Kia Seltos vs MG Hector comparison

    The Kia Seltos and MG Hector are the hottest SUVs at the moment. But which one is better?

    Published on Sep 14, 2019 12:30:00 PM


    Make : MG
    Model : Hector

    The Kia Seltos and MG Hector have shaken up the SUV segment. There’s been huge interest in both SUVs well before they went on sale and the hype is real, because both models have raked up commendable booking numbers since. For the first products from two relatively lesser known carmakers, and in the midst of a market slowdown, the Seltos and Hector have got off to flying start. 

    The question is, which is better? To find out, we’ve brought together the diesel-manual versions of each. Prices for the Seltos diesel-manual range from Rs 9.99-14.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) while the Hector, in the same engine-gearbox configuration, is priced from Rs 13.19-16.88 lakh. We’ve considered the fully-loaded versions of both SUV for this comparison. 

    What are they like on the outside?


    You wouldn’t be wrong to think the Kia Seltos and MG Hector belong to two different segments. Because where the Seltos measures 4.3m in length, the Hector stretches the tape to 4.6m. The MG is also much taller and wider, and easily looks the more substantial SUV. And it’s not only the Hector’s size that will draw your attention, its styling is in-your-face, and the combo of the large grille, high-set LED DRLs and low-mounted headlamps give the Hector great show value. You’ll also find a lot more bling on the Hector, and the shiny elements on the grille, bumpers and window line do drive home the point that this is an upmarket SUV.  However, the proportions are a bit off, with the long rear overhang looking more MPV than SUV. What also spoils the Hector’s stance are its 17-inch wheels that look a size too small against the vast body.


    The Seltos has the more balanced design. It’s got the upright stance Indian buyers like, and it is a smarty turned-out SUV. The Kia is not lacking in slick details either. The LED headlights are beautifully detailed, there’s a unique LED strip that lines the top of the grille and, if you look closely, you’ll even see a very premium knurled finish on the grille’s chrome surround. Buyers can also opt for a contrast roof, which adds some more glamour to the look. 

    Kia Seltos 1.5D MT HTX+MG Hector 2.0D Sharp
    Ground clearance190mm192mm
    Kerb weight1315kg1700kg
    Tyre size215/60 R17215/60 R17

    What are they like on the inside?

    The Seltos’ interior looks sophisticated and is really user-friendly too. The 10.25-inch infotainment screen is positioned high up and in clear view, and, in general, all the controls and buttons are in easy reach. What makes the cabin feel nicer still is the level of quality. Right from the buttons on the steering wheel to the padded panel on the dashboard, everything feels built to a high standard. Fit and finish is excellent and at par with pricier European cars. 

    You sit higher up in a Hector and the large windows and low dash not only equal fantastic frontal visibility, but also make the already large MG cabin feel larger still. ‘Large’ is also the word you’d use to describe the MG’s 10.4-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen that’s (literally) the talking point of the dashboard. The screen, which can be operated via voice commands too, is your go-to control for virtually all functions, but the absence of physical buttons for the basics is an arrangement not everyone will readily take to. Still, there’s no denying that it makes the Hector's interior appear future-ready. On the face of it, quality levels are also good, but a closer look at the Hector’s all-black interior reveals some scratchy plastics and a few inconsistent panel gaps.


    Shifting focus to the back seats. If you like sprawling out at the back, the Hector will serve you best. There’s living room levels of space in the back and the impression is helped by the massive panoramic sunroof that lets in lots of light. An absolutely flat floor and adjustable backrest are also elements that enhance overall comfort. 

    The Seltos simply can’t match the Hector on room but you won’t be cramped at the back either. There’s more than enough legroom and the headroom is fair too. Shoulder room is significantly down on the Hector so three adults won’t sit in as much comfort on the back seat of a Seltos. Like the Hector, the Seltos’ rear-seat backrest is reclinable and what’s also nice is that Kia has included retractable sunblinds for the nice-sized windows. What the Seltos' rear seat lacks though is thigh support – it's inadequate. 

    What features do they get?

    Both the models feature touchscreen infotainment systems and smartphone junkies will be happy to note that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (coming soon on the MG) are part of the package. As for the screens, the Seltos’ 10.25-inch system is slicker and is free from the occasional delay to touch inputs you’ll experience on the Hector’s larger 10.4-inch unit. That the MG touchscreen houses all functions has its drawbacks too. For instance, you either need to take your eyes off the road to find the relevant tab on the touchscreen or you've to strike up a conversation with the system (saying “Hello MG” gets its attention) for something as simple as adjusting fan speed.  


    The Hector and Seltos also offer eSIM-based connected tech. Owners can keep a close eye on their car’s health and location, and even set a geo-fence to get an alert when their car exits a defined geographical limit, among many other features. The MG and Kia also boast AI voice commands; though neither works flawlessly, it’s the latter’s system that gets it right on more occasions. 

    What is undeniably cool is the option to operate the MG’s sunroof by simply talking to the car. On the subject, the Hector’s panoramic sunroof is ginormous, and is easily larger than the Seltos’ regular sunroof. 

    Do a quick analysis of all that you get on the SUVs and you’ll find it’s the Hector with the most goodies. It's the only model here with a powered tail gate, it gets a configurable ambient lighting system, and it features a 360-degree camera too. A powered driver’s seat is something you’d find on the Seltos, but the Hector offers power adjust for the co-passenger too. Front seat ventilation, wireless phone charging and an onboard air purifier (that also dispenses three scents) are exclusive to the Seltos. 



    The Hector also gets more by way of safety equipment. It’s the only one with side and curtain airbags, hill-start assist and ESC. The Seltos makes do with two airbags only. 

    Do note, Kia is still evolving the Seltos line-up so don’t be surprised if the diesel-manual version is offered in a better-equipped GTX+ trim in the near future. 

    Kia Seltos 1.5D MT HTX+MG Hector 2.0D Sharp
    Keyless entry and goAvailableAvailable
    Android Auto/Apple CarPlayAvailableAvailable
    Connected techAvailableAvailable
    Wireless phone chargerAvailableNA
    Cruise ControlAvailableAvailable
    Automatic headlampsAvailableAvailable
    Automatic wipersNAAvailable
    Leatherette seatsAvailableAvailable
    Powered driver's seatAvailableAvailable
    Ventilated front seatsAvailableNA
    Rear seat reclineAvailableAvailable
    Rear window sun shadesAvailableNA
    Auto climate controlAvailableAvailable
    Rear AC ventsAvailableAvailable
    Air purifierAvailableNA
    Powered tailgateNAAvailable
    Safety Features
    Parking SensorsFront/rearFront/rear
    Tyre pressure monitoring systemAvailableAvailable
    Parking cameraRear360-degree
    Hill-start assistNAAvailable
    Hill-descent assistNANA
    Rear disc brakesAvailableAvailable

    What are they like to drive?

    A brochure-to-brochure comparison will reveal the Hector as the SUV with the larger engine, more power and more torque. The MG’s Fiat-source 2.0-litre engine makes 170hp and 350Nm of torque. In comparison, the Kia’s significantly smaller 1.5-litre engine makes all of 115hp and 250Nm of torque. However, weight is the great equalizer here. The Kia weighs 1,315kg while the MG tips the scales at 1,700kg. This is part of the reason why there’s very little between the two in flat-out and in-gear acceleration. But there are differences in their engines’ characteristics.


    The Seltos’ engine is smooth, quiet and the more refined unit here. What’s also nice is that the engine is really responsive at low revs, and the build of power is linear and very friendly. You can feel a step-up in power on the Kia around 2,000rpm, and the engine will also breach 5,000rpm without feeling out of depth. There’s much to like about the Hector’s engine too. While you can hear a bit of clatter at times, the Hector’s engine is quiet by class standards.  The gentle build of power is likeable, there is a fair amount of punch in the mid-range and there’s somewhat of a top-end too. The clutch action and gearshifts, however, aren’t quite smooth as on the Seltos.   

    For all its size, the MG Hector is a surprisingly easy SUV to drive in town. The light steering makes the MG feel surprisingly manoeuvrable, the 360-degree camera helps wiggle out of tight spots and the low-speed ride is also well-cushioned. Where the Hector cedes ground is in high-speed manners. The steering offers no real feel or feedback, and that’s unnerving in a vehicle so large. There’s a lot of body movement too, and the MG simply doesn’t feel as well tied down as it ought to. 


    The Seltos is leagues ahead of the Hector in this department. There’s fair weight at the steering, the suspension does its bit to flatten the lumps and bumps, and in the corners too it feels like a well set-up SUV. Body control is far superior to the Hector. At the same time, the Seltos also makes for an easy SUV to drive in town. Its relatively small dimensions make it easy to place, its steering doesn’t need much effort to twirl and low-speed ride comfort is good too, if not quite as cushy as the Hector’s. 

    Engine and Performance
    Kia Seltos 1.5D MT HTX+MG Hector 2.0D Sharp
    Engine4-cyl, 1493cc, turbo-diesel4-cyl, 1956cc, turbo-diesel
    Power115hp at 4000rpm170hp at 3750rpm
    Torque250Nm at 1500-2750rpm350Nm at 1750-2500rpm
    Power to weight87.45hp per tonne100hp per tonne
    Torque to weight190.11Nm per tonne205.88Nm per tonne
    Gearbox6-speed manual6-speed manual
    Fuel economy (kpl)2117.41
    PerformanceAcceleration (from rest)Acceleration (from rest)
    Acceleration in gear
    20-80kph (in 3rd gear)9.91s10.13s
    40-100kph (in 4th gear)11.99s11.62s

    Which one should you buy?

    The Hector is the larger, more powerful and better-equipped SUV in this duo. And as we’ve already established, the Hector has superb show value, both on the inside and outside. It’s well-priced too for all that you get, and what only adds to the package is the class-best 5-year warranty. 


    The Seltos might not be able to match the Hector on glitz and glamour, but it still comes across as the better all-rounder by virtue of its superior driving experience. The Kia is quieter, makes for a more confident highway cruiser and is just a more involving SUV to drive. What also makes your money seem well spent is the excellent quality. True, the Kia’s cabin is significantly down on space to the Hector, but cramped it is not. To many, the Seltos’ relatively smaller size also makes it an easier SUV to park, manoeuvre and live with in crowded cities.   

    All said, it’s the Kia Seltos that comes across as the more sophisticated SUV, and the one that covers more bases than the Hector.

    Price and Verdict
    Kia Seltos 1.5D MT HTX+MG Hector 2.0D Sharp
    Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rs 14.99 lakhRs 16.88 lakh
    VerdictSuperbly rounded Kia sets the new segment benchmark.Scores big on size and flash. Sadly, not on driver appeal.

    Click here for Kia Seltos prices, reviews, images, videos and more details

    Click here for MG Hector prices, reviews, images, videos and more details

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