Force One gets ABS and 4x4 variants
The Force One has been around for about a couple of years now, and during this phase, we have seen a lot of camouflaged Ones testing all over the state of Maharashtra. Some said these were examples of the stripped-out base variant, while some said these were four-wheel-drive models, replete with ABS and EBD. Now, very silently, Force Motors has actually put these variants up on sale. So silently in fact, that if it wasn't for a discreet little advert on a random webpage, mankind would never know these variants existed.The base variant, called the Executive (EX), is priced at Rs 8.99 lakh ex-Navi Mumbai, and the drastic drop in price has brought in some drastic changes too. Gone is the 2.2-litre Mercedes-Benz diesel engine, and in its place comes the 2.6-litre direct-injection turbo-diesel and the five-speed gearbox from the new Gurkha. It only makes 81bhp as opposed to the 140bhp of the Merc motor, and is nearly 90 torques down as well, at 230Nm. This motor is only BS3-compliant, so you know Force Motors really does mean it when it says the EX is targeted specifically at the 'value-minded customer' in Tier II and III towns.To say a few features have been hacked off the seven-seat-only base variant would be putting it mildly - the EX is deprived of alloys, DRLs, rear foglamps, ORVM-mounted side indicators, roof rails, rear wiper and defogger, Bluetooth-equipped audio system, steering-mounted audio controls, driver's seat height adjust, leather seats, remote locking, all-terrain tyres, reverse parking sensors, cruise control and an indicator that tells you the car is due for service. It doesn't even get a radio antenna. Thankfully, they've provided an engine, a gearbox, seats, aircon, three pedals and a steering wheel so you can actually drive it. How about that?The variant that was on sale all this while has been rechristened the Superior (SX), and it gets all of the features that the EX misses out on, and still employs the 2.2-litre Merc powertrain. Better still, for an additional Rs 28,000 over the standard SX's cost, you can now spec ABS with EBD on this trim, so a six-seat SX ABS will cost you Rs 12.06 lakh, while the seven-seat SX ABS will be yours for Rs 11.98 lakh (all prices ex-Mumbai). You can also have a shift-on-the-fly 4x4 variant with a limited-slip differential named Luxury (LX), though Force Motors hasn't revealed the price for this variant yet.Would a four-wheel drive, ABS-equipped Force One figure on your 'to-buy' list? Or does it need a bit more than that to become a serious contender in the market? Thoughts, dotcommers.