Archives August 2019

Kitna deti hai? Fuel efficiency tips

August 25, 2019 / 1 Comments / 562 / Drivepedia

Kitna deti hai?

Probably this is the most frequently asked question in Indian auto space. While the car is responsible for the best fuel efficiency, a lot is dependent on us to gain the maximum out of it. You can follow such simple techniques to get the most for your buck. 

1. Maintain the correct tyre pressure

The manufacturer recommended air pressure is important – not only for a comfortable ride and correct handling but also for ensuring fuel mileage. An under inflated tyre leads to friction and that leads to kinetic energy being lost. Another trick is to actually increase the air pressure in your tyre by a few PSI. That makes the side walls firmer and reduces the contact patch of the tyre but at the same time it can lead to blowouts (if over inflated) and lower grip as compared to correct pressures

2. Drive in the correct gear

You ain’t Vin Diesel. You don’t need to change gear every 3 seconds. Being in the right gear at the right RPM helps the most. Especially if you are in a high traffic area. Another mistake people regularly make is to rev the engine all the way to its redline before changing gear. And while that might be great if you don’t give two hoots about your fuel economy, it makes a Huge difference if you do.

3.  Keep those windows up!

While it might not seem so, aerodynamics play a HUGE part in improving fuel economy. Windows rolled up means that the car’s body is as slippery when coming in contact with the air that it can possibly be. This means that the air flow around your car will be at its best and you don’t need that little extra power to make your air cut through the air

4. Minimise Idling

If your car is going to be stationary for an extended period of time, switch the engine of. An idling car burns fuel without really going anywhere.

So if you have your engine running while you’re waiting for someone, you’re effectively getting 0 kmpl at that time.

Some cars even give a litre per hour consumption on their trip computers to help you keep track. Simple solution. Switch the engine off. Or, if you have the budget, buy a car with auto start-stop technology.

5. Fuel quality 

Adulterated fuel not only lowers the fuel efficiency but also harms the engine. Before tanking up your vehicle, always check the fuel quality. Today you can check the volume and density of fuel being sold at any pump without being charged. It is also advisable to tank up from a big fuel pump in the city that is company owned. While travelling on the highway, avoid filling fuel from small and dodgy looking outlets.

6. Reduce some weight

The heavier the car, the more fuel it will drink.

So ditch that heavy stuff you don’t use anymore, the spare tyre that’s not fit for use or even the tonnes of garbage that you lug around.

Keep the boot empty and clean and watch the fuel gauge become more stable. The extra bucks will make up for the trouble.

7. Turn off the AC when you can

We are aware that conditions in our country don’t allow us the freedom to keep the windows open any longer – pollution and higher temperatures mean that nowadays the air-con is constantly on. But the AC does consume a lot of power and fuel to run, so try turning it off when the weather is bearable. Also, if the air con system in your car comes with climate control, you can turn it off ‘Auto’ mode and keep it in a low blower mode to use less fuel, since the AC won’t have to kick in as many times to maintain the specified interior temperature. But keep the AC on and the windows up on the highway where speeds are higher, since you can actually save gas because of reduced aerodynamic drag.

8. Drive your automatic car in manual mode if possible

Most auto ‘boxes are designed not to upshift before a particular speed. The upside of this is that it generates sufficient torque for the shift, and optimises fuel economy of the upshift as well. However, an automatic gearbox is generally not able to differentiate situations where less torque is required and as a result, often holds the engine in a lower gear than necessary, thereby consuming more fuel

9. Use recommended fuels and lubricants

While oil companies might claim better power, mileage and efficiency from their ‘special’ fuels, switching your car to higher octane fuel, for example, will not make a difference to your fuel economy because your car engine may not have been designed to run on it. So instead of saving money, your fuel costs actually increase, because of the generally higher prices of these fuel variants. Also, only use the manufacturer-recommended engine oil and your car will perform efficiently.

10. Take a walk

A no-brainer this one really. If you don’t need to drive somewhere, don’t. Also, if you have to visit a crowded area, such as a market or a fair, park your car some distance away where you don’t have to drive around to find a parking spot.

It will save you time, the hassle of navigating through congestion and of course a lot of fuel. Moreover, a bit of exercise can do you and the family no harm either.

Kia Seltos: The perfect car, almost

August 25, 2019 / 0 Comments / 1277 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS

GOA – A place that’s synonym with pristine beaches, the most happening parties and a magical monsoon. Hey, but what was Shutterdrives doing here? Shutterdrives was invited to experience the Badass, experience something the Country was in much need of, something that would re-write the future of compact SUV’s here. Something so good that I wouldn’t shy away from calling it the ‘perfect’ car, almost. The KIA Seltos. Some cars are compared to others, some set a benchmark for others. The Seltos belongs to the second breed. 

I haven’t done my Masters in Business Administration, but I do know that the 3 key important factors for a product to be successful are right product, right place and right time. First factor, check. Second factor, check. But, was this the right time to invest billions of $? The automotive industry in India is sinking at a two-decade low pace. If you do, you can’t afford to make any slightest of the mistake. Well, KIA luckily hasn’t made any. 

The Kia Seltos retails at a price of 9.69 lakhs (ex-India). 

Pros + 

+ Striking design! The best car south of 30 lakhs. Makes 10x more sense to pick this over the D segment sedans like the Octavia. 
+ Feature loaded to the brim. Has everything you can think of. Will list them later. For starters, it has an air purifier too. damn. 
+ “Negligible” turbo-lag in the 1.4 petrol DCT (automatic) . Gears shift better than the Volvo XC 40 costing twice as much
+  This car screams premiumness everywhere. Build quality is superb. Panel gaps are minimum. The interiors are on par with the entry-level German cars like the Audi A4 and the Merc GLA 
+  Its extremely difficult to get the right balance of ride and handling. The Seltos comes closest to being perfect in that department
+  16 variant options, 15 colour options including the dual tones. Which means, there is a variant tailored for every person walking into the showroom

Cons – 

– One look at it after looking at the MG Hector and you know the car isn’t ‘biggg’ 
– Although there is a dedicated sports mode, it doesn’t do justice to the car. The car simply revs or rather screams more than what’s required. The steering gets additional weight in the sports mode but its not very precise
– Looks like someone in the product strategy department messed up things. The best engine variant that’s 1.4 petrol DCT doesn’t come in the top end variant. I don’t know why! 
– The UVO app that seems to be one of the USP of the car is niggle prone. For instance, it took 3 attempts to start the car. This can also be attributed to the bad weather during the media drive. Will use this app again at the showroom before I publish the full review. 
– No All wheel drive option even in the near future. Sorry off-roaders

Before we get into the details, let’s resolve the North Korea – South Korea conflict. How different is the Seltos from Creta? at-least on paper:

In terms of size it is very similar to the Hyundai, just 45mm longer than its sibling, and 20mm wider. Since the 45mm increased length also comes from a 20mm increase in wheelbase, it would be safe to say that the Seltos has more space inside.

Exterior 

Kia has done a fantastic job to keep the production car’s design so similar to the prototype that was unveiled at the Auto Expo. It’s the front that gains the most attention, thanks to the width. Then there’s the tiger nose grille as Kia calls it which gives it a very aggressive look. One look at the Seltos and you know its designed so well, with all the available patience. The design is striking and minimalistic at the same time, nothing seems overdone like the recent cars that we have seen. Looks super crisp, the jewel-headlamps are great and they are placed well too, where they belong, not in the bumper, if you know what I mean. I loved those super classy indicators. Attention to detail is something we have always admired from the Koreans but failed to implement in the Indian cars. This car would be my favourite, only if it was slightly bigger. It suffers from the same problem that the Nissan Kicks suffers. Although they both love to call themselves as SUV’s, they actually fail to fit perfectly in that bracket. I won’t have any problem in calling them as compact SUV’s because that’s where they belong. 

The side profile is muscular and well proportioned, retains the floating-roof concept that is gaining popularity in cars these days and is muscular due to the extra cladding on the sides giving it the SUV stance. On the sides it’s the 17-inch alloys that stand out, especially the crystal cut alloys with the red caliper on the GT line variant. What a brilliant design, the best alloys India has ever seen. Period. Moving to the rear, I was simply fascinated by how well a car can be designed. i was drooling over the tail lamps, then I fell for the elegant chrome strip running between the tail lamps and before I could take my eyes away, that lovey chromed-tip exhaust caught my attention. Before I missed it, the spoiler screamed for attention too. 100 marks to the design department. 

Trust me, these are the best set of alloys I have seen on any Indian car: 

LED fog lamps: 

Roof Rails: 

Shark-fin Antenna:

Brilliant attention-to-detail again. I could never imagine indicators could be so admiring: 

Interior

When you buy a car with your hard earned money, you spend most of your time inside, not outside. That makes it very very important for the car to have a feel good factor when you step in. The Seltos screams premium-ness everywhere. It has got one of the best interiors a car in this segment can have. By best, I don’t mean fancy interiors of a Mercedes or Lord of the rings, its the ROI you get for your buck, the superb quality. Step inside Kia Seltos and you are greeted with a fresh and bold interior. Kia has tried to put its heart inside the cabin of Seltos. With all black or beige interiors, the cabin of Seltos looks upmarket and uniform. The sporty theme along everywhere in the inside. Kia wanted to follow three important parameters for the interiors namely, elegant, premium and hi-tech. And they have pretty much got it spot-on. The all-black theme with silver inserts look great with the 10.3-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system. The only issue I had with the interiors was this large screen was popping out like an alien out of nowhere. Somehow, this did not gel that well. Remember the Merc GLA/GLC? 

The steering felt super premium, the perforated leather wrap on the steering wheel ensures your hands dont sweat while driving. Details, you see. Moving on the instrument cluster, the simplistic and crisp design adds to the overall elegance of the car. I want to meet the person who designed the Tachometer of MG Hector. Luckily, things are not so complicated in the Seltos. You also get the digital + Analog combo here. The AC vents have a lovely chrome tip finish. To go beyond what is normal, Kia Seltos comes with 8 speaker audio system of Bose, fitted with mood lighting that will certainly up the game in the segment. But what’s beyond normal? The Bose team actually customised the stereo surround exclusively for the Seltos with an additional 5th speaker placed at the centre for a theatre-like experience. Boy! The music system is ‘phenomenal’.

We love flat-bottoms:

Designs don’t really have to be complicated to be good. This simplistic design looks very very neat. Notice the digital speedo:

Electric Sunroof, not Panoramic unlike the Hector: 

Loved the red contrasting stitches:

Aluminium pedals to give you Schumacher feels: 

How does it Drive?

There are 18 variants of the Kia Seltos, that makes it more variants than I had subjects in my engineering. I am not a big fan of this complexity though. I won’t mention the variants now because you would get frustrated and stop reading this right away. Will keep that for the last, like the dessert in a 7-course-meal.  

The Seltos comes with three engines and three transmission options, which are – 1.4 T GDI Petrol, 1.5 Petrol and Diesel 1.5 VGT along with 6-speed manual transmission (MT), smart stream 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and a 6-speed advance automatic (AT). 

In terms of performance, 1.4 GDI petrol churns out 140 PS of power and 242 Nm torque which comes with an option of 6-speed MT and smart stream 7-speed DCT. 

While the 1.5 petrol churns out 115 PS of power and 144 Nm which is mated with 6-speed MT and smart stream IVT. 

Talking about the 1.5 VGT diesel engine, it churns out 115 PS power and 250 Nm mated with 6-speed MT and 6-Speed advance AT. 

All three engines get 3 Drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sports and 3 Traction modes –  Mud, Snow/Wet and Sand. 

At first, we drove the GT line, the 1.4 DCT petrol. I was in love with this engine-gearbox combo. Acceleration is crisp and the engine is also very free revving. The twin-clutch gearbox isn’t as responsive as a DSG gearbox but still way better than all other automatic options available, esp. the Hyundai’s and Let’s not even get to Maruti, who is offering a 4-speed tranny with the XL6. The difference in driving modes is also apparent with sport mode increasing the urgency. The few corners on the track, the Seltos handled well with controlled body-roll. It’s not as huge as the Hector so it has a massive advantage over it. The steering is good but not the best, it doesn’t have too much to offer in terms of feel but weighs up well once you activate the sport mode.

Dear Kia, why ain’t you offering different driving modes in the manual ‘mode’ of the automatic transmission. The Manual was phenomenal. It had enough thrust to make you feel you are driving a cheaper version of Boeing 747. It would have made sense to offer it with this combo. 

The 1.5 Petrol offers a CVT gearbox, in addition to the manual. This powertrain is not as quick as the DCT combo. Also because the engine generates a lower 115PS of peak power and 144Nm of torque. The third engine is the 1.5 VGT that puts out 115PS of power and 250Nm of torque. There is also the choice of a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. This engine and the manual gearbox felt much less agile compared to the 1.4-petrol DCT. The turbo spools up a little later and there is a lot of torque that is loaded onto the mid and top end of the rev range. But there is still no sluggishness in low-speed performance. This powertrain also offers the highest mileage at 21kmpl. The two petrol engine are thirsty at the rate of 16 kmpl.

The suspension is well balanced, offering a firm ride but at the same time ironing out most problems of the road surface. What I really like is that it drives like a car with minimal body roll, this is highly appreciated because a car with severe body roll is not a good car, read the first-gen Toyota Fortuner. Seltos offers the ease and convenience of an SUV in terms of ground clearance as well as seating position and visibility.

For the enthusiastic driver who drives on mixed roads including city and highway, the 140bhp, 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with the 7-speed DCT delivers the best of both worlds – the sportiness of a manual transmission and the convenience of an automatic.

Space and Practicality

In terms of seat comfort and space, Seltos gets 8-way driver power seat, while the co-driver seats can be adjusted manually. Front seats are adequately cushioned with good back and thigh support. But the rear seats which can be reclined to 26 degrees and 36 degrees, do not give the perfect thigh support. The rear is not the best place to be in the Seltos. Practicality wise, the Kia Seltos has ample space in the front but adequate in the back, easily accommodating 5, ok 4 – full grown adults. There is also enough spaces to keep your stuff and the door pockets are huge. The boot is super deep and wide with 433-litres of space. Mahindra, are you listening? I pity the XUV 5OO, which can’t even fit anything in the boot except 2 umbrellas and that too folded ones.

 

Safety

Safety has been an increasingly paramount parameter for most of the manufacturers of late, which is a very good thing given the rate at which the accidents are increasing in our beautiful Country. Kia Motors has added a lot of safety features to the all new Seltos and they include six airbags, ABS, Vehicle Stability Management, ESC, Hill Start Assist, front and rear parking sensors, and a Brake-force Assist System. The Seltos also features ISOFIX child seat anchors. We don’t have a Euro NCAP rating for the Kia Seltos, as of now.

What’s in the kitty?

Amenities on the Kia Seltos include a sunroof, an anti-glare mirror, auto light control, rain sensors, a tyre pressure management system, and a wireless charger for smartphones. The Kia Seltos also comes with it’s own UVO application that is available on both the Play Store and the iStore. The app allows for in car, and smartphone controlled features. One can use voice commands to control navigation and media, remote start the car, set climate control, send destination routes to the car, set time and Geo fencing, check vehicle status remotely, and also features stolen vehicle tracking and immobilisation. The UVO app that I used was niggle-prone. Blame it on the bad weather of Goa during the media drive or bad luck of the car allotted to me. 

Colours 

This deserves a standing ovation. The Kia Seltos will be available in 13 colour options at launch. 

Single Tone – Intense Red, Aurora Black Pearl, Glacier White Pearl, Punchy Orange, Intelligency Blue (my fav), Gravity Grey, Steel Silver, and Clear White.

Dual-tone colours – Intense Red/ Aurora Black Pearl, Steel Silver/ Aurora Black Pearl, Glacier White Pearl/ Aurora Black Pearl, Glacier White Pearl/ Punchy Orange, and Steel Silver/ Punchy Orange.

So, Is Seltos worth the hype or its just another Hyundai for the Millennials?                                                   

No, I mean its not just another Hyundai for the Millennials. This car is not here to change the rules of the game, its here to change the game. Don’t be surprised if you see too many Tigers in your rear-view mirror, the Seltos I mean. Kia has done an excellent job in every department possible. Has enough swag to impress your someone, enough punch to take you on a highway, enough features that you would forget them, a robust quality that could easily last till the doomsday, only if it was a little more spacious. There is no ‘perfect’ car in this universe, the Seltos comes closest to being one.

Wait! Did I promise you something?

The laundry list of variants:

*GT line:
1.4 turbo-petrol GTK
1.4 turbo-petrol GTX
1.4 turbo-petrol GTX DCT
1.4 turbo-petrol GTX+
1.4 turbo-petrol GTX+ DCT

*Tech line
1.5 petrol HTE
1.5 petrol HTK
1.5 petrol HTK+
1.5 petrol HTX
1.5 petrol HTX CVT
1.5 diesel HTE
1.5 diesel HTK
1.5 diesel HTK+
1.5 diesel HTK+ AT
1.5 diesel HTX
1.5 diesel HTX+
1.5 diesel HTX+ AT

With an arrival of the latest entrant, the 1.5 diesel GTX+, in a nutshell, there are 18 variants with permutation & combination of Petrol, diesel, Manual, Automatic DCT/AT/CVT, 1.4 liter engine, 1.5 liter engine, Turbocharged, Non-turbocharged. That’s not the best part, the best part is you can’t buy the automatic in top-end of GT line with all the bells & whistles because that’s offered at a lower variant. Again in the tech line, the auto tranny splits into AT and CVT as though we were less confused. 

Good luck, KIA and Welcome to India 🙂 See, they rhyme too.

MG Hector: The “smartest” car

August 15, 2019 / 0 Comments / 752 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS

Hello MG, Tell us about yourself.

I have been named as the Hector, after a World war II aircraft. I am the first car for MG in India. I will either make or break their fortunes in this sub-continent. I come from a family called SAIC Motor corporation, one of the biggest Chinese manufacturers, my ancestors are from the Great Britain though. There have been numerous spy shots of me over the internet and apparently, I am the most anticipated car in India for this year. In a country where people swear by Maruti and Hyundai, I am here to compete against few established segment leaders who have been ruling this country for ages like the XUV 5OO, Jeep Compass and of course, the Tata Harrier with whom I will be compared more than any Indian kid would ever have been. A lot of them criticise me for my Chinese badge, but I am here to prove them wrong. (And, she has done it, in style. Hector becomes the highest selling SUV in its segment in July ’19) 

I am smart enough to open the sunroof for you

I can set the temperature for you

I can play your favorite track of Bryan Adams or Arijit Singh

But, please do not expect to have a Siri-like conversation with me.

A new-kid-on-the-block enters the most dynamic auto market in the World and takes the country by storm. A storm so intense that MG has stopped accepting the bookings of this car after receiving an enormous 21,000 bookings in the first month.

But, question of the hour remains, what is making people drool over this car? Although its not the perfect car to Drive, why is it selling like the cappuccinos of CCD? 

Let’s find out!

Likes:

+ 170 bhp & 350 nm torque on the diesel is adequate for your daily dosage of vitamin Drive

+ Built like a tank. Super heavy doors and bonnet. MG should offer free Gym membership with this car

+ Lot of real estate for its $$$

+ Smartest SUV in its segment. Feature loaded to the brim and more

+ Definitely, the most VFM proposition in the car shopping market. It’s here to displace the segment.

Dislikes: 

–  It suffers from ECD (Excessive Chrome Disorder)

– Boxy wheel arches are disproportionate to the overall design and make the 17-inch wheels look small

– Gearshifts are hard with long throws. Surprisingly, in the diesel only

– NVH levels aren’t impressive inside the cabin. Thankfully, the superb infinity speakers come to the rescue.

– Unfortunately, the Electronic power steering lacks feedback. Wish MG could transfer some weight from the doors to steering.

How does it look? 

The Hector is Big, Audacious and very very aggressive. This is why you want to buy an SUV at its first place. Let’s not talk about compact SUV’s. While the front is amazing the rear is overdone by a huge margin. If you love bling, the Hector is your new best friend. 

If You love paparazzi, the Hector is still for you. The Hector is certainly a head-turner and it drew quite an audience everywhere and every time we stopped for photos in the lush green Nilgiris from Coimbatore to Coonoor. The front fascia has lots of interesting detailing and follows the current trend where the headlight cluster is placed down at bumper level with the LED DRLs sitting above where the lights typically should be (First seen in the Tata Harrier). The humongous grille, which you just can’t miss, feels big and Jaguar-like, that’s the primary reason why the stance is extremely imposing. The quirky and striking DRLs further add to the mafia look. There’s a good dose of chrome, in front and overdose in the rear. The prominent air intake in the lower bumper complements the mafia look of the Hector.

However, what badly needed a fix are the 215/60 tyres and 17-inch wheels, which have a nice, edgy design but are overshadowed by the Hector’s humungous 4,655mm length, 1,760mm height and large overhangs. In fact, it’s from the side that you get an idea of how long the Hector is. It looks a size bigger than the Harrier and the Compass, though the proportions are not quite as balanced – the width is too narrow in relation to the length. This results in the Hector looking loosing its SUV-ish stance to an MPV-ish. I really wish the side profile wasn’t as bad as it is. Small design cues like curved wheel arches instead of the boxy and an inch upgrade to the alloys would have done a much better job to the car. At-least the alloys could have been designed one-level sober. 

What stands out at the rear is the overdone scuff plate It has so much chrome that it would satisfy your hunger for chrome for the rest of your life. At the rear, there is a long running strip of tail light that grabs your attention instantly. I am not a huge fan of it though. It dilutes the premium-ness of the car. Not a good idea. I sent a picture of the tail lights to my friend and asked him to guess the car and he told its a Q3. Nevertheless, he hadn’t seen a Hector. The rear of this car is way too butchy to be digested by the human eye. It somehow doesn’t give a pleasing effect like the Seltos does. For sure, someone has messed up things in the design department. 

Again, I did not like the quirky design of the C-pillar and the chrome line lifting up suddenly. Anyways, design is subjective

For some reason best known to God, the rear looks less dramatic in black:

What’s on the inside? 

Once you open the massive doors and step in, you might mistake it for a Volvo XC 60.

The star-boy of the Hector, the massive 10.4 inch infotainment screen will look very familiar to you if you have sat inside any of the Volvo SUV’s. What I really loved about the infotainment system is that its super responsive, unlike the swedish house, the Volvo. Its big, its neat, its crisp and its easy to use. Just the way you want it to be. In fact, I wouldn’t shy away from terming it as one of the best Infotainment system found in any Indian car. You will hardly find any buttons because the massive screen has eaten up all the real estate. On the contrary, some believe that its not a wise idea to have all the functionalities embedded in the touch-screen infotainment system as it can prove to be a safety hazard while driving. You got to be careful on that part though.

Hello, MG! 

If you are tech savvy and love to control the car with some interesting voice commands, the Hector is tailored for you. 

“I want to see the Sky” Say this and the Hector will open its massive Panoramic sunroof for you.

“Hello MG, Can you turn on the AC for me?” Sorted.

MG is calling the Hector India’s first Internet car. The MG Hector is a connected car that gets an embedded Sim from Airtel. This sim helps MG Hector get various connectivity features and you can use the iSMART app on your mobile to remotely control functions on your car like remotely starting the car or pushing the map. Even the KIA Seltos gets this now.

MG has also partnered with many technology companies to provide various connectivity solutions with the iSMART technology. Apps like Gaana for listening to your favourite music, Accuweather for weather updates are preinstalled and TomTom for navigation. MG will collaborate with more vendors in the coming days.

The best part about the Hector is the brilliant cabin quality it offers for its price. It can give cars much costlier a run for their money. This also extends to the dashboard, be it the clean design, the subtle chrome accents or the splashes of leather and white contrasting stitches. The solid and stubby gear lever also feel pleasing to use. The materials feel tough and even the shut lines are consistent, on the inside. What left me impressed for a very long time is the build quality of this car. The doors and bonnet are so heavy that you really need to put that extra effort to get things sorted. MG should offer free Gym membership with this car. 

Another thing that left me super impressed was the astonishing sound quality from the infinity speakers. That being said, the infotainment system is also very intuitive to operate and is the largest of its kind with 10.4-inch screen size. I do not, I repeat I do not remember if I have seen a car with such a superb sound clarity anytime before. The music system alone is going to bring the cash register ringing for the Morris Garages in India. 

In terms of features, the MG Hector is loaded to the brim with features like tyre pressure monitoring system, powered tailgate, electronically adjustable front seats, panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, 360-view camera and more.

Capturing some finer details of the MG Hector’s inside world:

Notice the quirky tachometer reading. I am not a big fan of it.  It took me some time to get used to it:

The quality of materials used inside the cabin is Premium. It may not be compared to that of the VW but this is on par with the Koreans:

Loved the contrasting stitches:

A closer look at the perforated steering grip:

The Hector gets electronic boot release: 

Build quality of the stacks is good. Could have been better though:

Loved this. The scrollers are so premium. You also get the cruise control:

Space and Practicality

The Hector is as spacious as you would want your 5 seater SUV to be. Period. 

The front seats are very supportive. Offer good under-thigh support. I drove the entire day in the lush green hills of Ooty and some cumbersome streets, not roads. Never did my back hurt as it would in the so-called-plush XUV 5OO.

The seats on the top-spec variant come wrapped in leather and offer good cushioning as well. The front seats are power-adjustable; 6-way adjustable on the driver side and 4-way adjustable on the front passenger seats. The seats themselves offer good lateral, thigh and lumbar support, providing a relaxed driving position, even for long highway cruising.

The rear seats also continue the same theme, with excellent thigh support and cushioning all around. There is sufficient headroom and legroom even for tall passengers. The flat floor at the rear, allows three passengers to sit comfortably with good legroom for all. There is also a central armrest with two cup holders at the rear, further adding to the relaxed seating position even for the rear passengers. 

In terms of boot space, the MG Hector comes with a massive 587-litre with all seats positioned upright. The rear seats can also be folded in a 60:40 split, which expands the boot space even further. 

The Hector has typical storage options like the centre cup holders, bottle holders and decent space to store your nick-nacks. When you only have two passengers at the rear, there is the chunky arm rest to make the journey even more comfortable.

If I had to pick one car to turn it into a Limo, Hector would be my first choice. A black one, to be precise. looks drop-dead Gorgeous in that shade. 

Internet Inside?

The only reason I felt that the quality is not on par with the VW is because of the panel gaps, like the one above.

A sticker for ‘Internet inside’ would have done the trick. Ambitious MG:

The Hector uses a SIM to keep the car connected to MG’s servers, through which many features like tacking the current location of your car, geofencing it (You will get an in-app notification once the car crosses that perimeter), remote engine start  and many others can be operated. However, in our books, the key benefits are served by the iCall feature that allows emergency services to contact you instantly in case of an accident in which airbags are deployed. I really love this one. The iSmart phone app also allows you to check on the Hector and shares a lot of useful information. However, the inconsistency in operating features or commands from the app makes it less of a tool and more of a gimmick

How does it Drive?

 

If you are a petrol-head and want to buy the Hector to have a brilliant driving experience, stop reading this right away. The Hector is not for you. The steering offers minimal feedback. I would say its just better than most of the anti-driver-friendly Hyundai’s. The Hector is a really long car with very short width, hence, body roll is in its DNA. But, it’s not as bad as the first gen Toyota Fortuner. That Fortuner had the worst body roll a car could have. I drove the Hector in some really twisty ghats of Nilgiris, it did not toss me off completely from my seat. It just did not strike the right balance between ride and handling.

The Hector is rich in Vitamin T. Unfortunately, T for Turbo-lag. The Hector gets both petrol and diesel power options. The 2.0-litre diesel is the FCA-sourced MultiJet engine which also powers the Tata Harrier and the Jeep Compass. The turbo kicks in post-2000 RPM after which the car just gets ready to fly!! There is good punch from the mid-range and power does tend to maximise after redlining it. This engine revs all the way to 4900 RPM and does uncontrollably loud at this point. Couple this with some serious high speeds, its a party spoiler. Nevertheless, cruising on the highway at speeds of 100 kph is simply effortless as the 6-speed manual transmission has well spaced out ratios but the shifts do not feel pleasant. Trust me, you can easily do a non-stop Kanyakumari to Mumbai in this. Before you Google, its 1600 km that should roughly take about 30 hrs. It’s a no-brainer. All thanks to the 6th gear. 

The petrol powered Hector pumps out 143 PS at 5000 RPM and 250 Nm Torque at 1600-3600 RPM. This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission which offers quick shifts but again, like its not very slick. The petrol Hector suffers from a greater lag than the diesel and drivability isn’t great below 2000 RPM. But once the turbo spools up, this engine really revs alive.

What turned me off was the fact that overtaking required constant downshifts. Again, it boils down to the un-proportionate size of this car and the fact that the turbo takes its sweet time to kick-in. 

Kitna deti hai? The Diesel returned an average of 13.5 kmpl while the petrol maxed out at 12 kmpl. This can also be attributed to the treacherous driving terrain in the hills and pedal-to-metal driving. Expect slightly higher numbers if you are a sane driver. unlike me.

Safety

The MG Hector also gets a host of virtual safety features thanks to the iSMART system like a dedicated call centre for emergency assistance which the MG call a ‘Pulse Hub’, Geo Fence, among others. More safety features include an Electronic Stability Program, Hill Hold Control, 6-Airbags, TCS, and ABS with EBD.

Six Airbags Electronic Stability Control (ESC) ABS with EBD and Brake Assist 360-Degree Camera Hill-Hold Control Front and Rear Parking Sensors Rear Parking Camera Rear Defogger Tyre Pressure Monitoring System Traction Control System ISOFIX Child-Seat Mount

So, is it a Hello MG or Goodbye MG?

Buy the Hector if you:

  • Worship space. By space, I mean acres of space
  • Prefer safety over style. Built like a tank. 
  • Want to attend your favourite weekend party in style
  • Love chrome more than you love anything else in this world 
  • Don’t Live to Drive

At  a time when the Indian automotive industry is slumping at an 20-year low, we commend the courage of an international brand to enter the subcontinent and tackle the stereotypes branding it against its country of departure. It’s not easy to touch the 1.5k sales numbers at this time. We wish Morris Garages loads of success in the coming years and we hope to see even better cars from them to take on the ever popular and dynamic market. We also wish to see a more proportionate design in their next car which happens to be a fully electric SUV, the MG eZS. #futureiselectric . 

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