MG Hector Plus set to launch early next month
MG Motor India had showcased the MG Hector Plus on day two of the Auto Expo 2020. And now, during the #evoconversations we had with Gaurav Gupta, chief marketing officer, MG Motor India, he let slip that the updated SUV will be launched early next month. But then what’s so special about the Hector plus? Let’s find out...
For starters, the Hector Plus, unlike the current MG Motors SUV will feature a 6- and 7-seater variants, with customisable (2+2+2/2+3+2) seating configurations. This means the middle row can be had with either a bench or with two individual captain chairs. But that’s not all, as the Hector’s trademark of being an ‘internet car’ gets another boost, with an updated version of the iSmart interface called the iSmart 1.5.
So what does a new infotainment interface mean for me, you ask. The Hector can already verbally respond to my commands and requests, akin to iPhone’s Siri or Android’s Google Assist. Well, the iSmart 1.5 now gets a new feature called ‘chit-chat’ mode, which not only communicates the usual gamut of alerts, warnings and infotainment knowhow, but goes a step ahead, reminding you to switch on the ignition if you’ve been watching a video or listening to music too long on the infotainment system (which can log on to dedicated music platforms, like the Gaana app) with the car standing still.
Another new feature about the new iSmart interface will be the inclusion of OTA updates, which will work just like on a mobile or laptop, with notification icons alerting the driver whenever an update is available.
Visually, there will be plenty of cues to differentiate the Hector Plus from its two-row sibling. The Hector Plus will get all-new headlamps, a redesigned grille and bumper, a sharper taillight design, and revised skid plates front and rear. There is a slight 40mm change of wheelbase, but seems imperceptible to the eye. What changes the increased wheelbase will have on the interiors can only be determined after spending some time with the car itself.
Mechanically, however, the Hector Plus will remain unchanged, drawing power from either a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol making 141bhp and 250Nm, a 2.0-litre FCA-sourced diesel making 167bhp and 350Nm, or the same 1.5-litre turbo-petrol mated to a 48V mild-hybrid system. All of these engines are available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed DCT gearbox.
Finally, with the lockdown lifting (but coronavirus still very much an eventuality), MG Motors India has reworked the My MG app, such that prospective customers can not only book the car via the app, but can also make payments. And for those looking for a more interactive experience, MG Motors India will soon unveil a new customer experience called V5, where prospective customers, using voice-enabled and QR code-based responses from a dedicated spot within the showroom, can get the entire experience of the car without needing to interact with another person.
The MG Hector comes in four trim levels (Style, Super, Smart and Sharp), with ex-showroom prices for the base Style variant starting from Rs 12.74 lakh for the manual transmission-equipped non-hybrid petrol and Rs 13.88 lakh for the diesel, and goes up to Rs 17.44 lakh for the top-of-the-line DCT-equipped Sharp variant (Rs 16.54 lakh for the hybrid-MT variant) and Rs 17.73 lakh for the diesel. For the Hector Plus, we expect a hike of about Rs 1.2 to 1.5 lakh across variants.
Lastly, MG already has a sanitised delivery process in place, ensuring a safe delivery to customers. And for those of you who think owning cars in passé, you can check out MG Motor India’s new subscription-based facility here.