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Old 1st November 2019, 18:30   #31
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Driving the 2.0L Diesel MT

Sadly, full engine protection is missing. I wonder why manufacturers skimp on a crucial <1,000 rupee part in a 20-lakh car:
Probably because they have covered up the top portion of the engine bay with so much plastic, that if full fledged underbody engine guard is provided, it might reduce the flow rate of hot air removal from engine bay, and lead to some major problem.

Picturize the visit of a typical middle-aged indian buyer to the MG showroom :

(1) Sunroof ? yes, big one, panoramic
(2) Touchscreen ? yes big one (dont care about touch lag or boot time).
(3) android auto / apple-car play ? Of course yes.
(4) DRLs ? yes, excellent ones which makes it look like iron man.
(5) Flat floor in rear ? yes, no more footwell wars with the middle passenger.
(6) Very nice seats and excellent looking interior ? of course, have a seat and take a look.
(7) Enough charging sockets ? yes.
(8) Very nice and quiet, with an excellent sounding music system ? oh yes.

The customer is already sold.

Then he sees how the IRVM has a USB charging socket to plug in the power source for his dashcam that he would install later, and thinks - wow, MG has thought about everything that I will need. Let me book the car.

Probably 1 out of 200 customers will actually find out that high speed ride and steering feedback and body roll are poor during test drive, and will reject the car for those reasons. The only reason all the other 199 people will not book it, will be due to price negotiations failing and/or insanely high waiting period of more than 6 months, and/or due to not liking the way it looks.

Same goes with the way the rear looks (reminds me of a primate with red bottom), weird tacho and cheapskate 'internet inside' badging. Nothing wrong if many of them like it.

This car is a perfect example of why extensive and exhaustive market research is the cornerstone of a successful product. No wonder the booking numbers are through the roof.

Last edited by ampere : 2nd November 2019 at 00:15. Reason: back to back posts merged
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Old 1st November 2019, 20:24   #32
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Default Re: MG Hector : Official Review

Drove it the very next day after my friend got delivery and was thoroughly unimpressed. It's not a SUV. It can be clubbed with MUV vehicles like Marazzo, Innova. It has only bling but no wow factor. The car understeers. The gear ratios are optimised for city driving and not for highways or overtaking.

I am not surprised that a Chinese vehicle has been so appreciated here knowing Indian car customers who purchased 1st gen Santro and Brio (hands down the ugliest car ever)[no offense to respective owners]. Chinese steel quality is doubtful and it is not controversial. I will not be surprised if we see a lot of stranded hectors. Several things downgrade steel - most notably is the actual chemistry. Each grade of steel has a specific set of elements in specific allowable amounts to be that grade - min X% carbon, A to B% silicon, maximum D% sulfur, etc. You then have non-metallic inclusions that can be present - often called slivers in the coil market. Silvers when present in exposed coils do not let the paint adhere to them causing the part to be defected. You also specify the allowable width, thickness, crown [thinner at the edge than the center], and cobble [undulations] in the coil.

The "poor quality" of the steel is that it may not meet the above criteria. Slivers require the coils to be inspected and the actual chemistry requires testing to verify, and Chinese steel right or wrong has a reputation of not maintaining the standards required by the customer or of trying to pass off lower grade [marks, sliver count, borderline chemistry, etc] steel as prime steel.

And then I think they may go the mobile phone route. Churning out models after models at cheap prices so that customers may forget about previous models and its hardships and new naive first time customer will fall into their trap with their audacious advertising. Who remembers 6 months old Vivo, Oppo, Realme, Xiaomi,one+ models and their quality.

Then there is a whole lot question about what sort of paint, pu and plastics they are using. China is known for carcinogenic products and their shenanigans. "Chinese drywall" is a term for problem drywall installed in buildings along the Gulf Coast states and in Virginia. Most of these homes had new drywall installed between 2001 and 2009. Some people who installed that drywall have reported health problems such as coughing, shortness of breath, nausea, headaches and fatigue. Federal agency investigations found the drywall from China gave off high levels of hydrogen sulfide indoors.

Laminate flooring manufactured in China between 2012 and 2014 also tested as emitting high levels of formaldehyde in recent investigations. Reportedly, that flooring is no longer sold in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends several steps to reduce exposure including opening windows and using exhaust fans.

Even a giant like Mattel had to recall over 1 million products due to lead paint toys. If a multi billion global manufacture can not control its OEM then it will be worth watching how a Chinese car maker adhere to its norm if it has any. Thomas and friend another giant also had lead paint in their wooden toys. Mind you it's not a house where windows and doors are open and has enough ventilation. The car has less than 80sft of space and most people keep it closed with same air recirculating inside.

I have seen enough Chinese products in my life and can never be satisfied with any Chinese origin products unless and until a strict third party has thoroughly inspected and cleared it. Then there is always some privacy issues and security issues with "internet connected" cars. I still can not forget the death of renowned journalist Michael Hastings who investigated CIA and NSA of USA and whose car is believed to be hacked to crash and burn. But we are not that important, still privacy is something now that has to be kept in this interconnected world.

I'll buy a Harrier any day over Hector or even a Hexa but then I just bought a Dzire 30 days back so whom am I to suggest or judge.

MG Hector : Official Review-20191101_180835.jpg

Last edited by aah78 : 1st November 2019 at 21:26. Reason: Uppercase/Lowercase. Random punctuation. Picture inserted in-line.
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Old 1st November 2019, 21:13   #33
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MG did a smart thing by taking the gearbox from Fiat, unlike Tata which mated its own gearbox to the 2.0 diesel in the Harrier.
AFAIK the manual gearbox on the Harrier is the same as the Compass. Or am I missing something here?
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Old 1st November 2019, 21:15   #34
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This car is a perfect example of why extensive and exhaustive market research is the cornerstone of a successful product. No wonder the booking numbers are through the roof.
So true. And that is my thoughts as well. They have really done their research well. And seen that the Indian car scene is still at the aspirational level. And I mean no offense in that!

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In the 1960s, everyone said Japanese cars are a joke and the Japanese weren't making proper cars. In the 1980s, Korean cars were said to be a joke and that the Koreans would never be able to make proper cars. In the 2010s, they said that the Chinese won't make proper cars. You know where this is going... .
Specifically wanted to quote this point. I really get very, very tired when people constantly bash Chinese products - even here. I mean, I get it when we see cheap knock-off products that really show their quality. But when it comes to Chinese companies owning other marque etc and doing a great job (like in this case), I think we really need to understand where they are coming from. And heck, they manufacture pretty much everything on this planet I guess.

And yes, people wrote off Japanese products in the past. Then they wrote off Korean products. And now, well...
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Old 1st November 2019, 21:34   #35
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The Smaller yet Significant Things

Weirdly, the DTE reading stops once the fuel tank hits reserve. It was showing "80 km" left until the reserve warning came on. Then, the DTE stopped! How silly, as that's the exact time that you'll need the DTE the most. ...
This happened in my new Swift too. Once the reserve warning light came on the DTE displayed ---. This should be common behavior with other cars as well.

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Old 1st November 2019, 22:01   #36
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First of all big thanks to blackwasp, Ajmat & Vid6639 for an excellent review.

IMHO MG has done a great job in terms of studying the Indian customer mindset, heart set & pocket depth and exactly designed a product which fulfils the aspirations.

How many of the customers will ever reach the threshold value to experience the negatives of the product. The wobbly ride even might be appreciated!
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Old 1st November 2019, 22:19   #37
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Default Re: MG Hector : Official Review

For the life of me, I just can't digest that tachometer. Humans are used to seeing all gauges and meters rotate clockwise if not in a linear fashion.

My friend checked out the Hector and he said this- "A mango man who loves the interior and music system will take a 3-5 km test drive and sign the cheque. Anyone who loves driving will not buy one. I'm certainly not replacing my 12 year old Corolla with this car." Clearly, MG has exceeded the expectations of it's target market.

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Old 1st November 2019, 23:00   #38
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I have seen enough Chinese products in my life and can never be satisfied with any Chinese origin products unless and until a strict third party has thoroughly inspected and cleared it.
That's a bit unfair, IMHO - whether we like it or not, manufacturing for anything and everything in the world has been/is moving into china. That's their USP as a country. They make everything from 5 rupee LEDs to iPhones to steel subframes for satellites. Built for cost - there are both cheap carcinogenic products and high quality medical grade surgical products. So, what price are you willing for pay for something, that determines what china gives you in return.

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I'll buy a Harrier any day over Hector or even a Hexa but then I just bought a Dzire 30 days back so whom am I to suggest or judge.
How can you assure yourselves that tata/maruti are not sourcing equally (or worse) carcinogenic plastics from local suppliers and putting it as dashboard in your current/future car ?
Simple answer is, there is no way to know. We are buying and eating vegetables laden with carcinogenic pesticides and mangoes artificially sweetened and yellowed with cadmium. Interior plastics of cars causing health issues is the least of the worries of an average indian.
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Old 1st November 2019, 23:49   #39
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Superb review and rated 5 stars.

As reported by others, my family too was floored during our first test drive of the Hector. As my requirement was strictly of an automatic, only the DCT variant fit my needs. The test drive itself was short due to the traffic and foot fall in July. This car gave so many features and asked for so little, literally made me blind to its flaws. My 6 year old daughter was simply ecstatic to the 'Hello MG' voice command. My wife couldn't see beyond the space and the sunroof. I think its one of the few cars whose sunroof is truly panoramic and even the rear passengers can enjoy it. So not to be the one who would miss the offer, I ended up booking it. I didn't really mind the 50K as the wait was going to be long and had enough time to make a decision.

And finally the Team-BHP review comes after a gruelling wait. It did confirm my suspicions about the DCT variant. In fact just last week I cancelled my booking as I wasn't fully convinced of the purchase. The DCT just couldn't read my mind in my second longer test drive. It struggled to quickly close the gaps in moderate Mumbai traffic. Also, although subjective, I prefer understated looks.

Don't get me wrong, its a wonderful product at the price point. If you keep the political biases aside, I think the Chinese products are really great value for money at a particular price point and their cars are no different. I think the future would be interesting and these Chinese brands, as long as they create local jobs, are the much needed 'Price Correction Factor' and competition which the Indian auto industry needs.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 00:02   #40
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Chinese steel quality is doubtful and it is not controversial. I will not be surprised if we see a lot of stranded hectors.

I have seen enough Chinese products in my life and can never be satisfied with any Chinese origin products unless and until a strict third party has thoroughly inspected and cleared it.
In my opinion, the chinese ownership is the advantage here. They have deep pockets, they've done their research and they've cracked the market. And they're the best when it comes to delivering quality while keeping the costs at a minimum.

On what basis do you foresee 'stranded hectors'? As per the Team BHP review, the interior quality is good, the body is sturdy and the diesel engine variant drives really well. The car is well build overall and gives bang for the buck. Highway dynamics aren't the best but honestly, when did we buy cars only for their highway characteristics?

The heart of a car is it's engine. And here, MG has done well to take Fiat's tried and tested diesel engine and the gearbox. Which is why, an old school purist like me is convinced.

Your opinion regarding Chinese products is a bit biased. Look at the iPhone. Made in China. Look at the upcoming ZS EV. Made in China. The interior quality is stellar.

The way MG is going, it's got a gameplan. And it's here to stay. And the way things are, no one's complaining. Hopefully it'll be a wake up call for the older manufacturers to up their game.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 00:58   #41
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Look at the iPhone. Made in China. Look at the upcoming ZS EV. Made in China. The interior quality is stellar.
Yes iPhone is made in China, and that's all.

1. iPhone is neither developed in China nor developed by any Chinese company. Hector is mostly developed in China, by a Chinese company.

2. iPhone though made in China, specifications and quality related decisions were not in the hands of the Chinese maker, but it's not the same in case of Hector aka Baojun 530.

3. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo didn't try to hide their Chinese origin, they were bold in their approach. That's how SAIC should approach our market if they have any confidence in their product and themselves.

4. If Tata were to slap a Land-Rover badge on Hexa and pass it on as a JLR vehicle will it become a true British car or can anyone in the know accept it as a true LR car. But SAIC is taking Baojun 530 and passing it on as a MG car, it maybe legally okay but not ethically. But the poor Tata's were doing just the opposite, they're trying to give an LR platform at an affordable price with Tata badge, they're bold in their approach despite the failures in their way.

5. Tata Indica being sold as MG Rover's CityRover is not Tata doing it but MG Rover doing it, so it's not the Tata's fault/mistake but MG Rover's. They are just buying it from Tata, slapping their badge, and are selling it.

Respects to Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and Tata, but not to the manipulative MG aka SAIC.

Note, these were my thoughts, don't get offended and take it personal.

Last edited by wheelguy : 2nd November 2019 at 01:02.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 07:21   #42
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Nobody has leveraged a 'brand buy' as brilliantly as SAIC. Not Tata, nor Mahindra. In fact I often discuss this with colleagues (and even on TBHP this deserves to be a thread on its own). The Nexon has all the attributes to make it a 'Mini-Land Rover', it has a solid build and everything just works brilliantly, but what stops Tata from slapping the badge on it? They can make chassis/platform changes, maybe add a 4X4, price it well and leverage the brand. They will certainly get volumes, both in India and China, as that's the market requirement. There is news that Tata might let go of Jaguar and Land Rover, so who is to be blamed here? (If only they had been smart about it). Harrier carries the LR legacy right? So why were so many glitches reported at launch? Isn't it akin to killing 'brand LR', since expectations were sky high? Such a beautiful car, but doing so poorly! Harrier doesn't deserve this. What has Mahindra gained from its acquisitions like Reva and SsyangYong? Have they used it to the hilt? The market is quite unforgiving and there are only winners and losers. Use every trick in the book to get ahead. You have seen departures like GM and Ford, who just did not research the market enough and launch relevant products. (EcoSport is an exception). SAIC has a winner in MG, a dead brand which they have revived successfully, we need to accept that fact. Hector has resonated with us Indians, in spite of being Chinese (and the baggage that comes with it). Respects to brand Tata and Mahindra (I really mean this), but these are my thoughts.
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If Tata were to slap a Land-Rover badge on Hexa and pass it on as a JLR vehicle will it become a true British car or can anyone in the know accept it as a true LR car. But SAIC is taking Baojun 530 and passing it on as a MG car, it maybe legally okay but not ethically. But the poor Tata's were doing just the opposite, they're trying to give an LR platform at an affordable price with Tata badge, they're bold in their approach despite the failures in their way.

5. Tata Indica being sold as MG Rover's CityRover is not Tata doing it but MG Rover doing it, so it's not the Tata's fault/mistake but MG Rover's. They are just buying it from Tata, slapping their badge, and are selling it.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 08:54   #43
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Rated the review 5 stars! Kudos to the team for the insane effort!

This car is an interesting blend of funk over function, and a lesson for me on how important research and marketing can be for a product.

The car has all the bells and whistles to attract the mainstream consumers, who want a point A to B vehicle having the highest bling per rupee.

This isn't a vehicle meant to be nurtured for 10+ years.
It's the car for "it's time": use it for 5-7 years max, get over it and get a new one. Consumerism at it's finest.

Hector will seem a good buy for people who buy the car based on specs rather than their own hands-on experience.

The addition of a USB port for the dashcam indicates that there are right people at the right places. However, the absolutely horrendous badging of "Internet Inside" makes me want to read the minutes of the meeting where it was discussed (if at all).

Having a turning radius of approx 6 metres is the first made me gawk!
My Skoda Octavia has a turning radius of 5.2m! That means the longer Octavia shall be a much more easier car to park than this vehicle. Am definitely not looking forward to the many Hectors blocking the passageway on public parking spaces, whilst they jostle with the steering to "Get in there!" (OT: Bono's back on the F1 circuit :P)

Last edited by sharktale : 2nd November 2019 at 08:56.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 09:11   #44
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Super write-up and awesome pictures!
MG has done their homework and thus have a winner on their hands. Most buyers will be wowed by the interiors, space and features as well as the overall size and that LARGE grille. The hit or miss exterior look won't matter to them. The car is screaming out for larger wheels, though.
All in all an applaud able first attempt.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 09:27   #45
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I am not surprised that a Chinese vehicle has been so appreciated here knowing Indian car customers who purchased 1st gen Santro and Brio (hands down the ugliest car ever)[no offense to respective owners]. Chinese steel quality is doubtful and it is not controversial. I will not be surprised if we see a lot of stranded hectors.

The "poor quality" of the steel is that it may not meet the above criteria.

Churning out models after models at cheap prices so that customers may forget about previous models ...... Who remembers 6 months old Vivo, Oppo, Realme, Xiaomi,one+ models and their quality.

China is known for carcinogenic products and their shenanigans.

Even a giant like Mattel had to recall over 1 million products due to lead paint toys.
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Yes iPhone is made in China, and that's all.

4. If Tata were to slap a Land-Rover badge on Hexa and pass it on as a JLR vehicle will it become a true British car or can anyone in the know accept it as a true LR car.
Hi there!

After reading your commentary, for a minute, I thought we were all in a WTO summit and arguing dumping duties on Chinese steel.

Without going into the chemistry of what makes steel tick - am not an ore specialist by any stretch of the imagination - there are tens if not hundreds of things to consider when manufacturers plan a car. Steel is one component. Hardly any manufacturer these days builds all the parts themselves.

Takata is world-renowned for Airbags. A Japanese company, supplier to top brands, the likes of Honda and Toyota. They had a big issue with the Airbags which led to massive recalls.

Toyota had braking issues on Prius leading to massive recalls.

Cars and Phones and Toys are different genres requiring a different level of investment and commitment. Manufacturers have figured out a way to quickly produce new phone models. Cars assembly lines are a different beast.

To plan and manufacture a new car - I am assuming tons of work goes into R&D, Aerodynamic, Sketch, Visualization, Field Testing, Safety, Crash Ratings, and the whole nine yards.

It's not comparable to an INR 10,000 phone that you can buy with cashback offers.

Quality concerns are genuine with Chinese merchandise and so is the risk and reputation loss on tens (hundreds) of millions of dollars of investment.

The question is whether SAIC / MG is committed to the long term game. No one can predict that, not even SAIC. It's all market-driven. American cars didn't come to India with an intent to only do business for x years and then leave.

Automobile Industry is tightly knit worldwide. Each company has a stake in another.

Daimler controls Mercedes.

Volkswagen controls Audi, Seat, Skoda, Buggati, Bentley, Porsche, and Lamborghini.

PSA controls DS, Peugeot, and Citroen.

FCA controls FIAT and Chrysler (part ownership)

..and then there's Toyota, Honda, Ford, TATA, Renault, Hyundai, Nissan, Geely, and the BMW Group.

FCA and PSA are considering marriage.

Here's an infographic (not my creation) that illustrates this:

MG Hector : Official Review-crbrandsownership.png

++

No brand can really create chaos and escape without some consequence.

Indian car ownership laws are not very strong - easy to get taken for a ride (pun intended).

But, can't single out Chinese car companies yet - too early to comment.

When Skoda arrived, everyone accused them of dumping inferior technology - Pump Duse - in India. Octavia was the first aggressively priced value-for-money car in a long time to land on our shores. They beat the pants off the competition. Mitsubishi Lancer was the segment king/queen. They never recovered from the Skoda onslaught.

XUV 500 did the same in the SUV/MUV segment in the INR 15 lacs range. Were there problems in that car? Yes. Did people still buy? Yes.

Hector's faux leather may have long-term carcinogenic effects - I don't have evidence. But, our Air Quality may kill us sooner. Delhi had an AQI of 795 yesterday. Can't blame the Chinese for that.

If people want to chase brand names, they are free to buy any brand name - most are available in India. You can even import the ones not available and pay the duty.

Robert Downey Jr. couldn't lift up HTC.

Benedict Cumberbatch is not going to lead a revolution. It's the hard product that will talk.

Hector is a mass-market product. It's not meant for the discerning driver/enthusiast just like Maruti is not meant to rock the boat.

Last edited by t2k4 : 2nd November 2019 at 09:44.
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