Curiosity got the better of me when this Indian sports utility was pushed in the spotlight, drawing flak soon after it became the Philippine National Police official vehicle and beating its well-entrenched Japanese rivals.
Asianbrands Motors Corp., the exclusive distributors of the Mahindra brand in the country, had to deflect criticisms coming from all sides. It was a virtual unknown and yet, it won the bid to become the official PNP vehicle. To erase any doubts and negative perception from all the flak the brand has been getting, Mahindra sent me the civilian version of the Bolero. It has since been rebadged as the Enforcer.
For starters, Pininfarina would have gasped in disbelief at how its exterior was designed. It‘s either you love it or hate it and my wife, who is a non-partisan critic of automobiles says she hates it.
For car lovers like me, I had to step back and grab a cup of coffee to appreciate the boxy but solid lines of the Enforcer. Unlike its rivals, this Indian sports utility is built tough like an armored personnel carrier. Judging from its design, it was obvious that the Enforcer was designed as a no-frills transportation with creature comforts at a reasonable price.
Powered by a 2.6 liter MDi turbo-diesel, this manual transmission pick-up produces 63bhp with 195NMs of torque. Step inside the vehicle all you’ll see the essential elements of a modern-day sports utility like climate control, power steering, an audio system and a seating capacity for five individuals. It has an independent type suspension with coil springs up front, while the rear’s rigidity is due to leaf springs. This baby can haul serious loads at the back from a .50 caliber machine gun or 50 sand bags.
Driving the Enforcer around town feels like you’re behind the wheel of Land Rover Defender or the early version of the Mercedes Benz G-class. The ride is choppy, but it compensates in terms of acceleration and torque. Passing maneuvers is a cinch with the Enforcer even with three passengers and 20 sand bags at the double walled flat bed. The payload capacity is 710 kilograms, with a flat bed measuring 1481mm in length, 1532mm in width and 750mm in height.
Mahindra offers the Enforcer in various levels of trim in India. To keep costs down, AMC is offering only one version of the Enforcer. Mahindra started its local operations with a bid which bagged the deal to supply 1,470 Mahindra Enforcers to the PNP. Mahindra won the deal after a stringent selection process which saw the Enforcer undergo a battery of reliability, durability and fuel efficiency testing. I will take the Mahindra Enforcer for a spin any day, anytime, come hell or high water.