On the road: The new MG HS PHEV
On the road: The new MG HS PHEV

Ian Lamming discovers MG’s latest baby is a plug-in success

THE phone goes, it’s a friend. Her daughter has been in an accident and written off her car.

Worse still, she’s heavily pregnant and needs to sort out a replacement quickly, for obvious reasons. “What are these new MGs like?” asks an anxious mum, soon-to-be-granny.

Instantly, without hesitation, I fire back: “Look great, drive well, nice inside and a seven year warranty. Go for it.”

This test could stop there then, but I won’t because brevity doth not a page fill. Also, this MG HS is just a bit different.

Its name reads like an acronym the NHS would be proud of; this new model is an MG HS PHEV, oh, and it’s an SUV.

So MG? Well, that’s the British engineered, Chinese-made, classic brand with the octagonal badge. It used to be attached to classic British sports cars but now graces a brace of SUVs, a city car and an estate. There’s a variety of little petrol turbos, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles.

HS is the largest SUV and a fine vehicle it is too. It looks great and had real road presence thanks to usefully large proportions, attractive lines, lustrous finish and that all important badge, which continues to move people these days.

Inside boasts a thoroughly impressive specification, high levels of comfort and surprising-for-the-price levels of quality. It feels well built and hi-tech with all the driver aids you would hope for and the touchscreen infotainment customers come to expect, even from a budget car.

Fit and finish are second to none and luxurious in every way, from the soft-touch, high quality materials, including leather and brushed alloy, to the intuitive, attractive dash and easy to use colour touchscreen. The chunky leather steering wheel is uber-tactile as well.

Plug-in gives the hybrid that ability to run on full electric on short journeys and also add a healthy dollop of performance when the 1.5 litre petrol unit demands some aid. If the battery isn’t charged the HS still works just fine, you just lose a bit of economy as the petrol motor takes the strain. Having all that battery stuff under the skin also takes away any hopes of a large fuel tank so frequent refills become the norm – around every 230 miles to be precise.

HS PHEV is sprightly to say the least, quick off the mark in town and with excellent mid-range when an overtake is in the offing or hills are needed to be climbed. It is exceptionally smooth and characterful and even when the engine is working hard it is pleasant on the ear because it is a three cylinder and they always sound good. The seamless automatic gearbox boasts 10-speeds and proves the perfect companion to the power petrol/electric combination with its stunning combined output of 258PS. No wonder it will hit 60mph in 6.9 seconds.

Lurking in the background is an array of radar gubbins – MG Pilot – which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot detection, then the other ‘assists’, such as intelligent high-beam, traffic jam, intelligent speed limit and active emergency braking, which should come in handy to a new mum carrying her most precious cargo.

Fact File

Engine: MG HS PHEV Exclusive

Power: 258PS

0-60mph: 6.9 secs

Top speed: 118mph

Combined MPG: 155.8

Transmission: ten-speed manual

CO2 g/km: 43

Price: £ £32,595.50