certainly impressive. But do they translate into real-world performance? Well, to an extent.


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Now the change in power and torque is quite apparent, and you feel the difference while driving. The initial pick-up is quite nice, and the mid-range performance is also good. The rest of it is not so good. The low-end torque could have been better, and the power build-up too is all over the place. And a lot of it has to do with the gearbox as well.


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It’s a new 5-speed manual gearbox, and it’s not the most refined unit. The gearshifts are notchy, and they do not slot in properly. The gear ratios are also very short, especially between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears and it’s a bit taller beyond that. So, while at cruising speeds it is not much of a problem, in low speed, in stop-and-go traffic you will need to constantly shift between gears, which can be irritating. Luckily, the clutch pedal is quite light and easy so there will be less fatigue. Unfortunately, the brake pedal has a bit too much play, and it can get a bit unnerving at times.


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Now, one of the directives for the Gurkha was to make it a lifestyle vehicle, and one easy way to do that would have been to offer an automatic option, however, you still don’t get one. And that takes away a huge number of people from the prospective buyers’ list. Force could have also taken a leaf out of Mahindra’s book and offered a rear-wheel-drive version of the Gurkha, at a lower price, which again would have opened the Gurkha to a much wider group of lifestyle vehicle buyers. Some big, missed opportunity.


Driving Dynamics


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As for how the Gurkha performs on the road, I have to remind you that the SUV’s suspension is tuned mainly for off-road terrains. This is why on good tarmac roads the ride quality feels a bit bouncy. It’s not unnerving or anything but something you should know. Otherwise, the SUV can handle all the undulations, bumps and potholes on the road with quite a bit of ease.


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In terms of handling, however, I cannot say the same. The Gurkha is over 2 meters tall, and it’s built on a ladder-on-frame chassis, which means you are bound to experience a body roll. The SUV very much stays planted on the road at all times, however, gets a bit too aggressive around a corner and it can get a bit unnerving, at least for the fellow occupants if not the driver. The steering is a bit too heavy for my liking, and while it’s suited for off-road use, I would have wished for some amount of ease in usage to make it more manoeuvrable in urban conditions.


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All that said, when you are talking about the Gurkha you cannot not talk about off-roading. So let’s take a look into that aspect. 




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The Gurkha’s off-road prowess is well-known and it has the credentials for it. The SUV comes with a proper 4x4 system with front and rear locking differential. The 233 mm ground clearance allows it to go over any kind of undulation with ease, while the turning radius – which is 5.5 metres for the 3-door and 6.3 for the 5-door – allows the Gurkha to manoeuvre those tight turns easily. Force had created a small off-road course for us to get a brief taste of the Gurkha’s off-road capabilities, which included some inclines, articulation challenges, hill climbs and more.


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Now, one big change here is that the Gurkha comes with an electronic dial to control the 4x4 setting with shift on the fly. A more convenient option compared to the older manual shifter lever. To go over all these obstacles the Gurkha had to be put in 4-Low, to get better traction on loose surfaces. I also got to test the gradeability of the SUV, which is a good 35 degrees. The Gurkha also has a water-wading capacity of 700 mm, which puts it in the same league as the Toyota Hilux.


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Verdict & Expected Price


Both the 3-door and the 5-door Gurkha will be offered in only one variant each, and we expect them the be priced between Rs. 17 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh – ex-showroom India. 

The Force Gurkha has always been a strong off-roader, with this new 2024 update the SUV has only gotten better. Having said that, based on what Force told us, the aim here was also the make the SUV more appealing to modern buyers looking for a lifestyle vehicle, essentially customers buying the Mahindra Thar. 


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And if that’s the case, there is still room for improvement. The fit and finish of the cabin need to be improved, more creature comforts need to be on offer, and Force needs to consider bringing in an automatic option and a rear-wheel drive version. So, Force India, there’s still some work that needs to be done.

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