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    2023 MG Hector Sharp 1.5 petrol CVT First Look

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    Desirazu Venkat

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    What is it?

    Launched in 2019, the Hector was MG's first car for India. Its massive feature list upped the game for its segment. Well, three years on, MG’s elder child in its Indian family has been reborn (of sorts) with a new generation. Dubbed the next-generation Hector, it’s got a revised design, updated interiors and an updated feature list. We have had a chance to check out the car up close ahead of its launch at the 2023 Auto Expo and here is what we found out.

    How is it on the outside?

    Left Front Three Quarter

    The biggest change to this updated Hector is that MG has given it a massive chrome grille that MG says has been inspired by the Argyle design pattern famous in Scotland. The face looks far shinier and different despite elements like the headlamps and LED DRLs remaining untouched. This is down to the frameless nature of the grille and the addition of chrome elements around the grille itself.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    The Hector’s silhouette has not changed and that even includes the little chrome inserts on the door handles (still expected to be an offering only for this top-spec Sharp variant). It’s a combination of boxy old-school SUV looks with curvy lines and an expanded waist as you move towards the back of the car. MG has retained the 215/55 R18 wheels with the five-spoke dual prong design which looks nice despite the wheels and tyres still looking a tad bit small for a car of this size.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    The overall shape of the rear has not changed and here too you get a mix of curvy lines mixed with boxy elements but with a one-piece tail lamp running the width of the vehicle. It’s a full LED light bar with blade-like elements that light up individually when you press the brake pedal. You also get the word Hector slapped across the boot lid in massive letters while there’s an ADAS badge on the right side (more of that in the features section). Lastly, the car in our photos is a new shade called Dune Brown.

    How is it on the inside?

    Dashboard

    A majority of MG’s budget seems to have been spent on updating the interior of Hector. It’s not like the previous car’s interiors lacked something but to keep up with the competition, MG has overhauled the cabin and it has made a difference to the overall appearance. You get a white and black cabin with chrome elements for the dashboard and doors.

    AC Controls

    Up front, the biggest change is a new design for the dashboard. The vertical air vents have made way for boat-inspired horizontal units. The vents are flanked by gloss black plastics and in fact, the vent layout is built in such a way that it looks like one big piece spread out across the dashboard.

    Infotainment System

    The other big highlight is of course the 14-inch touchscreen infotainment and upgrades from the already large 10-inch unit that came on the first car. It runs a new OS and gets a whole host of controls and features as a part of the upgrade. The screen is large enough that it dominates the cabin and hopefully be offered on more models across the MG Hector variant tree.

    Infotainment System

    The instrument cluster has become a fully digital unit integrating both the clocks and the colour MID of the outgoing model. Keeping homage to its British origins, the “needles” of the speed and RPM move in the opposite direction.

    Second Row Seats

    Space was never an issue within the cabin and given the dimensions it’s quite roomy and airy inside aided more so by the white interiors. Now while it does look nice and classy, white interiors in a country like India will mean extra attention especially if you live in a state like Maharashtra where it rains heavily for a large part of the year.

    Open Boot/Trunk

    The second row is equally spacious with reclining seats (60 and 40) that fold flat to reveal a cavernous space with more than enough space vertically and horizontally for you to play rounds of storage ‘Tetris’ if the need arises. The boot gets a power tailgate with a smart parcel tray that can be expanded or removed altogether.

    What’s on the feature list?

    Infotainment System

    This fully-loaded Sharp CVT model that we have checked out in our first look is loaded to the gills both in terms of comfort features and smart features. This of course now gets a level-2 ADAS suite with 11 features as a part of the assistance systems. The infotainment system with its massive 14-inch display runs a new OS that on initial impressions has managed to overcome the majority of the lag issues that had plagued its 10-inch predecessor. This is something we should be able to tell you in more detail once we review the car in the first half of this year. MG has updated the in-car controllability for the infotainment system by adding more connected car features where you can even control the opening and closing of the sunroof. They have expanded on the Hinglish voice control suite and sources have indicated that MG is working on bringing more regional languages into the system.

    360-Degree Camera Control

    One of the new features that we think will be quite popular among buyers will be the Bluetooth key that can be enabled via the MG app and allows the primary key holder to allow access for two other individuals to start and use the car for a pre-defined period.

    Front Badge

    The ADAS suite, which is new for the Hector (and eventually the Hector Plus) gets features like adaptive cruise control, Bend cruise assistance, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, intelligent headlamp control, safe distance warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, intelligent hydraulic braking assistance, traffic jam assist and automatic emergency braking (pedestrian). ADAS has become the new go-to feature in this part of the market and it was only a matter of time before MG got into the game. Many of these features are already present on the Astor crossover.

    What’s under the hood?

    Engine Shot

    The MG Hector in this updated guise will continue with the same powertrain lineup as the outgoing model. This means a 1.5-litre petrol with either a six-speed manual, CVT or a DCT and produces 141bhp/250Nm. MG has forgone the hybrid setup for the petrol models and how this will affect real-world efficiency is something we will be able to tell you about once we put the car through CarWale’s real-world mileage tests.

    Gear Shifter/Gear Shifter Stalk

    The diesel is a 2.0-litre unit producing 169bhp/350Nm and is only available with a six-speed manual. There’s no automatic for the diesel and this means a majority of the ADAS functions will not be available for the diesel-powered models.

    What about pricing, launch and rivals?

    We expect an addition of Rs one lakh variant for variant over the current Hector in terms of pricing for this updated model. This Hector is a rival for the likes of the Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier, Kia Seltos, Jeep Compass, Skoda Kushaq and Volkswagen Taigun. It will be launched at the Auto Expo 2023 on January 11.

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