MG Comet EV reviewed by an E2O owner: Is the 10L price-tag justified?

The E2O made things too easy, but the Comet is more like a motorbike with a roof!

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I had the opportunity to TD a Comet this afternoon, and benchmark it against my E2O Plus P6. Somehow in the last few days, I had missed the detailed pricing that had been announced by MG, and the fact that the top model costs ~Rs 10.5 lakhs on the road in Delhi was the first shocker - I was fixated on the ~Rs 8 lakh price announced and thought the car with all its bells and whistles would be around Rs 8.5 to 8.75 lakhs OTR. My fault for not keeping track.

It certainly is a very attractive and cute-looking car. It goes reasonably fast, but not in the league of the Nexon EV. The E2O will keep up in F mode up to 60 km/h with the Comet in 'Eco' mode, and in B (boost) mode with the Comet's 'Normal' mode.

My wife flatly refused to struggle to get into the rear seat. There just wasn't enough space for her to get in and out, she said. So poor Mr. Manish was confined to the rear seat, while my wife made herself comfortable in the front passenger seat.

As soon as she was seated, I elbowed her in her right arm sharply as I turned the dial to Drive mode. For the rest of the drive, despite my apologies, she sat half-turned in her seat, with her right arm firmly out of the way of my elbow. Took her a while to cool down!

The car moves off smoothly, but there's no creep function as in most automatics and EVs, including the E2O. So manoeuvring in and out of parking spaces meant switching between the A & B pedals, and not just modulating the brake pedal for accurate positioning. This one feature (or the lack of it) made me lose my cool a couple of times. Oh, and the Comet has the grabbiest brakes of any car I've driven in a long while, or maybe this particular vehicle had that problem.

Talking of cooling, the AC works well, is a lot less noisy than my E2O, and though not a chiller in the 42°C ambient temperature outside, does the job reasonably well (at the expense of battery charge, of course). For the 8-km road test, we ran down the charge from 76% to 71% - and this was while driving in a leisurely fashion, never exceeding 50 km/h. My E2O would drain 10% battery for a similar trip with AC on, so based on this, the Comet ought to run about 145-150 km from 100% to 20% SOC. I wouldn't go below 20% for any EV unless it's a dire emergency. So my place in Greater Noida and back on a hot summer day might trigger range anxiety in the Comet but is impossible in the E2O.

The suspension is silent over very rough roads (the E2O does make some noise, but it's nearly 6.5 years and 40k km old), but body roll and pitch are uncomfortable unless slowing right down to below 10 km/h. The little tyres don't ride over bumps and potholes easily, and the E2O shows its advantage here with its 14" wheels.

Manoeuvrability is fantastic, the steering is light at parking speeds, and visibility all around is superb, even without mod-cons like the reversing camera or 360° view. Now, I park in reverse down a narrow lane, and I've parked much bigger vehicles in my parking slot, like the Scorpio / Ciaz. The E2O made things too easy, but the Comet is more like a motorbike with a roof!

Here are a few pics to compare the size of the two cars alongside each other:

The boot space is non-existent in the Comet, and here's a comparison pic. So no airport pickup / dropping duty for 2 people with luggage in this car, which the E2O effortlessly manages:

And the rear seat has not had enough knee space, length or thigh support for comfort. Here, the setup in both cars is with the front seat adjusted for my height, with me sitting behind that seat (top pics = Comet, bottom pics = E2O Plus):

When seated behind the wheel, there is too much information, in too small a font, with too low a brightness in the extra-bright summer sunlight of Delhi, on the huge expanse of the screen in front. Some of the writing is not even legible, and it would be worse if I were to wear sunglasses. That screen turned out to be quite a distraction while driving! I am 'nit-picking here in an entirely different sense, but there should have been a slider to turn up the brightness of the screen like that of smartphones, and some sort of option to increase font sizes.

Tried to turn on the headlights, and another surprise - the light switch at the end of the right stalk has to be turned anticlockwise to turn the lights on, and clockwise to the off position. Why, MG?

All in all, I am put off by this overpriced little toy, which doesn't even have space for me to park my mobile phone safely, and am left wondering why Mahindra discontinued the E2O Plus. With a better battery pack and motor for better range and top speed, that car would have been the perfect city car - not too small, not too cramped, and certainly not as quirky as the Comet. But then, Mahindra has a different customer in mind, with its bigger, pricier EV that competes with the Nexon - the XUV4OO; and my first spotting while I was driving the Comet.

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