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Car Review

MG Motor UK HS review

£17,730 - £32,540
510
Published: 06 Apr 2023
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The MG HS prioritises price and passenger comfort, but can’t compete with rivals when it comes to driving dynamics

Good stuff

Unpretentious, comfortable, and most importantly, decent value

Bad stuff

Bland looks, dull drive, small-ish boot, unconvincing hybrid

Overview

What is it?

Only the UK’s best-selling car in January. Yep, somewhat surprisingly MG’s mid-size SUV, which arrived back in 2019, topped the UK’s sales chart in the first month of 2023. It’s since slipped down the pecking order, but we’ll let it bask in its former glory a little longer.

We say somewhat surprisingly, because it’s no understatement to say the HS is a little… dull to look at. Not exactly going to have the neighbours glancing enviously in your direction, is it? Which means we can really only put its popularity down to one factor: value for money.

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Because with prices starting from £23,495, it undercuts pretty much every one of mid-size SUV segment rivals – including the likes of the Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008, Nissan Qashqai, Vauxhall Grandland, Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq – by a couple of grand at least. Which, in the current economic climate, matters. Though if it's space you want on a shoestring budget, don't forget the Dacia Jogger exists.

What do you get for your money?

You’ve the choice of a standard 1.5-litre turbo petrol, or a plug-in hybrid variant (which starts from £31,095) that pairs the same 1.5-litre turbo petrol with a 90kW (121bhp) electric motor and 16.6kWh battery. That’s it. Both are front-wheel drive.

The former gets 160bhp, does 0-60mph in 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 118mph, while you’ve the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT gearbox (the auto adds £1.5k to the list price).

The PHEV delivers 254bhp though a 10-speed auto, manages 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds and has an identical top speed, while MG claims an all-electric range of up to 32 miles from the small battery. An empty to full charge using a Type 2 cable takes four and a half hours.

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What’s it like to drive?

We’ve only driven the hybrid so far, and with its vague steering, bouncy ride and unrefined powertrain, first impressions weren’t great. 

You start in e-mode by default, with the engine taking over as the speed picks up, but the handover isn’t the smoothest and when the engine does kick in, it’s noticeably vocal. You also get lots of vibration through the steering wheel and pedals, which takes some getting used to.

MG’s e-range claims are a little far-fetched too: we saw around 20 miles in the real world. More on that over on the Driving tab.

Is the interior any better?

It’s actually rather pleasant in here, if a little old school. Though you do get a fully digital instrument panel and 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system - compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - and a handy row of shortcut buttons. Special mention to the turbine design air vents, too.

MG has tried to give it an upmarket feel with leather dash, soft-touch doorcards, and chrome detailing, and there’s more than enough room for four adults to be seated comfortably, though the boot is on the small side. Head over to the Interior tab for more.

Quick word on trim levels, too, which are refreshingly simple. You’ve just two to choose from, Excite and Exclusive, with the latter commanding a £2.5k premium over the former – click through to the Buying section for a full breakdown. All models also get MG’s seven-year manufacturer’s warranty as standard.

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

The HS is far from the best car in its sector to drive, but it nails its brief as unpretentious, spacious, and cheap

The MG HS seems to be enjoying a new lease of life in 2023 as everyone's finances get squeezed, but when you consider the £23,495 starting price – for a mid-size SUV, need we remind you – it makes perfect sense.

It’s far from the best car in its sector to drive but nor does it claim to be, instead nailing its brief as an unpretentious, spacious, cheap car. There’s nothing glitzy or glamorous about it, but it’s comfy enough and gets you from A to B with little fuss.

If you can ignore the badge snobbery and forgive the bland looks and dull drive, this is a decent enough family car. Throw in MG’s seven-year manufacturer’s warranty and we can understand the appeal.

The Rivals

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