Force One SUV – Full review

Gone are the days when the MUVs like the Trax, Judo and Gama were as
trendy as its contemporaries – the Sumo, Armada, MM Commander, etc. 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 from 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. 

A 4×4 version of the Force One is available since mid-2014

The old school SUV feeling extends to the interior as well. The colour theme, 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, would
surely grab 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. 

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The Force One is powered by 2149cc FMTech (Force Motors 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

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. 

Photo Credit: Zigwheels

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.