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The MG Astor has been launched in India, with introductory prices ranging from Rs 9.78 lakh to Rs 16.78 lakh (ex-showroom). MG Motor India chief Rajeev Chaba mentioned at the launch these prices would be applicable only for those who buy the Astor in 2021 and will likely be revised at the start of 2022. Deliveries of the Astor will begin in November, and MG has confirmed it is targeting rolling out at least 5,000 units of the Astor before this year ends. The fourth – and most affordable – MG offering for the Indian market, the MG Astor, slots in below the MG Hector in its company’stfolio and undercuts its main rivals on the price front.

The Astor will be available in four primary trim levels – Style, Super, Smart and Sharp. While as many as 27 safety features – including all four disc brakes, electronic stability program, hill descent control, and traction control – will be standard for even the base Style trim, the range-topping Astor will be equipped with a total of 49 safety features.

The Astor is also only the second SUV in the midsize SUV segment to feature advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) after the Mahindra XUV700 and only the second MG SUV to feature ADAS after the flagship Gloster SUV. The Astor has ADAS’ Level 2 DAS’, which we’ll utilise mid-range radars and a multi-purpose camera to enable functions including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, intelligent headlamp control, rear-drive assist and speed assist system.

However, ADAS is available only on the Sharp automatic variants with both engine options, and MG is yet to reveal the cost for opting for the system.

The Astor name is Raytheon Sentinel, an airborne battlefield and ground surveillance aircraft formerly operated by the Royal Air Force. It is an adaptation of the MG ZS SUV that has been on sale in international markets for some time now and has been available in India as the all-electric ZS EV since 2020. A key differentiator on the outside is the Astor’s ‘Celestial’ grille.

 Astor would come with three interior colour scheme options (red and black, beige and black and all-black) and will also come with six-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat.; the MG Astor will also pack three steerings feel modes – Normal, Urban and Dynamic – which will vary steering weight as per the driver’s preference. The Astor will also come with standard 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a 7.0-inch digital instruments display, heated ORVMs, a Bluetooth-enabled Digital Key, faux leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, air purifier, electric parking brake, automatic wipers, front and rear armrests, rear AC vents and over 80 connected car features on the fully-loaded Sharp variants. The safety kit includes six airbags on the Sharp variants and the other features already equipped as standard.

The Astor is a petrol-only offering, with two options to choose from – a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder unit (available with either a five-speed manual or an eight-step CVT automatic) making 110 hp and 144 Nm of torque. A punchier 1.4-litre turbo-petrol (available with only a six-speed torque convertor automatic) putting out 140 hp and 220 Nm of torque.

MG has equipped the Astor with artificial intelligence (AI) driven robot that will act as the driver’s personal assistant. Developed in conjunction with US-based firm Star Design, the in-car assistant (with the help of natural language processing and understanding) understands Hinglish, depicts human-like emotions & voices, swivels to face the user – just like an individual would – and can provide detailed information on any general knowledge topic by tapping into Wikipedia. It can also relay news and navigation updates, critical vehicle warnings and can even crack jokes.

The MG Astor rivals the likes of the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kushaq and Volkswagen Taigun.

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