Road test with Mark Slack: MG HS Exclusive PHEV

Road test with Mark Slack: MG HS Exclusive PHEV

Road test with Mark Slack: MG HS Exclusive PHEV. Image - MG

MG HS Exclusive PHEV – a discreet appearance that doesn’t shout look at me.

At a time when many car manufacturers are cutting costs, and quality, it’s nice to report on one car maker where the quality keeps improving to an increasingly high level. MG might be an iconic British badge but is now Chinese owned and SAIC, MG’s owners, have come a long way since their launch model, the MG6, arrived back in 2012.

The company is now leading the charge for cheaper EVs – their new MG4 looks like a terrific package – but also has plug-in hybrid and petrol cars. The largest of the SUV range is the HS, priced from €26,675/£22,995 and it’s a proper grown-up SUV that matches the Europeans on quality.

From the moment you sit behind the wheel it feels, even in lead-in form, of a higher level than the price would suggest. Examine the seating, the solidity of the clunk as you close the door and the general ambience of the interior and you can see it’s well bolted together. Externally, apart from a large grille – which actually sits well – it’s a discreet appearance that doesn’t shout look at me. The proportions are right without being excessive, there’s an absence of fussiness and unlike so many competitors it lacks Tonka Toy simplicity for a more subtle and classier look.

You can choose from a petrol or plug-in hybrid power unit, the former being a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine and in the latter case boosted by a 90kW electric motor to assist the engine’s performance. It also provides an electric only range of around 32 miles, with a home charger it’s ideal for most people’s commute. Manual or automatic gears are on offer and there are just two trim levels of Excite and Exclusive, which makes life easier. Even the entry version has an enviable list of standard equipment and in Exclusive trim level adds luxury touches such as a panoramic glass sunroof, power tailgate and leather upholstery.

On the road is where the MG arguably lacks some on-road handling finesse of European competitors. Although unless you’re particularly tuned in to ride and handling I doubt you would even notice. The MG handles perfectly well and the suspension copes with rougher roads, and drives enthusiastic bends, commendably given the raised ride height.

If you want a grown-up SUV with the feel of a more premium brand, and at an affordable price, then the HS is well worth considering. I think you’ll be impressed.

Facts at a Glance

Model: MG HS Exclusive PHEV

Engine: 1.5-litre, turbocharged petrol with 90 kW electric motor and developing 258PS

Gears: 10-speed automatic –petrol and electric combined

Price: €38,972 (£33,595)

Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 6.9 seconds/Maximum Speed 221 km/h (118 mph)

Economy: 1.8 l/100km (155.8 mpg) – all-electric range 32 miles – charging 4.5 hours WLTP

Emissions: 43g/km WLTP

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.