Checking out the MG Astor SUV at a dealership

Dare I say it - the interior quality is a full segment above the Skoda-VAG twins, and feels half a segment above the Creta and Seltos.

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Had a chance to check out the Astor today. Like others have mentioned in the previous page - this car is ALL about the interiors. ADAS, so-called "gimmicks" like the AI bot etc are good differentiators, but what really leaves an impression in this car is the touch and feel. Dare I say it - the interior quality is a full segment above the Skoda-VAG twins, and feels half a segment above the Creta and Seltos. Compass Model S would do better - but then the pricing will be near double as well!

Noting down some of my observations and personal opinions of the 1.5 VTi top-end version on display:

Front grille is definitely attractive and will be a favourite with the masses. But it is not too bling and in-your-face as I expected, at least for this black car. Looks a lot more busy in pictures than in the real world.

The surrounding thick border is finished in brushed satin effect, and is not chrome. Nice touch IMHO - would have been too bling with that also in chrome:

Nice detailing in the headlamps. Very similar to Skoda's crystalline elements though! If its any consolation - I feel the Astor has done it better than the Kushaq:

360 camera looks very prominent. A slightly lesser bulge could have helped against vandals?

Closer look at the 17 inch alloy wheels of the 1.5 NA top-end version. Good that the stock tyres are Continental, even though the media cars had Goodyear TripleMax2 tyres too:

Red interiors look good in person, but not so in pictures. It is a subtle, wine red as people have mentioned above. Really liked the quality feel it imparts to the cabin. Would like to see the all-black version too - I have a feeling it will be the best of the lot:

Thanks to good headroom, you can sit upright with a good view of the bonnet. "AI bot" is hardly in the field of view for a tall driver:

Good enough space to walk in! Cabin is a slight step up for the elderly though:

Legroom is decent for a 6-footer. Can get comfortable without issues. Only good as a four seater though - but so is the competition - especially the Germans:

However, for the record, Kushaq/ Taigun easily can beat the Astor in rear legroom. Here is the Kushaq set for my height:

Boot space is decent. Useable space is certainly lesser than the Germans, but more than the Koreans. Quality of materials is apparent though - even in the boot. Nice strings to hold the items in place on either sides of the central tray:

Somehow the tray seems raised above the spare wheel to reduce the loading lip. Couldn't really figure out if it can be placed lower to increase luggage room:

Panoramic sunroof is massive, no doubt! This will SELL cars, specially for families with small kids:

One item which looks a bit low rent in the cabin, especially the cutouts for the USB slots look rough:

Steering wheel looks on the smaller side and is finished well. However, the leather wrap doesn't really match the quality of the other leather / leatherette materials in the cabin. Scope for improvement there:

Foam padding is really impressive and give the touch points a very soft and luxurious feel. In comparison - the Germans seem to have just wrapped some leather over plastic! May not be very evident in the pic, but the leather really is soft touch on the door pads and squeeze in when pressed. Small bits that leave an impression:

Seats are done well, and the front seats especially feel good. Under thigh support is a bit lacking though. Really prefer this quality over the Germans:

Cost cutting is really evident in this one place mainly:

Camera quality is on the poor side - though not as bad as the Germans. Hello MG, meet my Punto:

Definite scope for improvement here. Cameras on the flagship MG cars aren't so great either:

Some of the other bits that scream good quality, the AC vents:

Rear armrest has a covered cup holder which has a good tactile feel to open and close. Has rubber pads to hold items in place, but these don't feel very durable. Front cup holders have retractable pads that feel good and hold smaller bottles in place too:

The key:

Although the digital cluster is only 7-inch and smaller than the Germans, they are utilized much, much better with two digital dials on either side. Speed and tacho are both simultaneously displayed - both in analog and digital fashion. Wish the Taigun had something similar, instead of the coloured blanks on either side:

This is how you make roof liners for a Rs. 20 lakh car:

If anyone is wondering what's the big deal - see the DRASTIC difference for yourself with the Taigun / Kushaq:

1.5 VTi engine is DVVT branded. Hopefully that's for dual VVT for intake and exhaust ends?

Gets underbody protection, but not fully covered:

SAIC branding is seen aplenty:

I think the SAIC origin is definitely the biggest weakness of this car:

If this drives anywhere close to neutral or above it, this is a very good effort by MG and is sure to win customer hearts in showrooms. God bless competition! The Astor really makes you wonder how easy the Germans took the approach towards their make-or-break products with cost based decisions across the board, except for pricing. This truly comes across as an honest effort - and despite the brand challenges (and if the pricing is right!!!), will easily end up as the third favourite in the segment, behind the Koreans.

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