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The modern Indian consumer is always on the lookout for the latest gadget. Something that will make their daily life more convenient, and give them bragging rights. However, it’s more than just about pandering to the latest consumer fad. A product has to appeal to buyers on a number of levels, from usability to safety. MG Motor’s latest SUV, the Astor, is meant to meet this forward-thinking approach to consumerism by having an arsenal of segment-first gizmos and technologies on board.It’s not an easy feat to pack a Rs 9.78 lakh – Rs 17.38 lakh (ex-showroom, India) car with the number of features the Astor possesses, but MG has accomplished it with aplomb. It’s not just devices that’ll make your commute more convenient, but safer, too.

Let’s start with how the MG Astor cocoons its passengers in safety. The standard safety kit on the range-topping version is extensive as is — six airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, ESP, traction control, hill-start assist, Isofix child seat mounts, rear disc brakes, a 360-degree camera, an electronic parking brake, and a tyre pressure monitor are on offer. Along with this, you get segment-firsts such as hill-descent assist and heated outside rear view mirrors, and 14 active safety features that come courtesy the Level 2 autonomous driving technology.

Bold ‘celestial’ grille is definitely eye-catching

The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on the Astor are a cut above Level 1 systems, which enable functions such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. Thanks to all the cameras and radar devices installed, the Astor comes with features such as a forward collision warning system that can autonomously apply the brakes when needed. The autonomous tech also includes intelligent headlight controls that can adjust the intensity based on ambient light outside, and oncoming traffic, and advanced lane assist functions such as lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and lane departure prevention.

One of the most important autonomous functions available on the Astor is the rear cross traffic alert, which works flawlessly and is ready to warn the driver in case there’s any sort of obstruction while reversing the car out. All the warnings and alerts are audible, and displayed on the crystal clear and highly informative 7-inch digital instrument cluster, and even the infotainment screen.

The Astor’s cabin is tastefully laid out and feels luxurious too

Speaking of the 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, it’s an easy-to-use unit, which is commendable considering the sheer number of safety features and creature comforts that can be accessed through it. And that’s without taking into account the 80-plus connected car features that come with the Astor thanks to the embedded Jio SIM. Beyond geo-fencing, remote vehicle control, and vehicle status updates, the Astor’s i-Smart suite of connected car tech can also be used to find a parking space well in advance through the Park+ app, navigate via MapmyIndia, and potentially lower insurance premiums and increase resale values by using the KoineArth app to improve driving behaviour.

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A major highlight of the latest i-Smart suite is that the key provided by MG Motor for the Astor can be made redundant. You’ll be able to substitute it with your smartphone, and access all the functions a key could, securely, thanks to the digital key feature. Other kit of note on the Astor includes steering modes (Normal, Urban, and Dynamic) — another segment-first — a massive panoramic sunroof, auto headlights and wipers, a 6-way, powered driver’s seat, and an automatic climate control system with rear AC vents. You’ll never run out of battery on your phone either as there are five USB charging ports and one 12V socket available.

Slim headlight units add depth to the Astor’s front-end

What makes the MG Astor absolutely unique, is the personal AI assistant. Responding with alacrity to the command, ‘Hello Astor’, the AI assistant is the perfect companion on all your drives. Not only will it understand over 35 Hinglish commands and help you control a number of features in the car (such as the sunroof), it’ll also read out the latest news, give you information straight from Wikipedia, and tell some rather rib-tickling and punny jokes. You’ll never feel alone on a long drive as the assistant is always beside you.

Talking about the drive, MG Motor offers two refined petrol engines with the Astor — a 108-bhp 1498cc naturally aspirated unit, and a 1349cc turbocharged one producing a staunch 138 bhp. The more powerful of the two engines is available with a 6-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox, while the other one comes with either a 5-speed manual or an 8-step CVT, providing buyers with three powerful and efficient powertrain options to choose from.

However, performance and frugality means little if it doesn’t come in an attractive package. Here as well, the MG Astor delivers, with eye-catching details such as the bold ‘celestial grille’ all-LED ‘hawkeye’ headlights, turbine-inspired 17-inch alloy wheels, LED tail-lights, and a dual exhaust design. The insides are also meant to pamper, and the oodles of sangria red leatherette draped all about the cabin definitely do the job. The finish also does a fine job of contrasting with the black and silver theme, adding to the feeling of being cocooned in comfort.

All in all, the MG Astor is much more than just a mode of conveyance. It elevates the driving experience with clever features, and provides a peace of mind with its safety tech seldom seen on our roads, and never seen at this price point. So what are you waiting for? You can head over to one of 270 showrooms spread across India or to MG’s online booking portal to reserve an Astor for yourself. You won’t be disappointed with the quantity and the quality of the kit available, and isn’t that what we look for in our latest buy? I know I do.