MG Motor India has constantly been expanding its SUV line-up in our market and after introducing the Hector in India, the SUV brand has presented the Hector Plus, the Gloster and the ZS EV in its 2-year stint so far. Up next is the petrol-version of the MG ZS, now known as the MG Astor.
Slated to hit the roads early next month, the Astor enters one of the most competitive SUV segments in India. The mid-size SUV category currently houses stalwarts like the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, recently launched Skoda Kushaq, VW Taigun (launching this month), Renault Duster and Nissan Kicks. We take a closer look at the Astor to see what MG's new contender brings to the table.
2021 MG Astor: exterior design details
Essentially being the ZS EV, the Astor sports very similar design elements. However, compared to the ZS EV sold here, the Astor witnesses a facelift and while it’s based on the international model that recently received a revamp, there are some India specific tweaks, like the grille design. This hexagonal 'Celestial' grille looks quite neat with its outwardly radiating pattern and is quite eye catching.
The new front bumper also has a reshaped fog light housing and accommodates new headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). At the back, the rear bumper design is new, the LED taillamps get a fresh light signature and there’s prominent badging on the tailgate. Higher variants come with stylish 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels as well.
2021 MG Astor: interiors
A first glance at the Astor shows that MG has put a lot of effort into interior and cabin quality. The SUV's cabin feels upmarket with generous use of soft-touch materials, brushed aluminum accents that contrast the interior shade and a chunky flat bottom steering wheel. It has three interior colour schemes on offer, dual tone Sangria Red, dual tone Iconic Ivory and Tuxedo Black.
The dashboard is similar to the ZS EV but it houses a new 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system which will feature a Jio e-SIM for connected car features, and also include a digital key that you can install on your phone. With this you can completely operate the Astor without requiring the actual key fob.
2021 MG Astor: features
The highlight though is the AI on offer that comprises of two broad elements, a comprehensive ADAS setup and a personal robotic assistant that can follow voice commands (even Hinglish) and answer queries from online sources. Some might find it quite cool while to others, it could appear gimmicky. Although it works well and has on board voice commands for basic car operations like opening the sunroof and controlling the temperature. The system is powered by Wikipedia and has quite a few local apps built in too.
Features like cooled seats, a branded audio system, auto dimming rear view mirror and rear sun blinds are missing, however the Astor does have other goodies like a panoramic sunroof, heated ORVMs, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, 6-way electrically adjustable driver's seat among other features.
Coming to the ADAS setup, the Level-2 system uses both camera and radar input and brings multiple active safety features which are class unique. These include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Prevention and Speed Assist. This feature is available currently on SUVs of higher segments like MG's own Gloster (though that is only a camera-based system) and the new Mahindra XUV700. That makes the Astor the first model in the mid-size SUV segment to offer this new safety tech.
2021 MG Astor: engine and gearbox
Powering the new MG SUV are two petrol engines while diesels are not on offer like on the Kushaq, Taigun and Kicks SUVs. Also similar to those competitors, there are two engines to choose from - the base is a 1,498cc, naturally aspirated petrol engine developing 110hp and 144Nm and the other is a more powerful, 1,349cc turbo-petrol engine that churns out 140hp and 220Nm. The latter is aimed at competitors with high output, turbo-petrol variants like on the Creta, Seltos, Kicks, Duster and Kushaq. The 1.5-litre petrol engine will be offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox as well as an 8-step CVT automatic gearbox, while the 1.3-litre turbo-petrol will only be available with a 6-speed torque convertor automatic.
2021 MG Astor: price expectation
MG are quite tight lipped about the pricing, but we expect the Astor to be priced quite competitively while comfortably undercutting rivals like the Seltos and Kushaq. The market launch and price announcement for the Astor is expected to take place early next month.