Bought the 2023 MG Hector: Delivery, ownership & performance review

Coming from a Hyundai Elantra that I drove for 6 years before this, it was a marked change for me.

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Hey folks,

Had taken delivery for my Sharp Pro Starry Black CVT Hector on Wednesday, 25th of January. Here's my initial observations post (been meaning to write earlier, but have been so so occupied)

Accessories, price & delivery experience

Took the delivery around 5 pm on a weekday (the day before Republic Day), and it was a pretty standard affair. There was another black Hector Plus that rolled out just before mine and the SA informed me that mine was the second delivery in Bengaluru (the delay attributable to the commissioner's approval coming in late for Karnataka)

Many folks have asked on the forum regarding the on-road pricing, accessories list and mandatory asks from the dealers. So, here was my breakdown:

Sharp Pro CVT Starry Black

  • Ex-showroom: ₹20,77,800
  • TCS: ₹20,778
  • RTO tax: ₹4,17,008
  • FASTag: ₹600
  • Number plate + registration fee: ₹2,238
  • Insurance (got from Acko - 1 yr own-damage + 3 yr third party, return to invoice, zero depreciation, engine + consumables cover, during repairs): ₹34,878
  • Accessories (screen guard, steering cover, car cover, number plate holders, sun shades, mudflaps, manual book, ownership folder): ₹9,111

Total (excluding PPF, silencer & undercarriage coating): ₹25,62,413

PPF (Garware 200microns self-healing TPU), silencer & undercarriage coating: ₹1,34,036

Dimensions, looks and stance

Coming from a sedan that I drove for 6 years before this (Hyundai Elantra 2016 2.0 Petrol AT), this was a marked change for me. I've never driven large SUV-ish vehicles for a sustained period and was apprehensive of potential blind spots.

The first drive home cleared all those worries. The car is big, no doubt about it. It's almost as wide as a Fortuner and way longer than my old Elantra (which was itself a pain to handle in the weirdly designed basement parking in Bengaluru). But I not felt at home in Hector. Feels like the proportions are spot-on to provide a very fine balance of space on the inside (more on this later in the post) and manoeuvrability. It feels (almost) like I'm driving my wife's Jazz. No issues, whatsoever, except perhaps that the view from the IRVM was not very helpful (solved it later though, added a RedTiger dashcam that clamps to the IRVM and affixed its rear camera near the rear number plate light).

Here's a photo with me against the side profile (I'm 5'9"):

Coming to the most hotly commented-on topic about the new Hector - the grille. Visit the car in person, and you'll know that it doesn't look out of place at all. It blends in quite well with the curve of the front end and doesn't look plodded on unnecessarily (this is true IMHO, especially on the black body colour)

The car looks absolutely brilliant from the rear 3/4th. I feel this is probably the best angle for the new Hector (please excuse the random reflections. These were taken in a hurry at an under-lit highway pit-stop):

Another side profile:

Interiors and gadgets

I'm a sucker for screens (I have 5 televisions at home, much to my wife's annoyance). The infotainment screen on the Hector is high-res with very good brightness and clarity. Android Auto and Carplay both look amazing and are very helpful with this big real estate. The touch response is totally lag-free with Android Auto and Carplay (even with the MapmyIndia app), but lags a bit when handling settings / HVAC screens. Looks like the software implementation from MG is the culprit here and not the hardware. This gives me hope that this can be rectified in upcoming OTA updates (a man can dream). Nonetheless, it's not unusable/irritating. It's just something that will lessen your smile at times though)

The materials used inside are top-class IMO. It all comes together rather well and lends the cabin a very plush look. The fit could've been better in a few places though (eg. fonts are inconsistent and a few hard plastics in a few places are not aligned 100% perfectly), but this is me trying to find flaws. Wouldn't have noticed them if I hadn't had a look at the question "so what is not good?"

Seat ventilation works flawlessly and is not noisy either. The speakers are AMAZING! However, there is a big output quality difference b/w playing through Android Auto / Carplay and through the installed JioSaavn app. The loss of fidelity through Bluetooth is quite apparent (still very good though). But listen to a good punchy bass-heavy track through the Saavn app and you'll be blown away

The seats are super comfortable, but the jury is still out since yet to spend 5+ hours in them at a stretch. What really annoys me though is the lack of memory seats. I and wife swapped front seats very often and given the height difference, adjusting from scratch every time is a big pain

Here are a couple of pictures of the interiors:

Performance, suspension & fuel efficiency.

This is NOT a performance-oriented car. Please don't expect push-back-to-the-seat exhilarating acceleration. That's not going to happen.

The acceleration is adequate. Sedate drivers will be at ease. Overtaking is easy, you get the power you need, nothing more. Tried Sport mode very briefly just to test out if there's a massive difference. There isn't. The throttle response improves slightly. But only slightly. Not sure if this will change over time (for the better?) - older Hector owners please chime in on this topic.

Coming to the strengths of the car: the almost perfect balance between comfort & handling. At slow speeds, you'll almost glide over bad patches. Rumble strips? Where the rumble at? Body roll is there, owing to the tall stance and soft suspension setup, but isn't that bad. There might be more body roll while tight-cornering at 100+ speeds, but probably you should look elsewhere if that's what you want to do. This car is not meant for that. Overall, very happy with the suspension and handling prowess of the car. My other option, the Meridian is in a different league altogether though when it comes to suspension and handling. But that engine... why, Jeep? Anyhow, I digress.

As of writing this post, I have clocked 328 km on the odo. Just came back from a 133km round trip on the Kolar highway. The onward driver was your truly (semi-sedate - was testing its legs, so did push it slightly, but not too much)

Here's the iSmart screen for my driving (FE of 11km/l):

That's all for now, folks. Taking the car to a Bengaluru-Goa trip the coming weekend. Should have more points to talk about when I return (praises hopefully)

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