MG Hector — Loaded To Lead

Launched at an introductory starting price of Rs 12.18 lakh (ex-showroom), the MG Hector is the latest entrant in India’s highly competitive five-seater SUV market. Considering the unmatchable value for money and the nation’s strong incline towards the likes of the proven Tata Harrier and Jeep Compass, the MG Hector deserves some proper attention.

However, are the English roots of ‘Morris Garages’ and the moniker of being the country’s first ‘Internet Car’, enough to prove it a success in one of the trickiest automotive markets in the world? — here’s what you should know!

The average Indian automotive enthusiast is already aware that the MG Hector is more Chinese than British since the company is now owned by SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation). Furthermore, the very same SUV is sold in three more avatars: Baojun 530, Wuling Almaz and Chevrolet Captiva; each having their own set of badges and mild cosmetics.

Starting with the design, the MG Hector — in all honesty — looks weird, but interesting in a way of its own. In fact, the intimidating front grille, quirky headlamp-DRL layout, abrupt beltline and the rather small 17-inch wheels have developed a liking in the minds of the less-aesthetically-concerned. To top it all, there is an ‘Internet Inside’ badge as well; that too, on just one fender. Still, that single badge is what defines the all-new Hector the best.

Step inside and the MG Hector greets us with a large 10.4-inch portrait touchscreen infotainment system that opens door to over 50 connected features, supported by an e-SIM. Dubbed as ‘i-Smart Connectivity’, the system also features a mature Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that can be activated by simply saying, “Hello MG”.

The pre-installed voice commands are aplenty. Some of the functionalities include making/ending a call, adjusting the climate control, accessing the navigation and even operating the panoramic sunroof.

In comparison with the disproportionate exteriors, the dashboard layout of the Hector looks neat. The flat-bottom three-spoke steering wheel has a balance of elegance and sportiness. Adding more to the quirkiness is the instrument console with a 3.5-inch MID unit, flanked by the usual dials, but reading in opposite directions. On the comfort and convenience department, the Hector surely doesn’t disappoint. In its highest trim, the five-seater gets powered driver (6-way) and passenger (4-way) seats along with good legroom and headroom in both rows. The cushioning and support offered by the seats are adequate as well. There is no shortage of storage compartments either with all the cupholders and door pockets. The boot capacity is massive at 587 litres and can be further expanded by putting down the 60:40 folding rear bench.

In addition to all the above-mentioned creature comforts, the new MG Hector offers even more class-leading equipment; such as:

  • Infinity audio system
  • Ambient illumination
  • Push-button start
  • Fast-charging
  • Android Auto
  • Powered ORVMs
  • Welcome light
  • 6 airbags
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Hill-hold assist
  • 360-degree camera
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Finally, coming down to the power plant, the MG Hector is offered in two formats: 1.5-litre turbo-petrol and 2.0-litre diesel. The diesel motor is sourced from FCA and is identical to the Tata Harrier’s Revotorq and Jeep Compass’s Multijet units. On the other hand, the petrol motor comes in a mild hybrid (48V assist) iteration in the top trims.

In the base format, the petrol Hector churns out 143bhp @ 5000rpm and 250Nm @ 1600rpm while the figures change to 170bhp @ 3750rpm and 350Nm @ 1750rpm in the diesel avatar. Both engines are coupled to a six-speed manual as standard, while the petrol variants also have a seven-speed DCT as an option. The Hector is strictly a front-wheel-drive vehicle with more MUV character than an SUV.

The MG Hector is available in four trims: Style, Super, Smart and Sharp; contained in a price range of Rs 12.18 lakh and Rs 16.88 lakh (ex-showroom). Let’s not forget the fact that these are introductory figures and the SUV has already been booked out for the year. The quirky aesthetics are complemented with five choices of shade: Candy White, Starry Black, Aurora Silver, Burgundy Red and Glaze Red.

To sum up, the MG Hector is definitely worth the talks. It not only announces the debut of a new automotive brand to Indian shores, but has also set a fresh benchmark for value for money. As proof, it has certainly made an impact on the sales chart of Tata Motors and Jeep India. The five-seater SUV/crossover segment is booming all around the world despite the occasional and unwelcome market downfalls (such as the one currently being experienced in India). The result of this is high competition between major players in the field and a plethora of good choices for the customers.

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