2023 MG Hector Review: Bling It On

MG’s facelifted Hector gets more chrome, an impressive ADAS suite and more while remaining just as comfortable and spacious

By Afzal Rawuther

The MG Hector was launched four years ago, and since then it has firmly established itself as a great option for someone looking for a city SUV. More than 1 lakh units have been sold, and MG has decided to inject fresh life into the platform by way of a mid-cycle facelift. We spent an afternoon with MG’s latest to report on what these new changes mean for a prospective buyer.

As soon as you lay eyes on the new Hector, you will notice that MG has upsized the grille substantially. Despite its size, the grille works well and adds a lot more road presence to what was already a substantial-looking SUV. The grille now also gets diamond-pattern elements (in chrome, of course). The headlights retain the split setup with the DRLs at the top and the main headlamps nestled in the bumper. MG has practically left the profile untouched with even the 18-inch diamond cut alloys carried forward to the 2023 model. At the rear, the biggest change is that the taillamps are now connected by an LED strip. ‘Hector’ is spelled out in supersized font and, thankfully, the ‘Internet Inside’ badge has been replaced by a new ADAS badge. This time around, the SUV can be had in a new shade of brown as well.

Our review car was the top-of-the-line Savvy Pro which gets all the bells and whistles including an ADAS suite (we’ll get to that in a moment). Apart from that, the biggest talking point is undoubtedly the large vertical touchscreen that has grown from 10.4 inches in the pre-facelift model to a mammoth 14 inches. While the new screen offers better responsiveness, the sheer increase in size makes using apps like Google Maps a delight. The portrait orientation also means that you can see much more of the route that you are taking, while the larger size comes in handy when quickly figuring out which exit to take at a busy interchange. The screen itself seems sharper, brighter and is more legible even in bright sunlight. Unfortunately, controls for things like the AC must be accessed using the touchscreen now, which is less than ideal.

There is a new digital instrument cluster which, as with other MGs, offers a ton of information for the driver. The aircon vents have been moved and there are significant changes to the cabin itself. Quality has gone up considerably with soft-touch materials on the top half of the dash and on the doors. Both the front passenger and driver now get electric seat adjustment, which makes it easier to find a comfortable seating position. The steering wheel, as before, has a ton of controls to make it easier for the driver and the wheel itself is nice to hold. Notably, the Hector features auto turn indicators which switch on when you rotate the wheel. It is a good touch to have, and alerts other road users when you are forced to make a sudden move.

There is a ton of headroom, legroom and shoulder room in the rear, in fact, the Hector might be the one vehicle in its segment that legitimately seats three abreast in the back seat in comfort. The large glass area (the panoramic sunroof plays a big role here) and the great view out mean that the back seat is a great place to be in, especially in the city.

Mechanically, the facelift remains untouched. The 1.5-litre turbo petrol and the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel continue to power the car. The turbo petrol unit that we were testing makes 143PS and 250Nm of power and torque respectively and is quick for an SUV of this size. It is paired to a CVT gearbox which is unobtrusive and goes with the character of the SUV. While initial acceleration is lethargic, put your put down and you will get enough performance. The ton comes up in around the 12 second mark. And when you do need to drop anchor, the brakes offer very good bite and progression to bring the Hector to a halt without any drama. However, it doesn’t enjoy being pushed around corners and has a good amount of body roll. At highway speeds it bobs up and down recurrently, requiring a sedate approach to driving in most conditions.

The Hector’s charm has had little to do with performance, and rather focuses on practicality and comfort. It continues to ride over our bad city roads without complaint, is cushy and pliant while being driven at city speeds and makes for a great car to be chauffeur-driven in. The expansive feature set includes auto headlamps and wipers, a powered tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, a wireless charger, MG’s connected car tech, an Infinity (by JBL) audio system and an air purifier. Apart from the ADAS tech, the Hector Savvy includes six airbags, a 360-degree camera with a 3D mode (the resolution could have been better), TPMS, ESC, traction control and front-and-rear parking sensors.

This brings us neatly to the ADAS suite on offer. 11 features including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lanekeep assist and autonomous emergency braking are part of the Level 2 suite. The adaptive cruise control works well on properly marked roads and disengages when the lanes aren’t well marked. It gets thrown off by people cutting into your lane and while it is extremely useful, as with other ADAS systems, it is not something you can consistently rely on in India. Other features include bend cruise assistance, which adjusts the vehicle’s speed when using cruise control as it encounters a curve. There’s also Traffic Jam Assist which helps you creep along in slow moving traffic without much intervention. We will test this feature extensively when we do get the car for a longer period of time.

Priced from Rs 14.73 lakh to 21.73 lakh (ex-showroom, India), the Hector takes on a slew of mid-size SUVs by building on its strengths as a comfortable city SUV that comes loaded to the brim with tech. The ADAS suite is the icing on the cake as no other manufacturer offers as comprehensive a suite.

Reproduced with permission from Mansworldindia.com

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