India-bound MG Astor unveiled: ZS EV’s petrol-powered cousin
While spotting the ZS EV on the roads is a familiar sight, MG Motor India is about to bolster the brand’s road presence, with the ZS’ ICE-powered version – the MG Astor. The latest SUV from MG will be offered with a choice of two petrol engines and is loaded with tech – including autonomous capability and an AI driving assistant.
MG Astor design
The MG Astor has been on sale globally since 2017. Named as the ZS in global markets, the model recently got a facelift, and that’s the car that MG is bringing to India as the Astor, with a few India-specific changes. When viewed up front, the most prominent element of the Astor is the concave signature celestial grille, with the MG badge nestled neatly into the centre – this grille is exclusive to the India-spec version of this car. Flanking the grille are the hawk-eye full LED headlamps, which feature nine crystal diamond elements and sharpen Astor’s looks significantly.
Move to the sides and the profile of the Astor features a muscular shoulder line, inspired by MG’s British sports cars of yore. That said, the MG now features ‘AI Inside’ badges on the exterior. You also get 17-inch dual tone finished alloy wheels on the MG Astor, along with red brake calipers to indicate a sporty intent. The MG Astor’s dimensions are quite impressive, at over 4.3metres in length, 1.8metres in width and over 1.6metres in height – making it larger than its mid-size SUV competitors.
MG Astor interior
The cabin of the MG Astor looks really inviting. You get a dual-tone leatherette layered dashboard, and with it, you also have a choice of three colour schemes for the leatherette interiors – dual-tone sangria red, dual-tone iconic ivory and a classy tuxedo black. The MG Astor also gets a six-way electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, in addition to the panoramic sunroof. Interestingly, the MG also gets three steering modes – Normal, Urban and Dynamic, which alter the weight and feel of the steering accordingly. And if that was not enough, the Astor comes loaded to the gills with kit such as an electronic parking brake, heated ORVMs, rain sensing wipers, rear AC vents and much more.
MG Astor tech
While the interiors of the MG Astor are loaded with plenty of kit, they also promise to be a tech-fest. You get a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment, as well as a 7-inch full digital instrument cluster. The infotainment system features built-in navigation using MapMyIndia’s 4D Maps, music from JioSaavn, and segment-first features like in-car parking reservation from Park+ along with a digital vehicle passport from Koineath. All these functions are powered by a Jio eSim. The Astor can also be unlocked without the need of a physical key fob, thanks to a segment-first digital key that can be controlled via your phone using Bluetooth. The big talking point however is the Astor’s AI-powered personal driving assistant. The in-car assistant is capable of getting you information from Wikipedia, telling you jokes, performing voice commands and also is capable of recognising Hinglish. The Astor also features Level II autonomous capability with ADAS, bettering it's bigger sibling the Gloster, which only gets Level I autonomy. In terms of safety, the Astor has you covered with six airbags, ESP, traction control, hill descent control, rear drive assist, automatic emergency braking and a 360-degree camera that aids visibility.
MG Astor engines
The MG Astor comes with a choice of two petrol engines – a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol and a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine. The turbo petrol produces 138bhp and 220Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic, while the larger nat-asp engine produces 108bhp of power and 144Nm of torque. The latter can either be had with a manual ’box or a CVT. There are no diesels on offer at the time of launch, and there is no word whether they will be launched in India in the future as well.
MG Astor price and rivals
MG hasn’t revealed prices of the Astor yet, but given the choice of powertrain options that it offers, expect the Astor to rival the Skoda Kushaq, Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and the yet-to-be launched Volkswagen Taigun. Expect prices to start around Rs 9 lakh and go up to Rs 16 lakh (ex-showroom).