Goodbye, Maruti Gypsy! India’s iconic off-roader is going…
The Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is all set to be discontinued and dealers will stop taking bookings for this iconic off-roader from December 2018. Maruti Suzuki will officially discontinue production of the Gypsy in March 2019. What this also means is, this is your last chance to book a brand new Maruti Gypsy, for the vehicle is on life support with just 4 more months of production to go.
Maruti first introduced the Gypsy in India during 1985, and the off-roader was the third car to be launched by the automaker here. The first and second, which arrived a year earlier, were the SS80 800 hatchback and the Omni passenger van. The Maruti 800 is long gone and the Omni is also about to go into the sunset.
When the last Maruti Gypsy rolls off the production line in Gurgaon, the off-roader would be 34 years old. Internationally, the Gypsy was was known as the first generation Suzuki Samurai/SJ 410. In fact, the product code-name of the current Gypsy is MG 410 W, where MG stands for Maruti Gypsy, and W stands for wide track.
And in all these 34 year, the shape of the Gypsy remained nearly the same. Yes, the narrow track model became the wide track version once Maruti gave the off-roader a facelift with the Gypsy King model but more or less, the overall silhouette of the vehicle has remained unchanged. The platform has also not changed even as the Gypsy got a more powerful engine with fuel injection sometime in early 2000 as emission norms got tighter.
When it was launched in 1985, the Maruti Gypsy was powered by a 970cc petrol engine that it shared with the Maruti 1000 sedan, which was launched later. The 1 liter Gypsy continued for a decade before Maruti boosted power by replacing the 1 liter engine with a 1.3 liter petrol motor, which the off-roader shared with the successor of the Maruti 1000 – the Esteem.
The 1.3 liter petrol engine, which made about 65 Bhp, got fuel injection in 2000. Outputs got boosted to 80 Bhp-104 Nm, and the Gypsy features the same state of tune to this day. Built on a tough, ladder frame chassis, the Gypsy is rear wheel driven with a part-time four wheel drive mode offered on every model sold in India. The four wheel drive transfer case has both low and high ratios, and has given the Gypsy it’s ‘mountain goat’ nickname.
Yes, like the mountain goat, the Maruti Gypsy is highly regarded into the northern and north eastern extremities of India, where lesser cars wouldn’t dare to venture. All along, the Gypsy has been offered only with a petrol engine. Both hard top and soft top variants of the Gypsy are on offer. If you want to buy one, you’ll have to shell out about Rs. 6.48 lakhs, which is the average ex-showroom price of the car. That’s not all. Dealers will only take bookings if you pay in full as the Gypsy is a made-to-order vehicle.
The Indian government, varioys state governments, the armed forces and paramilitary forces of the country have traditionally been the biggest buyers of the Maruti Gypsy. Private buyers for the Gypsy included off roaders, people who needed a hardy vehicle in remote areas and even rallyists. Yes, the Gypsy was and is a regular fixture on the rally circuit thanks to its car-like handling.
But why’s it going?
Recently, the Indian army shifted loyalties to the Tata Safari Storme and the Gypsy was too basic even in 2018. Yes, the vehicle doesn’t get a power steering and air conditioning as standard in this day and age. Suspension? Bone- jarring but very rugged leaf springs on all four wheels. Yet, there will be a lot of enthusiasts who love this vehicle for just this: It’s basic nature. Then there’s the issue of safety as it’ll be too expensive to re-engineer the Gypsy with airbags and ABS, considering the low demand. The Gypsy will be missed!