Why I would buy it?
- Extensive feature list
- Compact size
- Unique appeal
Why I would avoid it?
- Lack of fast charging
- Touchscreen is slow to respond
Powertrain and performance
The Comet will be offered with a 17.3kWh battery pack mated to an electric motor producing 41bhp/110Nm and powering the rear wheels. You get a company-claimed range of 230km on a single charge and unlike everything else on sale in the EV sphere, this one doesn’t come with fast charging. You get a Type-2 charger where 0-100 per cent is achieved in seven hours or 10-80 per cent in five hours.
In its stomping ground in the city, the Comet’s powertrain feels fast, fun and eager to push. There’s no delay or lag from the throttle and finding the punch to zip between traffic is not difficult at all. Central to the way, the Comet moves are three driving modes - eco, normal and sport. While there's not much to distinguish between Eco and Normal, you do feel the punch of all those 40 or so electric horses when you put the pedal to the metal. Then again, the car only weighs 815kgs and such zippiness is a given experience. There are also three stages of regeneration with a significant difference between each of the stages. However, finding it in the infotainment system to adjust is a bit of a journey and it seems best to set it in place before you start your driving experience.
Ride and Handling
As a car to drive in the city, the MG Comet hits the mark quite well. The electric powertrain and light steering make it a breeze to potter around town with motorcycle-like manoeuvrability. The Comet rides surprisingly well for something this small and impresses in the way that it takes most bumps, potholes and undulations. However, the short wheelbase means you don't have much travel and when you do go over the really nasty stuff, it displaces the car and you feel it hit back quite strongly. If you are someone with a stiff back, then this is something you should majorly consider when looking at the car.
The MG Comet measures in at just 2.97 metres making it 361mm shorter than the original SS80 Maruti 800. In fact, it is just over 300mm longer than the average auto rickshaw on our roads, giving you an idea of just how small it is.
Yet, despite the small footprint, the Comet is a pretty decent-looking head-turner and fits the bill of ‘if you don’t have size, go big on design’. Two major highlights of the face are the sharply raked big windscreen and this section here that sits like a cap on the face. We also like the stacked headlamps as they add a unique touch. They are of course full LED projectors for both levels.
The Comet’s tiny footprint is most visible in the side profile. The standout element in the profile view is the door, which is longer than one would expect as this car has a second row! The rear has an upright stance with a narrow glass house and these two tail lamps are set far apart on the boot door.
Comfort, convenience and features
Given the compact dimensions of the car, it would seem surprising to find that you can actually seat four people! The overall colour scheme is grey over beige and this has given the cabin a very airy feeling. First up there’s a nice padded material on the dashboard and armrests, while the centre console stops well before the dashboard allowing both occupants to easily slide over and exit from any side. While the front seats are tall, they have very minimal padding or bolster showing the budget origins of the car. If you are going to be spending large lengths of time in traffic, then the seats will start to feel inadequate in terms of holding you in place.
The second row is where things get interesting. To access it, you need to slide either seat forward and then swing the seat back forward. Given the length of the door, ingress and egress in this manner is not a task. What you do have to be careful of is that you don’t bump your head on the way out or when getting inside due to the high floor.
Once seated, you notice that the floor is flat but that you are also sitting low to the ground and that means that you have little to no under-thigh support. While that shouldn’t be a problem for short journeys, the longer ones will make you feel that pinch of your knees being in the air. Finally, the boot is an almost non-existent space if you have the second row up and to get any real use from it, the 50:50 split folding rear seats need to be folded down.
In the fully loaded model that we have driven, you get dual 10.25-inch digital displays, power mirrors, LED headlights and tail lamps, a reverse camera, steering-mounted audio controls, i-SMART-connected car technology and a voice assistant. The connected car technology comes with 55+ features like live location sharing, AC control, speed limiter, smartwatch app and Geofencing. You also get the sharable digital Key that MG introduced with the updated Hector a few months ago.
Among these, we tested out the dual screens and found them to be functional more than anything else. The infotainment system was easy to read in the sunlight and while being a bit slow to respond, did get the job done. Surprisingly this car is offered with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which was something we didn’t expect at all. The instrument cluster is very nice to look at with its high-quality graphics and colour schemes.
All versions get ABS with EBD, dual front airbags, TPMS, child seat mounting points and three-point seat belts for all occupants. At the time of making this video, the MG Comet or its international counterparts had not been subjected to a GNCAP crash test.
The MG Comet has been launched at Rs 7.98 lakh (introductory ex-showroom at the time of writing this story). The car that we have driven is the top-spec model whose price will be revealed by mid-May. As a car to drive, the Comet is great fun in the city with ease of use, a responsive powertrain and a good feature list. On the flip side, you don’t get fast charging, the touchscreen is slow to respond and the small wheelbase means the sharp potholes and speed breakers filter into the cabin very heavily. The latter will be a major issue for those with back problems.
The MG Comet doesn’t have the chops to be a primary vehicle, I mean it could but you would be restricted to the city and outlying areas. It would do its best if it's the secondary or tertiary car for those looking to own something unique. Its biggest rival is the Tata Tiago EV which has the advantage of two more doors, conventional looks, fast charging and a usable boot. The car will be in MG showrooms from April 27, 2023, and bookings for the same will open on May 15, 2023.
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi