MG Motor India started its operations in India last year with the Hector. The mid-size SUV turned out to be a big hit for the Chinese-owned British brand. Even after wearing a badge that had no proven history of reliability in our country, the MG Hector got the audience drooled with its capacity to offer more than the competition. The Hector boasted of hefty dimensions, came loaded with more features, and also had the option of powerful engines in comparison to its rivals. The icing on the cake was the pricing, which connected well with the price-conscious Indian buyers. Now in 2020, MG is all set to repeat this exercise, but this time it is rivalling the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, and Mahindra Alturas G4. With what you ask, MG Gloster, we say. But, will it be able to repeat the same success story as its smaller sibling? We find it out in this review.
MG Gloster Review – Exterior
The MG Gloster looks massive! This is the first thing that comes to your mind when you look at it. It is based on MG’s Chinese parent company SAIC’s Maxus D90 SUV. Here, MG has repeated the same exercise that it had executed with the Hector, which is a repurposed version of another Chinese SUV – Baojun 530. It, however, isn’t a bad deal as it helps the Gloster with humongous dimensions. The Gloster is longer than the Toyota Land Cruiser. It has an overall length of 4,985 mm. Also, it is the widest and tallest car in its segment with a width and height of 1,926 mm and 1,867 mm, respectively.
Talking of the design, it looks nearly identical to the car it is based on – Maxus D90. On the front, it gets a giant, multi-slat grille, which is finished in a combination of silver and chrome. Flanked on either side of the grille are sleek headlamps, which get LED projectors and DRLs. Thankfully, they do not follow the new trend of vertically-split headlamps. On the lower portion of the front bumper are two vertically-stacked fog lamps. They get chrome surrounds that look like those seen on the Hector. To upkeep the premium quotient, the Gloster gets a chrome insert around the chin. The bonnet gets a couple of sharp haunches, and they do add some maturity to the face.
Moving over to the sides, the Gloster wins hearts with its dimensions. It gets massive 19-inch diamond-cut rims which, however, look plain. The doors are big and get massive windows. Similarly, the rear-quarter glass is the biggest we’ve come across on a car to date. The sheet metal misses out on sharp character lines, but it does get a shoulder line, which isn’t too pronounced either. The ORVMs are big and mounted on the doors. The silver-finished roof rails are chunky as well. They merge into the chrome-finished window surrounds, thereby showing that MG has put in some flashy design elements too in the Gloster.
The rear facet is upright and is the busiest profile of the SUV. It gets a set of sleek LED tail lamps. There are a lot of badges too, which specify the SUV’s capabilities. The size of the reflectors is ideal, but the same cannot be said for the ‘GLOSTER’ logo. It is way too big and feels tacky. The rear bumper is neatly designed thus it gels well with the rear facet. The Gloster gets quad-exhaust tips, but they are fake. Also, the actual mufflers are visible through them. Altogether, the design of the Gloster feels old-school. But, with all sort of modernization that MG could perform on it. Nonetheless, its massive road presence never lets one think of the way it looks.
MG Gloster Review – Interior
Before we get on to the interior, we tell you that getting inside the tall Gloster is not a challenging task. There are side steps (running-boards) on either side with the right amount of handles to let you pull yourself inside the beautiful cabin of the Gloster. Unlike the outside, the Gloster treats your eyes with a well-designed interior. The cabin carries a dual-tone theme with the black and brown colours. The dashboard, door pads, steering wheels, and seats, all are trimmed with leather.
The Gloster gets a nicely laid out dashboard. It is wide and houses two screens, one for the analogue-digital instrument console, and another for the infotainment unit. The instrument binnacle gets an 8-inch multi-colour display that can deliver a lot of information, including the driving mode you are in and the settings for adaptive cruise control. This screen can be controlled using the buttons placed on the steering wheel. Talking of the infotainment unit, it is a 12.3-inch display that is horizontally laid-out and comes coupled to 12 speakers in total. It is bright and apt at doing its job. Also, it gets MG’s iSMART connectivity tech and accepts voice inputs via ‘Hello MG’ command. It offers satellite navigation with 3D maps from MapMyIndia.
The centre console in the Gloster is wide and houses a slew of buttons that control the driving modes and seat ventilation. Also, MG has managed to fit in a wireless phone charging dock here along with 2 USB ports and 2 cup holders. The front centre armrest is a big one and offers a lot of storage space. The glove box on the dashboard, however, feels small for a vehicle this big. Although, you get enough space in the door bins to keep your knick-knacks.
The seats in the Gloster are big and cushiony. Front-row seats are power-adjustable and also offer heating function. However, it is only the driver seat that comes with memory function for seat settings, electronic-adjust for height and massage function. For the second row of seats, the owners will have the option to choose between a bench or captain chairs. Our test unit had the latter, which we felt were comfortable with adequate support and had recline adjustment for the headrests. The third-row bench, however, fails to offer the much-required support. Though you do get 60:40 split for increased accessibility. Also, there’s a massive dual-pane panoramic sunroof and big windows to keep the cabin airy and full of light all the time.
The space in all the rows is more than sufficient. However, the last-row seats are best suited for children when on long hauls. Adults would not prefer a drive any longer than an hour in the third-row. The Gloster gets a powered tailgate with swipe-to-open function. The boot volume is not the most generous one with the third-row in place. It stands at 343 litres. With the third-row folded down, it increases to 1350 litres. Sadly, the Gloster doesn’t get power-folding last-row, thus making it a chore to get them back in place.
While the Gloster is big and spacious, it comes with the Level-1 autonomous assistance. Thereby aiding the Gloster with adaptive cruise control, where the car can accelerate and brake in accordance with the vehicle ahead. Also, it gets auto park assist, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and front collision alert. For those who need more of the show, there’s a 64-colour ambient lighting system as well.
MG Gloster Review – Engine & Gearbox
MG Gloster comes with a 2.0L twin-turbo 4-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 218 PS of peak power and 480 Nm of max torque. The transmission duties on the Gloster are taken care of by an 8-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF. Also, it gets a BorgWarner transfer case with low-range gearbox and electronically lockable rear differential. With these specifications, the Gloster comes up as the most powerful SUV in its segment.
Talking of the overall drivability of the Gloster, the 2.0L twin-turbo oil burner offers ample torque. Most of which is available in the mid-range around 2000 RPM mark. The low-end grunt, however, is not the best here as the turbo-lag is evident. Also, the torque spread of this engine is small, and after the 3500 RPM mark, the motor starts feeling dull again. The power band, however, is wide but most of the engine’s juice comes only after 2000 revs and is available till the redline, which is at 4000 clicks. While the engine’s power and torque band are comparably narrow, the gearbox eases the job with its fast shift and short gear ratios.
With this arsenal, the Gloster was able to reach the 100 kmph mark in less than 12 seconds from a standstill, which is respectable for an SUV that weighs 2.5 tonnes and can hardly cheat the wind. In the low-range, the Gloster offers a decent crawl ratio and is capable of tackling the unpaved paths with loads of torque on offer. Moreover, it gets terrain control modes that tweak the engine tune and traction control settings a bit to let the Gloster glide over most disturbed of the patches. In all modes, the Gloster stays engaged in 4H, but it’s the ECO mode where all the power is sent to the rear wheels only.
Overall the engine felt lively for a car this big, and the gearbox felt free from any issues too. Although, the 480 Nm torque figure feels absent at times because of the turbo lag. Talking of the NVH levels, this 4-cylinder motor is silent than those seen on its rivals. Also, when the pedal is pushed hard to the metal, the engine noise stays well in control. Cruising at triple-digit speeds is not tough either. The engine chugs miles with ease while the tachometer needle hovers a little over the idling RPMs.
MG Gloster Review – Ride & Handling
Ride comfort is one aspect where the Gloster tops the chart. It can soak bumps, undulations, potholes, craters, and speed breakers with a satisfying thud, without breaking a sweat. MG has equipped the Gloster with double-wishbone type independent front suspension and a rigid axle with 5-point linkage at the rear. Underpinned by a body-on-frame chassis, it has noticeable body roll, but it is well in control. With 255 section, 19-inch tyres, the Gloster feels sure-footed, and there’s more than enough traction all the time.
The suspension on the Gloster offers enough travel to aid it with adequate wheel articulation. This, in turn, helps it with great off-road capabilities. Talking of the brakes, the Gloster gets discs at all-four pots. The setup is good at stopping this massive SUV right in time without any drama, whatsoever. Also, the steering wheel offers much-needed feedback. However, it isn’t the most direct one that we’ve come across till date. But for a car that has oodles of heft, it is involving to drive at highway speeds and is light when pondering around in town.
On the whole, the Gloster offers a perfect balance between the ride and handling. It tenders a plush ride in almost every scenario while delivering enough feedback to keep you entertained for most of your drives.
MG Gloster Review – Verdict
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MG Gloster will rival the likes of Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, and Mahindra Alturas G4. The top-spec Savvy trim we drove is likely to be priced with a little premium over the range-topping variant of the Toyota Fortuner. We would not call it pricey since it outperforms all of its rivals in terms of features it offers, road presences it boasts of, and the performance it delivers. Also, it betters its rivals in terms of overall cabin space and ride quality. However, it still isn’t as apt at corners as the Ford Endeavour, and the Toyota Fortuner’s 2.8L oil burner offers better drivability in comparison to its motor. But, on the whole, the Gloster comes with acceptable compromises that you can live with in the long run, while it wins on every other aspect.