MG is a brand on a mission, and one it’s succeeding at. It’s the fastest-growing car manufacturer at the moment, with its expanding dealer portfolio and range of value-packed models really striking a chord with buyers.
Electrified models are also playing a big part of MG – specifically with its ZS EV crossover and battery-powered ‘5’ estate car. But now MG is growing its line-up with a plug-in hybrid version of its HS SUV – the largest model it sells.
Introduced in 2019 as a rival to the Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai, but only available with a rather thirsty petrol engine, this plug-in hybrid (which is the first of its kind for the firm) could prove to be the ideal option. But against a growing range of plug-in SUVs, does the HS have what it takes?
Rather than start with a brand-new powertrain, MG has sensibly decided to use the regular HS’s 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine as its base, while combining it with a 90kW electric motor. A 10-speed automatic gearbox is also used, with power being delivered just to the front wheels.
The result is by far MG’s most powerful car on sale at the moment, as with 254bhp and 370Nm on tap, it is able to reach 0-60mph in just 6.9 seconds and head on to a top speed of 118mph.
A 16.6kWh battery is also used, which allows for up to 32 miles of electric driving once the battery is fully charged. Do so regularly – and complete the majority of journeys on electricity – and there’s scope for impressively low running costs. MG claims it will return 155.8mpg, while CO2 emissions of 43g/km put it in an affordable company car tax bracket of 11 per cent.
As for charging, the battery can be topped up to full in three hours using a 7kW wallbox, or seven hours with a standard three-pin socket.
Ride and handling
Despite the impressive power figure, the HS isn’t actually as quick as its figures suggest. Though, granted it’s not slow, it’s a car you’ll choose to drive quite leisurely, not least because it will help conserve the battery, which can realistically unlock 30 miles from a full charge.
It’s not as pleasant to drive as a Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid, though, as it lacks the polished powertrain of that car, while it seems to struggle to combine the two power sources, meaning for the majority of the time, you’re running on one or the other. Though visibility is good and it’s great around town (particularly when it’s been driven by electric), it’s outclassed by some rivals in this area.
Interior and equipment
MG might be known as being more of a budget brand, but the HS’s cabin really helps to shrug off those views. It genuinely feels upmarket, with plush materials used alongside a very generous equipment list. There’s a great screen that serves as the digital dials, though the main 10-inch touchscreen is a bit slow and distracting to use on the move.
It’s also a roomy choice that could be a great option for families, with the boot measuring 448 litres, while underfloor storage lets you keep the charging cables out of the way. Rear space is also plentiful, with adults still having a good amount of room in the back.
Standard equipment on the HS is also very generous, with even the ‘entry-level’ Excite model coming with 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and a 360-degree camera system. Upgrade to the Exclusive and it brings upgraded LED headlights, smart leather sports seats and a great panoramic sunroof.
As with any plug-in hybrid, this electrified HS commands quite a steep premium over the petrol model, with the PHEV’s £30,095 starting price around £7,000 more than an automatic version of the normal version.
That sort of price difference is in-line with rivals, while the HS is able to undercut the majority of its competitors by quite the margin. In fact, a Renault Captur Plug-in Hybrid, which sits in the class below this MG – is still more expensive.
MG has managed to apply the same logic as the rest of its cars to this plug-in hybrid HS, meaning you get an affordable, practical and well-equipped SUV.
Though rivals are better to drive, the HS’s impressive, roomy interior and prospect of low running costs means that it’s certainly worth a look if you’re in the market for a hybrid SUV.Enquire on a new MG HS PHEV