Force Motors Force One Review
True Value for Money SUVMonday, November 11, 2013
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.
- Powered by a 2149cc diesel engine which is manufactured in India under license from Daimler
- Generates maximum power of 141 Bhp with maximum torque of 321 Nm
- Available in six variants: EX, SX 6-seater, SX 7-seater, SX ABS 6-seater, SX ABS 7-seater and LX 4x4
- 150 crore investment, yearly production of 12000 units
- Main rivals are Tata Safari, Renault Duster and Mahindra Scorpio
- Features projector headlights and day-time running LEDs
- Features driver information system, audio control mounted on steering, dual AC vents for each row
- Along with these the SUV will also have OSRVM side indicators and plush leather seats
- The ride and handling will have suspension that has been fine-tuned by Lotus Engineering with sixteen-inch alloy wheels along with high ground clearance
- FMTech stands for Force Motors Technology, and the Power Train is made under license from Daimler
- ARAI certified mileage of the Force One is 11.6 kilometres per litre
- Top speed is 160 kmph
- Available in six shades: Intense White, Emphatic Grey, Robust Blue, Bold Black, Moondust Silver and Fierce Red
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.
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.
Comfort, Convenience and Features
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.
The Force One 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.
Engine and Gearbox
The Force One SX and LX are 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. ARAI certified mileage of the Force One is 11.6 kilometres per litre. The EX variant is powered by the same engine which also powers the Gurkha. The 2650cc turbo diesel engine generates maximum power of 81 Bhp with maximum torque of 230 Nm.
Acceleration and Performance
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.
Ride and Handling
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. The SX variant comes with option of ABS and the LX variant comes with ABS and 4-wheel drive system as standard.
Force One is available in six variants: EX, SX 6-seater, SX 7-seater, SX ABS 6-seater, SX ABS 7-seater and LX 4x4 with ABS as standard.
Force Motors Force One is available in six shades: Intense White, Emphatic Grey, Robust Blue, Bold Black, Moondust Silver 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. Nevertheless, Force One is an excellent attempt and is serious rival for others.