I first looked at the MG HS in April 2020 and was greatly impressed with the quality of the build and the high level of technology in the vehicle. I was looking for an SUV that would suit both as a work vehicle and as a family car. My normal usage was for a mix of local driving and motorway driving, with the need for long rural running periodically. The MG HS had the comfort and luxury level that competed with cars in a higher price range.

The appearance of Covid-19 in our world resulted in my plans being put on hold. Early in 2021, I needed to revisit the idea of replacing my car. The thought of an EV of some sort was appealing considering the direction the automotive market was heading. For my requirements, it became obvious that a hybrid vehicle was more suitable, which limited my choice to Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander with these Hybrid models sitting higher in the price range.

Suddenly in early March, I saw an ad pop up on Facebook for the new MG HS PHEV. Having been impressed with the features and build of the MG HS, this looked to be exactly what I was looking for; a plug-in hybrid with a reasonable electric range for local running. I contacted MG Motors for more information and arranged a test drive. The test drive confirmed everything that I already knew about the comfort and drive of the MG HS and all that I had hoped about the PHEV side of the model, and I ordered one immediately.

The exterior styling is very appealing with smooth lines. The lighting is very bright and visibility for both day and night is excellent. The mood lighting is a fun addition and allows for periodic change to create a slightly different environment from time to time. The interior is a standout feature of the MG HS with plenty of room and light. It has an open and roomy feel, with the air of luxury everywhere you look – as compared to its competitors which have a cramped and closed-in feeling.

The PHEV instrument display screen provides a wealth of information at a glance and is easy to navigate while driving. Everything is at easy reach and the finish is excellent. The appointment of the rear seat with the centre console, cup holders, storage compartment and the USB charge points are excellent, combining with the ample leg room. One of the things I often consider is the question of whether I would fit in the rear seat behind the front seat that is adjusted to my own setting. I test this by setting the driver’s seat to my preferred tall driver position, then sit in the seat behind. I found that in the MG-HS there is still plenty of leg room.

There are two items in the car that I feel could be better. One is the placement of the blind spot detection warning lights, which are small lights tucked into the corner of the side mirror stem, and are almost impossible to see in the day. This is because they are not really located in the driver’s normal field of view between looking out the windscreen and checking the mirrors.

The other concern is the minimum adjustable height of the front seats. I am relatively tall at 186cm and find that I am looking through the upper part of the windscreen even with the seat set at its lowest. I have managed to work out a balance of the various seat adjustment settings to provide a better position, but I feel, for the Australian market the seat frame on both front seats could easily be lowered by a few centimetres. Regardless of my height, even short passengers have commented on how high the front seats seem to be.

At first, I thought the windscreen camera unit would be annoying and be a visual obstruction, but within a very short time, I don’t even notice it and have had no problem with forward visibility. The expanse of the sunroof is a great feature. I tend to drive most of the time (except very hot days) with the roof blind open, and the vast amount of light that comes in through the sunroof helps to give the car a bright and airy environment.

The technology provided in the car is comparable to the higher level models in its competitor’s range. The 360-degree camera is a great asset for full visibility when reversing or in tight situations. The lane keeping feature and adaptive cruise control are an amazing combination, helping to provide a safer driving experience. The lane keeping took me by surprise originally with the steering wheel appearing to fight me, until I got used to the lane keeper trying to maintain the car’s position in the lane. Once I got familiar with the lane keeping system I discovered that the answer was to maintain a looser hold on the steering wheel, which allowed the car to take control, while still maintaining overall control in an instant if needed.

The electric motor has impressive response, with instant acceleration at all times, but the real eye opener is in Auto mode. On the motorway in this mode, the first time I accelerated to overtake another car almost took my breath away. When you put the foot down, the car starts to accelerate nicely, then after a second it gets a boot in the rear as the electric motor kicks in, and before you know it the speedometer is climbing rapidly. The acceleration response at highway speeds is impressive and comfortable once you get used to expecting the “launch”.

The petrol engine gear changes are a little inconsistent initially, but this soon settles down once you and the car get used to each other. Overall, I find the car comfortable to drive, light to the touch, and responsive when needed. There is a hint of understeer when forcing it through a corner, but it is nothing that can’t be handled, and it is probably safer than oversteer anyway.

The overall fuel economy of the car is quite impressive. Yes, the instantaneous fuel economy when running the petrol engine around town is higher than the advertised economy (the same with most cars). However, if you are running in EV mode, the fuel economy is 0, and if running in auto mode, over a combined petrol and EV run, it quickly averages down to the advertised economy level or lower, depending on your ratio of EV to petrol. My average fuel economy from purchasing the car to the start of Lockdown was around 3 litres per 100 kilometres and it now stands at 1 L/100km, as most of my current running is in EV mode.

The first few months of owning the car quickly racked up the kilometres around Sydney, on and off motorways, although the recent lockdown has meant not so much running around. However, the PHEV has proved to be a great choice. My driving regime is EV for local driving, while switching to Auto mode for Motorway driving.

I plug the car in each night using a smart adaptor on the charger power supply set to start recharging automatically during electricity off peak. This also gives the flexibility to charge at any time if needed. This has proven to be a great system in normal running, and during lockdown I have not needed to buy petrol for 4 months. The only time that Auto mode is needed on short trips is if you are running the A/C system for heating or demisting and in this case the petrol engine is required to provide the heat.

Normally I would also be doing periodic regional running, and I am looking forward to giving the car a good highway run to prove the rural efficiencies of the car, which on evidence to date would appear to be more economical than any car that I have owned before.

I have seriously not found any problems that would stop me from buying the car again, however there are few improvements that I could suggest, including reducing front seat height. A larger glove box would be good, as it is relatively small, especially when the logbooks are in there. I suppose the integration with Android Auto could be streamlined a little more, but that appears to be more an Android Auto problem than an MG problem.

There is one strange issue that has grabbed me since I first drove the car, and it is the blind spot detection warnings. A light located inside the mirror itself like a lot of other cars would be far more useful than the current warning lights size and location. Another item that would be nice is if the 360 degree camera showed the actual car colour, instead of the stock white, but there’s probably some logic to it.

A further improvement drawn from other vehicles would be to put a USB port on the rear view mirror console on the windscreen (there is power there already), so that a dashcam could be connected without the need to run additional wiring.

I would have no hesitation in buying another one in the future, and have already made several recommendations to friends regarding the quality and flexibility of the MG HS PHEV.

Owner: Mark Kavanagh

Source: drive.com.au