MG HS 2021 review

The HS is a practical mid-size family SUV that launched in 2019

£23,231
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Practical interior
  • Good value for money
  • Plug-in hybrid available

Cons

  • Rivals are better to drive
  • Thirsty petrol engine
  • Boot could be bigger
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    148 - 157 g/km

Model review

While those of a certain vintage will recall MG as a sports car maker, these days the brand is predominantly about crossovers and SUVs. 

With the brand centering itself around value for money, it quickly came up trumps with the launch of the ZS in 2017, which offered a practical interior, low pricing and a long warranty – a perfect recipe to appeal to money savvy new car buyers. 

Given the success of the ZS (it’s worth noting that at the time of writing MG was Britain’s fastest-growing car brand), it’s not surprising that MG looked to expand its range. The result was the HS – a larger crossover that acts as a rival to popular models like the Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai. 

Offering sporty styling, a single turbocharged petrol engine at launch and a vast array of safety systems, it’s already tempting many buyers.

Latest model

Since its introduction in 2019, the only real change came in 2020 with the launch of the plug-in hybrid. It’s the firm’s first PHEV and expands the brand’s growing electrified range.

Combining the same 1.5-litre petrol engine from the regular HS, it adds a 90kW electric motor and 16.6kWh battery for a combined 254bhp – making it MG’s most powerful car on sale by some margin.

With a claimed 32-mile electric range also promised, there’s scope for some impressively low running costs if you plug the car in regularly and do the majority of miles on battery power. 

Value for money

MG prides itself on the value for money its cars offer, and that’s been a key reason why they’ve proven so successful. The HS is no exception, with its £21,995 starting price undercutting  the majority of its rivals. It’s not like it misses out on equipment, either, with features like a reversing camera, keyless entry and a 10.1-inch touchscreen all included for the price. Even at £23,995, the top-spec model is still quite the bargain.

While you will pay a premium for the plug-in hybrid - which starts at £30,095 - it’s still one of the best-value models of this type around. 

However, it’s worth shopping around further for the best deals. We saw brand-new unregistered examples for sale for under £20,000 – representing a good chunk available off the list price, and making the HS seem even more enticing.

Looks and image

Though a car’s looks will always divide opinion, we reckon the HS is one of the best looking cars in its class. MG ultimately hasn’t tried too hard, with its intricate front grille and sharp headlights making the model stand out on the road. It also gets the all-important crossover styling thanks to its chunky plastic cladding, but isn’t overdone like it is with some competitors. 

Inside, the HS has undoubtedly the best interior we’ve seen from MG yet. There’s a real uplift in terms of quality, with materials of a standard that match pricier rivals. Particular highlights are the BMW-like crystalised gear selector and Audi-like air-con vents, while opt for the top-spec Exclusive model and you get sportier seats and a full-length glass roof to make it feel more upmarket. The only real downside is the touchscreen, which just feels a bit dim-witted to use, especially when on the move. 

The driving experience isn’t quite up to scratch though and while it doesn’t embarrass itself, it neither handles or rides as well as others in this segment – most notably the Ford Kuga and Seat Ateca. While pleasant enough in normal driving, if you want to put your foot down, that 1.5-litre petrol engine is just quite unrefined and spoils the experience somewhat. 

Space and practicality

With the HS likely to appeal to families, this is an area that’s really important, and MG has made sure it doesn’t falter. It's the passenger room that’s the real highlight, with generous amounts of headroom and legroom ensuring adults can get comfortable in the rear seats. Unlike in rivals, the panoramic sunroof doesn’t impact headroom, either. 

At 448 litres, the boot isn’t quite as large as others in this class, but should prove plentiful for most. The HS also scored well in Euro NCAP safety tests, receiving the top five-star rating, and getting honourable ratings in all testing areas. 

Engines

MG offers a single petrol and plug-in hybrid option on the HS. Let’s start with the petrol, which is a turbocharged 1.5-litre unit producing 160bhp and 250Nm of torque. You can choose it with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with performance figures including having a 0-60mph time of 9.6 seconds and capable of a 118mph top speed. 

The plug-in hybrid also uses this petrol engine as its base, but combines it with a 90kW electric motor and 16.6kWh battery, which takes combined figures up to 254bhp and 370Nm of torque. This drops the 0-60mph time down to 6.9 seconds, though its 118mph top speed remains the same. A 10-speed automatic gearbox is also used, with power being delivered just to the front wheels across both powertrains. 

Running costs

Where running costs are concerned, you’ll want to consider the plug-in hybrid model. MG promises a 32-mile electric range, and if you make the most of that, the firm claims it could return 155.8mpg, with 43g/km CO2 emissions also making it an appealing option to company car tax buyers. In terms of charging, it can be charged to 100 per cent using a 7kW public or home charger in three hours, while using a three-pin plug it will take seven hours. 

The petrol HS is quite thirsty, though, with MG claiming just 36.6mpg for the automatic model (37.9mpg for the manual), while CO2 emissions ranging from 168-174g/km are quite high for a model of this type. 

Things to look out for

The HS is still a relatively new choice, so not a huge amount is known about its reliability just yet. However, all new MGs come with a seven-year, 80,000-mile warranty, which should help to provide extra reassurance. 

Rivals

The MG HS sits in one of the most congested new car segments, with opposition coming from just about mainstream manufacturers. Key alternatives include the Nissan Qashqai, Seat Ateca and Ford Kuga, while the Skoda Karoq, Peugeot 3008 and Mazda CX-5 are also all worthy of your attention. 

Depreciation

Even though the HS is good value in the first place, that doesn’t stop the model from depreciating. Discounts of around £5,000 are available off nearly-new cars, while you could save a few thousand off a brand-new model if you’re happy to shop around.

Which HS to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

1.5 T-GDI Excite 5dr

Most MPG

1.5 T-GDI Excite 5dr

Fastest model (0-60)

1.5 T-GDI PHEV Excite 5dr Auto

Trims explained

MG offers two trim levels on the HS – Excite and Exclusive. Equipment highlights and prices are as follows.

Excite –

The HS comes with a long list of equipment as standard, including leather style upholstery, keyless entry and start, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and diamond-cut 18-inch alloy wheels. You also get a 10.1-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and satellite navigation. MG’s impressive ‘Pilot’ driver assist pack is also included, bringing adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist.

From £21,995 (petrol)/£30,905 (PHEV)

Exclusive –

Upgrade to the Exclusive to get high-end features like a panoramic opening sunroof, bi-LED headlights, leather upholstery and heated front seats. You also get sequential indicators at the front and rear, sportys-style front seats, ambient interior lighting and an electric boot.

From £23,995 (petrol)/£32,595 (PHEV)

Summary

  1. MG’s largest SUV
  2. Impressive levels of interior space
  3. Available as a petrol or plug-in hybrid
  4. Great interior…
  5. Bar the disappointing touchscreen
  6. Not especially good to drive
  7. Very good value for money
  8. Standard equipment is very generous
  9. Great safety record
  10. MG’s best car yet is well worth a look

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