MG HS review - Engines, performance and drive

Power seems reasonable enough on paper, but the HS 1.5-litre petrol engine is noisy and needs to be revved hard

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.8 out of 5

  • Cheap to buy
  • Good safety kit
  • Plug-in hybrid model
  • Not the most exciting drive
  • CO2 levels too high
  • Rivals have bigger boots

MG engineered a new platform for the HS, using MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link suspension set-up at the rear. It feels softly sprung and deals with the typically scarred UK roads in just about an acceptable fashion. Where the HS falls down is its lack of decent body control at higher speeds, the car struggling with the grooves and off-camber sections of faster stretches of tarmac. 

Vague steering feel off centre just adds to the problem and doesn’t inspire confidence from behind the wheel. The innate agility of the Mazda CX-5 or Skoda Karoq may be better suited to those looking for some driving inspiration on the family day out. That said, the HS is comfortable enough and drivers will appreciate the practical, high-set driving position and good visibility. 

If you like a quiet cabin, then you may want to focus on maintaining a light touch with the right foot. At low revs the 1.5-litre engine is civilised enough, but extend it past 4,000rpm and you’ll find the noise builds to an irritating level and continues even at a motorway cruise. Looking on the bright side, you may find it drowns out any whinging from the kids in the back.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

MG has seen fit to keep things simple for the HS, with power coming from a 160bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. A 254bhp plug-in hybrid version is also available which, although more expensive to buy, does offer improvements to overall running costs.

With 160bhp and 250Nm of torque delivered from just 1,700rpm, you’d expect the HS to perhaps post a slightly quicker 0-62mph time than the official 9.9 seconds claimed by MG. In fact, in our own test, we managed the benchmark sprint a full 1.3 seconds faster and found the HS more sprightly in-gear than its Skoda Karoq rival.

The plug-in hybrid version combines the power from the 1.5-litre petrol unit, with a 120bhp boost from its electric motor for a 254bhp total output. Acceleration is predictably more impressive, with 0-62mph taking 7.1 seconds.

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