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Review: Force One EX

Driven July 2013

Review: Force One EX

When anyone went to buy a Force Motors showroom to pick its SUV, the One, there wasn’t much to choose from. More than a year after its first unveil, Force Motors has now added a new base variant to the One line-up. Christened the EX, which stands for Executive, this variant gets the Gurkha’s 2.6-litre diesel unit mated to the Gurkha’s five-speed manual gearbox. The idea was to bring the price to under Rs 10 lakh, making it a more viable ownership option for private owners, and taxi owners as well.

So far, the One has registered good response in North India, but with this new variant, Force Motors hopes to make a more focused approach to a wider audience in rural and semi-urban areas where the more stringent BS4 norms are yet to take effect.

On the outside, you can distinguish the EX from the more upmarket SX by noticing the lack of alloy wheels and ORVMs without integrated turn indicators. On the inside, it’s still quite spacious with lots of legroom thanks to the ultra-long body. The seats are standard fare and made for comfortable, rather than plush seating. Plastics are pretty average-looking and could definitely have a better finish. The aircon is much more powerful now, but that’s something you will find in all new One models.

The steering is reasonably well-weighted and a torquey engine means you do not really feel the bulk in urban driving. The gear-shift quality however is poor and requires considerable effort and getting used to. The unconventional sequence, normally seen on most commercial vehicles, doesn’t help. Throws are long too. The engine is noisy as well, both on the outside and inside.

On the brighter side, the ride is sorted. There is body roll but the well-weighted steering helps here. You can ride over most road imperfections without even noticing them inside. Get the vehicle upto speed and it is happy to play along… till you need to use the gearbox again.

Equipment is basic. Force may argue that it is at par with the competition (read Scorpio and Safari) but most cheaper small cars and sedans now come with a longer feature list.

The numbers
4cyl, 2650cc, turbodiesel, 80bhp, 230Nm, 5M, 3025mm wheelbase, 205mm ground clearance, 235/70 R16, 70 litres fuel tank, Rs 8.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune)

The verdict
If you don’t live in an area of dense population and traffic, want something that can carry as many people as possible in reasonable comfort over non-existent roads and have enough muscle to tame that gearbox, the One EX is an option worth looking at.

Girish Karkera

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