MG is all set to launch its first SUV in India in the first half of 2019. We know that it will be a full fledged ‘SUV’, but whether it will seat five or seven is not known yet. However, what’s known is that it will lock horns with the Jeep Compass and will be bigger than the Hyundai Creta and Renault Captur. Its prices are expected to start from Rs 15.35 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
There were earlier rumours that the MG SUV will share its diesel engine with the Compass. Now, MG’s president and managing director, Rajeev Chaba, has confirmed to us that the first MG SUV will get the 2.0-litre diesel engine of the Compass. At launch, the MG SUV’s diesel engine will be BSIV-compliant, like it’s in the Compass currently. Understandably, MG will upgrade it to BSVI standards before April 2020.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine of the Jeep Compass produces 173PS of max power and 350Nm of peak torque. It is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The same engine is linked to the 9-speed ZF auto gearbox in the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, which is expected to be launched in India as well. It remains to be seen whether MG will launch the diesel engine with a manual transmission only or if it introduces an automatic gearbox right from the beginning. Jeep claims an ARAI fuel efficiency figure of 17.1kmpl for the diesel-manual Compass.
The MG SUV will also be available with a petrol engine. However, there is no confirmation yet which engine would go under the SUV’s hood. It is likely to get a 1.5-litre turbo or a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor from its international lineup. Expect the petrol engine to be available with both manual and automatic transmissions.
The MG SUV will be locally assembled (with up to 80 per cent localisation at launch) at the company’s Halol facility in India, which used to serve as the manufacturing base for Chevrolet (GM) earlier. The heavy localisation indicates a competitive pricing for the upcoming SUV. Expect it to start below Rs 14 lakh.
Post this SUV’s introduction, MG Motor plans to launch one new vehicle in India every year. The carmaker is also considering an electric SUV for India, the MG ZSe.