What is it?
MG Motor India added a fourth model to its India lineup last week in the form of the Astor SUV. Yes, it does look identical to the ZS EV. But that is pretty much where all the similarities end. Under the skin, the Astor gets new petrol powertrains, modern tech, a legion of features, and a set of level 2 ADAS functions. Read on to know more about it.
How is it on the outside?
The Astor, although based on its electric brethren, the ZS EV, carries a distinct charm and styling cues. It measures 4,323mm in length, 1,809 in width, and has a height of 1,650mm. The distance between the front and rear wheels stretches to 2,585mm that is around 25mm shorter than the Creta and the Seltos. The front fascia is dominated by the one-piece heavily chromed front grille. The new sleek LED headlamps not only get the eyebrow-shaped DRLs but also nine crystal-type illuminated elements that look meticulously arranged. The front bumpers further get fog lamps and black elements around the housing and on the skid plate.
Towards the side are the protruding rear haunches and plastic cladding around the wheel arches that give the Astor a slightly muscular and athletic stance. The SUV sits on fancy-looking 17-inch turbine-shaped dual-tone alloy wheels. The posterior is a rumination of the front with split LED tail lamps and a similar eyebrow-shaped design. While the gloss black accents and the skid plate look appealing, the dual exhaust design on the bumper looks uncanny. The ‘Astor’ lettering is affixed at the centre and the MG logo also doubles up as the boot lid handle.
How is it on the inside?
Step inside the Astor’s cabin and you are greeted by the plush and opulent interiors. The one that you see here is called Dual Tone Sangria Red theme. The red tone can be seen laid out neatly on the seats, dashboard, and on the door pads lending a luxurious feel to the cabin. Upon launch, there will be two more interior colours to choose from – Iconic Ivory and Tuxedo Black. Another notable addition is the soft-touch material used for the top portion of the dashboard along with a stripe of silver accent at the centre and around the instrument cluster.
The 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system is placed neatly below the aircon vents and is responsive and easy to use. Besides the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, the system gets an embedded Jio eSim offering a horde of in-car connectivity features. Then there’s a fully-digital seven-inch instrument cluster that is commanded by a flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel. The steering itself can be personalised with three modes – Normal, Urban, and Dynamic.
However, the party piece remains the compact and inquisitive personal AI assistant that makes its debut with the Astor. Placed on the centre of the dashboard, the unit has a square digital screen that listens, reacts, and processes over 35 Hinglish voice commands and 80 connected car features. Other creature comforts on the list include a massive panoramic sunroof, a six-way electrically adjustable driver seat, an air purifier, five USB charging ports, push start/stop button, 60:40 split rear seats, and first-in-segment heated ORVMs.
Safety Features and Level 2 ADAS functions
The safety list is as exhaustive as the feature list. The Astor is equipped with six airbags, hill hold and hill descent control, all four disc brakes, a tyre pressure monitoring system, blind-spot detection, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, 360-degree camera, traction control system, an electric parking brake with auto-hold function, and cornering assist for front fog lamps.
However, the ace up its sleeve is the level 2 ADAS tech that makes the Astor an exciting and complete package. It comes loaded with 14 autonomous features like lane keep assist, lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control, forward collision prevention, intelligent headlamp control, speed assist, and rear drive assist to name a few. We will drive the Astor soon to test these functions. Until then, stay tuned to CarWale.
What’s under the hood?
Under the sloping bonnet, the Astor gets two petrol engines and misses out on a diesel derivative. The first mill is the 1.5-litre VTi-tech petrol engine that generates 108bhp and 144Nm of torque and is mated to a five-speed manual and CVT unit. The second one is the powerful 1.3-litre turbo petrol motor that is tuned to produce 138bhp and 220Nm of peak torque. It is linked solely to a six-speed automatic transmission.
When will it launch and what will it cost?
MG is expected to announce the prices of the Astor in the first week of October. The SUV is on display across all authorised MG showrooms from today with bookings set to commence soon. Although the variant details are not known yet, the Astor could be priced from Rs 10 to Rs 17 lakh (ex-showroom), making it lock horns with the Hyundai Creta, Skoda Kushaq, Kia Seltos, Nissan Kicks, Renault Duster, and the upcoming Volkswagen Taigun.
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi