In the last couple of years, three foreign car manufacturers announced their debut in India - Kia, Citroen and MG. All these three manufacturers planned to retail models ranging between 10 lakh to 30 lakh in the country. However, MG Hector seems to have attracted the Indian audience partly because of the way it looks and party because of the novelty that it brings to the table with the whole new Internet Car tag.
One look at the New Hector and you know this vehicle is here to be loved by the Indian SUV enthusiasts. Hector has a strikingly new design, unlike the typical models that roll in our country. It sports a dynamic stance and in terms of dimensions, yes it is longer than Mahindra XUV 500 and taller than Tata Harrier. It is smaller than the Tata Hexa and bigger than the Hyundai Tulsa and almost comparable for SKODA Kodiaq.
MG Hector has a smart looking physiognomy that instantly draws your attention. The large MG logo takes centre stage on the imposing upright grille while Morris Garages logo stands out prominently. Generous amounts of chrome are seen around the grille and more steel spotted on the bumper as well. Slim LED projector headlamps and Daytime Running lights are provided on the headlamp cluster with LED fog lamps underneath that ensure better visibility during poor weather conditions. LED tail lamps and LED fog lamps are provided to adorn the rear portion lighting setup.
The sharp shoulder line with chrome borders around the windows adds to the grandeur of the mid-sized SUV. Chrome door handles, Chrome tailgate, Chrome strips on side cladding as well; yes there is lots and lots of chrome everywhere! Floating turn indicators, Shark fin antenna on the roof, Rain sensing wipers, Silver finished roof rails, One touch powered tailgate with button controlled height adjustability options etc. are other outstanding features.
17-inch wheels and tyres may feel quite small compared to the car size and the huge wheel arches. It makes it look more like a crossover MPV than an all-out SUV.
The internet inside factor is the USP of New Hector. Interior of the MG Hector is far more straight-forward and less polarising when compared to the typical SUVs seen here, and makes quite an impression at first glance. The interior design is really high on the wow factor. There is a vertically oriented 10.4-inch HD touch screen infotainment system compatible with Android Auto. There is also perceived quality inside the cabin, with lovely leather finish on the dashboard and steering wheel while the plastics for the equipments are upmarket and exquisite. The dash board plastic feels bristly to touch yet shiny and makes the interior beam with premiumness. New Hector SUV carries a unique design both in and out; an element that is enough to attract buyers in India who haven’t got their hands on something as this. There are big storage spaces on the doors and narrow but deep bin in the arm rest and a pair of cup holders which could have been a little bigger, yet doesn’t deprive you of the convenience quotient.
Another area where MG Hector aims to amuse you is the equipment and special features list. There are the usual segments like leather upholstery, auto headlamps and auto wipers, It has keyless entry and auto climate control too as mentioned earlier.
Hector SUV comes with a full-length dual-pane panoramic sunroof that can be kept half glass opened as well as full curtain open with glass closed; whichever way you want to enjoy the drive. Then there are features like six-way adjustable driver seat, four-way adjustable co-passenger seat, reclining second-row seats, leather driver armrest, leather-wrapped adjustable steering wheel, reading lamps for the front as well as rear passengers, interior ambient lighting in eight colours and a 7 Inch colour MID. The MID unit comes with innovative features as drive time, driving range, Average and Real-time Fuel Economy indicator along with Speed meter, Trip meter etc in the digital display. The Harman Infinity Audio system with four speakers, four tweeters, a subwoofer and an amplifier is definitely a state of the art setup for music lovers.
Talking about safety features, the most important thing to be mentioned is the high tensile steel used in the vehicle along with the Hot Stamped B Pillar for additional strength and protection. This SUV features heated ORVMs (Outside Rear View Mirrors), 6 airbags, disc brakes all around with ABS, Traction and stability control, and a pair of parking sensors for front and rear. Incredibly it also got a 360-degree camera that even gives you an overhead view but the image quality on the screen leaves a lot to be desired. There are so much more to the 10.4- inch touch screen which is allied to an E-Sim for onboard internet making this another connected car. It’s a bright sharp colourful display but some of the functions seem unintuitive; it can take time to load and poor touch sensitivity means you have to swipe the screen little harder than you would like to. It has onboard navigation with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Gaana music streaming service with a premium subscription and the 8 speaker infinity audio system with a subwoofer provide a punchy music experience. The physical control buttons are reduced into five. The volume Up/Down button, Front/Rear defoggers and a home button, which means many functions require to take your eyes off the road to use the touch screen like even adjusting the AC.
MG Hector has an integrated smartphone app which is rather cool. Like the Hyundai Venue, this MG Hector is also a connected car. MG Hector comes with a smartphone app called “I Smart” and the app lets you access the car from anywhere in the world provided the phone has an active internet connection and the E-Sim in the car has a signal as well. You can lock/unlock the car and operate the sunroof. It also includes 'find my car' GPS feature and smart drive which assess the driving habits and provides a score for the driver on how good the driving was. Despite all the cool tech, there is one more basic attribute that could draw customers towards the car.
The space given for the rear seat is tremendous. Even when the driver seat is pushed behind all the way, you will have enough room for a 6 feet tall person. The huge panoramic sunroof and massive window gives a clear view outside and it gives the vehicle a 'big boy' look from the inside. The seats are very comfortable and cushioned perfectly - not much hard and not much soft. The floor is quite flat so the rear passengers can sit comfortably. The car has AC vents as well as a USB charging port for the rear passengers. MG has provided lavish boot space for its first Indian release. You can operate the tailgate from the remote and push a button to close the door. MG Hector has an unusual boot layout; it might be to accommodate a third row of seats for the future model.
MG Hector is available in Diesel and Petrol versions with a turbocharged 1451 cc engine. A petrol hybrid version with a 48 volts electric motor is also available. It also features brake energy recuperation to charge the additional lithium-ion battery and fuel-saving engine start/stop. Overall this is a decently powerful vehicle with good refinement and smooth power delivery. It might feel like a little weak before the turbocharger kicks in. The suspension of the car is very soft. The steering and gear shifting is very light and easy to handle. It is quite good to roll on a windy road at a lower speed. If you need a highway cruiser you can probably choose the Diesel version. In Diesel variant, MG offers 2 Litre 4 cylinder multi-jet engine similar to the engine that powers Jeep Compass and Tata Harrier. It is much refined than Jeep Compass and also a quiet engine. MG Hector delivers its power very gently and that suits this car well. It will be a great experience even if you drive with the maximum capacity of passengers and luggage. This car doesn’t give you the solidity which other cars give, it has a little play and looseness which you don’t like when driving in the highways. The suspension is setup soft so that you feel quite comfortable to handle the car at lower speeds. The brakes are good and offer a good amount of bite. For the fuel economy, MG claims as per ARAI certifications Petrol Hybrid MT 15.8 km/l, Petrol MT 14.16 km/l, Petrol AT 13.96 km/l and Diesel MT 17.41 km/l respectively.
MG Hector has a lot to prove in our Indian market since it is a classic British brand reborn under Chinese ownership. The prices will be going up to the Tata Harrier and Jeep Compass, two very strong competitors. The approach of MG is very different from those two; the focus seems to be a big classic appeal. What the Hector aims is to give an SUV with more features, space and easy driving experience. If you need a bold-faced SUV with a lot of features and pieces of equipment you can go for MG Hector. Only time will tell the Hector and indeed MG can deliver on things like durability, after sales services and spare parts cost. However, they are concentrated to provide a wide network to deliver the aspects mentioned above and make their foundation strong.