MG Hector First Drive Review — Brit By Blood, Human By Nature

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MG or 'Morris Garages' is a British automotive marque, which is all set to introduce its first product in the Indian market in the form of the 'Hector'. The company aims to build a solid foundation in the Indian market, positioning the MG Hector in India's highly competitive and rapidly growing mid-size SUV segment.

The MG Hector is a much-anticipated product in the country and has already created quite a buzz in the Indian market. The MG Hector also boasts of owning the tag to 'India's first Internet car', with its i-Smart technology.

The brand itself has left no stone unturned to create awareness in the Indian market for its upcoming SUV. The Hector was unveiled recently while also showcasing a number of its features and equipment; as well as its technical specifications. However, one thing on everyone's mind is 'how is it like to drive?'.

Well, we got the opportunity to drive the MG Hector on the outskirts of Coimbatore recently and came out pretty impressed. However, does India's first 'Internet Car' have what it takes to challenge its rivals in the country? Let's find out.

Design & Styling

Ever since the MG Hector was unveiled, there have been mixed reactions to the SUV regarding its looks. We quite like the overall design of the car, with its dual-headlamp setup, the large front grille and the wrap-around tail lights.

The front of the SUV is dominated by the large trapezoidal front grille and the dual-headlamp setup. The front receives a good amount of chrome elements surrounding the grille, the sleek LED DRLs and the low-mounted LED projector headlamps. The chrome accents has been integrated well, offering a classy look and character to the design, while not being an overkill. There is also a large air intake at the bottom part of the front bumper, which comes surrounded by silver accents; a slight change from the chrome on top.

The sides of the MG Hector is characterised by sharp shoulder lines and creases running along its length. It also comes with flared rectangular wheel arches, which adds to the overall boxy design of the SUV. There is also a bit of chrome element running across the lower part of the doors, with 'Morris Garages' embossed on it; reiterating the brand name.

The top-spec variants of the Hector also come with neatly designed dual-tone 17-inch alloy wheels. The 17-inch wheels do look a tad small, especially with the flared wheel arches, proving to be the only eyesore in an otherwise well designed SUV.

Moving to the rear, the MG Hector comes with LED tail lamps, which are connected at the centre. There is also a thin chrome strip and the 'MG' badging which adds character to the rear. Both the front and rear lights come with dynamic turn indicators as well, which adds a premium appeal to the SUV. The rear also comes with a large silver diffuser at the bottom part of the rear bumper, which also houses the reflectors and rear fog lamps.

Interiors, Features & Practicality

Moving into the cabin of the MG Hector, the SUV comes with an all-black interiors with almost no physical buttons whatsoever. The stand-out element in the cabin is definitely the largest-in-segment 10.4-inch vertically-stacked touchscreen infotainment display.

This 10.4-inch screen controls all the functionalities, including the audio system, climate controls, infotainment controls, navigation and the flagship 'i-Smart Connectivity' technology. The i-Smart technology itself provides over 50 connected features, including voice recognition, geo-fencing, live vehicle tracking, vehicle status and a bunch of others.

The system also features a voice-activated AI-enabled technology, which can be accessed by saying "Hello MG". There is a long list of almost a hundred commands preset in the car, from opening and closing the windows, the sunroof and the boot to adjusting the climate control, setting the navigation and accepting and rejecting calls among loads of others. The i-Smart technology comes embedded with an e-sim, allowing for constant internet connectivity on the go, hence the 'Internet Inside' badging on the Hector.

Moving away from the centre console, the main cockpit area of the car houses a large leather-wrapped steering wheel with a flat-bottom. The steering feels chunky and good to hold, while also offering mounted-controls for incoming/outgoing calls, audio controls and cruise control settings. The instrument cluster also comes with a 3.5-inch MID which displays the trip meters, instant fuel efficiency, average fuel efficiency and the distance to empty (fuel range).

Other features on the MG Hector:

  • Ambient Lighting (8 colours)
  • Leather Upholstery (top-spec variants)
  • 6-Way Power-Adjustable Driver Seat
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Tilt & Telescopic Steering
  • Automatic Headlamps
  • Auto AC with Rear Vents
  • Premium Infinity Sound System
  • Front & Rear Power Windows
  • Fast-Charging
  • Android Auto
  • Push Button Start/Stop
  • Power-Adjustable & Foldable ORVMs

Comfort & Boot Space

The MG Hector comes with an extremely spacious cabin. The seats on the top-spec variant come wrapped in leather and offers good cushioning as well. The front seats are power-adjustable; 6-way adjustable on the driver side and 4-way adjustable on the front passenger seats. The seats themselves offer good lateral, thigh and lumbar support, providing a relaxed driving position, even for long highway cruising.

The rear seats also continue the same theme, with excellent thigh support and cushioning all around. There is sufficient headroom and legroom even for tall passengers. The flat floor at the rear, allows three passengers to sit comfortably with good legroom for all. There is also a central armrest with two cup holders at the rear, further adding to the relaxed seating position even for the rear passengers.

MG Motor India also offers the Hector with a good amount of storage compartments all around the car. This includes a number of cup holder on the centre console, rear armrest and all four doors.

In terms of boot space, the MG Hector comes with a massive 587-litre with all seats positioned upright. The rear seats can also be folded in a 60:40 split, which expands the boot space even further.

Here is a brief overlook at the dimensions of the MG Hector:

Length (mm) 4655
 Width (mm)  1835
 Height (mm)  1760
 Wheelbase (mm)  2750
 Boot Space (litres)  587

Engine Performance & Driving Impressions

First, let's finish off with the technical aspects of the new MG Hector. The SUV is offered with a choice of two engine options: 1.5-litre turbo-petrol and 2.0-litre diesel. The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol produces 143bhp @ 5,000rpm and 250Nm of torque @ 1,600 - 3,600rpm.

The diesel engine, on the other hand is the same as seen on its rivals, the Jeep Compass. The 2.0-litre diesel produces the same power output on the Hector as well; 170bhp @ 3,750rpm and 350Nm of torque @ 1,750 - 2,500rpm.

Both engines come mated to a standard six-speed manual gearbox. The petrol further receives the optional seven-speed Dual-Clutch Automatic Transmission (DCT).

MG also offers their own hybrid technology with the top-spec petrol variants of the Hector SUV. This comes in the form of a 48V hybrid motor, which provides instant power from the get-go along with regenerative braking system as well. Other advantages of the hybrid technology also include a 12 percent increase in fuel-efficiency and an 11 percent decrease in CO2 emissions.

Now that we have got the technical specifications out of the way, let's talk about how it is to drive. We first started off with the petrol-hybrid variant, driving it from Coimbatore all the way up to the town of Kotagiri on the Nilgiri range.

The petrol engine offers good performance right from the start, the hybrid motor further provides a noticeable amount of initial grunt. The engine is perfectly refined and offers decent levels of low-range power, enough to maneuver around low-speed city traffic with ease.

Out of the city and onto the highway and the twisty ghat sections, the MG Hector continues to offer good power and torque. There is a continuous amount of power being available at any speeds, making light work of overtaking either in the city, on the highway or even the twisty hill climbs.

Moving onto the diesel variant of the MG Hector, it instantly feels better and more fun to drive than its petrol sibling. There is a huge amount of low-end torque, making it feel quicker off-the-line. However, there is a fair bit of engine clatter which enters the cabin. The MG Hector could have done with better insulation and NVH levels.

The MG Hector does offer a fair bit of body roll which is quite noticeable, especially under hard cornering. This does hamper your confidence, enough to make you a bit hesitant from accelerating too hard. The steering is responsive and light at low speed, allowing the Hector to respond to quick directional changes with ease. However, at higher speeds the steering continues to feel light and doesn't weigh up accordingly. At high speeds, the steering also lacks a noticeable amount of feedback as well.

The six-speed manual gearbox on both the petrol and diesel variants is smooth, with easy and precise gearshift. However, there is a small amount of jerkiness which seeps in during aggressive gear changes. The suspension and braking on the MG Hector are top-notch. The suspension soaks up most of the road undulations with ease, with little to no jerks entering the cabin. Braking is handled by discs on all-four wheels, which offer excellent bite and even better stopping power.

Specification Overview
Here is a quick overlook at the specifications of the MG Hector engine specifications:

Engine Specs
Petrol Diesel
Engine (cc) 1541 1956
No. Of Cylinders  4
Power (bhp)  143 172 
Torque (Nm)   250 350 
Transmission  6-MT/7-DCT 6-MT 
Weight (Kg)*  1554 - 1644 1633 - 1700 

*Weight - Unladen

Variants, Colours & Pricing

The MG Hector is available in a range of four variants: Style, Super, Smart and Sharp. All of them come packed with a host of features and equipment. MG has packed even the base trim with features, making it an extremely attractive offering as well.

Some of the key features on the MG Hector, standard across all four variants:

  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Welcome Light on Car Unlock
  • Height-Adjustable Headrests (front and rear seats)
  • Front and Rear Fast-Charging Ports
  • Cooled Glove Box
  • Driver Armrest with Storage and 12V Power Outlet
  • 60:40 Rear Split Seats
  • Auto AC
  • Power-Adjustable ORVMs

The all-new MG Hector is available in a range of five paint schemes — Candy White, Starry Black, Aurora Silver, Burgundy Red and Glaze Red.

The MG Hector has been priced competitively in the segment, with a starting price of rs 12.18 lakh, ex-showroom (India). The top-spec diesel variant on the other hand comes in at Rs 16.88 lakh, ex-showroom (India). These are extremely competitive pricing, putting it as a direct rival to the Tata Harrier while undercutting the Jeep Compass.

Safety Features

MG takes safety in high regard, with this in mind the British brand has offered the Hector with all the safety features expected out of a car in the segment. Some of these safety features include:

  • Six Airbags
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS with EBD and Brake Assist
  • 360-Degree Camera
  • Hill-Hold Control
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensors
  • Rear Parking Camera
  • Rear Defogger
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Traction Control System
  • ISOFIX Child-Seat Mounts

Competition & Fact Check!

The MG Hector is positioned in India's highly competitive and rapidly growing mid-size SUV segment. The Hector SUV will rival the likes of the Jeep Compass, Tata Harrier, Hyundai Creta and the Mahindra XUV500 in the segment.

Here is a quick comparison between the MG Hector and two of its major rivals in the segment:

Competitors/Specs MG Hector Tata Harrier Jeep Compass
 Engine 1.5 Petrol/ 2.0 Diesel  2.0-litre Diesel 1.4 Petrol/ 2.0 Diesel
 Power (bhp) 143/170  140   163/173
 Torque (Nm) 250/350  350  250/350 
 Transmission DCT/MT  6MT  DCT/MT 
 Price (ex-showroom) Rs 12.18 - 16.88 Lakhs  Rs 13 - 16.5 Lakhs  Rs 15.6 - 26.8 lakh 

*TBA - To Be Announced

Rahul Nagaraj Thinks!

The MG Hector is definitely a likeable car. It offers decent performance, comes packed with features and has a host of connectivity technology. The i-Smart Technology is the main USP of the MG Hector, offering an extended range of features and equipment. The MG Hector is also well built and feels extremely sturdy, while also offering a host of safety features as an added bonus. It all comes down to the pricing of the SUV in the Indian market. If MG prices the Hector right, then it easily has the potential to compete among the best in the segment and could also become a benchmark for future products entering the segment.

What We Like

  • Packed With Features
  • i-Smart Connectivity Technology
  • Hybrid Technology
  • Strong Performing engines

What We Didn't Like

  • Diesel Engine Noise
  • Steering Feedback at high-speeds
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Read more on: #review #mg motor
Article Published On: Friday, June 14, 2019, 13:06 [IST]

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