Now here was a surprise entry on our list of vehicles to be tested on our road trip. We happened to visit a National Wildlife Park in Ranthambore, where the preferred mode of transportation was the Maruti Gypsy. Rules stated that we were not allowed to the drive the Gypsies but that did not stop us from observing this work horse put through the paces on some very very harsh terrain and some very hard to reach places. The version we were in was a modified safari going version of the Gypsy so if you are looking for much in the way of creature comforts, you will be sorely disappointed. What you will observe is this: disbelief that a vehicle that looks this puny compared to the big named off-roaders climbing across terrain you would think twice to take a big named off-roader on! On that note…
Plus: We couldn’t find any terrain on our trip that the Gypsy couldn’t handle. We encountered gravel roads, jungle paths, rocky roads and brush and this little gem just kept trucking on and on. Granted we weren’t going too fast considering the terrain but our ride had a driver plus 4 adults. With a 1.3L petrol engine putting out just 80HP and a curb weight of 1585 kgs (~3500 lbs), it is no small feat it managed to get through some almost impassable terrain. The manual 4WD, that can be disengaged if required, is a huge part of the Gypsy’s climbing capabilities. It was simple superb. And no surprise that the Gypsy is the preferred choice for the rallying scene in India.
Minus: Zero comfort. And we mean zero. No air conditioning, no leather, no stereo… and oh… no power steering either. Nothing. This is as purpose built as it gets. We should note that these comforts are available and are offered by Maruti if you want them. It so happens the pure off-road version we rode in did not come with these options. We did have seat cushioning though… which came in really handy on those rocky roads. Sadly though we did come off with a couple of bumps when our heads decided to get too close to rollcage on those same roads!
Overall: This rugged little gem’s specialty is the outdoors and boy does it shine. Get in this bad boy and go off exploring and it will make you smile and forget about all those comforts (but you can get them if you want to). The price is also hard to beat when other off-roaders in the Indian market start off at almost twice the price of the Gypsy. Go figure.
The Maruti Gypsy is available in India at a price starting from Rs. 5,60,000 (~$11,200) going up to Rs. 6,15,000 (~$12,300).