2023 MG Hector facelift review, first drive - The Smarter Choice?
Back in 2019 when the MG Hector rolled onto the streets of India, everyone took notice of the big MG emblem at the centre of that big gaping grille as it was a new brand for the Indian automobile market. Fast forward 4 years later, the Hector has gained the trust of over 1 lakh customers in the country and the SUV has also received its prolonged facelift. The 2023 MG Hector here, in its top-of-the-line Savvy Pro variant, remains true to its purpose of being one for those who need a big-city car with all the bells and whistles that you will ever need.
The Hector has always been a handsome car with its boxy proportions at the front and its curvacious looks towards the rear. While the silhouette remains the same for 2023, MG has taken efforts to make the car look a lot more business than it already was. That front grille has most definitely gotten bigger in size with the ADAS sensor tucked quite neatly below it. The lighting seems to be remained untouched with the DRLs sitting at the top and the headlights housed closer to the rear bumper.
The individual blade-like features are a new design which gives the rear-end more character. Along with an ADAS insignia on the right side, the word "Hector" is prominent in enormous letters over the boot lid. Along with that, MG has also kept the 5-spoke, twin prong, 215/55 R18 alloy wheels.
We all know the Hector as that car with the huge vertical touchscreen that highlights the cabin. That unit has now grown in size from a 10.4-inch tablet to a whopping 14 inches now. This also means that the bare minimum physical buttons that were at the bottom, are now under the glass housing of the touchscreen and are not the easiest to locate in daylight. While the centre console is now completely cleared up, MG could have used that bigger touchscreen and assigned a small section at the bottom to access the basic controls of the car.
The screen itself is quite sharp and bright to look at and it would be really difficult for one to miss out on any information displayed. The real affair lies in its processor. While it is faster than before, it still has a sense of laziness when circling through menus. A full-screen, wireless Apple CarPlay is quite a sight to behold though with the ambient lighting accentuating the aesthetic of the interiors.
Move your focus towards the driver's instrument cluster and it's perfectly placed to display all your necessary information. Finding the right seat position is not just easy for the driver, but also for the co-passenger with both front seats now being powered (6-way for driver and 4-way for passenger).
The steering wheel is self is quite nice to hold and all the buttons on it make driving just that little more unchallenging and what is probably our favourite takeaway from the 2023 MG Hector is the intelligent turn indicators which turn on automatically depending on which side you turn the wheels.
Quality of materials was never a complaint in the Hector and it's gotten better now, with leather extending towards the dash making it feel more premium than it is. All the touch-points feel soft and the existence of hard plastic is only the areas you won't be accessing too often. Hop in the backseat and here's where the Hector truly shines.
That 2,750mm wheelbase is put to good use as there is more than enough legroom for even someone scaling over 6ft. The panoramic sunroof (which now can be operated through the infotainment as well) doesn't eat into headroom at all. Overall, with the big windows and reclining seats, the backseat of the Hector is the place to be in.
Engine And Transmission
Mechanically, the MG Hector remains untouched for 2023. It's a peaceful experience because the 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine is scarcely audible and much of the noise is silenced. The 143PS and 250 Nm of torque from this turbo petrol doesn't feel all that urgent when you put your foot down, not even with the car in its sportiest mode and most of the reason for that lies in the CVT transmission.
The Hector still suffers from lesser lower-end performance. So, even situations like coming to halt or slowing down before a speed-breaker make the CVT feel like it loses focus for a split second before eventually figuring it out. Even while climbing a slope, where there is more strain on the engine but the speed hasn't increased as much as it should have, the gearbox is caught off-guard. At higher speeds, it's all smooth sailing though and there aren't any major complaints.
The Hector 1.5 turbo petrol will sprint from 0-100 kmph in 10.5s, as per our testing data. While making sudden overtakes, it will do 30 to 50 kmph in 1.8s, 50 to 70 kmph in 2.3s and 60 to 80 kmph in 2.6s. It will also come to a complete halt from 100 kmph in just 3.2s and within 45.9m.
Ride and Handling
In terms of ride quality, the Hector does feel exceptionally opulent. It deals with deep potholes quite well and doesn't send too much of a realisation through the cabin. The suspension feels fairly soft while cruising and maybe our only grumble would be the suspension feeling a little bouncy after dealing with a speed breaker, but It's not a major concern while doing your daily commutes in any manner.
The car feels easy to manoeuvre and is complemented by the 360-degree camera which helps you be 100 percent sure while switching lanes in busy traffic. On the highway, there is considerable body roll while changing direction and this is apparent. This has the unintended consequence of making the Hector seem more nose-heavy, which is particularly obvious at corners and you eventually require to ease off the gas to bring it back into alignment. Or if you want to just sit back and have a less engaging ride, just turn on the level 2 ADAS features which to be fair, work quite well, keeping in mind the driver still stays attentive to the road.
The top-spec petrol Hector is priced at Rs 21.72 lakh and is quite a good package. The car does feel more expensive than it is, comes with more features than you will ever need and fulfils the job of being a family-friendly SUV. The drawback lies in the vehicle's drivetrain which doesn't feel very engaging out on the road and it could've used a few mechanical tweaks for the 2023 facelift.
2023 MG Hector Facelift Performance, Real-World Mileage
0 to 100 kmph - 10.5s
30 to 50 kmph - 1.8s
50 to 70 kmph - 2.3s
60 to 80 kmph - 2.6s
100 to 0 kmph - 45.9m, 3.2s
City - 7.3 kmpl
Highway - 10.5 kmpl
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