Text and Photos by Iñigo S. Roces
Despite being introduced just a little under two years ago, the Mahindra Enforcer has already become a familiar sight on Philippine roads. It currently serves as the official PNP Police Patrol vehicle in some of the farthest reaches of the country.
Besides the police patrol variant that most have already seen, the Enforcer is also offered as a civilian vehicle. First offered in its homeland, India, as the Bolero, it has been widely used by that country’s military and police force for various duties: practically India’s homegrown Humvee.
The Enforcer has zero pretensions. The simple, boxy, and rugged vehicle, built on a truck chassis, presents itself as a utilitarian mode of transport and doesn’t dare pretend to be anything else.
Simple halogen headlamps sit on opposite sides of the vertical grille. A clamshell hood resides over it, leading to the near-vertical windscreen. The double cab ends abruptly with a vertical wall, immediately transitioning to the perfectly box-shaped truck bed. Hoops line the railings to tie down cargo easily. Latches on opposite ends secure the tailgate.
The vehicle’s boxy form pays dividends when it comes to interior space. There’s no other pickup that can rival the headroom of the Mahindra. A simple, cliff-face dashboard awaits inside with a simple speedometer with an inset digital odometer for the driver’s side. Fuel and temperature gauges flank it. The steering wheel is fixed but is at least power assisted.
The center console is where controls for all four power windows are mounted. Beside it are the simple climate controls for the very cold air conditioning or the heater. Entertainment is provided by a single DIN stereo head unit, although audio seems to be hooked up to only one central speaker. Over in the passenger side is a grab bar and a lockable glove box.
Behind, the rear bench seat is positioned higher than the front to give passengers a theatre style view. There may not be much legroom, but the high-mount seats ensure no cramps on long drives. Large areas beneath the seat provide plenty of storage space.
In spite of its high ground clearance, the Enforcer is easy to hop into thanks to the step board and doors mounted on hinges, allowing them to open up to nearly 90 degrees.
Propelling this forward is a direct injection 2.5-liter four-cylinder diesel. It produces 100hp and 240Nm of torque. This is paired with a five-speed manual that connects to a part time four-wheel drive system. The manual stick easy to reach while the 4WD stalk requires you to reach down to shift it into 4H or 4L.
The Enforcer is held aloft by independent front suspension and a semi floating rigid axle leaf spring system in the rear. It’s brought to a stop with discs in front and drum brakes on the rear. The handbrake is a conventional lever type. Connecting the vehicle to the road is a set of 15 inch wheels on fat 235 75 series tires.
Naturally, the Enforcer doesn’t offer much sophistication in the drive. The ride is relatively harsh, and its turning circle is a bit on the large side. Still, the tall cabin and large windows provide very good visibility on all sides. It’s also easy to squeeze through traffic being a narrow vehicle.
In spite of the rather simple engine, there’s plenty of torque on the low end to middle of the power band. The gearing is short, allowing it to still quickly accelerate up to 60 km/h and cruise at low revs. The result is fuel economy in the high 12-14 km/L in the city even in heavy traffic. It can even go up to 16 km/L in the highway at an average speed of 80 km/h. This fuel economy coupled with a large 56 liter tank also provides some very good range.
It’s in more challenging terrain and inclement whether where the vehicle really shines. The sheer torque from the engine will allow it to crawl along steep inclines without worry of stalling. The ride may be rough, but there’s little the tall and thick tires and steep approach angles can’t roll over.
All told, the Enforcer may not be the most comfortable utility vehicle around, yet there’s little doubt about its durability. The simple controls also ensure that anyone can operate it easily, even in harsh terrain. Private consumers may find it lacking but it should do well as a fleet or service vehicle ideal for farms, construction or delivery work, priced at just P995,000.