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Old 24th August 2020, 13:10   #1
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Default A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

The MG Hector Plus is on sale in India at a price of between Rs. 13.99 - 19.04 lakhs.

Since the MG Hector has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on changes made to the Hector Plus. To read the detailed road-test of MG Hector, click here

Last edited by Aditya : 24th August 2020 at 13:27.
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Old 24th August 2020, 13:10   #2
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Default MG Hector Plus : First Look

It's already been over a year since MG launched the Hector in India. In retrospect, it was a wise decision by MG to enter the Indian market with the Hector as it ticks all the right boxes of what Indians want in an SUV (big in size and loaded with features). MG sold approximately 25,000 units of the Hector since launch, which is a respectable figure for a newcomer. The number further gains credibility as the Hector entered the market when the Indian automotive industry was going through a slump and the fact that most of the year 2020 was spent in lockdown due to the Covid-19 crisis.

When the Hector was launched, due to its sheer size and cabin dimensions, many had predicted the arrival of a 6/7-seater version of the same. True to most of those claims, the Hector Plus was launched in July this year. It was earlier showcased at the Auto Expo 2020 (Related Link) where it attracted quite some attention. In essence, the Hector Plus is a regular 5-seater Hector, plus one seat. It also gets a bunch of cosmetic changes on the outside and inside to differentiate it from the regular Hector. Interestingly, the Baojun 530 facelift on which the Hector Plus is based was launched in China in November 2019 with three seating configurations (2+3, 2+2+2 or a 2+3+2). As of now, in India, the Hector will be available with the 2+3 seating configuration and the Hector Plus will have a 2+2+2 configuration. A 2+3+2 configuration with the Hector Plus is expected too.

A Close Look : MG Hector Plus-hector-plus-comparison.jpg

The price difference between the Hector and the Hector Plus at the time of launch was Rs 65,000. But as of August 13, 2020, MG increased the prices of all the variants by Rs 50,000, thereby increasing the gap to Rs 1.15 lakh. Thus, customers specifically looking for captain seats would find the Hector Plus as an interesting prospect. Even when you look at the competitor's list, the Hector Plus falls in a category that is somewhat neither here nor there. This mainly has to do with the fact that the Hector is the only vehicle to offer the option of 5 and 6 seats. So, in a way, it competes against some of the MPVs as well as SUVs and will go up head to head against the Tata Gravitas when launched.

Talking about the looks, the Hector Plus does attract quite some attention. It also has quite a presence on the road, and you will find people making way for you, especially in this Starry Sky Blue shade of our test car which is exclusive for the Hector Plus. Interestingly, a similar shade of blue is available on the Kia Seltos (inspired? Maybe) - reference image.

Being just a facelift, the Hector Plus hasn't changed in dimensions, except that it is slightly longer. The 65 mm increase in length can be attributed to the reprofiled bumpers. The Hector Plus is 4,720 mm in length, 1,835 mm in width and 1,760 mm in height with a wheelbase of 2,750 mm. The added row of seats has also made the Hector Plus heavier than before. The laden ground clearance remains the same at 175 mm for the diesel variants and 180 mm for the petrol variants.

Powertrain options have been carried forward and the Hector Plus gets the BS6 compliant versions of the 1.5L, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 48V mild hybrid version of the same and the 2.0L, 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel. All engines are offered with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the 1.5L turbo petrol gets an optional 6-speed DCT.

Comfort and convenience features was never an area of concern with the Hector and the Plus does one better with a few more. It now gets a swipe feature for the electric tailgate and a chit-chat feature with the iSmart infotainment system. LED headlamps are standard across all variants of the Hector Plus (base variant Hector had halogens). In terms of safety, you get 6 airbags (top-end variant), ABS + EBD, ESP, traction control, hill hold, rear disc brakes, rear parking sensors, ISOFIX child seats mounts, 3-point seatbelts for all occupants, 360-degree camera and tyre pressure monitoring system. The i-Smart system (offered on the Smart and Sharp variants) features remote car locking and unlocking, geo-fencing, real-time location sharing and emergency calling.

So, what's new on the outside?

The striking front end gets better! Compared to the Hector, MG has cut down on the chrome which highlights the other aspects of the face. The black plastic cladding that ran across the front bumper between the headlamps has been removed and is now just plain body colour. And if you felt that the earlier design was overdone just to please the Indian audience, this surely is easier on the eyes:

The grille is now taller than before and gets Mercedes Benz-like chrome studs with the big MG badge in the middle. Overall, it doesn't look bad or overdone. In fact, IMO it looks good:

Plain and simple air dam with a pronounced faux skid plate. Lots of body colour rather than chrome or black plastic makes it look more functional. It also reminds you that the whole front end is one unit. So, taking out the bumper say for repair or painting will mean taking off the whole front end:

LED DRL strips have been replaced by this dual pod unit. They do not double up as turn indicators as on the regular Hector:

When the headlights are switched on, the DRLs dim a little but are still bright enough. They also act as pilot lamps:

The headlamp cluster placed on the lower part of the bumper looks bigger because of the chrome delete. You now have LED bifocal projectors instead of separate clusters for high and low beam. Placed below the headlamps are LED fog lamps which also act as cornering lamps. The light strip in between these two is the turn indicator which has a progressive light action:

A look at all lights in action:

Throw of the headlamps is satisfactory and they do a good job of lighting up the road. Lines are well defined (like most LED lights) in the low beam...

... and high beam as well:

No changes to the profile:

A different design for 17-inch alloy wheels. A bigger size and maybe a tyre upsize would have been much appreciated. The 215/60 R17 tyres on our test car were Goodyear Assurance TripleMax. The Hector test car had Continental Contact MC5 tyres (reference image):

Changes to the rear are subtle but noticeable:

Gone is the gaudy-looking red strip that connected the taillamps in the Hector (Good call MG!). But apart from that, the tailgate has pretty much the same design with the 'Hector Plus' badge on the left and the 'Internet Inside' badge on the right:

Subtlety prevails to the bumper as well. The thick black plastic which housed a reflector strip running along the whole bumper is gone. You now have a conventional-looking bumper with rear fog lamps neatly tucked away at the bottom. Simple looking faux skid plate at the bottom now houses dual fake exhausts. They could have done away with the exhaust design completely IMO:

A closer look at new LED taillamp. The overall shape is the same, but the elements have been rearranged:

Brake light now sits at the top above the horizontal pilot lamp LED strip. The indicators at the bottom have a Honda Wing like design (the two-wheeler logo) and have a progressive action too:
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Nice design detail on the side!

Rear fog lamps and reversing lights are tucked on the side along with a small reflector strip:

A closer look at the Hector Plus badge:

It's easier to spot the differences when the two cars are next to each other. The excessively loud bits are thankfully gone and the Hector Plus does look more mature:

The rear isn't attractive per se but now looks better. Notice the change in the placement of the small kink on the MG badge:

Now that the lockdown restrictions are lifting slowly, footfall in showrooms is also increasing. We were at the MG showroom in Pune for a few hours on the day that we had to pick up the Hector Plus (there were delays in readying the vehicle). During that time, we saw quite a few people interested in the accessorised Hector Plus that was on display:

A parting shot, because monsoon skies are a delight:

Last edited by Aditya : 24th August 2020 at 13:26.
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Old 24th August 2020, 13:10   #3
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So, what's new on the inside?

Essentially, not much has changed in the cabin, but to brighten things up, the all-black cabin has been replaced with a dual-tone theme. The seats and parts of the dashboard now have what MG likes to call smoked sepia brown leather. The cabin is spacious and the design is appealing at first glance:

The leather insert on the dashboard gets a contrast white stitching:

A closer look at the tan leather door pad insert. IMO this looks better than the all-black theme:

Power-adjustable front seats are broad and accommodating. There's enough overall support even for taller people, but lack of adjustable lumbar support for the driver does take a toll on your lower back on long drives:

A closer look at the contrast white stitching on the seats:

The iSmart infotainment system has been carried forward with a couple of tweaks and feature additions. You now get a handy lock button on the bottom right of the screen. It functions similar to your smartphone, which when pressed shows the screen on the right. To unlock, just tap anywhere on the screen. This is helpful for nighttime driving when you want to avoid the screen glare:

Another welcome change is smartphone compatibility. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now displayed fullscreen unlike in the Hector, which displayed only in the middle portion of the screen (reference image):

There's a new button on the centre console below the gear lever. The button labelled as 'Rear' with a fan picture controls the AC vents in the third row!

Found this air purifier in our test car's glovebox. It is not standard with the car, but a paid accessory:

The tall headrests of the second-row captain seats block the view in the mirror...

...and also the rearward view. Best to use the cameras while backing up into a parking spot:

Jumping into the rear which is the talking point of this SUV:

Captain seats! These are very similar to the front seats and offer good support. The cushioning is not too soft and works well for long drives. Overall support is good too, and somehow the lumbar support feels better on these as compared to the front seats:

Manual adjustment for the backrest angle...

... and for the to and fro movement:

Individual armrests for both seats. They aren't really big, but aren't as small as the ones in the Innova Crysta (reference image). At 5'10", I found their height to be perfect:

ISOFIX child seat anchors...

... with top tether points at the back:

A look at the maximum and minimum legroom:

At 5'10", I had enough knee room behind my driving position. However, with the front seat all the way back, my knees were digging into the back:

But this is probably how most people will be using the captain seat - with the front seat all the way forward. Loads of legroom. Do note that the petrol hybrid variant gets a battery underneath the front passenger seat:

Or just take out the front headrest, recline the front seat and stretch it out in style. Since the front passenger seat is also powered (4-way), I wish it had boss controls to adjust it from the rear captain seat:

With the front seat adjusted to his driving position, 6-foot tall Blackwasp had enough knee room and headroom in the captain seat. He found the under-thigh support to be lacking slightly because of the high floor:

Pathway to the third row. No tumbling captain seats, just walk in between them to get to the third row. The cabin width and flat floor of the Hector Plus make this look easy:

Get into the third row, and it's pretty clear that this is meant for the kids. The seats are wide enough for two people to be seated abreast but are flat with very little support:

The only support from the seat base is to your buttocks and nothing else. The backrest is not reclinable, and the headroom is too tight. Agreed that most third rows are too cramped for adults, but in comparison, vans like Maruti Ertiga / XL6 or the Toyota Innova or even the Tata Hexa have better seating in the third row:

A look at the minimum and maximum legroom for the third-row passengers:

The headrest has only one level of adjustment:

3-point seatbelts for all passengers. We'd seen a slot for this in the Hector indicating the arrival of this variant (reference image):

Greyish-white roofline and the quarter glass help in reducing the claustrophobic feeling in the third row:

The third-row gets dedicated vents on each side. You can close the vent by sliding the chrome handle in the middle, but the air still seeps through:

The third-row passengers also get armrests on the sides that are hard plastics. There's a single cupholder along with a phone holder on the left:

The left passenger gets the blower control. There are five fan levels to choose from:

Right-hand side passenger gets two cupholders along with the phone holder and a 5V/2A USB charging port:

MG has added a smart swipe feature to the electric tailgate and it works seamlessly. Just walk up to the car and swipe your foot under the bumper and the tailgate opens automatically! There are no specific conditions to be met as we've seen in the Skoda Kodiaq -
Originally Posted by Omkar View Post
However, the system is not that straightforward; if the gap between your locking the car and coming back to open the boot is too short, it has trouble functioning (no such issue if the gap is 10 minutes or so).
This feature worked like a charm every time in the MG. Interestingly, swipe your foot again (once you've loaded your cargo) and the tailgate closes on its own! Not sure what's the purpose of this, but it's there if you don't want to touch the close button on the tailgate:

With all the seats up, the boot space is rated at 155 litres:

Pull this strap to fold down the third row of seats:

The seats fold down flat to increase the boot space to 530 litres. For reference, Hector's boot space is 587 litres. However, unlike the Hector, whose second row of seats can be folded to further increase the space (reference image), the captain seats don't tumble. So this is the maximum boot space you can have in the Hector Plus:

Toolkit and woofer housed neatly under the boot:

This anchor point holding the boot floor cover was broken in our test car:

Last edited by Aditya : 24th August 2020 at 13:12.
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Old 24th August 2020, 13:11   #4
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Other Points

The Hector Plus was launched when India was still struggling with the Covid-19 crisis. This led to an interesting virtual launch - Related post.

ARAI rated fuel efficiency of the Hector Plus are as follows -
1.5L Petrol DCT : 11.67 km/l
1.5L Petrol Hybrid MT : 13.61 km/l
2.0L Diesel MT : 16.56 km/l

While we've mentioned that the diesel would be the preferred pick of the lot, there are four variants to choose from - Style, Super, Smart and Sharp. If you are on a tight budget and don't care that much about the features, the base variant Style makes for a great value for money proposition. It has all the necessary features and Rs 1.21 lakh more for the Super variant isn't justified.

If you have a good budget, buying the 'Smart' variant wouldn't be very Smart. You can opt for the top-end fully loaded Sharp variant for Rs 1.4 lakh more and the features you get over the Smart variant totally justify the price. Additional features include - 2 airbags more (6 in total), a 360-degree camera, heated ORVMs, a panoramic sunroof, auto wipers, auto headlamps, automatic climate control (all other variants have manual AC! Not done MG), a 7-inch digital MID screen (others get a 3.5-inch unit), powered tailgate with foot swipe feature, 4-way powered passenger seat and ambient lighting.

The Hector Plus gets 3 variants less as compared to the regular Hector. The Petrol MT version is available in a single base variant- Style (no mid-variant Super), while the Petrol Hybrid MT version is offered only in the top-end Sharp variant (no mid variants - Super or Smart).

MG has added what they call a chit-chat feature which is a new set of commands that the AI will respond to. Yes it is gimmicky, and you'll find yourself enunciating each syllable for the simplest of commands, but some folks might enjoy having this. Click here to see the list of commands - Chit Chat feature.pdf

You also now have the 'Welcome feature' through which you can customise the welcome message on start up in 100 characters.

Long 5-year / unlimited km standard warranty offered along with complimentary 24x7 roadside assistance. Main reason for this long warranty is to allay fears around an unknown product from an unknown Chinese company.

Maintenance plans start at Rs. 8,000 for 3 years / 30,000 km for the petrol and Rs. 15,000 for 3 years / 45,000 km for the diesel. They go all the way up to 5 years / 50,000 km and 5 years / 75,000 km for the petrol & diesel variants respectively. Buyers are also offered an assured buyback price of 60% of the ex-showroom price after 3 years which is a gimmick (works out to ~50% of the actual price which you'll easily better by selling it yourself). More details on the MG Shield plan in the brochure - Click here.

MG claims that the cost of ownership of the Hector Plus is as low as 45 paise / km for petrol variants and 60 paise / km for diesel variant.

Given the recent times and the need for social distancing, MG has introduced contactless sales and service initiative called the Shield Plus - (Related News). They've also launched a mobile phone app named 'My MG' to provide contactless service to customers (Related News).

The MG Hector Plus brochure can be viewed here - MG Hector Plus.pdf

The accessories brochure can be viewed here - Accessories.pdf
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Old 24th August 2020, 13:15   #5
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Default re: A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th August 2020, 03:36   #6
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Default re: A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

Wow. Not a single reply even after 12 hours of the thread going live? Is it the automotive God's way of balancing out the hype around the launch of Rapid Rider, Honda City and Thar? I guess saying MG marketing really have their work cut out for them would just be an understatement.

Talking about the product itself, I think it is a comfortable 4-seater with a practically unusable third row. I don't think anyone who require a third row would even consider it, once they try it out. IIRC, even the sub 4m Renault Triber had a much more usable third row.

MG did a lot of things right with the Hector - a competent diesel engine, good ride quality and lot's of BLING features at a good price. But they also screwed up in certain areas - no diesel automatic, the entire debacle of suing customer and inflating booking numbers. Add to it, the recent spike in strong anti-China sentiments and cut throat competition in the segment.

IMHO, Hector Plus is just another car that doesn't really stand out in the crowd. Established players like Maruti and Hyundai might be able to get away with it. But it doesn't bode well for a new company like MG. I think they should start bombarding the market with everything they have in their arsenal (true hybrid and long range electric included) to have a future in India. I really don't have high hopes for the upcoming Gloster either, unless they significantly undercut the Fortuner and Endeavor.
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Old 25th August 2020, 07:14   #7
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Default Re: A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

Super-detailed report, Omkar! Thanks for sharing .

This Plus variant has more differentiators than I would have thought. MG has put in reasonable effort. But if I liked the Hector, I would probably stick with the regular variant only. Reason = Spacious backseat that can comfortably seat 3 people. Also, the last row in the Plus variant is really unusable by anyone other than obedient children.
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Old 25th August 2020, 07:35   #8
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With the Hexa discontinued, the Innova outpricing itself and the XL6 being the tinny Maruti it is, this new MG finds itself in a nice little niche with no competition. The combination of superb captain seats, soft and cushy ride, a well insulated cabin and that panoramic sunroof at 20L is hugely appealing to the chauffeur driven. Personally, I am looking for a replacement for my diesel City. Yesterday, while being driven back home after a long day in my Hexa, I was thinking about how good these six seaters with the captain seats are, and was toying with the idea of considering the Hector Plus along with the usual Compass and Creta

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Old 25th August 2020, 09:16   #9
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Default Re: A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

Indeed, the Hector is now even better on paper than its already formidable non-plus form. But, in reality, I imagine the driving dynamics remain poor and reliability from this upstart brand remains a concern. I am not sure I'd want to own one.
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Old 25th August 2020, 10:07   #10
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People looking for a car with 3rd row will have a better option going for the xuv500 as a better car overall except for the fancy gizmos. Of course boot will be a compromise in both and the 5 year unlimited warranty on the MG is an added plus.

The 13 to 16 lakh INR segment of 3 row 7 seater MUV / MPV is still not having a dominating model from any manufacturer. That is why Ertiga and XL6 sells in such heavy numbers owing to the clever pricing and variant options designed by MSIL.
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Old 25th August 2020, 11:50   #11
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Default Re: A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

No offense to anyone who likes the product or the people who own it. In my PERSONAL opinion, even if it was Rolls Royce, I would not support a company from a country that is a threat to my people. I am fortunate enough that those 20 fallen soldiers were not from my close family but unfortunate enough that those were my countrymen. Even after more than 75 years of dropping nukes, US cant sell there products in large numbers in Japan why, not because of government restrictions but, people who know they were wronged, irrespective of the fact how cruel Japanese were back then.

Additionally, this internet inside is practically something that I myself dont like, I like minimized electronics which automatically maximizes your interaction and involvement with the car while driving. This AI and machine learning is also a threat to your personal life as it keeps on analysing yourself, listens to you every time, probably thats why till date I dont have Alexa or Google Home as well..!
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Old 25th August 2020, 11:57   #12
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I don't understand this kind of a seating arrangement. The regular Hector is a proper 5 seater. They could have just added the two small seats in the third row with the other bells and whistles and introduced the 'Plus' variant as a 5 adults and two kids car.

Now this Hector Plus is a 4 adults and two kids car only with hardly any boot space for a long trip with family. If only for adults, it is a four seater compared to the regular Hector! .

Is there any technical reason to replace the bench seat with captain seats?
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Old 25th August 2020, 12:58   #13
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Originally Posted by Nalin1 View Post
I don't understand this kind of a seating arrangement. The regular Hector is a proper 5 seater. They could have just added the two small seats in the third row with the other bells and whistles and introduced the 'Plus' variant as a 5 adults and two kids car.

Now this Hector Plus is a 4 adults and two kids car only with hardly any boot space for a long trip with family. If only for adults, it is a four seater compared to the regular Hector! .

Is there any technical reason to replace the bench seat with captain seats?
No bench can match the absolute comfort and adjustability offered by individual seats. You are free to adjust the legroom, recline angle and lumbar support as you want. You get your personal armrest. You can recline the back all the way down if you want to sleep. The sense of personal space is unmatched. This is simply a better back seat experience, and it really appeals to the chauffeur driven. All super premium sedans also provide 2 individual seats at the back, if not by default then as a paid option.

The idea here is to provide a more comfortable back seat experience, and not to just accommodate the extra person.

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Old 25th August 2020, 13:08   #14
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Default Re: A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

MG will have to factor into anti-china sentiment prevailing in the country right now. They need to put more effort.
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Old 25th August 2020, 13:10   #15
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Default Re: A Close Look : MG Hector Plus

For a family of 4 + 2 kids, this is a good buy, especially in the ~ 20 lakh budget. Waiting to see how Tata prices the Gravitas and Hexa BS 6.
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