The name Hector comes from Greek mythology! And MG Motor believes that its new SUV is that hero to win it much acclaim in India. Much has been said about the MG Hector already but now, we finally got to drive it in the lovely locales of hills and tea gardens in and around Coimbatore. It will be going up against rivals such as the Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass and Hyundai Tuscon. With the SUV market flourishing, it was smart thinking from MG to have an SUV as its first launch for India. And it is connected too! So does it have what it takes? Here is our MG Hector Review.
Watch our MG Hector Review Here
Also Read: MG Hector Variants Explained
Ever since the Hector was revealed, it polarised opinions about its looks. But we think it is a handsome looking SUV. To some, it may look like overkill but we like the slim LED daytime running lamps along with the low-mounted LED headlamps and fog lamps and the big, trapezoidal grille with chrome border too. The abundant use of chrome has been done nicely and those elements gel well with the overall design.
The rear is characterised by a LED tail lamps which remind you of the Audi Q3 and are connected with a reflective red strip. The rear bumper gets a silver skid plate and the tail pipe is not exactly good-looking. In fact, that and the ugly gap between the wheel arches and the wheel are the two elements which stand out as an eyesore on an otherwise well designed car. And yes! The 17-inch wheels do still look too small for those big square wheel arches and bigger wheels would've worked better.
The MG Hector is a connected SUV and it doesn't want you to forget that! In fact, the Hector gets a badging on the front left fender and the rear which says 'Internet Inside'. Frankly that is a bit too much and too large in our book! As you step inside the cabin, the first thing that draws your attention is the 10.4-inch touchscreen.
It comes across as a refreshing change to see absolutely zero buttons on the dashboard, barring those on the steering wheel. The overall cabin does give you a premium feel with the leather upholstery and decent quality of materials. The flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the sportiness of the Hector and the premium feel is further upped by the stylish AC vents, particularly the vertical ones surrounding the touchscreen.
The Hector is a big SUV and with a length of 4,655 mm and a wheelbase of 2,750 mm, it is the biggest in its segment. The width is 1,835 mm and it stands 1,760 mm tall. A ground clearance of 198 mm is good enough to take on Indian roads as well. But what stood out was the space for the rear seat passengers. Thanks to a flat floorboard, three passengers can sit comfortably and there is solid knee room too. The seats are well bolstered all around and offer good under thigh support as well.
All the controls on the car, including the AC have been integrated into the touchscreen. One of the biggest USPs of the Hector is the connectivity feature. MG Motor calls it the 'i-Smart', which offers more than 50 connectivity features. The 'connectivity' comes from a 5G ready machine to machine SIM card provided by Airtel. The subscription charges for the first three years are free. The connectivity bit includes emergency calling, geo-fencing, driver analytics, and vehicle status along with 100+ voice commands. Plus, the MG app also offers a bunch of functions such as turning the AC on, the engine on, opening the windows and much more.
The voice commands are quite an interesting feature! Simple commands such as 'open sunroof', 'play the radio', 'open windows', 'set temperature' work well. In fact, MG gave us a list of 96 commands that the 'i-Smart' interface has been programmed to work with. But the fanciness wears off after a while. MG also gives you a premium account of the popular music app 'Gaana' along with preloaded entertainment content, including videos, which will be updated as per changing trends. Like other futuristic cars, there will be over-the-air (OTA) updates on the MG Hector as well. And of course, the Hector will have smartphone connectivity in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well.
Apart from the connectivity technology, the MG Hector comes laden with features. The top variant gets a panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, tyre pressure monitoring system, automatic headlamps and a cruise control as well. Plus, you also get power adjustable driver and co-driver seats and the steering is adjustable for reach and rake. The top-spec 'Sharp' variant gets six airbags while the 'Smart' gets four and the 'Style and 'Super' get two airbags as standard. Traction control, hill hold assist and ABS are standard fitments on all variants. The top variant gets a 360 degree camera along with parking sensors as well.
MG offers a 1.5-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre diesel engine on the Hector. Both engines get a 6-speed manual transmission while the petrol also gets an optional 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. There is also a mild hybrid petrol variant with a 48 volt battery and an integrated starter generator on offer too. The petrol engine pumps out 141 bhp at 5,000 rpm while the peak torque output is rated at 250 Nm at 1,600 - 3,600 rpm. The diesel engine, on the other hand, makes 168 bhp at 3,750 rpm and the peak torque is 350 Nm at 1,750 - 2,500 rpm. The Hector petrol has a claimed fuel efficiency of 14.16 kmpl for the manual and 13.96 kmpl for the DCT. The petrol hybrid offers 15.8 kmpl while the diesel engine is the most efficient with a claimed fuel efficiency of 17.41 kmpl.
Also Read: MG Hector Will Be Launched In Four Variants
How does it drive?
Our MG Hector test drive review pleasantly surprised us in terms of overall performance. We started our day driving the petrol hybrid manual first and then moved on to the diesel manual. You may think that a 1.5-litre petrol may feel underpowered for a car as big as the Hector but it isn't the case. Give the beans and the motor comes to life albeit a little later in the rev range, but then the wave of torque stays longer too. But should you corner hard, you will feel the body roll. And speaking of body roll, the Hector doesn't shy away from quick direction changes. The steering could have had better feedback though and a bit firmer. And the suspension is not the tautest. On tarmac it offers a good ride but broken roads will be felt by the passengers. Not a deal breaker though!
The diesel Hector comes across as the more fun to drive variant with loads of low end torque. It feels quicker off the line and has a sprightlier performance than the petrol. Of course, it is the noisier one too. The diesel clatter seeps through to the cabin and NVH levels could have been better. The 6-speed gearbox on both variants works well and feels precise even when shifting aggressively.
You will be surprised to know that the Hector uses the same diesel engine as two of its biggest rivals, the Jeep Compass and the Tata Harrier. It is the Fiat-sourced, 2-litre Multi-jet oil burner. In fact the compass and the Hector have the same power output but the Tata Harrier gets slightly lesser power. Although the torque output remains the same on all 3 diesel SUVs!
The MG Hector definitely offers more than what we had expected of it. It is rich on features, has decent engine options and offers likeable performance too. Plus, the quality is good too. The big USP is the connectivity technology that it offers and while the excitement may wear off after some time, it definitely features in the consideration set when customers set out to make a purchase in this segment. We expect the entire Hector line-up to be priced between ₹ 14 lakh and ₹ 18 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). And if that does happen, our MG Hector car review tells us that the SUV has the goods to be new benchmark in its segment.
Photography: Azam Siddiqui & MG Motor India