2023 MG Hector first drive review
When you have hugely successful cars like the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos duo, the Tata Harrier and even the VW Taigun and Skoda Kushaq duo, it could be hard to find your place, even though it is the hottest car segment in India. But unlike all the Chinese attempts before the Hector, MG found success right away with its first offering in India. The Hector is a popular SUV, large, spacious on the inside, comfortable and packs in a lot of features, all the basic boxes a manufacturer must tick to woo an Indian car buyer. But it is 2023 now, almost four years since MG commenced production of the Hector, so the time was ripe for an update. What’s new in it, does it drive any differently and how does ADAS tech work in the big MG? We find out on a short drive on the outskirts of Pune.
2023 MG Hector styling
The Hector gets front and rear redesigns in this 2023 update, and interestingly, the updates are identical in the Hector Plus. The grille is the big talking point, because it has grown bigger with this update, and the bling has gone up too with the diamond-like chrome pattern. The headlamp cluster is redesigned and there’s more chrome down there under the grille. Towards the rear, you will notice a new tail lamp assembly and a red light strip connecting the tail lamps. Besides these changes, the SUV is identical to the pre-facelift model, including the diamond cut 18-inch alloy wheels.
2023 MG Hector interior and features
The big change is on the inside. You now get a massive 14-inch infotainment screen, that is responsive and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s the biggest screen on any car made in India and it floats out unlike earlier when it was integrated in the dashboard. There are redesigned vents too as a result of the bigger screen, and the darker colours on the dashboard work better in my opinion. The screen is responsive and using maps on such a massive screen is so nice, especially because its portrait layout and the screen’s position ensures that you aren’t too distracted from it. With the facelift and interior update, the key addition on the features front is Level 2 ADAS, that will be available in both the Hector and Hector plus.
Just like in the Astor, the Hector’s level 2 ADAS features everything from Adaptive cruise control to lane keep assist and lane departure warning, front collision warning and an additional feature called Traffic Jam assist (TJA). You get 11 autonomous driving features that will definitely be useful on all the new expressways coming up across the country. TJA though is unique and will be interesting to test in congested cities with a lot of impatient motorists around. Imagine not requiring to put in the effort to drive at crawling speeds. Proper lane marking in cities is essential though to use this feature.
2023 MG Hector engines, ride and handling
You get the same engines on offer - a 1.5 turbo petrol mated to a manual or a CVT transmission that makes 141bhp and 250Nm and the Fiat sourced 2-litre diesel, that makes 168bhp and 350Nm. The car in these pictures is the petrol automatic. In this combination, you won’t be going anywhere in a hurry, but the engine is refined and the rubberband effect you experience with CVT gearboxes isn’t that pronounced in the Hector. It prefers to be driven at an easy pace. Low speed ride is good but the more you hustle it, the more you begin to not like the SUV. The soft setup makes the Hector roll and pitch during direction changes. The disc brakes all round work really well though in stopping the SUV. It’s a lazy, comfortable SUV that most of you will want to be chauffeured in, if I had to sum up the Hector in a sentence.
2023 MG Hector price and conclusion
The MG Hector was launched at the Auto Expo last month, with prices starting at Rs 14.73 lakh. The car in these features is the top spec Hector mated to the CVT gearbox and is priced at Rs 21.73 lakh, ex-showroom. The core strengths of features, comfort and Value for Money carry forward to facelift and are now backed by the massive infotainment screen and all the ADAS suite of features, that will definitely come in handy if you do expressway runs. But if you seek the thrill of driving in an SUV, this one isn’t going to make your cut.