The automobile manufacturer who gave India Matador vans, Trax & Tempo light commercial vehicles and Traveller minibuses launched a 4 door SUV of its own in 2011. This is called the Force One and it competes with Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio in the Indian market. It was the company’s first product in personal vehicles segment and was also followed by the launch of a formal EOV (Extreme Off-Roader Vehicle) - the Gurkha in early 2013.
Available in 2.2 and 2.6 litre diesel engine options, this SUV has also reached the market in a 4 by 4 avatar for LX variant. The base and top end trims (EX and LX) come with 7 seater cabin (Driver + 6), the mid segment SX has both 7 seater (Driver + 6) and 6 seater (Driver + 5) options.
There has been a buzz about the evolution of this vehicle’s design from a Chinese SUV called Explorer III. And there certainly is a striking resemblance between the two cars. It is also said that certain body parts are imported directly from China. But the chassis has been completely created in-house. It is based on a seemingly strong C-in-C ladder frame which supports an independent, coil-sprung, double-wishbone setup up in the front and a non-independent, multi-link suspension at the back. Lotus Engineering, UK worked to fine tune this chassis for Force Motors and it also tailored the SUV for the 235/70 Apollo Hawkz all-terrain tyres that are standard features with mid and top segment variants.
Externally, Force One looks huge and muscular with its large dimensions. It has a length of 4860 mm and wheelbase of 3025 mm. The overall look is rather boxy but also strong and muscular. Along the sides of the broad bonnet the crease lines look prominent. On the chin, the chrome grille has a thick outline and between its horizontal struts the Force Motors ‘F’ logo sits proudly. Another brand logo displaying the name of this SUV – Force One – is fitted below the grille. The large projector headlamps are halogen based but on medium and top segment models, they also have LED daytime running lights – a feature that adds some visual appeal to this otherwise staid SUV. High intensity fog lamps are fitted on the front air dams for all models.
On the sides, the wheel arches get prominent moulding for a muscular profile. The door handles and outside rear view mirrors (ORVMs) are in body colour. On SX and LX models the ORVMs are integrated with side turn indicators. Slip resistant aluminium side steps are provided for simpler entry and exit.
With a wheelbase of 3025 mm, the cabin is spacious and legroom is aplenty on all seats. The designers have tried to give the interior a smart look by using wooden finish on centre console, around the AC vents on dashboard and also on the lock panels on all doors. But the feel is rather plasticy. Seats have fabric coverings in base model and leather upholstery has been used for SX and LX trims. Integrated 2 DIN audio system and Bluetooth connectivity are also provided with medium and top end variants. Audio controls mount the three spoke steering wheel.
There is a standard HVAC air conditioner with separate vents for each row. The instrument console has large dials and a digital clock. As per the variant, it also offers a host of additional information such as outside cabin temperature, coolant level, service overdue reminder, average speed and average fuel consumption of the vehicle. Other comfort features in Force One trims include 12V power sockets in first and second row, mobile charger, rear glass defogger, adaptable headlight range, manual height adjustment for driver seat, steering wheel rake adjustment and powered ORVMs. Advanced features such as reverse parking sensors and progressive cruise control come only with medium and top end segments.
With regards to safety, basic setups like seat belts, side impact protection beams, over speed warning, brake pad wear indicator, driver seat belt reminder, door ajar reminder, front fog lamps and central locking are provided on all models. However only the SX and LX trims are equipped with advanced attributes in form of ABS and electronic brake force distribution.
The 2149 cc 4 cylinder diesel engine mated to 5 speed manual transmission is capable of churning out 139 bhp and has 32.7 kgm of torque. The 2.6 litre engine in base model has 82 bhp and 23.43 kgm of torque.
Force One SUV has an array of five body colours: Bold Black, Intense White, Emphatic Gray, Fierce Red, Robust Blue and Moondust Silver. The price ranges between Rs 9.33 lakhs to Rs 12.37 lakhs (ex showroom price Delhi) as per the variant and features.
Its 7 seater capacity makes this Force Motors product valuable for commercial use. With powerful engine and strong built it also tackles the rough Indian roads easily.