MG Hector 2021 first impressions: Now tailored for India
The Hector goes through the mildest of updates, but has MG added enough kit to make you buy it?
The MG Hector was launched in 2019 and, at the time, it had arguably one of the most comprehensive feature lists the segment (or price bracket for that matter) had seen. And even in 2021, the original Hector was almost on-par with rivals in the score sheet. However, MG doesn’t seem to be slowing down after the recent launch of the Gloster, and has given the Hector a mild update. So, let’s get to the changes and since you might already know what’s new here, I’ll run you through them quickly.
The MG Hector 2021 gets a cool new grille, 18-inch diamond-cut alloys, a darker treatment for the diffuser and tailgate elements and that’s about it on the outside. The changes aren’t radical but overall translate to a slightly less blingy look for the Hector and that is a step in the right direction. When the Hector came out, its styling was polarising — the heaps of in-your-face bling that works for the Chinese market, wasn’t received too well in India. MG took that feedback from customers and applied it to the Hector as soon as they could, which is commendable. In fact, a lot of the changes you see on the Hector 2021 come directly from customer feedback. The result is a product that should appeal to more people now.
On the inside, there are a fair few more changes. For starters, the upholstery is now beige and black which brightens up the cabin, and the contrast of the black around the cabin has been executed well — especially on the seats. I personally preferred the all-black cabin of the outgoing Hector, it felt a little cosier but I’m sure that most customers would prefer the new theme. There are also ventilated seats at the front now, wireless charging, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and updates to the i-Smart system, including Hinglish voice commands. Out of those changes, the ventilated seats and wireless charger seem to be last minute additions — the controls for the ventilated seats are located on the side of the centre console near where your left knee is (right, for passenger), which is inconvenient, and the wireless charger is inclined too sharply to keep a phone in place even when stationary! On the other hand, the updates to the i-Smart system are welcome changes — there’s now an in-car voice alert to warn you if your tyre pressures are too low, Accuweather weather forecast, voice search in the Gaana app and you can even connect to external networks. The biggest change however, is the addition of Hinglish voice commands.
Only about 12 per cent of India speaks English, and to the rest of the 88 per cent the voice commands — an important feature on the Hector’s list — were essentially useless. Now though, it can understand Hindi alternatives to the regular English commands. For example, you can say “mujhe thand lag rahi hai”, instead of “I’m feeling cold”, and the assistant will turn up the temperature of the AC. You can watch how it works in this quick walkaround video, but to put it briefly — they work well. Sure, it doesn’t get things right all the time, but it doesn’t do that in English either. The Hindi commands are natural and don’t feel awkward to use, ones who prefer English can continue as they were — a win-win for all!
While the 2021 Hector doesn’t get a plethora of changes, the few additions only sweeten an already sweet deal. The outgoing Hector was loaded to the gills with features like a 10.4-inch touchscreen, a panoramic sunroof, connected car tech, and let’s not forget that it also has one of the most spacious cabins in the segment and even from one above! And now with the seven-seater Hector Plus, there are even more Hectors to choose from. Perhaps it's only shortcoming is the uninspiring driving experience, but if you prefer to be driven and not drive yourself, or don’t particularly care for the #ThrillofDriving, the Hector 2021 will be a great choice. With a price range of Rs 12.9 - Rs 19.1 lakh (for the Hector Plus) lakh, the 2021 Hector lineup is a bit more expensive than before, approximately Rs 20,000 on an average but the changes do justify the extra dough. You can read more about the Hector 2021 here.