During the unveil of the Gloster full-size SUV last week, the president & MD of MG Motor India told me that a customer who is looking to buy a car in the Rs 30-50 lakh price range would like to look at it as an option. “In that price range,” he said, “the kind of features MG is offering nobody else does, including luxury carmakers.” With the Gloster, MG Motor is not only directly challenging Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour, but is also trying to attract the sparse customer base of Kia Carnival and luxury carmakers. The Gloster is a big and luxurious SUV, and offers a lot of technologies and features that its competitors don’t, but does the Indian customer want these?
Its size—almost 5 metres long and 2 metres wide—gives it massive road presence, but the design is overwhelmed by the sheer size. Looked at from a distance, all you get to see is a big, really big SUV.
The sheer size means it’s got a massive cabin—it’s almost as large as that of the Carnival, and almost as luxurious. If there was an unofficial rating of cabin quality, it would be this: Carnival, Gloster, Endeavour and Fortuner. The top-end variant I drove around Delhi includes 12-way powered driver seat, 360-degree view camera, automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, driver & co-driver seat heating (well, India needs cooled seats), driver fatigue reminder, driver seat massage, collision and lane-departure warning, and so on. The Gloster has so many features you may not need anything else in a vehicle at this price point. Also, while the best seats in the Gloster are the first and second row, even the third row is so spacious that you can sit cross-legged (like in the Carnival). Also, like the Hector and the ZS EV, the Gloster is also a connected car.
It isn’t big (1996cc, diesel), but is good enough to steer it (163PS turbo, and 218PS in a twin-turbo avatar). The torque, respectively, is 375Nm and 480Nm (supercar territory). Gearbox is 8-speed automatic, and the twin-turbo variant has 4WD.
Despite these impressive power and torque figures, at low RPM the engine feels a big sluggish (even the twin-turbo), possibly because the Gloster is too heavy (we don’t have the exact weight, but it should be in the range of 2,500-kg). The 8-speed automatic gearbox shifts gears in a way you don’t feel it. On the highway, it’s a lovely SUV to drive and get driven in. We can’t say much about off-roading—we didn’t do any, so naturally we couldn’t use all its driving modes, which are ‘Snow’, ‘Mud’, ‘Sand’, ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Rock’.
It’s got driving assistance features, such as collision and lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control, but on Indian roads where lanes aren’t always defined, I am not sure how effective will these be.
As the president & MD of MG Motor India told me, “the kind of features MG is offering nobody else does, including luxury carmakers.” But in this price range buyers don’t always buy a car simply because of the features—brand value is a big consideration. That’s where MG still has to work on (at least in this segment).
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