We finally got our hands on the much-awaited MG Hector in India. Yes, this is the all-new SUV from the British carmaker. This is also the first time, there is an product from MG in India. The company came to India in 2016, set up their manufacturing plant and streamlined their operations by taking over GM’s Halol plant. The MG Hector SUV will be launched in India approximately on June 24 this year and deliveries will start soon thereafter. So, without further ado, here is the MG Hector SUV review that focuses on the hits and misses.
MG Hector SUV good bits
- The Hector looks good. Be it from whichever angle. There seems to be influences from the Tata Hexa as well as the Harrier in this SUV. The latter from the side as well as rear quarters while the former from the headlamp stacks. It also helps that the Hector uses all-LED lights everywhere and these just look brilliant.
- There are features galore in this SUV. You get tyre pressure monitoring, powered front seats, electric parking brake, Infinity music system, 360 degree camera, hybrid system, panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, auto headlights, wipers, push button start, multiple USB ports and more.
- iSmart sytem: This one deserves reams and reams of pages written on it. It is a 10.4-inch head unit and features a lot of information. There is a dearth of physical buttons anywhere on the dashboard. This makes for a clean look. We love the fact that the infotainment system is intuitive to use and also listens to voice commands. Unlike other systems we’ve experienced before, the Hector’s unit will even listen to your voice commands at high speeds as well as when music is being played out loudly. There are very few times when the system doesn’t understand you and that’s a good thing. It quickly adapts to your voice as well as accent. A simple thing such as increasing the temperature in the cabin or even lowering the music volume to opening the sunroof are handled very easily by the system. There is also an emergency call support in the event of a crash. Moreover, you can also ask the system to navigate you to the nearest point of interest or destination. In the end, we were so used to it that reverting to a physical touch or twirl of the knob seemed like a chore with other cars.
- Space inside the cabin is the best in class. The longest wheelbase helps here immensely and so does the flat rear floor which can seat three in reasonable comfort. One can also recline the rear seats for additional comfort. The boot at 587 litres too is huge and accessible as well.
- Both the engines are decently refined, however we prefer the diesel to the petrol if you’re in for mile munching. It stays relaxed at higher speeds and at the same time should be more fuel efficient as well. The petrol hybrid or regular petrol should be good for those looking for a city commuter and the occasional highway jaunt. Clutch action on both the cars is light though the petrol is obviously far easier to modulate. The petrol though needs a downshift or two while making quick overtaking manuevers or going uphill. In this case, the diesel is better suited as there is more mid-range punch on offer.
- The ride quality, especially at the rear is sorted. It stays pliant. Though we encountered very few bad roads in Coimbatore, the ones we took the Hector to, the car was comfortable and there was less side to side movement as well. The unladen ground clearance at 198mm too is decent enough and doesn’t scrape or hit anywhere. We also liked the handling. It is enjoyable but could have been a bit more involving. The steering is a bit vague off-centre, however it is okay and up to the task for daily driving by staying light most of the time. The all-wheel disc brakes are sharp and provide decent feedback as well.
- The MG Hector SUV price in India could start from as low as Rs 11 lakh and go all the way to Rs 16 lakh, ex-showroom. There is a wide range of trims and while a diesel automatic is unavailable at the moment, MG says that it is planned for the future.
Not-so good bits of the Hector
- The MG Hector SUV’s brand value as well as cost of ownership is relatively unknown at the moment. The company says all of these queries should be answered at launch. It is likely that the Hector will come with a five year warranty.
- The plastic quality, especially at some places like the upper dashboard, could have been better. It doesn’t feel as premium as for example, the Tata Harrier. There are also less storage spaces around the central console. For a SUV this size, it definitely wouldn’t have hurt to have a few phone holders.
- The iSmart system, even during random conversations with the co-passenger, will pick up keywords and change the music or perhaps start navigating. At start-up, the system could have been a bit faster too. However, on the move it works brilliantly. It is also a smudge magnet, picking up fingerprint stains and dust very easily.
- The hybrid powertrain of the MG Hector SUV isn’t the most intuitive. The engine doesn’t cut off when the airconditioning is on. This defeats the purpose of saving fuel. Moreover, our test car refused to kill the engine more than once on the trip, with the airconditioning off. This was even though all its parameters like a 95 per cent hybrid battery level, gear lever in neutral and handbrake pulled up. It does though give a noticeable 20Nm boost at low speeds, thereby eliminating turbo lag to some extent.
Trivia: The hazard lights of the MG Hector, at the rear are located near tail light. When you open the boot, the lights automatically shift to the lower side of the bumper. This is a brilliant thing since it allows for greater visibility, for example if the driver is getting the puncture kit from the boot.
Images by Lijo Mathai, MG and Amit Shelar