Home / Drives / MG Astor: Need to Know

 

Earlier this week, we were drove the MG Astor at the Buddh International Circuit and we answer a few questions that our readers have asked.

MG Astor first drive

Styling

The MG Astor may be based on the manufacturer’s ZS platform but a lot of effort has been put into making the Astor’s styling unique and full of charm. The MG designers claim that they have used the philosophy of “Emotional Dynamism” for the Astor; styling that connects the human element with the car and it has worked rather well. The exterior elements that stand out include the classy celestial grille, all LED lighting (with intricate details), swooping roof line and an elegant yet muscular shoulder line. The 17-inch alloys round off the car’s premium appeal and in this black paint, it looks massively appealing; be it while standing still or while tearing around the track.

Interior

The dual-tone Sangria Red theme makes for a very visually-engaging interior and MG have complemented it with a clean dashboard layout and the use of good quality materials. Leatherette has been used generously throughout the cabin and there are soft-touch surfaces all around with hardly any cause for complaint when it comes to comfort. Similarly, it is evident that considerable thought has gone into designing the infotainment (10.1-inch touchscreen) and driver display (seven-inch, full-colour screen) as well because all the menus are easily accessible, well-organized and the information is relayed without too many distractions.

MG Astor first drive

Seats are well-padded and contoured, and should be reasonably comfortable over long distances (yet to be tested). I feel MG could have paid more attention to the doors because it does take a precise push to close properly at times.

Engine

The MG Astor we drove was the top-end model and it draws motive force from the 1.4-litre (1,349-cc) Brit Dynamic, turbo-petrol engine. This mill is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and it develops 140 hp at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque of 220 Nm at 3,600 rpm. The combination worked well on track and although it is no scorcher, the healthy low-end and mid-range did make for a few quick laps around the circuit.

MG Astor first drive

As the revs climb, the cabin is filled with a subtle sporty exhaust note but at low speeds it is as refined as a premium product in this segment should be, with low NVH levels at reasonable speeds.

Drive and Handling

MG Astor first drive

During our hot laps around the racetrack, the MG Astor handled well, hitting apexes and holding the line without fuss. It may just be the best-handling car in MG India’s portfolio at the moment. The combination of the Dynamic steering mode and the Sport transmission worked rather well. The Astor gets disc brakes all around and it offers precise braking as well. Although we did not get to drive the car on bad roads, I did drive fast over the kerbs on the racetrack and the Astor absorbed the shock well without losing composure. Comfort at lower speeds are good too from what we experienced on the slalom course and on the speedbreakers that line the periphery of the circuit. Overall, it looks promising for city use.

MG Astor first drive

Features

Personal Assistant: This little robot-like thing on the dashboard responds to “Hello Astor” and is capable of understanding a variety of commands that includes both physical (opening windows, sunroof etc) and digital functions of the car. The latter includes jokes, information off Wikipedia, news, music etc. Clever as that may be, it is dependent on Jio’s service network for all the entertainment options. So low signal means no AI.

MG Astor first drive

ADAS Autonomous Level 2: The MG Astor uses a radar unit and five cameras to support as many as 14 autonomous features. Of these, the Adaptive Cruise Control works best. It brakes and accelerates to a speed defined by you while accounting for the movement of the car in front of it. Other useful features include forward collision prevention, speed assist system, intelligent headlamp control and rear drive assist. However, the lane assist functions work best only in ideal environments and is rather inconsistent if, say, the lane markings are inconsistent.

MG Astor first drive

Price

Introductory prices for the MG Astor have been revealed today. The pricing ranges from 9.78 lakh and goes up to 16.98 lakh (ex-showroom prices). Pre-bookings for the car begin from 21 October and reservations begin from today onwards. The first batch of deliveries are expected starting in November this year.

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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