Why I would buy one?
- Many segment-first features
- Spacious cabin
- Refined powertrain
Why I would avoid it?
- Well-established rivals
- Excessive body roll might upset passengers
With the Gloster, MG enters a segment which has two well-established players. But what the Gloster offers over the others is a genuinely spacious – thanks to its huge dimensions – and a thoroughly fresh-looking cabin. With a refined motor, smooth shifting gearbox, and well absorbent ride, the driving dynamics also make the Gloster an easy and practical car to live with. Those first-in-class features and driver-assist equipment helps the Gloster to standout.
Engines and Performance
On idle, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel motor is vibe free and feels quite refined. With good levels of insulation, it ensures the cabin remains extremely silent, which means the passengers are secluded from the road noise, be it at city speeds or out on the highway. Making segment’s highest output of 215bhp of power at 4,000rpm and 480Nm of torque between 1,500-2,400rpm, the Gloster is available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and AWD layout. And it also gets driving modes - Auto, Eco, Sport, Mud, Sand, Rock, Snow – as a part of the Terrain Selection.
Slot the lever in D, let go off the brake, and the Gloster moves forward in a smooth and progressive manner. There are no jerks from the gearbox as it works through the cogs seamlessly. It prefers to shift at 2,000rpm. On the move, it doesn’t feel like a heavy car lugging its weight at any speed, even with four passengers and their luggage at the back.
And for quick overtakes, the surge of power kicks in past 2,500rpm and remains there till 4,000rpm. While at it, the Gloster manages to pick up the pace with absolute ease. Switch to Sport mode and the motor becomes more responsive. Although there's a tradeoff here – under 2,000rpm in the Sport mode, it feels slightly jerky. But go past that and it is quick under acceleration.
For city commute, the diesel has a predictable behaviour which is easy to work with. But say, you slow down after a speed breaker, then get on the gas, and you can hear the engine growl before it upshifts. However, it’s more of a hum rather than a diesel clatter. As for highway manners, it can maintain triple-digit speeds all day effortlessly. The Gloster then should be great for long-distance touring.
Coming to the gearbox, we noticed that the shifts are throttle-dependent. With an easy right foot, it shifts at 2,000rpm. Go slightly heavier on the throttle and the gearbox will shift at 3,000rpm. And if you put the pedal to the metal, the gearbox will shift at 4,000rpm, just before the redline. Even the kickdown is quick and seamless. On the other hand, when slowing down, the downshift of the automatic gearbox is smooth and jerk-free as well. And if you take shifting into your own hands, there are paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel. There are no delays between you pulling the pedals and the gearbox response.
Ride and Handling
Being a ladder-on-frame SUV, the Gloster manages to swallow potholes the size of a crater with ease. And if you miss those small but erratic speed bumps, it can glide over it without even letting you know. There’s good travel in the suspension and even really sharped edged irregularities are flattened out at slow speeds. You don’t have to bother about small bumps or ruts at all. Go up to highway speeds and the ride continues to remain flat.
However, the soft suspension set-up means it takes a few second to settle down from its vertical movement after going over undulations. Also, there’s a lot of body movement when cornering. But then SUVs like these aren’t meant for corner carving. So, the Gloster’s ride is consistent and sort of perfect for our tattered road conditions.
Those large mirrors also help in reducing blind spots for the massive SUV. As for the steering, it goes almost three and a half turn lock-to-lock. Which means it isn’t quick, but nonetheless, it still offers reasonable confidence, thanks to the fair amount of feedback provided. Going past the vague dead centre, it is easy to maneuver the Gloster. Those 19-inch alloys wrapped in 255/55 section tyres have good grip levels as well. Lastly, with large discs on all four wheels, the Gloster’s brakes are impressive too. There’s good stopping power and adds confidence.
Interior Space and Quality
Getting in by stepping on footboard is relatively easy. Once inside, you are welcomed by a refreshing and modern cabin. Easily this is the most contemporary cabin in its class. Even the quality of materials used all around feels premium. Visibility is great thanks to large glasses and thin A-pillars which add to the sense of spaciousness. Meanwhile, high floor height lends a commanding seating position.
Even with the electrically-adjustable seat in its lowest position, you sit pretty high. As for the seats, they offer good lateral and back support but could do with more under-thigh and shoulder support. What’s more, there's also massage and memory function for the driver's seat.
We have seen similar material quality in the Hector/Hector Plus. So, there are no complaints here either. Everything inside the cabin looks well-built and has good quality to it with soft-touch materials. The steering wheel feels the right size and rest of the ergonomics make sitting in the front row a comfortable affair. Weirdly enough, the wireless charging slot is placed vertically. So, you can’t see your phone when it’s charging.
The 12.3-inch HD infotainment touchscreen is easy to operate and has a much better response than the Hector's unit. Whereas the buttons on the centre console feel tactile and solid to operate. We even loved the multi-information driver’s display as it gives out all the vital details you’d ever need. It’s a practical cabin too, with ample storage spaces. Add to it more than ample head and shoulder room and it makes the Gloster’s cabin a nice place to be in.
The same can be said about the second row. Climbing in isn't difficult and the captain seat offers loads of space. There's commendable headroom and legroom for the second row along with a separate climate zone. The seats offer good support as well. What’s surprising (or not, given the tall roofline and long length), the third row offers good space for my dimension.
There’s enough knee room, a good amount of shoulder room for two (three if you have thin friends and family) to be comfortable, and the scooped roof offers ample space there as well. Third-row passengers also get amenities like separate vents, cup holders, adjustable headrest, and speakers. And it doesn’t feel claustrophobic either, thanks to the large quarter window.
As for the boot, with third row up, the boot space of 343-litres can cram in four laptop bags at most. But fold it down and 1350-litres of space is enough to move a bachelor pad.
Features and Safety
Now, this is a long list in the Gloster. We’ll start with segment-first driver’s aids. Under the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), the Gloster offers adaptive cruise control, an auto park assist, lane departure warning, along with front collision warning system, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot detection. Then there are a host of features like – a 360-degree camera, auto headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, electrically adjustable and foldable ORVMs, an electric parking brake, a rear defogger, ventilated leather seats with heating function, 64 colours ambient lighting, large panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, and a powered tailgate. Of course, it also comes with MG’s iSmart tech with more than 71 connected car features.
Safety-wise, there are dual front, side, and curtain airbags, ESP with traction control, roll movement intervention, hill-start and hill descent assist, ABS with EBD and brake assist, and electro-mechanical differential lock (EDL). Then there are a few feel-good features which you usually associate with more expensive vehicles.
So, the MG Gloster offers more than we currently expect from a full-size SUV today. It sets a benchmark in terms of space, features, and is also the most modern vehicle in its class currently. When launched, it will go up against big guns like the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Mahindra Alturas G4, and the Isuzu MU-X. MG India has been bold with its product placement since its introduction in the country – the Hector challenging Creta and Harrier, ZS EV with its electric nature. And if the carmaker manages to price the new Gloster strategically and aggressively, the Gloster shouldn’t find it difficult to establish itself in the Indian market.
Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi