Before its scheduled launch later this month, the MG Hector Plus was spied on test again and it is no coincidence that the latest pics feature a Toyota Innova Crysta in close proximity to the MG SUV; the Hector Plus was snapped during a benchmarking test.
Sources from MG Motor India have revealed that the company actively seeks to pitch its three-row SUV as an alternative to the hugely popular Toyota Innova Crysta. “We now have the confidence to go after bigger fish after establishing a strong customer-centric reputation with our Hector customers,” said one company source.
The Hector Plus is the triple-row version of the MG Hector that we know about. The Hector Plus is expected to be only marginally longer due to its different bumper design, which is identical to the standard Hector in wheelbase and body shell. Hector Plus derivatives abroad are available in two seating configurations – 7-seat with middle-row bench and 6-seat with middle-row captain’s chairs. It is the latter which was spotted on test.
The MG Hector Plus will rival three-row SUVs like the Mahindra XUV500 and the upcoming Tata Gravitas if you go by traditional segments. So how does MG expect to bring in the Innova Crysta, particularly when the Hector SUV built on a monocoque does not allow an apple-to-apple contrast with the MPV ladder frame? We hear that there are a few tricks MG Motor India has up its sleeve and the main one is pricing.
The 6-seat MG Hector Plus is being marketed as an option to the Innova Crysta models of the top-spec VX and ZX 7-seat (2 + 2 + 3 layout). For this purpose MG will play the price card. Though Rs 20.89 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and ZX manual carries a price tag of Rs 22.43 lakh are included in the famous 2.4-liter diesel-powered Innova Crysta VX manual, comparable models of MG Hector Plus would be priced at Rs 3 lakh lower.
The Hector Plus will also give an impression in brochure-to-brochure comparisons, in addition to the lower price. A 170hp/350Nm, 2.0-liter diesel engine will be the mainstay of the Hector Plus range, which would give it a power advantage over the Innova Crysta. The 2.4-liter Crysta diesel produces 150hp and 343Nm. In terms of functionality, the Hector Plus would have the advantage too. Among others, the MG will go one-up on the Toyota with goodies such as connected tech, a 360 degree camera and a panoramic sunroof. Comfort is also another region with a pair of captain seats in the middle side, where the Hector Plus can contend with the Innova Crysta.
A bigger challenge for MG is the reputation for reliability of the bulletproof Innova Crysta. That is the key explanation why customers pay the extra on the Toyota MPV. MG aims to reach that customer base with the guarantee of trouble-free ownership and will sell the Hector Plus with a basic 5-year / unlimited kilometer warranty, coupled with MG Protection, which offers roadside aid services and a buyback scheme. For example, the Innova Crysta comes with a regular 3-year/1.00,000 km warranty.