The MG Hector Plus and Tata Gravitas will lock into a fierce battle in the coming months
A camouflaged prototype of what appears to be the India-spec RHD MG Hector has been spotted testing, and in one frame, spotted parked alongside the yet-to-be-launched Tata Gravitas (7-seat Harrier) in Italy. Camouflaged test mules of Tata Gravitas and its rival MG Hector sharing the same parking lot can hardly be a coincidence.
What are MG Hector and Gravitas doing in Italy?
While a detailed benchmarking is done during the initial phase of the product development, it is not uncommon for automakers to validate their vehicles against rivals during the final stages. Shape of the grille and bumper on the Hector indicates that it is the 5-seater variant that is currently available in India.
Tata would have preferred to benchmark its Gravitas against the Hector Plus 7-seater but it will launch only in January 2021. Considering that the Hector and Hector Plus are almost identical in almost every way, it is possible that Tata Motors is benchmarking their upcoming Gravitas against the Hector – which is know to provide a better ride quality and comfort.
It is not new for Tata cars to have been spied in Italy. Tata cars have been spied in and around Turin, Italy – which is where they also have one of their design studios. Other two design studios are in Pune and the UK.
Unlike the Hector Plus, the Tata Gravitas is not just a Harrier with an additional row of seats. While the front half of the design is shared, the longer Gravitas gets a completely restyled rear section with an upright tailgate to maximize space for the last row occupants and luggage. Harrier’s fast improving brand image should have a positive rub off on its 7-seat sibling.
Tata Motors is likely to take the Gravitas launch opportunity to introduce a turbocharged petrol engine on both crossovers and this would make the flagships appealing to a wider audience base. The Gravitas is expected to be launched sometime in early 2021. Allowing the Hector Plus to have a few months of unchallenged run would not bode well for the Tata 7-seater.
MG Hector – the market leader
MG Hector has managed to position itself as a strong leader in the premium SUV category in India. While Tata Motors managed to improve the prospects of its Harrier flagship significantly by introducing regular updates, Hector still leads the game. And with the 7-seater variants of both models set to hit the market soon, competition is set to become fierce and the Indian automaker would love to have a deeper understanding of what makes the Hector click with its audience. This could be the objective of the Italian job.
The Hector brings to table a fresh design, good overall levels of quality and best-in-class infotainment system with a host of India-specific connected services. It appeals to tech-savvy customers and Kia’s successful run with connected cars in India demonstrates how important this aspect is the C+ segment.