Force One SUV: Good Start, but we expect more!
Gone are the days when the MUVs like the Trax, Judo and Gama were as trendy as its contemporaries – the Sumo, Armada, and MM Commander. That was the time when they commanded our roads as private vehicles, regime vehicles and as commercial MUVs too. Even now the mini-bus Traveller, being the only monocoque bus in the India, sells like hot cakes. The legacy started when Force Motors, a Pune-based auto maker, ventured to offer some light weight commercial vehicles in late 1950s. The company also associated with Daimler AG, Bosch, Man Trucks, etc. And few years back the personal vehicle division of Force Motors came up with an SUV idea which led to the conception of the Force One.
It is not a Ford Endeavour, though its size and design may pretend to be so from a distance. But it is impossible to ignore that the Force One is from the genes of the Ford SUVs. It is a re-modelled version of Chinese Ford Explorer, popularly known as Guangdong Foday Explorer III. The company uses the same body panels of the Explorer III imported directly from China. The chassis, however, has been designed completely in-house jointly with the Lotus Engineering UK.
The SUV looks incredibly bigger and flaunty on roads. The stout bonnet is short, with chunky wheel arches and bumper, makes it look aggressive. Adding to that sort of manifestation is the hefty 16-inch alloys with wider tyres. The chrome grille is just fine and is quite appropriate to the way headlamps are designed. On the side, the door panels are just plain and large. The C-pillar is very thick, with the quarter glass after it, looks very odd. At the rear, the tail gate is top hinged and the tail lamps are designed for good look. The spare wheel hinged to the tail gate may have given it a better, appropriate guise. On the whole, the design is old school and a bit dated, but attractive nonetheless.
Also Read: Force One SUV: First Impressions!
The old-school SUV feeling extends towards the interiors as well. The colour tone, layout and texture of the dashboard could have been better considering the present day trend. The faux wood inserts in the centre console neither looks nor feels nice. The instrument cluster is clear and easy to read. The seats are large and leather upholstered. The space on offer is noteworthy in all the three rows; two adults can sit comfortably even in the third row. And surprisingly, there is decent boot space on offer despite the third row seats. Quality issues are evident. The car lacks good fit and finish with panel gaps even on the dashboard and the leather stitching is a bit crude.
The all-beige interiors and plush leather upholstery looks premium and cozy. The driver seat is three-way adjustable and the second row seats are captain seats, reclining and is double folding. The driver information system, which tells about fuel consumption, average speed, service warning, etc., and cruise control would aid safe and efficient driving while the leather wrapped steering wheel, 12V power sockets and illumination control, steering mounted audio controls, dual AC vents in all three rows and the OSRVM with side indicators with plush leather seats make sure that you travel in style and comfort.
The projector headlamp with daytime running LED’s, ORVM with electrically operated mirrors, the stylish roof rail, aluminium side stepper, stylish hub caps, chrome plated twin exhaust system, tail gate spoiler with stop lamp and rear windscreen wiper with washer, will surely grab your attention. It comes loaded with 2-din JVC music system with display colour options, two front and two rear speakers. There is Bluetooth connectivity and USB, Aux-in ports.
The Force One is powered by 2149cc FMTech (ForceMotors Technology) 4cylinder, 16 valve CRDI turbo engine producing 321 Nm of torque and 141 bhp of power. The driveline is developed under the licencing of Daimler AG and can find its roots to the old C-class sedans. The engine has been mated to a 5-speed G32/5, synchromesh gearbox with Dual Mass Fly wheel. The Mercedes engine is smooth and settles down quickly. There is adequate power to accelerate quickly and is easy to drive with few downshifts. Gear shifting is a bit hard and messy especially for city driving. The car reaches a top speed of 160 kmph and isn’t safe at that speed. For that matter, no SUVs of this class are safe at such higher speeds.
The Force One handles much better than what we would expect from an old school SUV. There is very little body roll, which makes cornering a bit tense-free. The car over-steers when accelerated hard around corners, but that is quite a normal phenomenon with rear-wheel drive vehicles. The independent double wishbone with coil spring suspension at the front and multi-link pan hard rod and coil spring at the rear, with gas filled shock absorbers (tuned by Lotus Engineering) enables a decent ride quality and highway handling. However, bumps still bother the passengers sometimes. The suspension is optimised equally for both on and off-road performance. With a ground clearance of 205mm, it is best suited for tarmac. Unfortunately, no four-wheel drive option is offered as of now.
Since the engine is developed by the technology of Daimler AG, Force One is decent in fuel consumption while considering the power delivery. ARAI certified average mileage is 11.6 kmpl. With city driving conditions, mileage may not exceed 13 kmpl while around 16 for highways. Force One is one of the fuel efficient SUV in the segment, though not the top scorer.
The power assisted steering with tilt and collapsible mechanism and protection guard ensures driver safety. The front brakes are discs with twin pot four-piston calliper while rear drums are assisted with auto adjuster. One of the unique feature is the over speed warning that warns if the SUV crosses the permissible speed limit. Remote key entry, driver seat warning, door open warning and display, ultrasonic reverse parking sensors for parking in tight spaces, brake pad wear and tear warning along with central looking are other safety features. There is neither ABS nor Airbag options as of now, which is unfortunate for a car costing more than 10 lakhs. However, Force One is quite safe for travels.
For now, Force one is available in only one variant with 3 seating options – 5 seater (4+D), 6 seater (5+D) and 7 seater (6+D). Force One with ABS and 4×4 will be launched in coming months. Force Motors Force One is available in five shades: Intense White, Emphatic Grey, Robust Blue, Bold Black and Fierce Red.
With a long list of features, the Force One is well accomplished, powerful and cheaper to buy and own. At the same time, it lacks some of the key features and quality interiors. The SUV looks and feels dated on many fronts. With the advent of the new Safari Storme and Renault Duster, the standards for this segment have gone higher and Force Motors need to make their SUV more upmarket. A new updated variant with ABS and 4×4 version should have been here anytime soon and may possible reach showrooms by early next year. A base version is also on the anvil. Nevertheless, Force One is an excellent attempt and is serious rival for others.