Motoring World|October 2021
The MG Astor is set to make a big splash in the midsize-SUV segment
Rivan RS
With the soon-to-be introduced MG Astor, midsize-SUV buyers in India will have seven options to choose from. Each one of the Astor’s rivals has its forte, making this a difficult segment to break into. Interestingly, MG Motor India is looking to take the fight to its rivals by beating them (or at least matching them) at their respective games. That means the Astor will have to out-equipment the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Creta, keep up with the Volkswagen Taigun and Skoda Kushaq on the move, and match the Nissan Kicks and Renault Duster’s price. Tall order much?

Starting with the features list, there’s almost a feeling that MG has gone overboard with the kit and technology on offer. The top-spec Astor Savvy gets segment-first features such as Level 2 autonomous driving tech (which includes lane keeping functions, blind-spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and autonomous emergency braking, among others), an AI-based assistant that’ll answer questions from Wikipedia and control certain car functions, hill-descent control, steering modes, and heated ORVMs. You’ll also be able to substitute the key with your smartphone via the i-Smart app if you want to, essentially making the key fob redundant. For the first time, there’s a car in the midsize-SUV segment that outdoes the Creta and the Seltos in this department, which is a feat in itself. However, the lack of telescopic adjustment for the steering is a telling omission.

Still, it is easy to find a good driving position thanks to the six-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat. The seats provide adequate support, but a bit more in the thigh region would have been beneficial, especially over long commutes. The massive panoramic sunroof and the generally high-set seats add to the feeling of roominess, despite the fact that the Astor has the shortest wheelbase among its rivals, and space at the rear for two passengers is decent, too.

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