MG HS Review : Honestly Sensible
Singapore - There was a time when MG was known for producing attainable sports cars, and could be described as the overly-used term “quintessentially British” in just about every way.
Today, the company is owned by the Chinese, and their focus looks to be centred around building very sensible autos. Electrification is also high on their list of priorities, especially since EVs are on big demand in China.
If you could describe a MG today, it could be best summed up in two words. Attainable (don’t look at the COE, because that is a variable which affects every brand), and well-built. Okay, maybe three words.
While the company is now in Chinese hands, engineering and design responsibilities are still retained in the UK. Perhaps, this explains the stylish pen strokes we see here on the HS. It is a surprisingly attractive offering; and we are saying this for a car in a very saturated segment.
MG HS - inside
MG’s parent SAIC already has years of experience in manufacturing for other foreign automotive brands. From what we see here, they definitely have applied their learnings well to the MG HS. The interior finish easily matches many class-equivalent Continental makes, while the fit here is better than most of what the French can offer. Part of the latter can be attributed to MG not going overly ambitious in its interior design.
Interestingly, there is a hint of Volkswagen Golf Mk6, through the button placement on the steering wheel; but yeah, the parent company does build for the German brand. While most things are miles better than we expected, the infotainment system we feel, is too laggy.
The seats up front have supportive bolsters for your legs and back, and they are wide enough to accommodate someone with a larger-than-average frame. A 2720mm wheelbase, which is longer than most in its class, and a straight roof, contributes to generous leg and head space for passengers at the rear - very important for a car in its class. The rear seats can also recline, to provide added comfort for those longer journeys.
The HS boasts a 463 litre boot, while not among the biggest, is ample, and you can expand this to 1287 litres by folding the 60:40 rear seats.
MG HS - the drive
Under the bonnet, there lives a 1.5 litre turbocharged four, which produces 160hp and 250Nm. This is paired with a 7-speed twin-clutch transmission, which drives the front wheels.
What is interesting is that the HS is definitely intended for the family crowd, but MG decided that what the car REALLY needs is a “Super Sport” drive mode, just to amp things up. This comes in the form of a red button on the steering wheel; when depressed, it sharpens throttle response, while each gear is milked a little longer. So while its century sprint time is posted at 9.9 seconds, the HS might actually feel quicker than it officially is.
While dual-clutch transmissions are inherently a little lurchy at low speeds, the one on the MG HS feels slightly over-aggressive. It takes a while for you to get used to, when driving in low-speed traffic. However, we feel that overall, the MG HS drives decently well. The suspension feels balanced, and provides enough ride comfort for all, even over compromised surfaces. While it may not be among the most agile, it has sufficient firmness to handle the engine’s output.
What you can truly appreciate about the HS, is that it is equipped with a good suite of active safety features, which includes rear cross traffic alert and blind spot detection. And then there are the other little things, which adds to its appeal; including a full-sized panoramic sunroof and fully hemmed doors, the latter which does away with the lower part of the door frame, to keep things neater and legs cleaner when you exit the car.
The quality of the HS could be seen as a sign that China’s automobile industry is seriously getting there… and may one day be “more equal than others”.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
Engine 1,490cc, inline 4, turbo
Engine Power/rpm 160hp/5600rpm
Engine Torque/rpm 250Nm/1700-4400rpm
Transmission 7spd dual-clutch
0-100km/h 9.9 secs
Top Speed 190km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.8L/100km