MG Motor India, spurred on by the success of its maiden offering, the Hector, is gearing up for the launch of a flurry of products in the coming months, including the all-electric ZS EV and a 6-seat iteration of the Hector. And, as we had previously revealed, the company is also working towards bringing the Maxus D90 to our market, a report that was further corroborated by the recent sighting of a camouflaged test mule on Indian roads.
The D90 is the flagship offering of the Chinese utility vehicle manufacturer Maxus, a subsidiary of MG’s parent company SAIC, and is sold under the LDV brand name in markets like Australia. While it is offered globally with a sole 224hp/360Nm, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine for the time being, SAIC has plans to introduce a diesel powertrain that would be more in sync with the brawny character of the three-row SUV.
The company already has the FCA-sourced, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel (Multijet II) mill in its portfolio that powers the Hector in our market. But the 170hp/350Nm unit wouldn’t pass muster in a full-size SUV that weighs almost 2.4 tonnes. Consequently, SAIC has developed its own 2.0-litre, twin-turbocharged diesel motor that puts out 218hp and 480Nm of torque. This said engine was showcased at the Guangzhou motor show in China recently. We can confirm that the in-house-developed powertrain, said to be derived from the FCA Multijet II, will make it to the India-bound D90 in 2020-21, after it makes its debut in the international-spec SUV in the coming months.
When the D90 is launched under the MG brand name in India, it is expected to fall in the Rs 27-35 lakh price category (estimated, ex-showroom). Of its potential competitors, the Toyota Fortuner boasts a 2.8-litre diesel engine (177hp/450Nm), the Ford Endeavour can be had with a 3.2-litre mill (200hp/470Nm), the Mahindra Alturas G4 gets a 2.2-litre motor (181hp/420Nm), and the Isuzu MU-X is powered by a 3.0-litre unit (177hp/380Nm). Compared to the current crop of BS4 diesel body-on-frame SUVs then, the D90 is set to have a significantly stronger engine line-up.
Interestingly, our sources also reveal that the SAIC Group’s new 2.0-litre diesel engine will likely be introduced on the MG Hector in our market in 2022, just in time for the RDE emission norms that'll come into effect the year after. This will give the Hector, which already enjoys a size advantage in its segment, a definite step up over its rivals in terms of performance too.