The Hector established the tone for MG Motor India as a value-driven brand when it entered the country. And its portfolio of vehicles has consistently delivered on the promise of more value and features compared to the competitors in each price and size class that MG is present in. MG is due to launch new electric vehicles later this year, but first it is revisiting the model that made it popular. The 2023 Hector is being called a new generation by MG, but it is more like a facelift from the perspective of exterior and interior design changes. The sum of its new parts does go beyond making this is just a cosmetic tweak. With the new Autonomous Level 2 ADAS and even more connected car features, the new Hector offers a relatively substantial list of additions.
The major changes to the exterior design of the new Hector are mostly focused on refreshing the front fascia. The new ‘Argyle inspired’ (as MG calls it) diamond grille is larger and cuts deep into the front fender. The split headlamp design continues with the slim pilot lamps at the top and the main headlamps being positioned on either side of the front fender. But the headlights configuration is different, and it also gets auto high beam assist. Quite a few chrome accents and highlights at the front and for the shoulder line give the exterior design a touch of premium. The side profile remains largely unchanged except for the new set of alloys. At the rear, the new Hector gets an elongated connected LED tail-lamps feature. MG calls it blade tail-lamps; it is basically an array of LED strips instead of the straight LED line of the predecessor. Progressive LED turn indicators continue.
The list of changes inside the cabin of the new MG Hector is longer. The most obvious change when I step into the cabin is the new 14-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Set in portrait-orientation and occupying almost all of the centre stack, the screen is the size of small laptop and offers access to all the major controls in the cabin. There are several apps that can also be downloaded and customised on the screen. The rest of the cabin has also been refreshed with minor changes to the materials used and the finishes especially on the centre console and dashboard IP. The new Hector’s two front seats are offered with 4-way electrical adjustment, and a 360-degree camera view on the screen; there’s also ambient lighting and a panoramic sunroof, both of which can be activated using voice controls. A few interesting additions include auto turn indicators (based on speed-sensitive steering inputs), and a smartphone based digital Bluetooth car key with the option of sharing the key with another person.
In terms of new features, the 2023 Hector gets Level 2 driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist including turning assistance, and auto emergency brake assist. But the most useful feature could well be the traffic jam assist, which should allow the Hector to crawl autonomously in slow moving traffic without any driver inputs. There are half a dozen other ADAS features and more than 75 connected car features; many which can be controlled using a smartphone and voice commands. It also supports voice commands in four different Indian languages including Tamil. The new Hector has shed the ‘internet inside’ exterior badge of the predecessor, but it still gets an embedded SIM for enabling the features of the i-Smart Hub that includes navigation, entertainment, news etc.
The facelifted MG Hector will continue to be offered with the same two engine options. MG will not offer the mild hybrid option and the 7-speed DCT gearbox has also been dropped from the mix. The petrol engine is the same 1.5-litre, turbocharged and inter-cooled petrol unit that delivers 143PS of peak power and 250Nm of torque. The engine can be had with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearbox. The other mill is the two-litre, turbocharged diesel engine that delivers a peak output of 170PS and a peak torque of 350Nm. This engine will be offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The rest of the underpinnings of the 2023 Hector will also continue to be the same as the predecessor. The current model also had several safety features as part of standard fitment and that will likely continue. Cabin features and some of the other connected tech will be variant dependent. The ride quality of the predecessor was on the more pliant side and while it was comfortable on good tarmac, it did feel a bit wallowy at higher speeds, leading to a fair bit of body roll into turns. We have to wait to see how the facelifted model performs on the dynamics front.
The new 2023 Hector and the Hector Plus are being offered in 5, 6-seater and 7-seater configurations. There’ll be five trim variants for the Hector and six trim variants for the Hector Plus (together for the 6-seat and 7-seat). It has been positioned at nearly the same price range compared to the current model. The trim and variant strategy still focuses on keeping a few affordable options at the lower end of the price range. The ex-showroom prices for the Hector range from about ₹14.7 lakh to ₹22.4 lakh.