MG Astor has emerged as another strong contender in the compact SUV space where Creta, Seltos and Kushaq are already competing against each other.
Last year, MG Motors launched its most affordable offering for the Indian market in the form of Astor. The compact SUV has been introduced in the hottest segment, where every other carmaker has been eyeing a maximum share of the pie.
The same mid-sized SUV segment has already stalwarts like Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and Skoda Kushaq. So, what difference will Astor make with its unique styling and hosts of new features? Let’s find out.
Platform and Dimensions
MG Astor is built on the Car as a Platform (CAAP) concept, which also underpins ZS EV, Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta are based on the K2 platform, while Skoda Kushaq sits on a brand new India-specific MQB-A0-IN platform. Hence, the Astor remains on the top of the game in terms of dimensions.
However, Skoda Kushaq has the largest wheelbase, which makes its interiors much more comfortable than the others in the competition. On the other hand, though Kushaq’s boot space is adequate but is low as compared to Seltos and Creta.
|MG Astor||Kia Seltos||Hyundai Creta||Skoda Kushaq|
The design and styling have always been a subjective matter of choice, but one thing that should be considered, especially when buying SUVs, is the muscularity and dynamism it offers on the outside.
The newly launched Astor sports a similar facia as sibling ZS EV but altered to give it a refreshing look that remains in line with the cars in its class. The Astor features unique hawkeye-styled LED headlamps with boomerang-shaped LED DRLs. The hexagonal celestial grille pattern is neat and eye-catching. The sides are flanked by flared wheel arches and 17-inch turbine-inspired machined alloy wheels, while the rear features LED taillights and the bumper housing dual exhaust design with chrome accents.
Kia Seltos has always been praised for its distinctive and dominating exterior profile, which the company calls Badass design. The front profile is dazzling with a tiger-nose grille, brawny front bumpers and sleek LED headlights surrounded by chrome. The SUV features a 17-inch crystal cut alloy wheels with red brake callipers, giving it a striking look. The rear end has a nice set of premium looking LED tail lamps.
Hyundai Creta, after all these years, continues to mesmerize with its commanding looks. The latest iteration of Creta features cascading styled grille, dual-tone bumpers and triple-beam headlamps with crescent grille DRLs. The sporty looks are further enhanced by a shark fin antenna, 17-inch diamond-cut alloys and LED taillights at the back.
The Kushaq, on the other hand, looks unmistakably a Skoda and comes with a design that somehow aims to target the formidable Korean counterparts. It features a signature butterfly grille and crystalline LED projector headlamps with L-shaped DRLs at the front. The angular wheel arches, 17-inch alloy wheels, silver cladding and sill covers, all emphasise the character of the SUV. The Kushaq proudly carries forward the heritage with unique wedged-shaped LED tail-lamps and a dynamic rear spoiler at the rear.
Interiors, Comfort and Tech
MG has put a lot of effort into giving an upmarket feel to the cabin with a cutting-edge design and high comfort level. The vehicle is available in the choices of three dual-tone cabin themes, each giving a soft-touch material feel and emphasized by brushed aluminium. The seats are well-bolstered and comfortable but not ventilated, which one would expect in such a car.
In terms of features and tech, the Astor gets a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a fully digital 7-inch instrument panel, heated ORVMs, 5-USB charging ports and a 6-way power-adjustable driver seat.
Some unique features set Astor apart from others, including an AI robot sitting atop the dashboard that allows you to control some car functions and pulling off information from Wikipedia. Then there is a digital key offered on the smartphone through which you can remotely operate your vehicle. Another unique feature is the electronic steering wheel available with three different driving modes; Normal, Urban and Dynamic.
Kia Seltos is offered with plush interiors and a cockpit design that speaks quality and let you indulge in the luxury driving experience. There are three different interior themes, coupled with techs like 10-inch touchscreen infotainment powered by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, BOSE premium sound system and 7-inch colour instrument panel.
Further, the UVO connected car technology with over 58 features enhances the convenient aspects giving you remote access to AC, lock and engine. The voice control commands let you operate the sunroof, temperature, music player, calling, etc.
Hyundai Creta is also not behind in the league and lives up to its expectations. The interiors come in two different colour themes, packed with features like a 10.25-inch touchscreen panel assisted wirelessly by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster and decibels options in the form of Arkamys or an 8-speaker BOSE premium sound system.
The Creta also comes with ‘Advance Blue Link’ connected car tech, which offers over 50 features allowing you remote access to the engine, air conditioner, air purifier, sunroof, vehicle tracking, etc.
Skoda Kushaq interiors engulf the passengers as soon as one steps in. The cleanly designed dashboard, chrome details and ambient lighting add to the uniformity of the design. The tailored-made 10-inch infotainment system is equipped with touch and gesture control, powered by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Skoda Play apps and offline navigation, while the sound system is provided by Skoda sound system with six high-performance speakers and subwoofer.
The Kushaq also gets connected car tech, but it’s not much advanced, as compared to the other three. The MySkoda Connect offers online services via the app, giving access to features like live tracking, records and prompts, driving behaviour, trip analysis, and safety and security.
All the SUVs have common comfort features, including automatic headlamps, automatic AC, push engine start/stop button, rain-sensing wiper, 60:40 rear seat split, sunroof and rear AC vents. Except for the Astor, all the SUVs are equipped with ventilated front seats. Surprisingly, Astor also misses out on some common features such as glove box cooling, auto-dimming IRVM and wireless charging, all of which are available in other SUVs.
In terms of safety, all four SUVs comes equipped with six airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, Traction Control System, Hill Assist Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring and Rear Parking Camera with sensors.
However, the camera in MG Astor is advance with 360-degree functionality. Where Seltos is offered with advanced features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, Skoda Kushaq offers multi-collision braking, and an electronic differential locking system.
But MG Astor has done something different altogether by covering up the missing comfort features by adding the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) as an extra safety package. The system is armed with 14 autonomous safety features executing functions like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and forward collision prevention, etc.
When it comes to providing colour options, Korean brands are on the top of the game. Both Seltos and Creta are available in monotone and dual-tone body paints, while the Astor and Kushaq are available only with monotone colour options.
In the engine department, Skoda Kushaq seems to have an edge in power figures as far as the turbo-petrol motor is concerned. The overall torque output in both the engines is also good in Kushaq, as compared to the other three. All four SUVs are available with both manual and automatic transmission, which is a good thing.
However, one thing that makes Seltos and Creta’s case strong is the 1.5L 115PS/250Nm diesel engine option, which is not available in both Astor and Kushaq.
|MG Astor||Kia Seltos||Hyundai Creta||Skoda Kushaq|
|Engine||1.5L petrol/1.3L Turbo-petrol||1.5L petrol/1.4L Turbo petrol||1.5L petrol/1.4L Turbo petrol||1.0L petrol/1.5-litre Turbo-petrol|
|Transmission Manual||5-speed||6-speed MT||6-speed MT||6-speed|
|Transmission Automatic||CVT/6-speed AT||7-speed DCT||7-speed DCT||6-speed torque converter/7-speed DSG|
Pricing and Verdict
Today, every other carmaker is trying to woo customers by aggressively pricing their cars without compromising on the features aspect. MG Motors has done the same as it has priced the Astor in the range of INR 9.98 – INR 17.72 lakh, which is better than the counterparts.
Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta and Skoda Kushaq have been priced in the range of INR 9.95 – 18.19 Lakh, INR 10.22 – 17.93 Lakh and INR 10.99 – 18.19 Lakh (ex-showroom), respectively. Where Astor base and top-spec variant is cheaper than the competition, Skoda Kushaq seems to have been priced in the higher end of the segment, however, it is still competitive.
Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta are not only competitive in terms of pricing but come with a more stylish design and the option of the diesel engine as well. Astor seems to be breaking the rules by introducing segment above safety aspects, while Kushaq has the most powerful engines of the lot.
So, if you are ready to compromise on the diesel engine and want more safety and cutting edge features, Astor could be the right choice. If you prefer a balanced combination of styling, features, safety and engine choices, then Seltos and Creta are best. If you want more performance from your SUV and spaciousness inside, then Kushaq can be the perfect car you are looking for.
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