MG HS Plus EV has a lot going for it – quirks aside

MG has a lot to do with a badge that produced British sports cars from 1924 and earned its reputation with the MGB two-door sports car from 1962 to 1980.

Originally Morris Garages, it had checkerboard ownership over the years and was taken over by Chinese state-owned company SAIC Motor – formerly Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation in 2005 when parent company MG Rover collapsed.

More recently it made its mark on the EV scene in Australia with one of the cheapest electric vehicles on offer, adding a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in 2021 with the HS Plus EV which now comes with more features in the new Excite ($48,690 drive-in) and Essence ($51,690 D/A)—the one we had—versions.

It comes with a seven-year unlimited mileage warranty, which includes the battery, but doesn’t have an ANCAP safety rating. The 2019 test report on the five-star MG HS petrol variant states that the PHEV variants “remain unrated” – this does not necessarily mean that they are less safe, only that they have not been assessed.

MG Australia says there has been continued strong demand for all of its vehicles which, along with certain “short-term global logistical constraints”, means availability varies across the range.

“We still have stock of our range at dealerships that don’t have a customer name, including the HS Plus EV, so our best advice is that customers check with their local MG dealership to see what vehicles are available. for immediate delivery,” a company spokesperson said.

“We expect to have a good supply of our entire lineup, including the all-new ZS EV leading into the fourth quarter.”

The MG HS sits in the mid-size SUV segment, where it has a 6.4% market share, and its main plug-in competitors here are all more expensive – at least $10,000 more – including the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV ES AWD (five-seater from $61,080 drive), Ford Escape ST-Line PHEV FWD (from $61,133 drive), newcomer Cupra Formentor VZe (from $66,490 drive in WA ) and the Peugeot 3008 GT Sport PHEV AWD starting at $93,901 drive-thru in WA, which puts it in the luxury league.

Of course, you can upgrade to a smaller SUV, like the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV ES AWD, which is priced at $50,490 drive-away.

Note that prices for drive-in orders are domestic unless otherwise stated.

First impressions

It has the signature octagonal MG badge (which would look better inset rather than superimposed on the grille), 18-inch diamond-cut alloys, two-tone leather sports seats up front and a power tailgate, which is a Bit slow to open but still handy when you have your hands full.

Rear seat space is good and there is 451 liters of boot volume atop the safety cover with all seats in place and 1275L (to the window line) with the second row down .

The spec builds on the Excite with more features including a 360 degree camera, panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and LED ambient interior lighting which is always nice.

Open the door and a welcome light with the MG logo flashes down the driveway in bright red.

Both trim levels have rain-sensing windshield wipers, keyless entry and push-button start, front seat heating, plus a six-way power driver’s seat (Essence adds sport with two-tone leather inserts up front, plus a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat).

Door storage is generous and there are two USB ports in the front and rear, but there’s only one obvious place to put your phone — and that’s the rectangular niche next to it. cup holders in the center console.

Oddly enough, Bluetooth pairing was successful without a security code showing up on the touchscreen to match my phone’s, no matter how many times I tested it.

The cockpit is all-digital, with a 12.3-inch dash and 10.1-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, but while the resolution is good the tech lags behind .

I’d be halfway down the driveway in reverse before the camera kicked in and the maps took about 12 seconds to load, with a warning not to look at the screen while driving – which meant you had to watch the screen to “accept” the terms before you can continue to get directions.

It’s also tedious and clumsy.

If you’re into the maps and want to change the temperature, you need to hit the home button key, which sits on an awkwardly off-center plastic toggle switch, and then access the AC settings on the touchscreen.

However, the MG Pilot (driver safety technology) is comprehensive and includes adaptive cruise control with intelligent speed assist, which worked very well, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking , lane assist, blind spot detection, rear cross member. traffic alert, intelligent headlight control that automatically switches between high beam and high beam, plus traffic jam assist which I didn’t get a chance to try.

The reader

The cruise control is on a stalk below the indicator (both on the left side) and although it works like a charm once you figure it out I lost count of how many times I grabbed the wrong one trying to adjust my speed in traffic – because, surely, the idea is that you shouldn’t have to take your eyes off the road to do so.

As a result, I ended up indicating for no reason and most likely irritating drivers behind me.

Both HS Plus EV models are powered by the same combination of a direct injection 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine paired with a 90kW electric motor to produce a total of 189kW and 370Nm.

Claimed acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is 6.9 seconds.

A 16.6 kWh lithium-ion battery provides up to 63 km of range on a full charge, giving you the option of emissions-free purely electric driving.

Because it’s a PHEV you have to plug it in to charge the battery so if you only have off street parking or live in an apartment this might not be the best option otherwise you’re counting on the gas tank to get around, which defeats the purpose of the technology and a self-charging hybrid would most likely be a better choice.

Using the supplied cable with three-prong plug at home was going to take almost eight hours to reach 100%, according to the trip display — I got a 53% charge (33 km) in just under five hours.

MG estimates that a 7kW Type 2 cable (with seven-pin connectors on each end) that you can use with a wall box at home or at a public AC charging station would take five hours to fully charge.

You can choose to drive in pure EV mode, but once there’s not enough charge the car reverts to a mild hybrid at low speeds. If you attempt to engage all-electric driving, a stylized message displays on the instrument cluster: “EV Mode Entry Not Support”.

Acceleration is quick and responsive in both petrol and electric driving – no complaints – but the big issue for me in EV mode was the high-pitched whining/ringing sound when you put your foot down, which went off the rails. is transformed into a drone when you took it to the coast. There was no getting away from it unless the stereo was on full blast.

MG says the car has AVAS (vehicle approach sound system) and confirmed it was high pitched but if that noise was coming from outside it’s not something I want to hear in the cabin .

This put me off riding in EV mode.

Claimed fuel consumption is 1.7litres/100km, but as with all PHEVs this is a rubbery figure and depends on the level of battery charge.

In EV mode, I used 0L/100km; otherwise, with gasoline driving, it was closer to 7.3 L/100 km on city trips. Over a week of mixed driving, which included a few 50% top-ups, my final average was 6.2 L/100 km.

Verdict

A plug-in hybrid medium SUV that is difficult to beat in its segment in terms of price and equipment. The technology is complete but laggy. Test it in EV mode to see if you’re okay with the sound in the cabin – I wasn’t.

In one look

MG HS PLUS VE

Variant Essence

Price $51,690 (domestic) by car

Engine 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with 90 kW electric motor and 16.6 kW lithium-ion battery

The exits 119kW/250Nm petrol, 189kW/370Nm mixed

Transmission 10-speed automatic

fuel economy 1.7L/100km

#lot #quirks

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