The MG brand in India has been off to a great start with the Hector, adding the ZS EV and the Hector Plus to its line-up in a short span of time. The Gloster is MG’s flagship SUV for India and goes against the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Mahindra Alturas G4 and Isuzu MUX. With the Gloster, MG is taking the value proposition of the brand even more forward by not being cheaper than its rivals, but by offering a lot more features from several segments above. Let’s find out if it’s any good.
Most car brands today – be it Honda, VW, Audi, Mercedes – they all have this corporate design identity wherein all their cars have the same design, especially the front end; but not MG Motors. That’s because MG India sources each of its cars from various brands under the SAIC group. The Gloster is based on a Maxus/LDV D90, which is based on the T60 pickup. Like the other cars in this segment, it is a rugged ladder frame platform with a body on top. Where it stands out from the competition, is in the size department and you have to see it for real. At 4985mm length, 1926mm width, 1867mm height, 2950mm wheelbase, it is massive! Only the Mahindra Alturas is slightly wider. The Gloster has massive presence although the rest of the design isn’t that special. We hate the tacky Internet Inside badge and the Gloster name spelled out in caps on the tailgate and the fake quad tail pipes ends under that. The chrome embellishments look decent against the black paintwork on our test car and those 19-inch wheels although they look small with the huge body, are detailed enough.
Open the doors and the cabin feels inviting. The dashboard is remarkably similar to a BMW’s in design which from a customer point, isn’t a bad thing. The tan leather trim lifts the interior ambience a lot, it has a 12.3 inches touch screen unit along with another 8 inches for the instrument console. The infotainment system has voice commands, a 360-degree parking camera, android auto, a built-in sim card for internet connectivity, live weather updates and music streaming. There are acres of space both in front and rear. The seats are individual chairs for the first two rows and a reasonably big bench for the third. The seats themselves are quite hard and the front seats have excessive support in the lower back region. The driver seat has 12-way adjustments with memory, massage, ventilating and heating functions. The middle row is easily the best in class, with ample space all around and is perfect to be chauffeur driven in. The rear most row is spacious too, with decent headroom and knee room, although you are seated low with not much space under the seat in front, to tuck your feet below. The Gloster comes loaded with panoramic sunroof, three zone climate control, automatic headlamps, wipers, wireless charging, 12 speaker audio system, tyre pressure monitoring, auto parking assist, driver fatigue warning, adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection system etc. The blind spot warning works really well, as does the adaptive cruise control system which can maintain a safe distance with the vehicle in front and bringing the Gloster to a halt if necessary. Our test car had worn, grabby brakes and they were kind of letting the whole experience down. Also, the parking sensor beeps were annoyingly loud and we couldn’t find a way to turn them off.
The MG Gloster is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder diesel that, in this twin-turbo variant, puts out 215bhp and 480Nm. These are class leading figures but the engine feels gutless under normal driving, especially when you move off. It is very lazy to pick up revs, wakes up around 2000rpm and quickly loses steam just under 4000rpm. It is mated to an 8 speed ZF automatic but the tuning is all wrong. The gearbox gets confused at times and you feel there are few flat spots in power delivery. But when you go all out and do a launch, it does 0-100kmph in a very respectable 11.1 seconds – not bad for something that weighs 2.5 tons! Wish that its performance was more usable. The lazy nature of the engine along with its unwieldy dimensions, is not something you enjoy in the city. Get it out on the highway and you will appreciate it. There is also a 163bhp, 375Nm single turbo variant of this engine in the lower spec Gloster but we have no idea how it would handle all that weight.
The Gloster feels heavy and ponderous at first, but has surprisingly good road manners for a heavy car. It rolls a fair bit, but for a ladder frame chassis, it has good amounts of grip and composure. The steering has decent levels of feel and is accurate, the big SUV can change directions with relative ease. The ride quality is quite good for something so heavy and not overtly soft in its suspension setup. There is some bulkiness at low speeds, but it gets better as speed picks up. Brakes on our test car weren’t all that great and seemed to have been abused a lot.
We didn’t take it off-roading, so we don’t know how capable it is out there. The four-wheel drive has a locking electronic differential. The system uses different drive modes – Sand, Snow, Rock and Mud, but that’s all you have control over and you can’t select 4WD or Low Range manually like in its rivals. The low chin of the front bumper and the overall classy nature of the car, left us thinking if we should get it dirty at all. May be another time.
If size and presence is your thing, the MG Gloster has that in spades. It can look imposing next to SUVs that cost twice as much, has acres of space to match and loads of tech to shame them too. It is refined, comfortable and has good highway manners too. We didn’t like the way the engine is tuned and how big and ponderous it feels around town. That middle row is where you want to be in this one. Best SUV to be chauffer driven in? Absolutely.
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