MG HS review
The MG HS is a real sign that the manufacturer is determined to raise its game and mix it with the established mainstream market players. The mid-size SUV undercuts the competition on price, but doesn’t necessarily feel like the ‘cheap’ option, with a vastly improved cabin, decent on-board tech and reassuringly high levels of safety kit providing a quality feel than many would associate with MG.
Unfortunately, it’s a case of two steps forward and one back, because the HS also brings higher running costs compared to its key rivals, while practicality isn’t perfect. You’ll find the HS reasonably comfortable, but if you value driving fun then perhaps look elsewhere in this competitive market sector.
At its core, the MG HS is all about good family transport and, if you can live with its obvious flaws, then its attractive pricing, seven-year warranty and generous equipment levels could just be enough to persuade you.
About the MG HS
The mid-size SUV sector could well be the most competitive area for mainstream manufacturers. It’s certainly one of the most popular with buyers, who continue to value the affordable mix of space, style and comfort these cars offer that keeps the whole family happy.
Under chinese ownership since 2006, MG has been working hard to make it onto UK customer shortlists and prove it’s a worthy contender. New cars such as the all-electric MG5 estate, ZS compact SUV and now the HS, have all been well-received and follow a practical, fit-for-purpose formula that, although lacking in flair, just about passes muster against their more well-known European, Japanese and Korean rivals.
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Speaking of the opposition, customers are spoilt for choice with the accomplished Skoda Karoq, Nissan Qashqai and SEAT Ateca all vying for attention, while the huge quality strides made by Kia and Hyundai in recent years mean that the Sportage and Tucson are more than worthy of consideration.
You really can’t pause for breath in this sector, as the possibilities seem endless and there seem to be more all the time – the practical Vauxhall Grandland X shares much of its mechanicals with the 3008, which makes it a reasonable bet, and the talented Mazda CX-5 is one of the best mid-size SUVs to drive. We haven’t even mentioned the similarly-sized Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Honda CR-V. Priced from just under £21,000, however, the HS also seriously undercuts the majority of these rivals and that is always going to be a key selling point for the car.
Confusing trim levels and expensive options are not to be found in the HS lineup. Instead, you’re offered either Excite or Exclusive specifications which cover everything you’re probably going to need.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, cruise control and sat nav, while upgrading to the Exclusive trim adds luxuries such as heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof.
Power comes from a single 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 160bhp, although there is the option of either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT auto transmission. A plug-in hybrid version is also available, combining the same petrol unit with a 120bhp electric motor to produce a 254bhp total output.
All HS models send power to the front wheels, although the plug-in hybrid uses a new ten-speed automatic gearbox for a claimed improvement in power delivery and overall efficiency.