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MG Hector CVT ownership review: initial observations

All I can say is that the car performed admirably well in the area that mattered most, back seat comfort and driving ease. There were no issues faced during overtaking, then again, my driving is very sedate.

BHPian itherohan recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I love driving, but am totally hopeless at the technical aspects of cars. I have driven lots of cars for lots of miles, but will not be able to identify any part under the hood of a car. So please excuse the lack of technical insight in this review. Think of it as your layman neighbour talking about his car.

At the time of posting this review, the car has been driven for 1900 km (1200 km on highway / rest in Mumbai), have got the first free servicing done (1 month / 1000 km).

Likes:

  • Smooth to drive. Extremely easy to maneuver around on city roads, and also equally capable on highways.
  • Ample space inside and smartly planned as well. Carried 5 adults + 1 child in comfort from Mumbai - Goa. Have earlier done the same drive with the same people in a Hyundai Creta, and all felt that the Hector was much more comfortable.
  • AC comfortably cools the entire cabin quickly. Ventilated seats are a boon.
  • Very good boot space. Carried luggage for 4 adults and one infant for a one week trip quite easily.
  • Although no safety rating, has all the safety equipment which can be expected.

Dislikes:

  • Fuel Economy is no doubt on the lower side. I have observed around 7-8 km/l in Mumbai and around 11-12 km/l on highway (tank to tank).
  • Although the CVT compliments my driving style, enthusiastic friends who have driven my car all have mentioned the lack of acceleration at slow speeds.
  • Headlights are strictly adequate at night, but are atrocious in heavy rainfall (discovered this when we experienced unseasonal rains in Goa. Had to be on high beams on the small local roads to see anything).
  • Touchscreen is laggy (not all the time, but especially when you are showing your car to friends).
  • Does not have a digital speedometer. Instead has Digital Average Speed, which I have no idea what to do with. Although the speedometer is bright and easy to read, it cannot match the ease of a digital reading.
  • Does not have a instantaneous fuel economy readout.
  • 360 degree camera quality is not very good, especially in bad light conditions.

Other Small Things:

  • The sunroof is amazing, especially for people like my wife who has mild motion sickness. But you will get tired of explaining to family / friends why they or their kids cannot stick their heads out while on the road. Better have your points ready because you will need them.
  • It's a Chinese car. Made in India, but the company is Chinese. You will be constantly hoping that China doesn't start any new conflicts with India. Be prepared to listen to / ignore people who have strong views about China.

As this review will be read by members who are planning to buy the CVT MG Hector, below are a few people who should not buy the car in my opinion (strictly my opinion, no offence to anyone):

  1. People who will drive the car every day, especially in cities. The mileage will always be a problem. Whether the comfort is enough of a reason to justify the cost of running it daily is a personal decision (it is not in my opinion, if I needed a car for daily usage, I would not have bought this car).
  2. Pedal to the metal driving enthusiasts. This car will not beat any car off the traffic signal. It builds up speed slowly and smoothly, and you will reach triple digit speeds easily, but not as quick as other cars in this price range.
  3. People who are impressed by the Voice commands and the I- smart. These are at best features you will rarely use after the initial few months. They are not smooth and as easy to use and if you buy the car for these features, you will be disappointed.

As you can see above, I have listed lots of dislikes / niggles and only three likes. But I am extremely happy with the car, and the dislikes / problems are not that important to me. Whereas the good points were the main things I was looking for.

Car Buying Process / Experience

This below section will be extremely convoluted, because we started off with no set budget and no idea what kind of car we wanted. Apologies for the long winded background and explanation.

Previous Cars: Me and my wife are bike Lovers, and spent the first five years of our marriage on our bikes and never even looked at cars with any interest. If required we would borrow my brother's cars (he initially had a Wagon R, then a CVT Honda City). But as per our family rules, having a kid means giving up on riding two wheelers. So in 2016, when my wife gave me the good news, my bikes were sold away and the hunt for a car began. This was the time I started reading Team BHP. But my lack of knowledge made me terribly confused as every car had good points and bad points.

So I did what we Indians did best, and followed the crowd. If thousands of people are trusting the Maruti Suzuki Swift, so shall I (we were buying a second hand car as in my great foresight before marriage when I was young and dumb, I had purchased my house without car parking, only bike parking. Future planning, what's that? Didn't want to take the risk of parking a new car on the road) Went off to True Value and bought the first Swift I saw.

Fortunately, the Gods do favour stupid people and the car turned out to be a gem. The previous owner had really kept it well and as it was the VXi had good safety features like Dual Airbags, ABS which were not standard at that time.

The Swift served us faithfully till 2020, but was almost 9 years old. So we decided to upgrade. Sold the Swift for 2.5 lakhs (bought it for 3.6 lakhs. Swift really has amazing resale value)

As we now had parking, could buy a car without any tension.

First Search

Requirements:

  • Automatic
  • Comfortable Rear Seats / space
  • No Sedans as my wife suffers from motion sickness in sedans.

As I like to live as EMI-free as possible, fixed our budget at 50 lakhs and started searching. As my wife was very interested in buying from the big three German brands, we checked out the Mercedes GLA, Audi Q3 and BMW X1. GLA and Q3 were rejected due to rear space. Shortlisted the X1.

I was always interested in SUVs and always liked the look of the Ford Endeavour. Test drove it and loved it. Now the choice was between the X1 and the Endeavour. Spent a lot of time convincing my wife that even the Ford was a premium vehicle and that her friends would be suitably impressed by it (that was the only reason she wanted a German Car).

Wife convinced, booked the Titanium Plus 4 X 2 AT (OT, but I was pushed hard by the Ford guys to take finance, one sales representative even started suggesting investments I could do if I took a loan. Finally had to be a little firm and ask them to stop talking about loans). Was told there would be a waiting of two months and settled down to wait for the car.

But it was not to be, because as soon as the elders of both of our houses heard about it, all descended upon us. Due to my job, I am out of India for seven months in a year, usually with my family accompanying me. Even if they don't, my wife / father are least interested in driving or handling a driver and would call an Uber /Ola even if there is a car in the garage. The folly of spending more than 40 lakhs on a car which was going to be idle for seven months of a year was repeatedly drilled into me by all the elders, and I had to finally concede to the logic of their arguments. With a heavy heart, cancelled the booking.

Tried to check out cars in the second hand market, but lack of knowledge regarding cars made me wary of spending 25- 30 lakhs and decided to forget the premium level cars and opt for new cars in the below 25 lakh range.

Other Cars Considered:

  1. Hyundai Creta / Kia Seltos: Have a Hyundai Creta in the close family which I have driven a lot and really impressed with the car. But it was dropped after the MG Hector TD, as the rear space in the Hector is much better. Kia Seltos rejected by wife as the small passenger windows made her feel claustrophobic.
  2. Jeep Compass: Out of budget / rear space not better than the MG Hector.
  3. Tata Harrier: This was the car I was sure I will buy. Looking from outside, I was sure that it would have enough space to satisfy my families backseat needs. Panaromic Sunroof would make the wife happy. Asked for a TD at home and it was promptly arranged and the sales executive was very helpful and knowledgeable. As the TD was arranged at home, the entire family decided to go for the TD. The car was excellent, but my mother who usually sits in the middle seat was not comfortable due to the transmission tunnel and was not able to sit properly with my dad on one side and wife on the other. Also was at least 2.5 lakhs costlier than the Hector Sharp CVT. Interiors also failed to impress family members compared to the Hector.

Finally all the members gave the thumbs up only to the MG Hector and duly booked the same on 27th Feb 2021 at MG Malad Showroom. No discounts were offered, but insurance was matched. Was quoted a waiting period of 4 weeks.

Showroom Experience

The experience with the showroom and MG has been excellent from the start. I was given a waiting period of 4 weeks, and the car was delivered to me in exactly 1 month.

MG Hector Sharp CVT - Starry Black Cost Sheet

Ex Showroom: Rs18,09,800/-

TCS: Rs 13,574/-

Registration: Rs 2,22,570/-

Insurance: Rs 45,000/- (1+2)

Handling Charges: Rs 11,600/-

Essential Kit: Rs 6,829/-

MG Shield (Classic 5 years/50 K): Rs 16,300/-

Fast Tag: Rs 500/-

Total On-Road Price: Rs 21,26,173/-

Accessories purchased: OVRM Guards, Bumper Guards and MG badging.

Along with the car, received the following items from the Showroom: MG Keychain, Document Folder, Deity Stand, box of tissues.

No extra pressure or pull was applied on the showroom, and I appreciate that they were able to deliver the car as promised. As per recent updates on social media, same is not the case everywhere and significant delays are being faced by other would be owners.

Bought the MG Shield 5-years package for 16300 INR.

MG provided the 5 year / unlimited Km warranty, 3 year warranty for the infotainment system and 5 years RSA.

Driving Experience

As mentioned earlier, once the brake is released the car moves forward smoothly, and with a light touch to the accelerator will pick up space at a good pace. But if the accelerator is pressed hard, there will be a noticeable lag before the car speeds forward. The car never feels underpowered in city driving conditions, and is a pleasure to drive in stop and go traffic.

As for highway driving, I have a very sedate driving style and thus will not be able to comment on body roll and grip. All I can say is that the car performed admirably well in the area that mattered most, back seat comfort and driving ease. There were no issues faced during overtaking, but again with the point that my driving is very sedate (for reference, Google maps gave the time from Agonda, Goa - Kandivali , Mumbai as 11 hrs 48 mins when we left, and I took 12 hours minus the breaks).

Issues Faced

On our first trip in the new car, while coming back from Lonavala, on the Mumbai - Pune Expressway, suddenly the check engine light came on. As stated earlier, I am really not into technical stuff, so this was a very distressing. Stopped on the side of the road and clicked I-call on the display screen. Got a call back within seconds from MG. Explained the issue and after confirming the Check Engine light was Orange, was advised it was ok to drive home and ask for the service center to check the car. Drove the car the rest of the way home without any problems and booked a service appointment. Got two phone call from MG and the showroom assuring me that the problem would be sorted out at the earliest. Car was picked up next day and taken to service center. Was kept in the loop the entire time and the fault was traced to a O2 sensor. The error was reset and car tried out and no further fault was found. I have driven the car 1500 km since then and no other faults have occurred. Although a Check Engine light on a new car is disheartening, the follow up and Service by MG was really good and put my mind at ease.

No other problems faced and first free service was carried out smoothly.

Gadgets/Gimmicks

As the MG Hector is advertised and the Internet car with lots of gadgets/gimmicks, the list below is which of them are actually useful and which are just gimmicks. Your actual usage and opinion may vary.

Useful:

  • Auto folding OVRMS: The feeling of approaching the car and the OVRMS's opening and the doors getting unlocked is premium.
  • Ventilated Seats: A boon in the hot Mumbai conditions.
  • Voice controls are useful for controlling the AC.
  • Powered Tailgate: Can be set to open at six heights. Very useful if the ceiling is low.
  • Gaana and Tom-Tom have proved quite useful. Have not faced any problem with navigating with Tom-Tom in Mumbai or Goa. The internet connection was quite strong even in Goa, where Airtel coverage is spotty.
  • I-Call: This is a feature in which if you click the I-call button on the touch screen, you will get a call back (on your touchscreen) within seconds from an MG representative who will assist you in whichever way they can (organising RSA, dealing with any problems, searching and routing you if you are in a unknown area). Gives you peace of mind, and also no need to start digging around for phone numbers if your car breaks down.
  • Emergency Call: Although this is a feature I haven't used and hope is never used, it is one I feel is worth mentioning. If ever incase the airbags of my Hector are deployed, the car will receive a call from Pulse Hub to check on the condition of the driver / passenger. If the call is not answered after a set number of times , Pulse Hub will supposedly alert emergency authorities in the area with our position. (In theory, not sure how well it will work in practice. Hope no one ever has to find out.)

Unreliable/Gimmicks

  • I-smart Controls: Although have not tried it a lot, have found it very slow and laggy whenever i have tried it.
  • Wireless charging: Does not charge very well. Keeps asking to clean the surface.
  • TPMS: Have found the readings unreliable at times. So anyway have to check the tire pressure before long journeys which defeats the purpose.

There are lots of other features which are still to be thoroughly tried out but could not due to the lockdown. Will hopefully update the thread after use.

I have not commented on the exterior and looks as that depends on the person, it has road presence but is by no means a butch SUV (at least as per me). There is an overdose of chrome (I got the chrome-less bumper guards - there was an option for even more chrome). But my family loved the chrome, so as per the bargain between us, I will be allowed to de-chrome the car after three years. I see it as a win-win, as the car will get a refresh and will allow me to keep it at least for five years.

I have not added any pictures on the interiors as they are very well explained in the Team BHP official review. All the surfaces look very premium, hard plastic use is less and there are no rattles yet. The seats are very comfortable, and the rear seats recline to a comfortable angle.

If anyone has any queries or doubts, would be glad to answer them.

To summarise, in my opinion this car is correct for people with specific use case like mine. It offers faux luxury and good space at an affordable price. Also it will impress people who do not know anything about cars (my wife is very happy about this point, her friends are very impressed. She has forgotten all about premium cars, and is very happy with the purchase. She has banned me from telling people it's a Chinese car).

Even though I enjoy the car, I have turned three of my friends away from buying the Hector, especially because they need a car daily in Mumbai for their office commute. I cannot stress this enough, if fuel economy is an issue, you should stay away from the Hector automatics.

That is all from me, hopefully will continue updating this thread for many more miles.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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