MG has given the Hector another mid-cycle update by adding more bling and a heck of a lot more features. So, should the competition be worried? We find out.
The MG Hector is the king of bling. It has this larger-than-life appeal, as it’s always been big on everything – space, features, screen size, chrome, and everything else. Keeping up with the tradition, MG has now updated the Hector for 2023 by adding more bling and stuffing it with even more features. Do these changes add more value to the Hector? Or are they just superficial? We got to spend some time with the new version to find out.
The Hector was launched in 2019 and was refreshed in 2021 with a mild makeover. The 2023 version is another mid-life update, meaning it’s not an all-new model. On the outside, the Hector now looks more imposing and in-your-face, which is all thanks to its shiny new monster-size diamond-mesh grille. It’s huge. The split-headlamp setup is retained while the side profile remains the same as that of the 2021 version – the top-spec variants continue with the same 18-inch alloy wheels.
Around the back, you’ll find a few significant updates – there’s a new seamless taillamp setup, which runs across the width of the rear end. However, unlike the original 2019 Hector, the strip has LEDs and isn’t just a reflector strip. You’ll also see a spread-out Hector badge, which is inspired by the Gloster. There’s also an extra ‘ADAS’ badge on higher variants, which means Advanced Driver Assistance Systems have now made it to the Hector range. The model you see here is the Hector Plus – available in 6- and 7-seat configurations – but, visually, there’s no difference between the regular and Plus versions from the outside. Overall, the Hector’s design is still extravagantly flashy, which means that people will continue to have divided opinions about it.
Larger than Life
Inside, the Hector’s cabin is completely revamped, and as always, it’s brimming with the latest tech and features. A massive 14-inch HD touchscreen now sits vertically at the centre, and the cabin features an all-new design, with new air vents, a new gear shifter, and a soft-top dash. The quality and fit-and-finish are excellent, and it definitely looks and feels expensive and premium.
The touchscreen is mega – it’s slick and the UI is intuitive. Although it can be laggy at times, and I think it’s a little too big – while driving, it can get a little distracting as you struggle to take your eyes off the screen. There’s also a new digital driver display, which is much easier on the eyes in comparison to the car’s touchscreen. You’ve also got 75 connected car features, a Bluetooth key, voice-enabled panoramic sunroof, ventilated and powered front seats, wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay – it works brilliantly, as it uses the full screen – wireless phone charger, and a lot more. The Level-2 ADAS suite includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Jam Assist, and more.
The Hector is known for its comfort and space, and that hasn’t changed – its large glasshouse and cushiony seats, along with acres of legroom and headroom, are class-leading. The version on test here is the Hector Plus 6-seater, which has captain seats in the middle row, which are obviously more comfortable and accommodating than the regular bench-seat setup. That said, the third row is barely usable. There’s virtually no legroom, and calling it tight would be a bit of an understatement. Even if you’re an 8-year-old – or are of the same frame – you’ll find it difficult to sit in the third row. However, if forced to sit there, you can at least take comfort in the fact that there are air vents with fan-speed control and cup holders. Long story short, the third row is okay for taking your family out for a dinner, but not suitable for a road trip. Plus, with all the rows up, the boot space is hopelessly limited.
On the mechanical front, the Hector is unchanged – albeit it no longer gets the Petrol DCT version. There’s a 2.0-litre diesel and a 1.5-litre turbo petrol. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while the petrol is also available with an automatic (CVT). On this occasion, we tested the petrol CVT.
Even though the engine has respectable power and torque figures – 141bhp and 250Nm – the Hector isn’t meant for sporty driving. There’s a nice and easy progression in the way it picks up speed, and the NVH levels are exemplary since the power delivery is smooth and linear. The CVT transmission does a brilliant job, too, resulting in an effortless and comfortable drive. However, it isn’t as rosy when you decided to up your pace. Pulling quick overtakes requires extra effort, as the CVT’s rubber-band effect rears its ugly head when you mash the throttle pedal. It also gets quite vocal in the cabin. Plus, tipping the scales at over 1,600kgs, the Hector is not a light vehicle, so quick overtakes aren’t as quick as you’d like them to be. If you don’t rush things up though and plan your moves well in advance, you’ll have no complaints about the easygoing nature of the powertrain.
The Hector is a big soft SUV, which means the ride quality is excellent. You can dismiss potholes, bad roads, and even big speed breakers without a care in the world. It simply glides over these imperfections. Driving over sharp potholes and irregularities at speeds above 50 – 60km/h can catch the suspension by surprise, and this is when you hear loud thuds in the cabin.
It’s no corner carver in terms of handling, but then if you want to do all that in the Hector, maybe your priorities are horribly misplaced. It’s heavy and soft, and there’s a lot of body roll, as a result. However, drive it like a normal person, and you will find it’s an easy handler that does exactly what an average person would want. You see, the Hector is meant to take you from point A to point B in comfort, and it does that very well. The visibility all around is also great, and you won’t have any trouble manoeuvring it in tight spaces. High-speed stability is also good, albeit the steering does feel lifeless.
I’ve always considered the Hector to be a gadget-on-wheel, and that rings true even today, with the latest update. It’s packed with lip-smacking technology, it’s big, spacious, and imposing, and it’s effortless and comfortable to drive around. If you aren’t an enthusiast, there’s no real drawback here. Sure, it might have gotten a bit pricey in 2023, but, then, it’s also loaded to the brim with tech and features that aren’t available with many of its rivals. Not to mention, it’s still got a distinctive road presence and an unmatched amount of bling, and that is sure to make the Hector irresistible for SUV buyers.
- MG Hector Plus 1.5L CVT
Engine: 1,451cc / 4-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: CVT / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 141bhp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 250Nm @ 1,600-3,600rpm
Price: ₹ 22.47 lakh (ex-showroom)
X-factor: A big, comfy, and feature-laden SUV with a larger-than-life appeal.
• Bling factor
• Comfort & Space
Auto Expo 2023: New-gen MG Hector, Hector Plus Launched at Rs 14.72 lakh
MG Motor India Registers Retail Sales of 4,114 Units in January
Write your Comment