Things so far
It has now been four months since the MG Hector 1.5 DCT petrol AT entered the CarWale long term garage and boy has it been busy. The car has changed hands twice within the team with it now undertaking its toughest assignment- being the support car for our photographers- Kapil and Kaustubh, whose amazing photos you see in our reviews and stories. This means it's spent long hours on the highway, city roads and back roads giving us an idea of its driving dynamics which is what we have addressed in this report.
Just as a reminder, in the previous report, we looked at the interiors and features of the Hector and you can read about that here.
On the path most/somewhat/least taken
Heading off for the perfect shot usually involves lengthy drives at special hours and the Hector has been running the odo pretty hard putting in nearly 2000 kms last month alone. Going to those locations also means taking the path somewhat/least taken. Over the smaller stuff, there’s not much to fret about and the Hector can go over them without much of a struggle. However, up the ante (which is a lot more than you would imagine especially in post-monsoon Maharashtra) and Hector’s rather soft setup starts to show its real self.
As you can see in the pictures the front end tends to dip quite a bit if the pothole is rather large and this combined with the relatively low nose means you have to be quite cautious. Going over a said pothole (or what appears to be the handiwork of Scrat from Ice Age) you also get thrown around a bit inside the cabin no matter the pace. However, on the flip side, show the Hector some smooth blacktop and you are rewarded with nice straight-line stability and a cushy ride.
For obvious reasons, size being the biggest one, the Hector is not the most dynamic car to drive. Let’s put it this way, constant, steady and comfortable should be your driving mantra for the Hector. We’ve not had to push the car too much as most of the places we got to for our shoots more or less demand we go… constant, steady and comfortable.
If you push the car like we tried a few times, moving it out of its comfort zone, you must contend with a soft suspension set up, body roll low ground clearance and steering that requires nearly three-and-a-half turns to go from lock to lock.
Also, it’s a bit of a chore making quick overtakes as you get some major punch only after the 2800rpm mark for which you got to work the engine. This means, it is good to plan your moves well in advance and keep the pace…you guessed it right… constant, steady and comfortable. A plus point for the Hector in this department is that the insulation is pretty good for a car in this segment and for the most, you are cosseted in good comfort.
Fuel tank blues
In the previous report, we told you that the Hector with this 1.5-litre petrol engine and seven-speed DCT pairing was returning 9.2kmpl. With the festive season in full swing, there has been a spate of launches across the length and breadth of the city, giving the Hector some additional time to roam the urban jungle. With traffic back in full swing post the COVID lockdown, the Hector has been spending a large chunk of that urban roaming in chock-a-bloc roads filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic dropping the fuel economy down to 7.4kmpl. This when combined with the 60-litre tank and an Rs 88 per litre cost of petrol (at the time of writing this story) does not make it a cost-effective car to run. However at Rs 17.75 lakh (Ex-showroom Delhi) it’s not exactly a low cost buy either making this an option for someone who values comfort and features over engine performance or fuel-efficiency.
Where do we go now?
We’ve done the features, the fuel economy, driving dynamics, so where to next? Well, we want a challenge and will try to extract as much efficiency from the engine as possible. However, we do have the Hector for some more time and if there’s something more that you would like to know about this MG Hector 1.5 DCT, you can reach out to us on our social media channels.
We also have a weekly programme hosted by our editor Vikrant Singh called All about Cars with Vikrant where he will answer questions about cars including this MG Hector 1.5 DCT that’s in our long term garage.
Odometer - 17,614km
Kilometers this month - 1984km
Average - 7.4kmpl
Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi