With the pandemic still in play, we get to live with the MG Hector Plus for a couple of days…
It was a Friday afternoon and Morris Garages India sent us this car in Red to sample, the MG Hector Plus. With the pandemic related chaos still in play, we took it on a detailed road trip. Having lived with the Hector Plus for two whole days and munched as much as 250 kilometres, here’s what we have to say:
The Hector Plus is essentially a three row Hector. The car builds on the success reaped by MG’s maiden offering in India. The second row bench seats of the regular Hector have made way for two magnificent-looking captain seats in the Hector Plus. You put your money on the added luxury and comfort offered by these chairs.
What Is It Like On The Outside?
The Hector Plus boasts of a few prominent design cues that make it stand apart from the regular Hector. The basic shape remains the same. There are absolutely no changes in the width, wheelbase, or height. The overall length has grown by 65mm, the credits of which be to the bigger front and rear overhangs.
The front fascia now gets a lot less chrome, thankful enough! The flash value has been brought down, but for good. The frameless grille now gets chrome accents and looks quite professional. The LED DRL cluster gets new chrome accents that look good on the car. The design of the headlamps has been revamped and the turn signal lamps have now been beautifully integrated into them. The bumper has also been redone.
The silhouette is absolutely Hector-ish. There is nothing to talk about in detail except for those 17 inch wheels which look quite puny inside the huge wheel arches. I think 18 or even 19 inchers would have fit in well. The rear gets major design tweaks. The car has shed the reflector strip connecting the LED tail lamp units, seen on the regular Hector. The boot lid design has been revamped and there is now a new bumper as well. The rear bumper has twin faux mufflers, which look a bit too out of place. The overall rear design now looks a lot less Chinese!
What Is It Like On The Inside?
The cabin of the Hector Plus is finished in a tan-on-black scheme unlike the all black interior of the five seater. The overall layout would seem familiar to Hector owners. There are as many premium bits on the inside as there are hard plastics. The supreme visibility offered by the large glasshouse and the low set dashboard remains unchanged.
The 6 seater Hector gets the large 10.4 inch touchscreen infotainment unit from the regular Hector. The interface of this system is a lot smoother than it was on the older Hectors. Still, the touch response can still not be called perfect. The unit gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and various other connectivity solutions. The screen also acts as the display unit for the Hector Plus’ 360 camera. The camera quality, however, should be called quite poor for a car of this class.
MG Hector, as you might remember, was quite applauded for having the ability to get things done by merely ‘ talking to the car’. In the Hector Plus, things have had a leap or two ahead and you can now chat with the MG assistant. Quite great a gimmick, you can make the car answer to questions like ‘How am I looking today?’. However, we would crave for more physical controls in the new car, like we had done in the older one.
The boot can be accessed by waving your feet below the car, if not by pressing the button on the key fob. With all the three rows in action, you would have minimal luggage room. However, around 530 litres of boot space can be generated by folding the rear rows.
How Is The Middle Row?
The captain chairs in the middle row are, as mentioned before, the talking point of this vehicle. The Hector Plus gets abundant room on the inside. The middle row chairs offer good amounts of leg room, knee room and decent headroom. The seats are very comfortable and offer good amount of support. The cushioning is great and very comfortable. However, individuals with some extra pounds would wish for larger seats! This limitation owes its existence to the fact that the third row of this car is to be accessed through the passage between the chairs.
MG claims that the third row of the Hector Plus is designed to accommodate young individuals. Thus one could not wish for a decent room at the rearmost row. The seats can seat two kids decently and offer creature comforts like AC vents and USB charging points as well. However, it should also be said that the third row lacks thigh support and sits quite low.
How Is It To Drive?
Like its elder brother, the 6 seater Hector also gets the three familiar engine options- 1.5 petrol, 1.5 petrol hybrid and the FCA-sourced 2.0L diesel. While MG offers 7 DCT gearboxes on the petrol versions, the diesel comes mated just to a manual box. We took the diesel-powered Hector Plus for the test. The turbo spools up at around 2000rpm and the engine delivers decent grunt henceforth and till 3000-ish rotations. The refinement levels are decent but not the best. The gearshifts are a bit notchy and the clutch is quite heavy as well.
This is not a car that you would want to push into corners or drive fast on twisty roads. Also, there is a pronounced vertical wobbling motion at higher speeds, which owes its existence to the high center of gravity and the ladder on frame chassis. You could also blame the car for having fair amounts of body roll.
How Is The Ride Quality?
The second row offers decent ride quality at sub three-digit speeds. There is, however, decent vertical wobbling that could be a let down for many, but definitely not a deal-breaker for any! You could also blame the car for having fair amounts of body roll.
The Hector Plus is priced between INR 13.49 lakh and INR 18.54 lakh in India. Thus, the six seater could be called a value for money product.