Force Trax Gurkha to make a comeback, spotted testing in Pune

It's raining Sports Utility Vehicles in India at the moment. At one end, we have the Premier Rio trying hard to get noticed and the Renault Duster that has kick-started a dust storm in the market. At a diametrically opposite end, the all-new Range Rover is wooing Indians with it's sheer opulence. With the Utility Vehicle segment being the biggest money-spinner in the Indian market today, manufacturers cannot afford to ignore it anymore. It looks like Force Motors is thinking on the same lines.

A few years back, Bajaj Tempo, as Force Motors was called then, was selling an affordable off-roader called Trax Gurkha in the market. Though it wasn't very popular amongst the general public, the off-roading aficionados, though far and few in between, rated it very highly. Inspite of being crude and utilitarian, the Trax Gurkha had its own niche market, thanks to its go-anywhere capability. Apart from its rugged looks and supreme off-roading skills, the Trax Gurkha had nothing else to boast of though.

All that is about to change, if the two test vehicles spotted in Pune yesterday by our reader Guru are any indication.

The design hasn't changed much and the Trax Gurkha retains its boxy shape and dimensions. The circular headlights along with the black plastic grille and bumper gives it an utilitarian look up front, which is carried over to the profile and rear. The exposed door hinges and the horizontal bumper-mounted taillights are decades-old stuff that should have been changed for the better. As if to compensate, there are a few purposeful design elements like the snorkel air-intake that juts out of the hood ahead of the A-Pillar, roof rails, snazzy alloys and tail-gate mounted spare wheel. The high stance of the vehicle combined with its short wheelbase not only gives the Trax Gurkha a butch look but will also aid in it's off-roading trails. The 3-door layout means that the rear-seat occupants have to get in through the front passenger door. There are a host of stickers and badges - Force, Trax, 4WD, Power Steering, et all, with the 'Gurkha' moniker conspicuous by its absence.

The biggest change in the new Trax Gurkha is most likely to be under the hood. The 2.2-liter Mercedes-Benz-sourced engine with 142 PS of maximum power and 320 Nm of peak torque is expected to be carried over from the Force One SUV. That will give the Trax Gurkha a crucial advantage over similar-priced off-roaders like the Maruti-Suzuki Gypsy and Mahindra Thar. The interiors are also likely to be spruced up, but we aren't expecting much improvement here. We expect Force Motors to launch the Trax Gurkha sometime next year.

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