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MG Gloster Review: 10 Things You Must Know!


Will we say Fortuner, Endeavour and Gloster in the same breath? MG is trying to make sure we do.

 

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MG’s new Gloster is looking to spook the stalwarts of the big SUV segment - Toyota’s Fortuner and Ford’s Endeavour. These two have dominated the mindscape, with good reason, the Toyota being revered for its dependability and the Ford for its sophistication. If the impressively urbane Mahindra Alturas G4’s performance is anything to go by, finding a toehold isn’t going to be easy. 

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So, how does MG’s Gloster plan to make a mark? We tell you ten things about the Gloster, 6 that are sure to impress you and 4 that the Gloster could do better in its bid to stand up and be counted among the big boys. 

Presence!

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Straight away, the Fortuner and Endeavour will feel a bit threatened by the Gloster, which is a size larger than them. The Endeavour is larger than the Fortuner, and the Gloster is some 80 mm longer, 40mm wider and 30mm taller than the Ford! Yes, you will need to use the side step to climb up into the cabin! But it isn’t as wide or as long as the Mercedes GLS, or the BMW X7, though it has a similar silhouette.

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Spiritually, the Gloster seems connected to Toyota’s Land Cruiser, which relies on its squareness to make a statement. Just like the Toyota the brick-like design is soft only when it comes to rounded edges.  For a sense of modernity you get slim LED headlamps and tail lamps. Stare hard and you’ll see glimpses of Bavaria here. The satin chrome used for the large grille gives it a sense of class.  But the chrome surround for the glass area, the way it flows up into the roof rails and then drops back into the front  fender is beautiful. The Gloster’s wheelbase is 2950mm, 100mm longer than the Endeavour! And its size can be understood by the way the 19” alloys look small here. All in all it’s great that MG hasn’t tried to jazz up the design and left it simple, and butch. 

Luxe Like!

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A quick peek inside the cabin and the Bavarian connection feels stronger still. The landscape orientation for the freestanding 12.3-inch infotainment screen, the aircon vents, the switches for the aircon, the drive mode controller, and the split armrest spell this out amply.  

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The tan leather upholster crowns it all with a sumptuous look and feel. There’s plenty of soft touch materials on the dashboard and doorpads too. The diamond pattern quilting for the seats and door pads gives the Gloster a distinguished air. The lovely LED cabin lights and the 64 colour ambient lighting increases the sense of warmth and appeal of the cabin. 

Space and Practicality 

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In the second row the sculpted captain seats are welcoming. These recline and slide to help you find the right position as per your mood. The large windows and the generous dimensions make the cabin feel very airy and relaxing. When you want to catch a nap you can tilt out the headrest and adjust its wings to “hold” your head. 

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Space, in any of the dimensions, is not in short supply in any row, third row included!

Captain’s seats don’t fold or tumble, so you need to walk down the aisle to get there. Six footers will find enough headroom and kneeroom to sit in reasonable comfort in the third row too. There’s so much kneeroom on offer that there are seatback pockets for you to use to store stuff. Aside from this you get cupholders and one 12V socket and a USB socket in the third row.   

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All passengers get dedicated roof-mounted aircon vents and there’s no shortage of storage space. A clever and well made flip out cup holder is built into the side of one of the captain seats and there’s phone stowage space in the other. All four door pockets are large and there’s additional storage under the front armrest. Speaking of storage, even with all three rows up you can get a few overnighter bags in easily. With the third row folded you get a flat boot floor and enough room to move house.

Features and Comfort

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There’s a lot of pampering being dished out in the front row.  The driver gets a 12-way power adjustable seat with 2 memory settings while the passenger seat is 8-way power adjustable. While the driver seat can be heated, cooled and packs a strong massage function, the passenger side is only heated. To really make life easier for the driver the ORVMs have a reversing mode that tilts down when backing up, making it easier to spot what’s along the sides. The colour 8-inch screen for the MID shows you all the necessary vehicle information like tyre pressures and the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) warnings and settings. 

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The 12.3-inch HD screen for the infotainment is super sharp and has good UI too. It was also great to note that the voice command functionality felt a lot snappier and very usable on the Gloster. This could be down to better hardware in this iSmart system.  Yes, of course there is connected car technology and along with that you also get a wireless, that holds the in a nice slot. However, as there’s no ventilation there your phone will get hot while charging. 

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To keep rear seat occupants cool the 3-zone automatic aircon system has temperature, blower speed and mode selection (air to feet or face) settings for the second row too. Aside from these the Gloster has many more features like vanity mirrors for driver and co-driver with illumination, one-touch down windows with global unlock and lock from the keyfob too.

Safety and Convenience

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Aside from the usual mix of six airbags  and stability systems (ESP, TCS and roll-over mitigation), ABS + EBD, front and rear parking sensors, the Gloster also packs ADAS tech. ADAS, or advanced driver assistance systems, uses sensors and cameras to make driving simpler and safer. The Gloster uses Level 1 ADAS tech, which means the systems can brake or steer, but not both. However, on a vehicle of this size, any help is welcome. 

BLW, or Blind Spot Warning, warns the driver via an ORVM mounted light when a vehicle comes into the next lane. The large ORVMs ensure a great rearward view so BLW felt less crucial, but it nonetheless will be a good safety net. 

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Lane Departure Warning or LDW isn’t as helpful as Lane Keep Assist, which would gently steer the Gloster to help you stay in your lane. It also warns you if you change lanes without indicating.  

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Adaptive cruise control is truly handy as it can slow down your vehicle to adjust for the traffic ahead of you. Which means you can set a cruise speed and then just steer away.  

In the city Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning will prove to be very handy too as they can warn you about the possibility of a collision with a four-wheeler and also apply the brakes to help you avoid it or reduce the impact of it. Do note that AEB works at speeds above 40kmph only.  

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Hopefully, you’ll never need to use these features, but you will want to use the Auto Park Assist. Using the array of sensors the Gloster identifies parking spots and then steers into them. Aside from braking as required the driver only has to follow the prompts on the MID to change gears. 

Breezy To Drive 

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The Gloster doesn’t intimidate its driver and this is down to a few good reasons. Firstly, the basics. The commanding seating position, the large glass area and the large mirrors give you a good view of the world outside.  Secondly, the light and precise steering allow you to place the Gloster exactly where you want it to, which lets you make your way through the city with ease. For the same reason, you enjoy rushing it along a bit on a narrow and windy road. The 255/55 R19 tyres from Continentals feel supple and grippy and definitely have a road bias to them.

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As expected from a large body on frame SUV, a certain amount of body roll is inevitable. The Gloster though, feels tidy and predictable for an old-school SUV.  The all-wheel disc brakes give you adequate bite too. 

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As you would expect from this large ladder frame SUV, it thrashes potholes. Empowered by independent suspension for all four wheels the MG also shames brown lanes by gliding over the worst undulations. On highways, the Gloster sails over broken stretches, dismissing even the worst potholes offhandedly. The supple suspension setup cushions and isolates passengers admirably. The SUV-typical jitteriness, though, can be felt at low speeds over lightly broken roads. That’s the only time you can hear the suspension work too. 

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Then there is the engine and gearbox combination. MG is offering the Gloster as a turbo-diesel model only, albeit in two states of tune. Lower variants of the Gloster will get the 163PS/375Nm 2.0-litre engine with a single turbo, while the higher end variants will get a twin-turbo motor that's good for 218PS and 480Nm. These are segment topping figures by a fair magin, and that’s before the fantastic ZF-sourced 8-speed gearbox gets its cogs to play with them. The abundance of torque and the smoothness and quickness of the gearbox makes the Gloster feel surprisingly light on its feet, and even a bit eager at times. You never have to mash the throttle to make your way through city traffic, and even on highways you find yourself travelling much faster than intended.  

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While you can hear a subdued diesel rumble, the engine remains smooth, which makes it a great companion for longer journeys. Sport mode makes the throttle response quicker and the gearbox a bit more eager and would be well suited for speeding things up as it also splits torque between the front and rear axles to improve grip and stability. But when you are in the mood to lounge, Eco mode would be the better pick as it dulls throttle response and slows the shifts to make things more laidback. 

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For off-road the MG packs three additional modes: Snow, Sand and Rock. These are backed up with hill descent control and hill hold control. However, the Gloster does not get low-range ratios like its rivals. But we suspect 95% of SUV buyers won’t be bothered by its absence.  

Clearly, the Gloster has impressed, but there are a few things that we think it could do better. You might consider some of these as nitpicking, but that only serves to highlight the strength of the package. 

Foot Room 

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While under thigh support for second and third rows is a common lament with these ladder-on-frame brutes, it is the limited foot room that keeps the Gloster from cementing its lounge-like credentials. If second row passengers could push their feet further under the front seats, even taller passengers would have been able to stretch out with ease.  This footroom problem is more pronounced in the third row because of the rails for the captain’s seats. 

Plastic quality 

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The most jarring bits around the cabin are the plastics. For the most part the textures and finishes, like for the lower portion of the dashboard and door pads, looks dated. The roof-mounted air-con vents feel budget, while the flap for the USB and the grille for the tweeters on the second-row door pads feels downright cheap. Even the rocker switches on the steering could have been damped a bit better. On the upside, most of it feels sturdy and well built. 

Ergonomic Misses

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There are some oversights on the Gloster which feel glaring indeed. Like the lack of white markings on the key fob buttons, which makes it impossible to identify the buttons in the dark. Similarly, the home button for the infotainment system is hard to spot in the dark as it doesn’t have any marking or illumination. In terms of technology, the 12.3”touchscreen’s touch response goes slow at times. And while you get a 360 degree camera with a nifty view selection, the resolution for the cameras is very poor, making it virtually useless in low light conditions. If we have to be absolutely crabby, the Gloster also misses out on power-folding third row of seats like on the Endeavour. 

Tacky design 

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Lastly, the shouty bits. The Gloster seems to have misplaced its quintessential British stiff upper lip somewhere. The large “Gloster” branding on the tail gate, the “Internet Inside” badge, the super chunky “Brit Dynamic” (we don’t know what it means either) badge on the side all seem a bit unnecessary. The four metal exhaust tips pack false bravado, as there’s a single exhaust exiting on each side. 

Well, that's it. So, the Gloster isn't perfect, but there's a lot to like in it.  

Verdict 

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MG is likely to unleash the Hector formula once again, although on a grander scale. The Gloster’s XL sized package is loaded with segment-leading wow features including advanced driver assistance systems that sets new benchmarks for safety.

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Its ease of use, be it in the city, highways or rough roads, shores up its core credibility too. To top it off, the Gloster when launched in the middle of October, is expected to be priced under Rs 40 lakh for this top of the line Savvy variant. The lower Sharp variant, which will make do without the ADAS tech, is expected to be priced on par with the Endeavour and Fortuner!  This would make many SUV lovers look at the Gloster, its few shortcomings and its lack of provenance, and just gloss over them. 

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