Home / Features / MG Astor: Astronomically Intelligent

 

With the Astor, Morris Garages (MG) hope to stir the compact SUV pot further bringing in some segment-first features earlier the reserve of premium luxury offerings

The MG Astor made its debut in the bustling and extremely popular mid-size SUV segment, long dominated by just a couple of names. Now, however, there are more names tackling the arena and who want a bigger piece of the growing pie. The Astor, then, is the British brand’s first model to include an AI-based personal assistant, Level 2 autonomous technology with ADAS features and comes with a choice of two petrol engine options. 

While technology is becoming increasingly vital, artificial intelligence (AI) is the most recent development. MG are outfitting the Astor SUV with an AI-powered personal assistant, taking this to new heights. The MG Astor will take full advantage of AI by including a slew of capabilities. The MG Astor, which is essentially a petrol-powered variant of the MG ZS EV, was the SAIC-backed carmaker’s fifth model to go on sale in India last year. 

The MG Astor has the same profile and design elements as the MG ZS EV. A new celestial pattern grille, complete LED projector headlamps with boomerang-shaped LED DRLs, and a new bumper are added to the front. It has new 17-inch alloy wheels in profile, but the remainder of the car is identical to its electric counterpart. Redesigned LED tail-lamps and a new rear bumper with a chrome-accented twin exhaust design are available.

MG are known for pushing the boundaries of technology, and the Astor is no exception. With the help of AI, it handles in-car tasks, keeps one up to date on current events, and even tells jokes to help one forget about the Monday blues. ‘Hello, Astor!’ and then say anything like, “Please open the sunroof” or “Tell me a joke,” and it responds brilliantly since it recognises the Indian accent. When it comes to in-car orders, it works flawlessly, although internet-related commands may take a few seconds longer depending on network connectivity.

For starters, the MG Astor will come with a personal attendant, a first for any automobile in the world. The personal assistant, designed by Star Design, is aimed at expressing human-like emotions and aids in engaging the occupants on any issue, using Wikipedia for its data. When the driver is spoken to, the personal AI assistant may chat, listen, react, and even stare at the driver. MG claims that the AI assistant can emulate human behaviour by using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). It also gets an AI assistant, which is like a droid that can communicate and is put on the Astor’s dashboard. It can alter its expressions and do certain functions. Consider it MG’s version of the ‘OK, Google!’ speech assistant that we have on our Android phones, but with a physical presence. 

The AI system can be utilised for convenience, such as opening the sunroof or navigation, in addition to entertainment features such as reading the news and cracking jokes. 

The Astor’s cabin is comparable to its electric equivalent, the ZS EV, on the inside, and it comes with three interior theme options. It also has a 10.1-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7-inch instrument cluster, power-adjustable front seats, auto climate control, 360-degree camera view, air-purifier, automatic parking brake, and a panoramic sunroof.

he MG Astor’s i-Smart Hub provides access to a variety of services and subscriptions. For internet services, the manufacturer has teamed with Jio, as well as Park+ and Map My India to expand its offerings. Mall parking spaces can be reserved, Fastag can be used to pay, and 4D maps can be viewed. The MG Astor also comes with a Digital Passport, which keeps data on Microsoft’s cloud services. Users can keep and share data, such as vehicle service history and insurance information, whenever they want. To prevent hackers away from the data, MG has teamed up with L&T Technology Services.

The Astor, like some of its competitors such as the Kushaq, Taigun, and Kicks, is only available in petrol and comes with two engine trims a 110-hp 1.5-litre normally aspirated unit with 144 Nm of torque and a “BritDynamic” 1.4-litre “220Turbo” with 140 hp and 220 Nm of torque. The transmission in the former can be either a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic, but the latter exclusively comes with a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. The smooth powertrain pleasantly impressed us when we drove the turbo-petrol version. Even when the pedal is to the metal, the engine’s humming noise is barely discernible, demonstrating its ninja-like features. Aside from its silky smoothness, it has enough power to keep the Astor moving in real-world driving situations.

The MG Astor has three steering modes instead of driving modes. These are well-balanced, with light and twirly sensation in the Urban mode building to a hefty heft in Dynamic mode. However, we believe that most owners will prefer the Normal setting, which strikes a decent balance.

Even while there is a little more body roll than some other comparable sized rivals, the MG will handle a twisting part of the road with ease. The chassis has been optimised for the steady driving style that the majority of Astor owners will employ. Despite the fact that the SUV dislikes being pushed too hard, a methodical driving technique allows the Astor to shift direction smoothly while keeping body movements in check. The Astor’s disc brakes all around are also capable of slowing it down without incident.

The MG Astor is, thus, the company’s first model to include an AI-based personal assistant, Level 2 autonomous technology with ADAS features, and two petrol engine options. Even son, it is the brand’s most economical offering ever, with prices ranging from Rs 9.98 lakh to Rs 17.72 lakh (ex-showroom, India).

Also Read: MG Motor India introduces ‘MG eXpert’ to improve the online buying experience.

Story by Kurt Morris

 

About the author: Kurt Morris

 

 

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