My MG Hector diesel: Thoughts & observations over 18 months & 27000 kms
The torquey FCA 2.0 shines here. I have not experienced any glitch till date whether it is sharp Himalayan inclines with fully loaded boot or arrow straight roads of plains
BHPian FiatDiesel recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
As a child I “Lived to Drive” and it is the case today as well. Driving long distances, exploring unknown in my own cars is my passion. By God’s grace I am blessed to have modest means to realize & live the dream. Here is brief about my journey with cars and thereafter details about our stallion.
A bit about my “Car” experience:
The very first car I drove was Hyundai Santro Euro 2 at the age of 21. Asa GET (Graduate Engineer Trainee) I used to drive to office in Santro. This was my dad’s car. I drove it for approx. 1 Lac+ KMs in early 2000’s in whole of Delhi and frequent Jpr-Del highway runs with family and friends. It was quite well built at that time and highway manners were really good which I realized after I drove my next car. I have fond memories with Santro. I wish I still had it.
In few years life changes, I got married and need for second car arises. So, the hunt started for fuel efficient car as petrol Santro used to burn hole in pocket. In small hatchbacks in 2006 only Indica had diesel. Maruti introduced LPG in Wagon R & rate of auto LPG was between Rs 20-30 / litre at that time. We bought Wagon R Duo (LPG). While it was easy on pocket, I realized the difference of build quality between Santro and Wagon R specially during highway runs. Initially I had some scary experiences in Wagon R during high-speed highway runs as my driving style was still adapted to Santro’s and maneuvers like quick zig zag in case of big pothole were recipe of disaster in Wagon R. It’s built quality was flimsy and highway manners were not comparable. However, this car gave me fuss free experience including the OEM LPG kit. It was 1.25 Lac KM’s when it was sold after 7 years, and I got 50% value of purchase price back.
For job, my location changed (reason Wagon R was sold) and we bought our next car, Exotic Red Punto 90HP Sportz. Our first diesel car. Punto was beautiful and love at first sight for us and it turned out to be very nice experience barring the worst after sales service from Fiat. It was that bad that I had to switch to FNG during warranty period itself for peace of mind.
Driving Punto was an experience for me, coming from tall boy design Santro / Wagon R to low slung solid hatchback Punto- with perfect highway manners and powerful 90 HP engine. For the first time, I understood the fun of high-speed cornering in a well planted car. I had fun with her on highways specially on Pune – Mumbai Expressway. She offered everything good – exciting triple digit speed rides, excellent braking and extremely well planted on road.
We did some very long-distance trips with her including non-stop Pune-Ooty and the famous hair-pin bends to reach the hill station. She never stranded us anywhere. Due to my frequent official trips, it only did 65K KMs in 8 years.
With time Punto’s boot became very small for us and my son (who was now teen) didn’t like the rear seat comfort of Punto for long trips anymore. Pandemic also forced us to pack more and eventually my son started giving up on long drives as after boot getting filled with brim, it was rear bench which also started getting filled with stuff.
Our hunt for next upgrade started. Few things which we wanted in our car:
- SUV with powerful diesel engine. Petrol was not an option as diesel’s offer better mileage and cost less.
- Lots of boot space.
- Comfortable driving position & rear bench comfort. One drawback of Punto, not comfortable for driver & passengers.
- Latest gadgets and functions. Punto had some good gadgets like Blue & Me which was ahead of its time but not fine-tuned to work seamlessly.
- Less outside noise in cabin. This also keeps fatigue low when travelling long distances.
- Quality & reliable after sales. Again, this was very important due to very bad experiences with FCA ASS.
- 5-seater preferred.
Note that we didn’t have any experience with SUVs within family and it was just Team-BHP which had groomed me in terms of automobile knowledge and driving experience of hatchbacks and small cars for approx. 3 lakh kms.
Given the requirement of space, small SUV’s including Nexon were ruled out as space was almost similar to big hatchback. Hence, we moved up the ladder and considered mid-sized SUV’s. Eventually we zeroed down on first two listed below:
- Innova Crysta : MUV but my choice given the long drives we do & reliability / peace of mind I was looking for. GX version was in budget as well. My family didn’t like my choice for the taxi image it carries & even suggested me additional source of income for weekends if I buy one.
- MG Hector: One of my colleagues had bought it in 2019 (petrol version). It was not seriously considered till the time we just visited the showroom to check out the car. My family was floored by its looks and interiors. The space inside Hector was step above then what was in Creta/Seltos and interiors were more premium then Innova. Ventilated seats were not offered in any other SUV in this range but in Hector. Showroom experience was also at different level all together, very premium, well managed & cordial. We were provided TD of Hector & Hector Plus both.
- We didn’t like Hector Plus 2nd row captain seats, and we needed large boot which was taken up by third row. On contrary comfort in 5-seater Hector was very good including on 2nd row bench. We took the quote and left. No discounts were being offered.
- Creta and Seltos: We found them cramped as compared to Hector or Innova hence not considered further.
- Jeep Compass: It was not considered given the pathetic sales & service in Pune. I had my share of horror stories of FCA sales & service in Pune with my Punto. Eventually I chose FNG to service my car from third year onwards despite having 5-year warranty. It gave me peace and actually I enjoyed the car fullest then on. This kept me away from Jeep to even consider it.
- Isuzu V-cross: We fancied it as lifestyle vehicle (or I would say truck) for urban commute however it’s size & price in BS6 avatar made it out of bounds to even consider it. Also after sales service was big question mark.
- Harrier: Based on feedback from industry friends, it was ruled out and not even considered.
I was not sure about performance of Hector except that my friend had all praises for his petrol Hector (except mileage) & after sales support. However, as diesel had FCA 2.0 engine, I was not worried much given my experience with Punto’s 1.3 L national engine. I assumed it to be reliable & efficient. I also researched for the feedback of Hector Diesel, not much data was available however no negative feedback as such was observed except clutch burn issue in social media groups. Interestingly I have never faced clutch replacement in any of my cars till date.
Given the liking of family for extensive feature list, design and premium interiors, I agreed for Hector Diesel Sharp. Also, there was no other option available in this price range with such extensive feature list. While family was all smile & that matters most, the thought of driving manual again in age of automatics was bit of disappointment for me.
We chose 2021 Gudi Padva to book the car. It is considered auspicious day in Maharashtra. To our surprise the MG dealership was decorated beautifully that day & everyone was in traditional attire. They were also celebrating delivery of total 2021 MG cars by the showroom. While we were observing from far, one after another new Hector getting rolled in all Spic & Spanky colours, each roll out of car with new owners was such a celebration with all MG executives standing / clapping / showering petals. It was beautiful sight. During these deliveries we got to see almost all colours of Hector and finalized Bergundy Red as our choice.
We completed the booking process. Fat insurance premium was an eye sore but since decision was made so went ahead with booking. No discounts whatsoever.
We also took 5-year service package (MG Shield) which includes RSA and cost of consumables in regular services for 5 years / 75,000 kmd.
After about 3 months in May, SA informed us that car has arrived & we can complete the formalities. I went to the yard, did PDI as per Team-BHP checklist. Car was absolutely clean, no issues could be found. All formalities were completed & car was ready for delivery within a week.
Car delivery was nice as expected however not like the auspicious day of Gudi Padva, but yes it was well managed to bring smiles & joy of new car. Paperwork was spot on and overall, nothing to complain about. It was emotional feeling for me, as it took me back to my childhood dreams. Our Pandit Ji did pooja within the showroom and we rolled off with dreams of beautiful journeys with our Hector.
I don’t remember the number of rounds we did that day of Bangaluru bypass going through western part of Pune. This was the first time I was driving SUV with power on tap of 2-liter FCA diesel. My son, wife all big smiles and reminding me how lucky I am that I followed their choice to have this beautiful car.
So, our new life started with Hector with long distance trips to our country’s west coast, east coast, northern wall and down south. These have been very exciting journey’s, full of fun & adventure while exploring our own country. Few long-distance (~ 5000 KMs) round trips we did in last 1.5 years:
- Pune – Jaipur – Ahmedabad – Dwarka – Somnath – Gir.
- Pune – Agra – Almora – Munisyari – Jim Corbett: I have travelogue posted here (Pune to Uttarakhand in my MG Hector).
- Pune – Mahabalipuram – Madurai – Rameswaram – Kanyakumari – Kodaikanal.
- Pune – Indore – Ujjain – Jaipur – Amritsar.
There have been many short ones like to Goa / Hyderabad / Mumbai etc.
We had never thought that we will be able to do such frequent very long road trips and give all the credit to Hector. It took us around in supreme comfort with absolutely no fear of breakdown in mind or any irritating niggles or error flashes on screen.
Good things about the Hector:
- Looks: It is a head turner and I adore its beauty. To maintain it in top shape, I have not employed regular cleaning boys and do the job myself with Japasu duster on regular days and thorough clean over the weekends (as I get time) with microfiber cloths and fluids (3M, Turtle etc.).
- Drive Comfort: – It allows you to drive 1000+ kms at a stretch with ease & comfort. I have done it multiple times like Pune – Mahabalipuram, Pune – Agra, Pune – Jaipur etc. Car keeps the driver physical fatigue free for maximum time. May be the reason I feel more comfortable is also because drive posture in Punto was not comfortable for long distances.
- Boot Space: – You can load 4 big suitcases along with small bags. In 5-seater Hector, below boot mat, there is decent amount of space to store small stuff including tyre inflator, car vacuum cleaner, cleaning clothes & other very small bags. We travel heavy and don’t worry at all about space to load bags.
- Power: – Torquey FCA 2.0 shines here. I have not experienced any glitch till date & whether it is Himalayas sharp inclines with fully loaded boot or arrow straight roads of plains, there is no dull moment with this engine.
- Build & component quality: – No rattles or issues whatsoever even after several high-speed thud moments on hidden sharp speed breakers on our National Highways. No component failure till date. Its peaceful drive.
- After sales service: – I have experience with only one MG service center which is nearest to my home, and I can say I have no reason to look for other. Sometimes I wonder, I don’t know any politician or big shot, but every time I visit them, my car gets the attention. My time and feedback are given importance. Frankly never experienced this with any of the car brands I have owned before. I have shared more details below in thread on various experiences I had with them. I can’t say the same for other MG dealerships as I have not experienced them.
- MapMyIndia:- Availability of MapMyIndia as native app in entertainment unit is helpful. Initially it was TomTom which we got replaced with MapMyIndia. The key aspects I like about it is that it warns for speed breakers, curves / bends in road & clear identification of road (like on flyover or side lane) to be taken in case of multiple routes in same direction. It helps us a lot in new unknown routes / cities specially in crowded situations.
Opportunities for Improvement:
- Rain sensor: It has a mind of its own. Not sure why it doesn’t work consistently as expected. I plan to raise a concern in upcoming 30K service.
- Soft suspension: While it is not a problem but if I have to nit-pick then sometimes on small multiple speed breakers (we have lot of them on state highways in MH) if it’s too slow then it has considerable vertical movement, but these are one off cases. However, the same soft suspension does have a positive aspect that it gobbles up all undulations with ease and you don’t feel them while driving. It softens the impact of deep potholes as well.
- Camera quality: Its picture quality can be definitely better for a car in this class.
- Front hand-rest: It does provide support but in case of manual Hector, hand is to be slid forward to change gears. It could have better placed which would have enhanced the comfort during long drives.
- Size of Central Big Tab: It don’t see usage of its size except for music & maps. Drive related key information including TPMS is available on driver information unit as well. I would have preferred the size of Creta entertainment unit.
- City drive: Driving manual diesel Hector in city is not great specially in crowded part of city. Frequent gear changes and car size requires lot of attention from driver and best is to be avoided. Automatic would have definitely eased the situation for driver in such situations.
- DEF: No DEF level indicator provided for owner, the only way owner will know DEF is low is warning light when DEF left in tank is for approx. 2400 KM’s. Though I have not received this warning or any DEF related issue till date, but an indicator would have helped in planning the top ups before long drives as otherwise we are dependent on service center to check or carry a 5 liter can in car. However, do note that DEF tank capacity is 17 liters & average consumption is normally 1 L / 1000 km’s.
Other miscellaneous observations:
Driving FCA manual diesel 2.0 with dual mass flywheel
Though I have driven cars since age of 21 and ~ 3 lac+ KMs, understanding the dynamics of big SUV & modulating the power through gears of 170 BHP engine, it took me some time to get comfortable with it as I had driven hatchbacks only. Initially car would stop over the speed breakers or stop / go situations. There used to be jerks during gear change or automatic increase in speed post gear change specially to second or third. I researched and also reached out to technical SMEs of dealer to understand the handling of clutch which has dual mass flywheel. I had to unlearn my reflexes of the clutch handling in Punto and be mindful of the way clutch is to be used in this new setup. Over the time my driving reflexes adapted to it and no vehicle shutdown, jerks or speed up were observed thereafter. Infact eventually it never bothered me, and drive has been very smooth.
BHPian coolkurt has posted the official MG document of Do’s & Don’ts w.r.t. use of clutch in the Hector.
Build quality: My first ever accident:
We had a day round trip planned to Mumbai for visit to relatives. We completed the stretch of Pune-Mumbai expressway and got down to Panvel. After Belapur, I think it was Uran Phata flyover, while going over a flyover, one Kia Sonet in front of us at some gap slammed brakes and I managed to stop at few millimeters distance from it. I was slamming the brakes to full. I stopped and immediately saw in rear view mirror fearing the worst and saw a movie like scene in fraction of second, a blue Renault Triber hurtling towards us, could see the expression on driver’s face that he has lost control. I was also able to observe that car hurtling towards us is loaded with passengers. I kept the brakes pressed firmly as Sonet was still in front of me at kissing distance. Not sure why it was not moving as it had free road in front.
Music was on with AC throwing chilled air. My son sitting on rear bench with seat belts on asks me “Papa, kya hua”. (What happened dad?) as we experience a slight jerk, yes we were not jolted, it was slight without noise inside the car. My son & wife were already aware of the situation in front of us but not about what is happening behind us. I said “Nothing, you remain seated”. In the meantime, the Sonet speeds away.
I step out of the car to inspect the most dreaded scene of damage. As I move backwards, what I see was very sad. In front of me the Triber was leaking all kind of liquids with folded bonnet & front was bent inwards. Fortunately, all occupants were safe including 2 women out of total 6 passengers it had. Its front doors were partially jammed and were making creaking sounds.
Now I focused on my Hector, the hit was on the left side of bumper (it seems driver tried to navigate towards left) and bumper was depressed with reflector lights broken. No impact to tailgate or metal body or side fenders at the first look. On closely examining I could figure out that tailgate should operate too as the whole impact was at the bumper level & it did operate without any issues.
This sudden braking actually caused a pile up where the very first vehicle Kia Sonet was safe & has sped away. I had the impact on rear, the Triber had got hit from both sides, I could see 2 to 3 Wagon R’s back-to-back behind the Triber, most of them having impact on headlights which were broken, couldn’t judge further from the distance.
The Triber folks asked me for the reason of sudden brakes, I told them about Sonet which they understood. The group had middle aged gentleman who seemed to be head of the group, I walked up to him & conveyed that I felt sorry for his loss, but I couldn’t have done anything else but to stop my car. He looked up to me and said, it’s not your mistake. It relaxed me a lot. One white shirt cladded young chap from the same Triber group was trying to get smart, however the elderly gentleman and the women of same group gave him an earful. We exchanged contact details. I knew it was not my fault because as a driver I am responsible for vehicles in front of me. I realized the importance of dash cam which my car didn’t have that day.
Fortunately, we were on flyover, so no crowd gathered except impacted car owners / travelers. Behind the Triber, most were taxi’s, they noted down the car numbers and went their ways. Triber was not in mobile condition. My Hector had engine running all through this ordeal with my family inside safely. I offered ride to the Triber folks to nearest spot where they can get Uber as they had women in group. They agreed, got the two women & a man from the group in my car, dropped them at some convenient distance to catch the cab.
My family’s mood was off including mine, it was our brand-new car without a single scratch. The only silver lining was that the Hector took the hit quite well, it was behaving like nothing has happened, all sensors, functions everything was working as expected even during reverse operation. Somewhere I felt relief & satisfaction that we have the right car which keeps my family safe and comfortable.
We continued with our Mumbai visit, met relatives, dropped three families with complete boot loaded with their baggage to railway station & returned back to Pune, late evening.
Once in Pune, took the car to service center, filled in the relevant forms for insurance. Rear bumper was replaced, no impact to interior or exterior body of car. It took them 5 working days, I had zero dep insurance so only mandatory payout of 2K from my pocket.
My heart ached for few days but looked on the positive side that all remained safe & it didn’t turn into ugly drama on road. I also knew now I have the right car for my family.
It was a nice job done by the service center; car was as good as new.
MG RSA support:
While returning from Amritsar, we had a tyre blowout due to some sharp object on road. It was rear left, while I also realized it immediately, TPMS also signaled warning. It was 3:30 PM, remote location 80 KM’s before Dhule. We had just crossed the border and entered Maharashtra from MP, slight hilly terrain. This was the first time we have been stranded and in unknown remote location. I tapped I-Call for support from Hector’s ICE. It flashed the message that “message sent for support….” I couldn’t read it further as it disappeared. Within next 30 seconds I get a call on Hector’s eSiM however since sound had echo, I was called again on my registered phone number. They already had my location and understood the problem statement. They also confirmed with me the availability of spare tyre and tools in the car and any landmark visible to me. Post this information they confirmed that I will get call from RSA team in next 15 minutes. I got the call in next few minutes from RSA team who confirmed that support is being dispatched- & it might take 1 hour to reach my location.
Around 4 PM I got the call from local support from Shirpur town (approx. 30 Kms from my location) that he will be at my location in half an hour. They reached our location around 4:40 PM, replaced the flat tyre with spare in 20 minutes, requested me to do tyre pressure check at next petrol pump & waited till we left. We resumed our journey back home around 5:10 PM and reached home without any trouble.
They were professional and kept the discussion to the point. They did apologize when they had arrived for being late. I also gave benefit of doubt given I was at a remote location.
Tyre size: 215/55 R18 Brand: Goodyear:
The next day I reached out to the service center, they informed that OEM tyres have standard warranty of 1 year & vehicle is already 1.5 years old however they still requested me to bring the vehicle to service center as they will take it up with Goodyear for warranty claim which as per them in all probability will get rejected but they will negotiate for price reduction on replacement. Dropped the tyre with them, next day got the SMS from Goodyear of warranty claim being raised and rejected. In parallel I was also checking at tyre shops around me, the specific size was not available with most of them except one who quoted me 12,200 per piece. SA called me the next day that the tyre is replaced, and they managed the 20% discount on MRP from Goodyear. MRP:15K Cost to me: 12K. I went ahead with MG service center & got the tyre replaced.
I would say approx 15 km / liter. This directly depends on driving style & conditions. It varies considerably as you will see in below snapshots from MG iSmart app:
Drive to Navi Mumbai Ikea from Pune. Expressway and downward gradient helps here.
This is within city, trip to school.
This is on expressway up in the North, amazing drive.
Normal highways with traffic.
Another highway run during night with less traffic.
Overall satisfactory mileage over long distances. Its fuel tank capacity is 60 Liters which gives quite good long range in one full tank.
Why MG Service puts smile on my face:
Well, it’s not like they are perfect, they do mistakes but how they respond to concerns & remediate the mistake is important. I had no experience with them when I boughtthe Hector and at very first instance of concern, as per my past experience with various brands, I immediately raised complaint to MG. This is what happened then:
- Swirl mark: When my car had gone for first service in 2021, after it came back, I noticed a swirl mark on the notch of rear hatch. It was visible at two places when you look at it from a particular angle. Yes, a swirl mark we have on our cars, not visible normally. I raised the complaint to MG. I got the call from the customer care manager of the service center. She offered to get my vehicle picked which I normally don’t allow. I went to the service center and showed them the particular swirl marks on the notch of hatch. They had difficulty in identifying it, I helped them with the specific viewing angle to look at hatch.
- 3M executive was called in, he requested the car to be left for few hours with him. When I went for pick up, as I looked at my car, it was same as the day of delivery. Forget the notch it was spic & span all around. I had a big smile plastered on my face that day and I smile on myself today as well as it was relatively a small topic- but I love my car, MG service center folks handled it just perfectly. They earned my trust that day.
Now this could be easily brushed off as one-off case, but this positive experience continued in my below interactions:
- Spilled coffee: There was an instance where good amount of coffee got spilled on arm rest of rear seat which I was not aware off. I didn’t notice it as the arm rest was up until car went for regular service. I tried at home with regular car leather cleaning liquids of 3M / Turtle, couldn’t make much difference. I showed it it to SA who called in 3M executive, I was ready to shell out money as it was pain to see the big coffee patch on beige arm rest however that executive without hesitation said they will take care of it without any costs. The work done to remove stain was excellent and was removed completely.
- Left pull: My car had slight left pull issue after our Kanyakumari trip. So before starting our Munisyari trip, I took this up with the service center. It took them 2 days to resolve the issue as normal alignment was not resolving it. They took a number of test drives to resolve & conclude on it in those two days. I was told no components were changed as all are in good condition, they have just loosened & retightened various components including suspension to resolve the issue which required number of test drives to conclude on result. I was surprised when they topped up the diesel, they consumed during those 2 days without my ask. Also please note I was not charged a single penny for this work. I have driven the car 15K KMs after that including to Munisyari, no issue whatsoever.
- Insurance renewals: All my vehicles except the Hector are renewed through Acko. Primary reason is ease with which it gets renewed and competitive prices. I don’t have experience of claims with them but as you would have noticed above, by god’s grace I had no need to raise claim till very recently when the Hector was rear ended. Most of my vehicles have 50% NCB. I planned to switch to Acko for Hector too as I assumed fat quote from MG dealership at the time of renewal too. I was in for surprise when I got very competitive quotes of 6 to 7 major insurers in our country consolidated together in one single email from MG service center. They were at par with Acko. And I went ahead with New India Insurance through MG.
- DEF top-up: Even minor topics like DEF top-up are attended promptly. Before starting the Amritsar trip in Dec’22, I wanted to get DEF checked and topped up. I drove in directly in service center at around 3 PM. Requested them to check DEF and top it up. MG sells 5-liter cans off the shelf which is higher priced and also in loose quantities through big 200-liter drums during service which is cheaper. I was prepared to buy cans depending on how much top up is needed however SA proposed to open the job card and get this topped up to ensure lower cost. And they did it by quickly creating a job card and in 30 minutes I am out with car with topped up DEF, just 4 liters worth of some Rs. 200/- as car already had 10 liters.
- Courtesy: “Sir, did you have your lunch? Please join us”. And everyone, SA, Customer Care, reception checks it with you. Obviously because you are at service center during lunch time but this polite way of letting customer know that it will take some more time to attend to the job is nice. I am very sure they must be having good lunch .
These are the few experiences spread over last 1.5 years (27K+ kms) of my ownership.
PS: Here service center is question is B.U. Bhandari MG Service Center in Wakad, Pune.
Overall, we love our car due to its ride comfort, looks, cabin & build quality. Its peace of mind as level of trust in MG service center is high. They value us as a customer & support us right up to resolution to our satisfaction.
This makes our drive experience happy and peaceful. When we drive, we enjoy the journey and dream about our next destination.
Below are some random pics:
Above two pics are from PDI.
Memorable delivery day.
Waiting for pick up post service.
Outside MG Motor plant in Gujarat.
Ranikhet during our Uttarakhand trip.
Beach at Dhanushkodi.
View of Dhanushkodi.
Meal stopover just before Pune towards the end of southern trip to Kanyakumari.
Ikea @Navi Mumbai loaded with panels / material of chest of drawers & other stuff.
Two gen’s of Hector (2019 Sharp BS4 petrol & 2021 Sharp BS6 diesel).
Essential after every road trip.
Thanks for reading.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
Source: Read Full Article