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    MG Hector Facelift (Petrol AT) First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Ninad Ambre

    51,988 Views
    MG Hector Left Front Three Quarter
    MG Hector Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Hector Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Hector Right Side View
    MG Hector Right Rear Three Quarter
    MG Hector Right Rear Three Quarter
    MG Hector Right Rear Three Quarter
    MG Hector Left Rear Three Quarter

    Why would I buy it?

    • Big five-seater SUV
    • Improved interior look and feel
    • Packed with modern tech including ADAS

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Low indicated fuel efficiency
    • No hybrid engine option

    What is it?

    MG’s cash-minting cars have been the Hector and the Astor. Among these, the Hector is the bigger five-seater SUV that has now received a major facelift after its debut in 2019. This latest version not only gets a cosmetic update but also comes with many new features to keep it fresh and up-to-date against its competition.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Is the cabin of the MG Hector any good?

    8.5 / 10

    Dashboard

    Step inside the cabin of the Hector and you are greeted by a three-spoke steering wheel, a revised digital instrument cluster, and a huge infotainment display. Another revision is that the dashboard has been redesigned with new AC vents, which give it a nice wide feel. Then, this variant here gets a beige and black interior called the dual-tone Oak White and Black finish. The use of soft materials continues to enhance the premium feel and the brushed metal finish adds to the luxury quotient.

    Front Row Seats

    Even in terms of space and comfort, it continues to be a roomy cabin with the area good enough for five occupants. The overall experience is better too, with the use of light colours and, of course, a huge panoramic sunroof. Then, all seats adorned with artificial leather are firmly padded and quite supportive. Moreover, the front seats are ventilated with a cooling function, and the driver’s seat can be electrically adjusted to find a perfect driving position. Outward visibility still remains good with the new 360 camera adding to the convenience.

    Second Row Seats

    Speaking of features, the Hector debuted as a well-equipped car with many segment-first features. This latest iteration retains its feature-packed cabin with the addition of more equipment. A 360-degree camera, automatic climate control, ambient lighting, etc. are all part of the standard equipment list. This time, it gets a new segment-first feature called auto turn indicators which switch on automatically as soon as you turn the steering wheel. It’s a helpful feature to warn other vehicles about your move, that is, if you forget to indicate. Another party trick is voice-enabled ambient lighting which even responds to some keywords in Hindi.

    Infotainment System

    Further, apart from the usual safety features like six airbags, and other driver assist systems, MG is now offering ADAS for added safety. As a result, the fully-digital instrument panel is quite detailed and shows up the newly added ADAS-related information. In fact, the MG Pilot shows quite intricate details, such as displaying the car’s side indicators in use in the car’s image. It also gets new fonts and colours, and, as usual, displays a lot of information. The arrangement of the crucial bits remains the same with information on speed, ADAS-related tech, TPMS etc. being displayed in the centre.

    Instrument Cluster

    Notwithstanding, the biggest USP of the Hector, in my opinion, is still the 14-inch HD infotainment screen. This is by far the largest one among any SUV in India. This portrait infotainment system supports the next-gen i-Smart technology. Thus, it has a host of systems to cater to your audio, video, and all other entertainment needs. Needless to say, it supports wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In fact, it serves as one portal to access the AC controls, vehicle stats, additional apps, communication through voice, and a ton of other features. The HD screen quality is crisp despite the larger display and its UI is easy to use. It's smooth but some apps like JioSaavn and MapmyIndia took some time to load up.

    Infotainment System

    The big screen can also display different angles of the cameras simultaneously. It quickly gets activated through the touch of a button, or when slotting in the reverse gear or turning the steering to the left or right. Now, I’m nit-picking here, but the Hector gets only standard USB Type-A ports. Given the new standard, at least one USB Type-C type should have been provided. Otherwise, wide support for various apps including JioSaavn music, USB storage, wallpaper, etc. is carried over with newly added remote connectivity features. Heck, the car can even be locked/unlocked through just MG’s app and without a physical key.

    Is the MG Hector nice to drive?

    7.5 / 10

    Front View

    The 2023 MG Hector is mechanically identical to the existing model in terms of powertrain options. However, this time, there's no mild hybrid and you only get the turbo-petrol and the diesel unit. The latter will continue to use the same 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel unit mated to a six-speed manual. There's still no automatic for this oil burner though. However, the SUV that we are reviewing is powered by a 141bhp 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine, and it gets a CVT option apart from the manual gearbox.

    Right Side View

    To begin with, the NVH levels are low inside the cabin with the engine hardly audible. Even when you floor the pedal, there’s no sudden surge of power and it’s delivered in a smooth way. It has a strong mid-range though, where after 2,500rpm it starts making quick progress. The engine noise is still minimal and it doesn’t feel like the engine is being given the stick to push the huge SUV around. The CVT doesn’t whine either and feels quite smooth, complementing the engine well. Although the Hector doesn’t get paddle shifters, MG has provided it with the option of manually shifting the cog in seven steps. I never felt the need to use it as the CVT gearbox itself does its job efficiently, be it in normal, eco, or sport mode. The difference in these driving modes isn’t quite apparent and it’s best to leave it in ‘D’ and continue with medium throttle inputs for a smooth drive. Whether it’s cruising at triple-digit speeds, going past traffic, or, for that matter, even overtaking. What’s more, the adaptive cruise control worked well with the option of increasing speeds in multiples of 5kmph. My only grouse is that the indicated fuel efficiency was constantly below 10kmpl.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Though the front overhang of the Hector feels low, the SUV cleared speed bumps or obstacles without a fret. Then, the suspension set-up continues to be on the softer side, insulating passengers from the perils of all that Indian road conditions can throw. That said, it won’t smother bad roads like a ladder-frame chassis vehicle so you will have to slow down in these patches. There’s a considerable amount of side-to-side movement, but otherwise, it offers quite a comfortable ride. Despite the addition of ADAS which also assists the steering for lane-keeping, it isn’t intrusive. Although it works well on properly marked roads, with a little more than three turns lock-to-lock, it obviously demands a fair bit of effort from the driver. Thankfully it’s light and doesn’t remind you of the huge vehicle you’re driving. Now, for automatic braking without you being nervous, activate the MG pilot braking and set the farthest distance from the car in front; works flawlessly!

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    Should you buy the MG Hector?

    8 / 10

    Dashboard

    The 2023 MG Hector offers a spacious cabin with a sizeable feature list. These new updates make the SUV even more desirable and will help it retain the tag of the brand's best-selling model. However, the lack of a fuel-efficient (economical) petrol-hybrid will make buyers rethink about this gas guzzler. Also, it’s not the most engaging to drive amongst rivals like the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Tata Harrier, and now, the Mahindra XUV700 as well. But then, it’s still the best to be driven in. Priced between Rs 14.71 lakh to Rs 22.42 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom), it demands a premium but is still value-for-money, given the barrage of modern features, space, and the feel of a half-a-segment-higher vehicle.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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