There seems to be a seismic shift in the way automakers manufacture their SUVs. The gulf between a full-sized SUV and a smaller crossover seems to be bigger than ever before.
These gaps are progressively filled, and a sub-category is born, when many automakers step up to the plate and create vehicles to fulfil that gap.
We feel that the MG HS is one such vehicle. With compelling equipment levels and price, it seems to be an unexpected front runner, if you're in the market for such a car.
The ZS vs HS
Right off the bat, we feel that the MG HS addresses a lot of the problems that we initially experienced in the MG ZS EV.
It’s clear that this car has been designed as a more premium product. Fit and finish are superior to offerings from the rest of the MG range, and the materials selected in the creation of the vehicles are of higher grade too.
The HS is also marginally larger than the ZS, though there’s little to differentiate them from a stylistic standpoint.
As is consistent with the ZS, the HS bears more than a passing resemblance to offerings from other manufacturers.
For starters, there’s a whiff of Mercedes Benz in the rear of the vehicle. The proportion and placement of the taillights are where you’d expect the Stuttgart-based automaker to fit theirs too.
The profile of the vehicle has an uncanny resemblance to a Porsche Macan, with the front end bearing visual cues lifted from the Kodo design language that Mazda has developed.
Generally, the car is inoffensive to the eyes, and can actually look fairly smart if you work its angles.
There’s a very Hyundai-esque approach to the interior styling. The areas of the cabin where you’d most likely come into contact with have been trimmed in nice squidgy materials.
Its shifter and door handles could have been lifted directly from the Porsche catalogue, and we’d be none the wiser. Despite the potential for a design disaster, the MG engineers were restrained, and they knew just how much of each design feature to borrow from.
Switchgear quality is acceptable too, matching componentry you’d expect to find in a lower-tier Volkswagen-Audi Group product. Overall, the end result is a premium-looking, and we dare say feeling, interior.
Propulsion is afforded by means of a 1.5 litre, turbocharged four-banger that is straight out of GM’s catalogue. The Mitsubishi-sourced turbocharger comes on song at around 2,500rpm, with plenty of usable boost, and therefore oodles of power, all the way to redline.
This powerplant does feel less refined than similar offerings from Germany or Japan, but not significantly so. There’s definitely more vibration and noise intrusion into the cabin from the engine when it is under load than in some of its rivals.
Still, it’s a tradeoff we’d happily take, as this engine is a real joy to use, with the added bonus of having one of the loudest wastegate noises from a stock car we’ve ever tested.
What is less stellar though, is its gearbox. It may be a DCT, but you'll be let down if you’re expecting European shift standards. Even in sport mode, burying your foot into the floorpan will yield zilch for at least two seconds.
After that, the gearbox will then kick down, and you have access to that wonderful torque. In normal cruising, we found that the transmission, obviously geared for efficiency, often uses a gear higher than what is optimal. You will then have to wait for the computers to shift down to give you the torque.
Whilst it isn’t full-sized-SUV-terrible in the bends, the HS doesn’t feel particularly at home if you hurl it into corners at speed. The electric power steering seems to offer consistent power assistance regardless of road speed.
As the rack lightens up due to momentum, offering the same torque means you’ll end up losing resolution in the steering.
We found this out first hand, throwing the HS into a sharp bend at the stipulated speed limit of the road we were on, only for the steering wheel to feel disjointed from the front wheels.
Through the understeer comes the scrubbing of momentum, and we eventually reached a pace where you can once again figure out what the front of the car wants to do - that is to not be hurtled through acute corners carrying excessive kinetic energy.
We averaged around 7.5km/l, some ways off the 14.7km/l MG claims the car would do. Do bear in mind though that the average joe probably wouldn’t be driving these cars as hard or as aggressively as us journos. Achieving upwards of 10km/l doesn’t seem far-fetched if the car is driven sensibly.
The SUV Divergence
Things start to get interesting in this department. Smaller crossovers are essentially glorified hatchbacks on stilts. Full-sized SUVs on the other hand, are large and cumbersome vehicles that offer little in the driver-engagement department.
The MG HS, as well as its contemporaries in its price bracket, fall in between the two groups. They are properly thought out and scaled up hatchbacks, with the power and suspension componentry to match their engorged proportions. Hence, unlike the two, they actually handle fairly decently despite their size and height.
It is a properly thought out SUV that offers a lot of car for its price. If you’d like to experience the HS up close, do contact MG Singapore for a test drive!
S$149,888 (inclusive of COE)VES Banding: C1
Engine: 1.5-litre Inline 4-cylinder engine
Power: 160 bhp
Torque: 250 Nm
Fuel Consumption: 14.7 km/l
0-100km/h: 9.4 Seconds
Drivetrain: 7 Speed DCT; Front-Wheel DriveBrakes: Disc Brakes
Wheelbase: 2,679 mm
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,574 mm x 1,876 mm x 1,664 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litresBoot Capacity: 463 litres
Electric front seats
Photo Credit: ACube Creative (@weareacube)
Download the Motorist App
The easiest and smartest way to manage your vehicle in Singapore.Download Now
Download the new Motorist App now. Designed by drivers for drivers, this all-in-one app lets you receive the latest traffic updates, gives you access to live traffic cameras, and helps you manage LTA and vehicle matters.
Did you know we have a Motorist Telegram Channel? Created exclusively for drivers and car owners in Singapore, you can get instant info about our latest promotions, articles, tips & hacks, or simply chat with the Motorist Team and fellow drivers.