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MG Hector petrol, test drive review

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Morris Garages or MG Motors, as known formally, has made its entry into the Indian market with the Hector SUV. Being its first offering and the model that introduces the brand into the Indian market the automaker had to hit the right ticks, but just how good is it to drive? We get our hands on the petrol manual and automatic to see how well it fares.

Design

There’s no saying that the design of the Hector looks dominating at first glance the flat bonnet, massive grille, slim daytime running lights and bumper placed LED headlamps speak dominance. However the impression you get from the front doesn’t carry on to the rest of the car and the simple reason being the small 215/60 R17 wheels that though well sized look tiny in the big wheel arches. The rear appears smart with the unique LED taillamps that are connected with a reflector unit, a cleverly designed tailgate that opens up electrically and a well detailed bumper with black cladding, a shiny set of reflectors and a skid plate.

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petrol hybrid cars get Internet Inside badging on the side


Interior

The cabin is roomy and getting in and out is a breeze as you seated high up, the front seats offers good comfort and can be adjusted to the suitable driving style using the 10-way electric adjust. Buyers who prefer to be chauffeur drivern will praise MG for getting the backseat and space on offer right. There’s enough space to sit three passengers in comfort, but those who feel the need for an added comfort after a hectic day, will be happy to know that the seats can be reclined and adjusted to suit your comfort. What further adds to the airy feeling are the large windows which are well shaped, while the panoramic sunroof further accentuates the feeling of space. Boot space stands at 587 litres, but fold the 60:40 split seats down and the capacity substantially increases as it folds down flat.

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The overall fit and finish is excellent with very little to complain about, the soft touch leather lends an upmarket feel. However the centre panel of the steering wheel does feel plasticy and do with a better finish. Otherwise it’s a pretty well laid cabin to be in. The 10.24 inch touchscreen and the famed voice assist are well tested to suit Indian conditions, the user interface works well and the large display means finding your related stuff is easy. The voice assist on the other hand is great to use on the go. Functions such as opening and closing the sunroof, playing your favourite music, opening and closing the driver side window are some of the functions that save precious time in what would otherwise require you to take your eyes off the road.

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Engine, Ride and handling

The MG Hector is offered in petrol, petrol hybrid and diesel engine options mated to manual and automatic transmission options. We got our hands on the petrol manual and the DCT as well. The motor in question is a 1.5 litre petrol engine churning out 141 bhp and 250 Nm of torque mated to a 6-speed manual and 7-speed DCT gearbox.

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Push the start/stop button and the motor wakes to life. Get going and the light clutch paired to an easy shift gearbox makes for a breeze to drive. The tall gearing means the power delivery is more, however you do need to work the gearbox if you want to get going in at immediate instance. The noise vibration levels are also well contained and don’t get too noisy as the automatic gearbox option, but overall MG has done a good job in ironing unwanted sounds out of the cabin.

The dual clutch automatic we drove also comes strapped to the same 1.5 litre petrol motor with 141hp and 250 Nm of torque on tap. However after a small drive and the immediate sense you get is that this is not what you’d call the most enthusiastic motor out there and while power delivery is smooth, there is a small gap before it takes off again. Nevertheless once past the delay; making a quick overtake becomes an easy task. Where the Hector automatic really shines is when the car is drivern in a relaxed manner the response from the gearbox is much better and the power delivery is way smoother leaving very little to complain about. This also makes the Hector a good car to drive in the city and at congested traffic snarls.

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There’s a good sense of agility with the way the Hector shrinks around you, over long drives, as you tend to forget that this is a massive and you have to keep reminding yourself what your really driving. However get into a corner hard and you will feel the steering and tyres complaining, not that it is an issue but the steering could do with some added weight to be confidence inspiring around sharp corners and bends.

The suspension is fair enough. Sure it does the job of soaking bumps and potholes with ease but the soft setup means the deeper surfaces makes it inconsistent and unsettled over bad surfaces. MG has done a good job at overall noise insulation with very little wind and road noise filtering through into the cabin.

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The brakes though are one of the most well engineered mechanical bit of the car. There’s enough bite and feel to get the Hector from triple digit speeds to a standstill without wasting too much time. Also the cars Anti-lock braking along with Electronic brake force distribution gives the SUV an added boost of bite.                                          MG Hector petrolEngine1451cc 4 cylinder turbo petrol enginePower143hp at 5000rpmTorque250 Nm of torque 1600-3600 rpmTransmission6-speed manual/7-speed DCTFuel tank60 litresMileageHector petrol hybrid MT -14.16 kmpl

Hector petrol DCT – 13.96kmplTyre size215/60 R17Length/weight/height4655/1835/1760mmwheelbase2750mm

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Verdict

The MG Hector is a well engineered SUV that’s come bang in the middle of rising competition in its segment. Being aware of rising needs of Indian customer needs, MG has packed their first offering in the Indian market with good looks, well designed interior and a lengthy feature list. Sure the Hector seems to have got too many praises for being good.

However it does have its own share of faults as well, the design for example looks awkward from some angles but part to blame the large wheel wells that make the otherwise well sized wheels look tiny. The steering is doesn’t weigh up on highways thus feeling rather compromised at high speeds where the light setup of the steering comes to good use is in the city, where there’s very minimal effort required. Also the petrol engines are not the most enthusiastic in outright performance either.

Nevertheless if look past these few areas where you’d wish the car was better engineered and what you get is a well rounded SUV. It is loaded with tech, connectivity and features and while the engines and transmission don’t set the ball on fire immediately, look at the Hector as a well rounded car that is easy to use in the city and handle occasional highway runs in a decent manner and it all starts to make sense doesn’t it?

Competition for the MG Hector on the other hand is not going to be easy, atleast with how dense the segment is getting with many new models introduced. Segment leaders such as the Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV 500 and Hyundai Creta have been in the market for a longer time. But don’t you think the Hector offers a whole load more than the competition?

Let us know what you think of the MG Hector review in the comments section below.

Prices for Hector 1.5 litre petrolVariantEx showroomOn Road GoaMG Hector petrol MT StyleRs 12,18,000Rs 14,54,389MG Hector petrol MT SuperRs 12,98,000Rs 15,46,395MG Hector MT petrol hybrid styleRs 13,58,000Rs 16,15,400MG Hector MT petrol hybrid smartRs 14,68,000Rs 17,41,910MG Hector MT petrol hybrid sharpRs 15,88,000Rs 19,11,680MG Hector petrol DCT SmartRs 15,28,000Rs 18,41,476MG Hector petrol DCT SharpRs 16,78,000Rs 20,16,988

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