MG or Morris Garages will be launching their first product for India, a full fledged SUV in the next 3-5 months. To be manufactured at their plant in Halol (Gujarat), the upcoming SUV will lock horns with likes of the Jeep Compass and the Hyundai Tucson while delivering segment leading technology, dimensionally superior size and a pair of competent engines that are future ready.
We got a hint of what to expect from the SUV during our trip to China to get a taste of SAIC’s capabilities. For the uninitiated, MG is part of SAIC, China’s leading auto major. They own multiple brands including Roewe and this will allow MG to pick and choose the best from various models and offer these into their first launch here in India. While the official name hasn’t been revealed yet, here is what we can share with you about the SUV.
We all want our SUVs to be large and MG’s upcoming model will be longer than the XUV5OO and wider than SUVs like the Pajero Sport. This will give it massive street cred, more than rivals like the Jeep Compass and the Hyundai Tucson. In terms of height, it will sit much lower, very essential for a truly sporty appeal. It is likely to come with 17 and 18 inch alloy wheels with striking design for the lights as well the bumpers. We feel it will look a lot like the 2019 Chevrolet Captiva that was unveiled for international markets recently as well as the Baojun 530 you see here. Baojun is a brand that is part of SAIC as well.
I was personally impressed with the technology that SAIC offers in cars like the MG eRX5 and Roewe Marvel X during my stint with them in China. Mr Rajeev Chaba, President and MD at MG India did give us enough hints about their own offering being the most connected car on sale in India. True to his words, just a few days back MG India partnered with leading connectivity management platform Cisco IoT and UNLIMIT – a specialist IoT services provider, to develop connected mobility enabled MG cars. I won’t be surprised if this upcoming SUV offers the most modern tracking, security and navigation interface in the business.
The MG SUV will come with two engine options, one each of petrol and diesel and these will be BS-6 or Bharat Stage 6 ready in terms of emissions, again a segment first. The petrol unit will be a 1.5-litre turbo charged petrol engine capable of developing almost 150 horses. I experienced this engine during my drive with the MG 6 at the Silverstone racing circuit a few months back. The oil burner will be a 2.0-litre unit sourced from FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and should put out around 170-180 bhp of power. Both the engines will get an automatic transmission. I reckon these units will offer a very healthy combination of performance and efficiency.
Rewinding back to my China trip, the cars I drove were an absolute surprise given the kit on offer. The upcoming SUV will be no different and I am not just talking about the usual bits like cruise control, multi-info display, powered seats but a sunroof, tablet lookalike central screen, segment best infotainment interface with the above mentioned connected services, remote applications et al. MG surely wants their customers to enjoy gadgets available in cars that belong to a higher segment. This is certainly an area of concern for other car makers who would need to pull up their socks.
Safety on board
We Indians are gradually waking up to the concern of safety and MG claims their SUV will be the safest car in the segment. All SAIC models meet the strictest Chinese safety norms already and the Indian model will aim for a perfect 5 star rating as per BNCAP or Bharat New Car Assessment Program
To be priced in the Rs 15-20 lakh bracket, MG’s first product for India seems to offer the best bang for your buck on paper. Going by my impressive experience with their cars in China, this is one product that might end up creating benchmarks in India. At the same time though, the upcoming Tata Harrier is a serious challenger and both Jeep and Hyundai might be doing their own homework for a new strategy to challenge the upcoming SUV. Watch this space for more!