Which passenger car is commonly associated with the Indian Army? A Gypsy? You’re dead right. There are over 35,000 units of the Maruti Gypsy in the Indian Army. This humble workhorse does duties as light troop carriers, patrolling vehicles, and even combat applications in certain conditions.
But the Gypsy has been ageing. In fact, its production has been stopped. The Indian Army wants a replacement. They ordered a fleet of Tata Safari Storme as well as Mahindra Scorpio Classic. But what a lightweight petrol powered Gypsy could do, these giant diesel SUVs could not. The Indian Army is still looking for the perfect replacement for their beloved Gypsy.
Now that Jimny is launched in India, it begs the question if Indian Army would be interested in this. Turns out, they might be. A new report claims Maruti Suzuki is in contact with top Military officials for the Jimny to be inducted into Indian Army. Let’s take a look at how Jimny is a fitting alternative to Gypsy with certain modifications.
For starters, armed forces love Gypsy for a combination of factors. Most of these attributes lie within its very construction. Gypsy is built light. It barely weighs over 1 tonne and is a very narrow vehicle with a hair over 4 m in length. It was powered by a 1.3L NA 4-cylinder 16V petrol engine mated to a 5-speed gearbox and a 4X4 transfer case.
These dimensions make Gypsy the perfect companion for the Military to conduct operations – be it in the narrow city streets or on tough terrains with no roads. The power was low, but since it weighed next to nothing (in comparison), performance was more than adequate. The removable soft top gives potentially zero blindspots too. I have seen Gypsy being completely disassembled and reassembled in minutes in parades.
Jimny holds up to most of Gypsy’s attributes. It is under 4m in length, weighs around 1200 kg, and is a narrow vehicle at just 1645 mm. This is where other military vehicles like Tata Sumo 4X4, Safari 4X4, Scorpio 4X4 and other Military vehicles come off as massive. Jimny has a more powerful engine than Gypsy, and gets the convenience of 5 doors too.
The main question is about a soft roof. Currently, Gypsy offers that. But according to this report, Maruti Jimny SUV could be inducted into the Indian Military with a soft top and finished in a Dark Jungle Green. This colour is only offered globally and is not an option to choose from in India.
Military vehicles get additional equipment that is not disclosed to general consensus. The Safaris and Scorpios that serve in the Indian Military can’t be bought by private buyers. After being declared unfit for active service, Gypsy and other Mahindra vehicles will be auctioned off to highest bidders and the gap is filled in with fresh vehicles.
This is where Maruti Jimny SUV with a soft top comes into play. With 102 bhp and 135 Nm, Jimny offers a lot of versatility over Gypsy. With modern engineering, it is yet to be seen how easily repairable Jimny is as that is a priority for Military vehicles too. If supplied to the Indian Military, Jimny will don a black number plate with white lettering starting with an arrow mark pointing upwards.