We drove MG Gloster to the hills: Recap of crucial pros and cons of the SUV

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First launched here in October of 2020, the MG Gloster was – and is – the company’s flagship model that is more a statement of intent than the prime source of sales push. It was driven in as India’s first premium SUV with Level 1 ADAS or Advanced Driver-Assistance System and a potential rival to Toyota Fortuner, an SUV that already had an established dominance for over a decade by then. And it isn’t just the Fortuner in the fray even if it wears the crown – the segment also has other players like Skoda Kodiaq, Jeep Meridian and the five-seater Hyundai Tucson. Data from FY2024 suggests that while Fortuner commands around 84 per cent of market share in the segment, the remaining players are fending for the scraps with Gloster, in particular, with nearly six per cent of the market share.

So what is it about the MG Gloster that has helped it to still play the field even if not increase its strike rate noticeably? As the updated MG Gloster gets set for its India launch on June 5, we recap our findings from a recent drive of the top-end Savvy variant of the MG Gloster from the sizzling plains of Delhi to the snowy highs of Manali – and beyond.

The MG Gloster is seen here parked at the Sissu helipad at an altitude of 10,235 feet, flanked by its younger siblings – Hector SUV.

What works in favour of MG Gloster?

The Gloster is a mammoth SUV. It is longer than the Fortuner (4,985 mm), wider (1,926 mm) and even taller at 1,867 mm. It also has a 245 mm advantage in terms of wheelbase. And while looks are always subjective, the MG SUV benefits from a muscular yet shapely styling on the outside.

The cabin though is where Gloster scores big time. It is plush and loaded with features. A large screen, a mammoth sunroof, ventilated front seats, powered front-seat adjustment, wireless phone charger, multiple drive modes and powered tailgate are just some of the highlights here. Space is in its favour too.

There is also a decent level of refinement in the SUV, whether behind the steering wheel or in any of the other seats of the vehicle. And if 4WD is out of budget, there is always the more affordable 2WD variants to pick from.

Gloster
The 4WD version of the Gloster may not be for everyone but it does allow the SUV to be far more capable on treacherous terrain than conventional vehicles.

The Gloster has also been occasionally plagued with technical and mechanical issues but earlier this year, MG announced a unique ownership experience under which it is offering zero maintenance and repair cost for the first three years – this covers items like wiper blades, engine oil, oil filters, electrical wiring, hoses, motors, brake pads, among others, while also offering a buyback program after three years.

Then there is the price factor as well. The Gloster is mostly more affordable than the Fortuner, especially when the top variants of each of the two models are compared. But do keep in mind that the price advantage that Gloster enjoys against its Toyota rival does not hold quite true when pitted against other offerings in the segment.

What works against MG Gloster?

The biggest factor working against Gloster is – and you guessed it, the aura around Fortuner. This is actually also true for all other models in this particular segment as well.

But peer closer and it is also evident that the Gloster isn’t quite as power-packed as the Toyota offering. While the Fortuner gets a 2.8-litre diesel motor and in the GR-S variant, has 201 bhp and 500 Nm on offer, the Gloster is powered by a two-litre twin-turbo diesel unit that puts out 158 bhp and 373 Nm of torque. Considering the bulk and size of the SUV, this feels slightly feeble on open stretches and during climbs, especially when the cabin is packed to the brim.

Secondly, while an overwhelming majority prefer diesel engine options in this segment, the few who may want a petrol motor have to look away from Gloster because there is no such option. In fact, Fortuner and Tucson are the only two premium SUVs in the country that offer both diesel as well as petrol motors – Meridian gets only diesel option while Kodiaq only gets 2.0-litre petrol mill.

The Gloster is also in need of a feature list update even though it is still relatively packed when one assesses what the competition offers. The exterior looks have started becoming a bit too jaded while the vertical screen from the Hector, Gloster’s smaller sibling, needs to be brought in. It is expected that these would be addressed in the updated 2024 model when it is launched this week.

MG Gloster: Summary of drive

Gloster
Living life tent size? Gloster is parked at its final destination – a tent camp in Jispa.

Experiencing the Gloster for well over 1,000 kilometres, and after nearly two years, brought back memories and threw up newer realisations. From Delhi towards Manali, via Panchkula, was a superbly comfortable experience. As mentioned, on the plains, the Gloster could have done with a bit more power to push it towards and beyond triple-digit speeds But with the gearbox ticking numbers well and a steady ride quality to boot, the Gloster can be an easy mile-muncher.

From Manali to the highs of Jispa – an altitude of 10,500 feet, the Gloster continued to fare reasonably well even though not quite responding instantaneously to rushed throttle inputs. With three in the cabin and a lightly-backed boot, the Gloster is more reserved than enthusiastic. But on challenging terrain laden with broken rocks and mud tracks, the SUV’s drive modes and 4×4 were very reassuring.

The Gloster may be a bit too huge to manage within city limits but as an option for someone keen to go out and about, it makes a good case for itself.

First Published Date: 03 Jun 2024, 08:52 AM IST

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