MG Motor might not have had a smooth entry into the Indian market as they were hoping, but they still have a lot of things going for them – for instance, the Hector. In terms of road presence, something that SUV buyers love to flaunt, the Hector gets full marks for its audacious, imposing & yet premium look. The bling of this SUV is second to none in its segment – just consider that massive chrome grille, with its humongous MG insignia. And let’s not forget the all-LED lights – both front and rear – something that potential buyers will surely appreciate.
But the USP of the Hector is the 10.4-inch vertical infotainment screen on the inside. The Hector was the first in the segment to have an embedded eSIM. It also gets a smartphone app, which allows you to switch on-and-off the air conditioner without being anywhere near the car – provided, of course, that your Hector has an automatic gearbox.
Powered by a 2-litre diesel motor, producing 168bhp and 350Nm of torque, which is sourced from FCA India, the Hector picks up speed in a linear fashion, although the turbo lag is quite evident in the 1,500 to 2,000rpm range. The 6-speed manual transmission is also from FCA, with gear ratios that are on the taller side. However, this drivetrain is tried & tested and offers more punch than MG’s own petrol and petrol mild-hybrid options. The ride quality of the Hector is also quite impressive, as the suspension simply carpets everything that you throw at it.
The trouble for the MG comes when you try and push it – on the road or at the racetrack. The steering wheel weighs up in an aggressive and unusual fashion, and the body roll becomes very apparent. In fact, the body control is also questionable, so much so that it almost feels as though the body and wheels are pointing in completely different directions when you’re at the limits of adhesion. On the road, you’re unlikely to experience any of this, unless you’re being overly enthusiastic on tight mountain roads for instance.
The fact is that the MG Hector looks very impressive, and offers a lot of car for the money. Getting the sales and service experience right will be the biggest challenge for MG, as it aims to establish a firm foothold in the Indian market.