Urban centers in India are becoming increasingly congested, with cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore defined by heavy traffic and limited parking. In this complex urban landscape, MG Motor India has introduced the two-door MG Comet EV as an unconventional solution for city residents struggling with daily commutes. Rather than merely join the urban jungle, the Comet aims to tame it through design prioritizing compactness and agility. With dimensions under 3 meters, this micro-EV strives to squeeze through narrow lanes and into tiny parking spots that leave larger vehicles envious. The Comet attempts to bring finesse and efficiency to the crowded urban commute through its hyper-practical footprint. Where other vehicles see chaos, the Comet EV sees opportunity.
Mastering City Streets
Starting up the Comet EV departs from the familiar ignition ritual. With no engine to crank, a simple press of the brake pedal springs it to life, ready to motor. Shifting into drive and easing onto the accelerator provides smooth, drama-free acceleration. There’s no jarring lurch forward or delayed response. Power delivery remains composed and linear.
Out on Mumbai’s crowded streets, the Comet’s compact footprint makes changing lanes and U-turns effortless. Its 4.2 meter turning radius pairs with nimble handling at low speeds to provide maneuverability its compact peers like the Alto can’t match. But as speeds increase, its short wheelbase becomes less of an asset. Swift maneuverability at low speeds comes at the expense of high speed stability.
City Car Comfort
Inside the Comet, the experience is equally thoughtful. The elevated driving position is a strategic choice, giving the driver a commanding view of the surroundings – an essential feature in a bustling cityscape. The interior, with its uncluttered design and intuitive layout, reflects a philosophy of simplicity and functionality.
The Comet’s interior is defined by its pair of 10.25-inch displays, one for instrumentation and the other for infotainment. Despite their sizable real estate, the screens deliver information concisely without superfluous graphics. The pared-down aesthetics match the Comet’s ethos, providing essential technology without fanfare. Though compact, the cabin feels surprisingly modern and premium with this slick digital display combo. However, prolonged use reveals slower response times and smaller font sizes that strain readability while driving. There is room for improvement in screen performance to match their initial visual impressiveness.
Ease Over Excitement
The Comet’s suspension is adept at handling urban challenges, offering a comfortable ride over small road imperfections, though it struggles with larger obstacles due to limited wheel travel. Its short wheelbase can cause instability at high speeds on rough terrain, but on smooth roads, the vehicle excels in its role as an efficient city car. However, its design may not be as effective outside the urban setting, with limitations arising from its compact build.
Handling in the Comet is more about ease than excitement. The steering is designed for effortless navigation in city traffic, but it lacks the feedback needed for a truly engaging drive. This vehicle shines when driven gently, especially as its steering requires more attention on highways to stay on course. While perfect for relaxed city driving, the Comet might not satisfy those looking for a spirited driving experience.
Power and Performance
The electric motor, though modest at 42 horsepower, provides sufficient acceleration for city conditions. It’s less capable during high-speed maneuvers like overtaking, highlighting its focus on urban utility over high performance. As the single-gear EV crosses 80km/h, acceleration tapers off considerably compared to gasoline-powered rivals. And the three drive modes provide mild alterations rather than transformational changes to its character.
The EV features regenerative braking with three adjustable settings: Heavy, Normal, and Light. These settings function intuitively as their names suggest. The Heavy setting might cause a slight jolt if you abruptly remove your foot from the accelerator, whereas the Normal setting offers a sensation akin to traditional engine braking. The vehicle’s Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) levels are notably minimal, benefiting from its electric motor and the absence of mechanical noise. Nonetheless, aggressive acceleration can produce a noticeable whine from the electric motor, and driving at speeds over 60 km/h introduces some noise from the tyres and wind.
Its 17.3 kWh battery pack offers adequate capacity for daily city commuting needs, but lacks long haul capabilities. MG estimates around 150-160km of real-world range based on mixed city driving, which aligns with similar mini EVs. While not intended for highway road trips, this should sufficiently cover urban mobility for most city residents. However, pushes beyond 50-60km daily may require diligent charging routines. For context, the comparably priced Tata Tiago EV provides over 300km range thanks to its larger battery.
Charging the Comet EV follows a measured, methodical cadence, contrasting the hurried pace of city life. Using the bundled 3.3kW AC home charger requires a lengthy 7 hours for a full charge from 0-100%. The lack of DC fast charging fails to provide rapid range replenishment when required. This omission contrasts with the Tiago EV, which can add over 150km range with just 30 minutes of DC charging. The Comet was designed for predictable daily urban commuting rather than spontaneous extended adventures. Buyers must ensure their driving needs align with its relatively limited energy reserves.
Part of this compromise stems from MG Motor’s niche target market for the Comet EV. This uniquely compact four-seater aims to fill mobility gaps as a second or third vehicle for urban households. For short neighborhood trips or city commutes, the Comet relieves mileage accumulation on the primary family car. For youth and solo city dwellers, it provides eco-conscious transportation with modern styling. And its maneuverability aids navigation through congested urban areas. The Comet seems best suited as an ancillary city runabout versus sole family vehicle.
What We Think
This micro-sized EV attempts to inject simplicity and efficiency into the often chaotic urban commute through its maneuverable package. It embraces its diminutive footprint as an asset for crowded cities, while aiming to elevate the urban driving experience through a thoughtful blend of new technology and practicality. The Comet may not conquer all terrains, but it strives to master the metropolitan milieu. For the right urban buyer, this plucky little EV could pave the way for a smarter, lighter footprint.