Force Motors has launched its premium SUV, Force One, priced at Rs.10.65 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). This is Force Motors foray into the competitive passenger car space, and hence the vehicle’s aggressive pricing to take on the likes of the Mahindra Scorpio, Tata Safari and Toyota Innova.
The Force One is available through 22 Force Motors dealers across India. The Force One will be available only as a 4×2 version at present, while the 4×4 version will be launched in March 2012. The company is planning to add another 22 dealers by next year and has set a sales target of just 4,000 vehicles in the first year of launch, due to production constraints.
Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan has been roped in as the brand ambassador of the Force One SUV. Force Motors has taken services from Lotus Engineering and Daimler for the design and development of Force One.
Is the Force One capable of shaking up the budget SUV segment? Here are the finer details of the SUV.
Looks, fit and finish
The Force One resembles the Foday Explorer III sold in China, because the entire body-shell dies have been sourced from Foday. The Foday Explorer in turn is based on an older generation Ford Explorer and hence you’ll see many similarities with Ford’s design language. The large chrome grille at the front gives it a bold look. The projector headlamps have daytime running lamps as well. The ORVMs get integrated turn indicators while the front fog lamps have chrome rings a fishnet grille around them. The Force One measures 4,860 mm in length, 1,780 mm in width and 1,885 mm in height, while the wheelbase measures 3,025 mm. Force One stands tall as it has a massive ground clearance of 205 mm. The fuel tank capacity is 70 litres.
Panel gaps and shut-lines are reasonably good. Plastic quality too is average and at a par with its competitors.
This makes the Force One one of the largest SUVs around, just marginally shorter than the Ford Endeavour in length, but the wheelbase is the longest in the Indian market. It’s much larger than the Safari, Scorpio and Innova.
The interiors of Force One consists of three row seats arranged in a 2+3+2 pattern. It’s also available with a 2+2+2 seating configuration with bucket seats in the middle row as well. It features an entirely beige color theme. The middle row seats can be adjusted for legroom and have a drop down armrest with cupholders. All rows get roof-mounted AC vents. The third row seats are forward-facing, and have side foldable construction in order to free space for luggage when needed. The steering has audio controls and cruise control buttons on it.
Engine and transmission
Force SUV is powered by 2.2 litre common rail diesel engine sourced from Daimler and it produces 139 bhp (141 PS) of maximum power at 3,800 rpm and maximum torque of 321 Nm at 1600-2400 rpm. The engine is mated to 5-speed manual transmission. It is presently only available in rear-wheel drive, but a four-wheel drive variant has been planned for March 2012.
The Force One is a rather heavy SUV, tipping the scales at over 2.5 tons kerb weight. Also the design is not quite aerodynamic, and this increases drag. So much so, mileage is not exactly a strong point of the SUV, though it runs on diesel. The ARAI certified mileage for the Force One is 12 kmpl.
We must admit Force Motors has tried to entice buyers by loading up the SUV with goodies such as alloy wheels, projector headlamps, daytime running lights, dual-DIN CD/MP3 music system with USB and Aux-in and reverse parking sensors. It also features Bluetooth phone compatibility and leather upholstery. Force also claims to have improved longevity of the body and chassis by special CED coating, which guards against corrosion and rust.
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While all the bells and whistles are welcome, what’s glaringly absent is safety features. What’s glaringly absent though are safety features – no ABS and no airbags at the moment. Force says it will launch an ABS variant after March, while airbags will follow that.
An aggressive price of Rs. 10.65 lakh will definitely get buyers interested in this SUV, especially for the sheer volume of space it offers and huge ground clearance. It’s priced below the base variant of the Tata Aria 4×2, which is at Rs. 11.61 lakh and at about the same level as the Toyota Innova GX variant. The Force One offers a few more features compared to the Innova. Compared to the Scorpio, its pricing is at a par with the Scorpio VLX, two-wheel drive, but the Scorpio still offers more safety features such as airbags and ABS for about Rs. 40,000 more. The Tata Safari VX is priced at Rs. 11.63 lakh and also includes airbags and ABS.
By pricing the Force One in the middle of the market, Force will be hoping to attract buyers looking for a spacious SUV with aggressive looks. Looking at its modest target of about 4,000 vehicles in the first year, we think Force is going to play it safe and make adjustments depending on the market reactions to the vehicle in its first year.
Tell us what you think of this SUV from Force.