MG Astor (MG ZS Petrol) First Drive Review: The Crossover We Needed?

MG Astor ZS Petrol review
Images: Somnath Chatterjee/Fossbytes

MG Motor is all set to enter the mid-segment market in India with a new compact crossover SUV, MG Astor, which is also the petrol version of the ZS EV.

MG Motor India has seen great success in India since the launch of its first car and SUV-Hector. Since then, the company came up with different models in the SUV and compact SUV segment.

The ZS EV, Gloster, Hector Plus are all such examples. Hector, among all, is considered the most crucial and popular one. An SUV that everyone wants and wishes to drive because of its compact space and features.

Today MG has got a smaller SUV that is sold in huge numbers. Creta, being the largest selling SUV in India, is a good rival and challenge for MG.

That is why MG came up with a more affordable SUV other than Hector. The MG ZS petrol or the Astor is one such player introduced onto this segment in India. I have driven the ZS petrol, and I must say, it surely qualifies as an interesting crossover.

MG Astor (ZS Petrol) First Drive Review

MG ZS petrol first impression

How Does It Look? Is It Different From MG ZS EV?

The ZS is a smart-looking crossover smaller than Hector. Even though, smaller in size, it comes with an updated version capable to handle our cramped roads and traffic efficiently.

New MG ZS petrol

The petrol ZS or Astor for India offers numerous updates whereas the ZS EV is still based on an older version. There are notable changes in the new ZS/Astor especially with the new grille along with bigger LED lamps. It looks premium and is good enough to compete with its rivals, the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.

MG ZS also offers a 17-inch alloy and has a crossover shape, unlike the bulky Hector.

What About Interiors?

MG Astor review

This could be the change for a revamp. The new ZS has an all-black theme with a sporty all-black interior compared to its electric segment. The facelifted Astor has significant changes, and It gets digital dials that look much cooler.

There is also a 10.1-inch touch screen that comes with a 360-degree camera. The space inside is much similar to its rivals, although there might be a small change in the headroom, legroom is good. More than anything, the black leather upholstery feels expensive and premium with the soft-touch materials used.

What About Driving?

MG Astor price and specs

The ZS petrol/Astor feels sporty and nice to drive with a lower stance, making it a decent handling SUV. The manual gearbox is slicker and better than the Hector, while the company also offers an automatic variant.

There would be no four-wheel-drive option, but the Astor is a crossover hence clearing the apprehensions of a four-wheel drive. There are driving modes on offer which alter throttle response, and the Astor overall is a good SUV in terms of driving, being more of a crossover.

Additionally, the Astor would also get a 1.3l turbo petrol too for the top-end versions, giving it more performance. At the same time, we expect this engine might be paired with a DCT automatic gearbox.

The Astor is light to drive with precise but easy-to-use steering, while the stability is quite good for its class. More than anything else, the rather compact dimensions make it a better fit for our cities rather than the huge Hector.

MG Astor/ MG ZS Petrol Price?

We expect prices to be in the same ballpark as the Korean duo. Hence we expect a price range between Rs 10-16 lakh for the Astor/ZS petrol with high localization keeping prices check.

Is It A Good Treat To The Enthusiasts?

MG Astor interior

The most affordable SUV by MG has potential thanks to its smart looks, features, and overall drive. It is a crossover, but the mix of price and value is important; hence overall, just like the Hector, expect the Astor/ZS petrol to make good sales once launched later this year and expand the MG brand further.

What Is MG ZS Petrol/ Astor Launch Date In India?

The automaker has not confirmed the exact launch date yet. However, the company plans to launch it in the third quarter of 2021. So you can expect the launch date of MG Astor/ MG ZS Petrol to be sometime in September 2021.

We believe the launch date will be close to the festive season of Diwali.

Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee

For me automobiles are more than just an obsession, and driving new cars plus writing about them is what keeps me going. I also look beyond the plain numbers to see what a car is truly capable of and what changes it brings on the technology front.
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