The auto industry hasn’t seen the best of times. If last year there was a slowdown in demand, this year it has been the pandemic. But tell that to Chinese SAIC-owned Morris Garages, which took the wraps off the Gloster SUV, marking the company’s foray into the premium segment. It is the third product from MG since the Hector’s launch in June last year followed by the electric SUV, the ZS EV.

It helps that MG sells only SUVs, the segment that seems to be in demand irrespective of any disruption. The Hector, MG Motor India’s first car in the Indian market, sold 15,930 units from July to December while the industry was going through a slowdown due to a host of reasons like fuel price volatility, subdued demand, rise in overall cost of ownership, etc. And in August, it recorded retail sales of 2,851 units, a growth of 41% over the year-ago period.

“At MG, technology disruption has always been the key priority. We pioneered the first Internet car in India, the Hector, followed by the ZS EV, the first pure-electric Internet SUV. We are beginning a new chapter in India’s auto sector today with the launch of its first autonomous (Level 1) premium SUV,” MG Motor India president and MD Rajeev Chaba said.

Of the five levels (full driving automation), Level 1 is the lowest level. Such vehicles usually have a single automated system for driver assistance, such as steering, acceleration, adaptive cruise control, etc.

The MG Gloster comes with the first-in-segment advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). While ADAS is not a substitute for the human eye and driver vigilance, it acts as a driver assist system. Other features in the off-roader include adaptive cruise control, Automatic emergency braking, automatic parking assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection. Chaba said that there are multiple scenarios where the Gloster can sense and make decisions to improve the customer’s overall driving experience.

“In other words, the Gloster is not just another car—it is a high-tech assistant that only thinks about you, your safety, and your comfort. With best-in-class features, a towering road presence, powerful capability, and luxurious interiors, the all-new MG Gloster is designed to set new benchmarks, ” he said.

The price for Gloster—which competes with the Ford Endeavour, Mahindra Alturas G4, and Toyota Fortuner— hasn’t been revealed yet but customers can book it for ₹1 lakh. Industry estimates peg its price in the range of ₹30 lakh-₹40 lakh.

The Gloster will be available in two variants of the 2-litre diesel engine, with a common eight-speed automatic gearbox. The two-wheel drive variant features a single-turbo engine that delivers 163 PS power, while the four-wheel-drive variant is powered by a twin turbo engine with a peak output of 218 PS.

The SUV rides on connected features and bold looks, something that has worked for the brand in the past. The company says the Gloster has several industry-firsts including critical tyre pressure voice alert, and anti-theft immobilisation via a smartphone that remotely halts the engine. Like MG’s previous SUVs, the Gloster gets a 12.3-inch HD touch screen infotainment system which supports Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay, and personalised welcome and greeting messages. The car also comes with 3D maps from MapMyIndia which includes Covid testing centre locations. MG also has integrated 360° cameras to eliminate blind spots and a PM 2.5 filter to help occupants breathe clean air.

The Gloster comes with segment-first captain seats, a panoramic sunroof, and four-level ambient lighting. The SUV has an intelligent all terrain system that provides enhanced control during vehicle off-roading and is capable of switching between seven drive modes—‘Snow’, ‘Mud’, ‘Sand’, ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’, ‘Normal’, and ‘Rock’. The SUV would be available in four colours—Agate Red, Metal Black, Metal Ash and Warm White.

The premium SUV is MG’s third launch for 2020, after the ZS EV and the Hector Plus, a recent launch. The Hector Plus, a six-seater Internet SUV, is witnessing significant traction from the family segment as people begin to travel with easing restrictions.

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