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First Drive: Force Motors Force One

Rahul Ghosh, 27-Sep-2011. Car Tested: Force One, Version: SX 7 STR
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Introduction

Force Motors has so far been known for the Traveller mini-van and the ubiquitous Trax MUV. Now the company, with some help from Lotus, has made its maiden entry into the Indian SUV market. At first glance there's space and a lot of kit on offer at a fairly low price. But how is it to drive? AUTO BILD INDIA gets behind its wheel to find out..

Highlights:

- The Force One is available with only one variant at the moment.

- Only the 4x2 variant is on sale and the 4x4 and the ABS versions will be launched later.

- The Force One gets a 2.2-litre engine which is Mercedes-Benz engine.

- The Force One is the first Indian car to get day-time running LEDs.

Looks & Interiors

The first thing you are bound to notice on the Force One is its size. In profile, the clever packaging of this SUV becomes evident. The stout bonnet is also short. This liberates space inside the cabin. Adding visual appeal to the bulk are large 16in alloys. At the rear, the tail gate is top hinged and also houses the registration plate and faux tail light clusters.  The Force One also offers a rear wash and wipe system which comes standard as the company intends offering just one variant at the moment.

Inside, the space on offer is noteworthy; two adults can sit comfortably even in the third row. Also, there's a decent boot space despite the third row seats. The large dash is made conspicuous by its faux wood inserts that neither look nor feel nice. In fact quality of plastics overall could be much better. The centre console houses controls for the AC and Bluetooth compatible music system. The Steering wheel too is a multifunction unit with controls for stereo, Bluetooth telephony and cruise control. The twin pod instrument panel meanwhile offers a warning light for every single system in the vehicle. The large seats on the test vehicle were of leather, so a thumbs up there. But they are flat and offer little support. Another thing which we found to be missing on this test vehicle is good fit and finish. There were panel gaps in the dash and the leather stitching on the steering too was crude. Quality of plastics too are not up to the mark.

The drive

The Merc sourced 2.2-litre common rail diesel engine settles down quickly and is a smooth unit, though not rev happy. Nonetheless there's adequate power and oodles of torque making the SUV quick to accelerate and easy to drive with few downshifts. Speaking of shifts, the clutch action is light but shifts on the 5-speed manual are hard and need effort. 

On the move, the Force One shows signs of being a good handler. Body roll is controlled, inspiring confidence to push around bends. Being an RWD there's some oversteer if one is heavy on the throttle around a corner. The steering however returns little feedback. Help from Lotus has also ensured that ride quality doesn't suffer as the suspension absorbs bumps well.

Verdict

The Force One is a competent product offering everything seen in more premium SUVs but at the price of a segment below. It comes fully loaded, offers lots of space and versatility. It also has a smooth engine and good ride and handling. On the downside, we didn’t like the steering feel or gear shift quality. Plastics could also improve. Nevertheless, given its pricing, the Force Motors seems to have a winner in the One. All that's missing is brand awareness.

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