On the whole, the SUV comes across as a pleasant surprise with impressive specs and a lot of substance
On paper, the MG Gloster has some impressive numbers. It is longer and taller than all its rivals and packs in the most powerful diesel engine in the class. So how does the package come together on the road?
The Gloster is truly a massive SUV with loads of all-important road presence, though it lacks a distinctive design with no visual link to other MGs in India. Still, the slim LED projector headlamps, large brushed-metal grille and sculpted bonnet are quite attractive and the dummy quad exhausts lend it a sporty look. There is also a lot of tastefully executed chrome detailing all over the car.
Open the front doors and you are treated to dashboard draped in tan leather, with double-stitching, brushed aluminium trim and lots of layers.
The 12.3-inch touchscreen is bright and colourful, of a reasonably high resolution and makes good use of its wide-screen aspect ratio with neatly arranged function ‘tiles’. There is also an 8.0-inch colour screen sitting between the dials. The display is crisp and fluid and overshadows the analogue tachometer and speedometer positioned on either side.
The front seats also make a good first impression. They are power-adjustable, heated, quite large and generously cushioned. The driver’s seat goes a bit further, with seat ventilation, massage and a memory function. Lumbar support though, even at its lowest setting, is a bit excessive, and the cushioning all round is firm.
Forward visibility is great thanks to upright A-pillars and a relatively low-set dash, but rear visibility is hampered by the big rear seat head restraints.
- LENGTH 4985mm
- WIDTH 1926mm
- HEIGHT 1867mm
- WHEELBASE 2950mm
- KERB WEIGHT 2518kg
- TYRE SIZE (F|R) 255/55 R19
- FUEL TANK CAPACITY 75 litres
- ENGINE 1996cc, 4-cyls, twin-turbo diesel
- POWER 218hp at 4000rpm
- TORQUE 480Nm at 1500-2400rpm
- GEARBOX 8-speed automatic
In the second row, the two individual seats are almost as generously cushioned as the ones up front and, while not powered, offer a long range of fore-and-aft travel and a fair amount of recline, which in combination with the space makes the Gloster’s middle row by far the most comfortable in its class. Space in the third row is also easily the best in the segment. You might be sat low and support may be lacking but headroom is decent and kneeroom is exceptional.
The Gloster is also loaded to the gills with equipment. You get a massive panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, ambient lighting, an electronic parking brake with auto hold and more.
Then there are the advanced driver aids, many of which you can otherwise find only in high-end luxury cars — blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, frontal collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
The in-house-developed, 1,996cc, twin-turbo diesel under the hood of the Gloster punches out 218hp and 480Nm, making it the most powerful in its class. Drive goes to the rear via an 8-speed torque-converter automatic, with an on-demand 4WD system engaging when necessary.
Performance is impressive, with the Gloster doing 0-100kph in 11.21sec in our tests. Similarly in roll-on acceleration, 20-80kph and 40-100kph too were dispatched in a quick 6.57sec and 8.77sec respectively. Braking too is impressive, with the behemoth stopping from 80kph in just 2.56sec and 25 metres.
However, the engine’s bottom end is particularly weak and the SUV feels unusually sluggish below 2,000rpm. This is only exacerbated by the slow responses of the gearbox, which often takes time to select the right gear.
The highway is where this engine, feels most comfortable with its big reserves of torque and long-legged gearing making it an effortless mile muncher. Gearshifts on the move are unobtrusive and you will always have enough power in reserve.
Refinement too is really exceptional and ride quality is also really good as far as ladder-frame SUV go. High-speed composure too is impressive and the Gloster can suppress broken roads without flinching. There is quite a bit of body roll and high-speed, lane-change manoeuvres should be made with some consideration for your passengers.
The steering is light and offers reasonable amount of feedback and confidence at speed. It is safe to say the Gloster has the best ride and handling mix in the segment right now.
The MG Gloster comes across as a pleasant surprise with impressive specs and a lot of substance. The only fly in the ointment appears to be the sluggish response at low speeds, which can make city driving pretty taxing.
What we do not know yet is the price, but what we hear is that this top-spec Savvy version will be priced just above the established competition, at around ₹35 lakh (ex-showroom). Only time will tell if the Gloster can make as big an impact as the Hector.