MG is going to launch the all-new Astor to take on the heavyweights like the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and newly launched Volkswagen Taigun and the Skoda Kushaq. MG will launch the Astor next month. We did a walkaround video of the Astor recently and here is the link to the same. In the first drive review, we will mainly focus on the drive and ADAS features that no other vehicle in the segment offers.
MG Astor: 1.3 automatic drive
MG will offer the Astor only with two engine options and both of them are petrol engines. There is a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine that generates a maximum power of 110 PS. It is available with a manual and a CVT automatic. We only drove the Astor powered by the 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It is a new engine that is not available with any of the MG products in the Indian market.
The 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine generates a maximum power of 140 PS and a peak torque of 230 Nm. It is only available with a six-speed torque converter. We drove the Astor around the BIC Formula 1 track.
First off, Astor’s 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine is smooth and loves to rev. It is silent as well. During our laps at BIC, the Astor took on the challenges well. It is quick off the mark and the transmission is very smooth. Surprisingly, the Astor took corners at good speeds for an SUV.
The stiff suspension set-up of the Astor allowed us to take corners at 50 – 60 km/h, which translates into a controlled bodyroll set-up. Also, it comes with disc brakes on all four wheels. We did late-braking while driving the car around the track and the Astor does not take much time to slow down from high speeds.
The Astor’s acceleration is very strong as well. We touched 165 km/h on the two straights of the track and were able to slow down within a few metres to take the turns. The Astor will fit well with the enthusiasts, especially because of its sporty looks. MG has also added the steering modes and there are three of them. In the dynamic mode, the steering becomes weighted while in the City mode, it becomes lighter so that the steering wheel can be moved around easily. There is a normal mode that is a balance between the both.
The Astor gets a load of them. While with the feature-loaded cars like the Creta ruling the segment, it sure becomes a challenge to offer new features to attract customers. MG has done a great job here with the introduction of ADAS or the Advanced Driver Assistance System. MG has also added a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app to connect to the car and also physical virtual assistance. MG managed to offer new and unique features with the Astor.
The ADAS available with the Astor is Autonomous Level – 2, which is more advanced than the Gloster. There are about 14 features that the ADAS can do. We tested all of them except for pedestrian collision avoidance.
The Astor with the ADAS gets a radar and cameras based system. The vehicle gets an adaptive cruise control system that will follow the car in front and will match the speed too. It is quite useful on the highways. There are also lane assistance systems that will warn you and will even help you to keep the vehicle inside the lane. This system works only when there are marked lanes on the roads.
Other than that, the ADAS reads the speed signs and according to the setting in the vehicle, it either adjusts the speed according to the speed limit or will warn you about the new speed limit. And if a vehicle suddenly stops in front of you, the Astor will stop, automatically.
There are smart features as well like the smart parking solution that will warn the driver about any vehicle that is approaching the Astor while reversing from a parking spot. There is a blind detection system that blinks the light on the ORVMs if it detects any vehicle in the blind zone.
Yes, the Astor gets the physical virtual assistant that sits on the top of the dashboard and moves in the direction of the commands. It works with the Internet and is connected to Wikipedia to bring out any information that you may want to know on the move.
MG has also come out with an iSmart app that uses Bluetooth to connect to the car. It can even replace the physical key completely. It can lock/unlock and locate the car too. If you do not have the physical key, you can still use the smartphone to start the vehicle.
Good to buy?
It is a feature-loaded, fast driving SUV. It offers a lot of space and is comfortable as well. It is a great package designed by MG Motors but lacks a few things. For example, there is no wireless CarPlay and Android Auto so there is no wireless charger as well. The indicator and wiper stocks are located in opposite directions like the RHD markets. Also, the IRVM is not auto-dimming.
The success of the Astor depends totally on price and MG knows very well to play the price game well. It has done the same with Hector and has received a good response from the market. We believe that the MG Astor will launch with competitive pricing that sure will dent the sales of the Korean twins.