The Hector still turns heads. Yes, it does. I drove the car to a friend's engagement and realised that everyone expected the would-be groom to get out of the car. Instead, a couple of seniors and a hassled driver did. Must say, the seniors quite appreciated the ease of getting in and out of the car as well as the no-jostling for space proposition. Well, before I delve deep into the good and bad bits of the car, here is a heads-up. If you are unsure of whether the Hector is the car for you, there are two things you can do. First is to check our comparison video of it with the Creta and Harrier. Second is lease a car from Myles, like I did. Drive the car around for some time and it will give you a clear perspective if this is the vehicle for you or not.
Now, that all the intricate details are out, let's focus on the SUV itself. For the sake of ease of reading, this review has been divided into the good and bad bits of the car.
Good bits of the MG Hector petrol-manual
The size of the vehicle ensures that it gets proper attention on the road. There is no missing the Hector for anything else. The all-LED headlights look menacing in the rear view mirror. No wonder, all eyes were on the Hector at the engagement ceremony.
2.That huge size also comes with a space advantage. The Hector is the most spacious vehicle in its class. The flat floor at the rear makes seating three an easy-peasy affair. Moreover, good all around visibility plus the 360-degree camera make parking the car easy . The boot space at 587 litres is no less a mammoth as well.
3. The clutch is very light (as can be expected from a petrol) and the gearshifts are positive as well. The turbocharged 1.5-litre produces 143hp/250Nm. It is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. I liked the way the engine builds power. MG officials had mentioned at the first drive event that this hybrid unit ensures that the driver gets an additional 20 per cent torque at take off. Truth be told, there is a very faint feeling of the same and if someone didn't tell me this, perhaps I wont even notice it.
4.The ride quality is just brilliant. I drove the SUV on Mumbai's rain ravaged roads. With a full complement of passengers on board, the Hector never bottomed out or even put the occupants in any sort of discomfort. All this when a 35km stretch took us more than four hours.
5. The features that it comes with is second to none. Perhaps the Kia Seltos will give it a run for its money. However, on the Hector, you feel like a 'paisa vasool' proposition.
6.One tap and the all-wheel disc brakes bring the SUV to a safe halt. You can accelerate the heck out of it and be not worried if this heavy SUV will stop on time or not. It will.
Things that aren't so endearing on the MG Hector petrol-manual
The mileage will make you cry tears. Trust me, it does. The MG Hector petrol manual returned 7.8kmpl in the city with just me on-board. With four others in tow, the number went down to 6.2kmpl. With a mix of city as well as highway conditions, without any load, the Hector delivered 11.2kmpl. Out on the highway, with just the driver, the vehicle gave 13.6kmpl. So, it is clear that fuel efficiency isn't the petrol's forte.
2. The famed touchscreen system with voice commands is addictive, no doubt. However, sometimes it wants you to pull your hair out. Apple CarPlay wasn't working on my test car. Moreover, the voice assistant didn't quite hear what I had to say and required more prompts. This is something perhaps a software update might help.
3. There is a beep at around 80kmph. This is a speed alert warning. However if you accelerate past it, the visual signal stays on. When you decelerate, the warning signal goes off only after 65kmph. This is a speedo calibration error.
4.The fuel gauge is highly optimistic but when its time to fill fuel, you will realise that with 3/4th of a tank, you still end up spending close to Rs 3,000 worth of gas.
5.The wipers, don't work fast even in their highest settings. I drove the car from Pune to Mumbai and it was only the familiarity of the road that helped me navigate. Tried manually setting the pace of the wipers to the highest but it still doesn't clean as fast or effectively as I have seen other vehicles.
6.In the same vein, in heavy downpour, the LED headlights aren't as effective. Even in high beam, you cannot see the sides of the road. This is also something that MG can work upon.
Apart from these good as well as bad bits, much has been already written about the Hector. You can check that in our first drive report.
Images by Malti Dsouza