MG Comet EV: First Drive Review
MG Comet EV: First Drive Review

MG’s and India’s smallest car and most affordable EV makes a bold first impression

The MG Comet EV is unlike any other car that I have ever driven. It is the smallest car that you can buy in India and is the most affordable EV as well. Starting from Rs 7.98 lakh (ex-showroom), it is available in three variants, Pace, Play (Rs 9.28 lakh) and Plush (Rs 9.98 lakh). Importantly, it doesn’t appear to cut many corners to achieve those two distinctions. MG’s promise with the Comet EV is to transform urban mobility. And truth be told, MG has tackled the challenge with an earnestness that’s hard to fault.  


Space and practicality 


To begin with, the Comet EV uses a bespoke electric only platform that offers it certain packaging advantages. Sure it is tiny, and measures less than 3 meters in length, but the skateboard electric architecture affords it a lot of room on the inside. I was skeptical about just how practical it would be and that was the first thing I tested when I got my hands on the Comet EV. Set to my driving position (I am six feet tall), there was still enough room for someone my size to sit relatively comfortably in the back. Yes, you are going to be a little knees-up, but that’s about it. Four people can sit comfortably in the Comet EV.  


Not just that, it isn’t particularly hard to access the rear seats (unlike so many other cars across segments). A single movement of the lever on the seats slides and folds the front seat, and a good amount of room is liberated for you to step through to the back. The flat floor, and the large (and heavy) doors play their part here and make sure that there are no awkward maneuvers necessary to get seated at the back. Once you are there, the large quarter glass with the large windows and windshield mean that it never feels claustrophobic. In fact, the only concern I have with the large windows is that it could cause the cabin to heat up relatively quickly. With the room on offer for the passengers, space in the boot is only enough for a backpack. Fold the rear seats down though and there is ample room for two relatively large bags.  




The Wuling Air EV that it is based on has sold more than a million units abroad, but Indian buyers are traditionally a lot harder to please. To me, the MG Comet EV doesn’t look as palatable as something like the Tata Nano. There’s an extremely small (some might call it cute) bonnet that you can open to fill up on washer fluid and the likes which is separated from the rest of the front fascia by means of a full width light bar. The MG logo is affixed on top of the charging hatch and lower down you will find the headlamps. There is no distinction to be made between the bonnet and the bumper because there is no bonnet per se. Instead, you get a flat slab for the face of the Comet EV that neatly splits the windshield, the bonnet opening and the headlamps. 


Wheels, as with most EV-only platforms are pushed to the four corners to liberate room inside the cabin. The wheels themselves are the smallest on any car in India (12-inch tall, 145mm wide) and with the tall body, seem even smaller in profile. The floating roof effect helps disguise the height to a certain extent though. The rear too is flat with a full width light bar breaking the monotony. Regardless of what you think of the design, the MG Comet EV is a car that draws attention everywhere – the stares and second glances were hard to miss during the course of the three or so hours I spent with it. I was asked to roll down the windows on more than one occasion, with a traffic police official asking me to pull over, just to talk about the car.  


Interior and features 


Back into the car, I spent some time fiddling with the tech on offer. The key fob (that looks a lot like a certain earpod case) is something that you will not have to end up using as much. With the key on you, all you need to do is walk up to the car and it unlocks itself and switches on which is incredibly seamless. Step on the brakes and you are ready to go. No start/stop button to engage with at all. Once you are done driving, you can simply get out of the car and walk away. The car will switch itself off and get locked as well. It seems a little odd at first, but once you use it a few times, you wonder why more cars don’t do it.  


The white and grey treatment in the MG Comet EV, along with the materials and construction feel from a segment above. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and nice to hold with clicky old-school buttons. The fabric on the dash and on the door pads too feels premium and the seats have a nice, soft fabric instead of leather – something I like over the leather and leatherette options. That said, the seat itself isn’t very large and I found the seat belt socket poking my waist. The mere meter and a half of width means that the cabin isn’t very wide. As a result, there are no cupholders or mobile phone storages in the centre armrest/console. But then again, there’s space for maybe a dozen small bottles in the doors and you can fit an optional wireless charger if you’d like.  


Coming to the twin 10.25-inch displays, I have to admit, these are the best across MG cars in India (and that’s saying a lot). The touchscreen infotainment display is very responsive to inputs and was bright enough even under the scorching sun. It is similar in layout to the other MGs in India, but just feels a tad more responsive. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay complete the package and connect a lot quicker than in some other cars with similar wireless capabilities. The instrument console display has a graphic of a car in a lane which mimics cars with ADAS and is a bit misleading. Curiously, the space around that graphic isn’t really put to great use.  


As with all MGs, there are several connected car features and while I am not someone who uses a lot of connected car tech apart, it was good to know that they are there. I just wish MG would cool down with the ‘have a good day’ greetings whenever you get into the car.  


Range and charging 


One of the things I really wanted to test was the claimed range. 230km is a lot for an EV with such a small battery – 17.3kWh to be exact. After over roughly 80km of driving around, I was pleasantly surprised to note that the MG Comet EV could clock 200km or so on a full charge. What’s even more surprising is that this was achieved while keeping up with the flow of traffic and even comfortably overtaking slower paced trucks, buses and autos. There is no fast charging, but the small battery means that the Comet EV can get to a 100% from zero in around 7 hours on a 3.3kWh charger. For the car that it is and for the purposes that it will serve, I was mightily impressed with the range on offer.  


Performance and ride/handling 


Those 80km or so that I drove the Comet EV around Delhi included cruising at 60-80kmph and driving through bumper-to-bumper traffic. In both regards, the motor delivered as promised. It is quick to about 60kmph or so before the performance starts to taper off a bit. Cutting through traffic is a breeze and the car’s dimensions make it easy to do so too. But you do have to be cognizant of the fact that this isn’t a car that’s meant to be hustled. It rides on 12-inch wheels, is softly sprung, and is taller than it is wide. Put together, that means there is ample body roll while changing directions and it isn’t exactly confidence inspiring at higher speeds even if it does get to an indicated 100kmph comfortably.  


The biggest drawback of the 12-inch wheels, however, is when the Comet EV comes across speed breakers and potholes. Go slowly over them and it is okay, even if there is a bit of a jerk from the rear suspension. Go a little quickly and you are jostled around with a loud thwack from the suspension. The roads in Delhi, unlike in some other cities in the country, don’t have as many speed breakers and that worked to the Comet’s advantage. The light steering means that direction changes are easy and with its extremely small turning radius, it is stress free to drive through narrow lanes.  


Still, the Comet EV does its job of slicing through city traffic effortlessly well. But just don’t expect gaps to open up magically for it, both in city traffic or at parking lots. Our traffic conditions mean that there isn’t even space for bikes to pass through sometimes in rush hour traffic. How more of these cars showing up on our streets affects that is something that we will have to wait and see. When you do see a gap though, the great view out of the cabin makes it super easy to pilot and park. The added reversing camera comes in handy too.  


Pricing and verdict 


We drove the top-spec Plush variant. At Rs 9.98 lakh (ex-showroom), it is quite the proposition. Something that has to be mentioned here is that the MG Comet EV doesn’t feel cheap at all. It is built very well with doors and panels that feel sturdy. Yes, it is light and does rock from side to side a little when you slam the door shut, but that’s more to do with how small it is. On the inside too, it feels well built with quality that I was pleasantly surprised by. It is feature-rich and ownership should be very economical too, as the 17.2kWh will cost very little to top-up compared to the larger batteries on some other EVs.  


It is a bold car and a lot depends on adoption by the public. But it has to be said that MG has given the Comet EV the best chance to succeed. I have driven a number of EVs, and I haven’t wished the sort of success for any other EV that I hope the Comet EV achieves. And that’s not just because I like what MG is doing here, but also because the Comet EV promises to significantly transform mobility for our increasingly crowded and polluted cities. With a sufficiently large cohort of early adopters, the MG Comet EV could indeed be revolutionary.

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