Car group tests

MG GS vs Renault Kadjar vs Nissan Qashqai

MG's new GS doesn't come with a diesel engine option. Can it fend of similar petrol-powered opposition from Renault and Nissan?

A petrol-powered crossover won’t be the most obvious choice if you’re after a practical SUV, but for buyers who don’t do many miles, this group of downsized, family-friendly vehicles could be a more cost-effective way of getting into an attractive 4x4.

Generally, a petrol crossover is tangibly cheaper than a diesel version – although our lead car here doesn’t actually have a diesel equivalent. The MG GS is only available with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol, but it does offer lots of kit for the money. The £20,995 top-spec Exclusive with dual-clutch automatic transmission is facing off some stiff competition, though.

MG GS first drive review

We’re fans of the Renault Kadjar, our former crossover champion, and although the TCe 130 model tested here is down on power compared with the MG, the Kadjar is a formidable package in any guise. It shares its engines and chassis with the Nissan Qashqai, which we’ve lined up here with the 1.2 DIG-T turbo petrol engine.

Best crossovers to buy

So, with just £800 covering the price of these three petrol crossovers, which stands out as the best buy?

Head to head

Styling

From head on, it’s easy to see how the MG’s design combines elements from two of the most popular crossovers on sale. The light units and grille are very similar to the Kadjar’s, while the running light design, bonnet creases and plastic bumper insert are reminiscent of the Qashqai’s. The result is an acceptable, European-looking crossover.

Desirability

MG has plenty of brand history, but it’s now owned by Chinese parent company SAIC Motor. After an absence selling cars in the UK, and without much brand awareness, MG could find it tough to deliver its GS alongside capable competitors that boast a more premium image.

Quality

While the plastics in the MG feel robust, it’s not a tactile cabin like the Kadjar’s. Our GS test car also had a faint smell of glue inside. At least the infotainment system lifts the cabin feel and provides a premium touch to an otherwise unremarkable interior.

Results

First place: Renault Kadjar

It’s a convincing victory for the Kadjar, but while the TCe 130 engine is a relatively strong performer, it’s still no rival for the more efficient 1.5 dCi. However, the traits that make the Renault a class contender are present in this petrol-powered model; it rides nicely and offers the most practicality, while it’s the cheapest car to buy here and will be the most cost-effective to run.

Second place: Nissan Qashqai

The Qashqai still represents solid, dependable family transport with the dose of extra style that you get from a crossover. But this 1.2 petrol version trails the Renault on performance, practicality and kit, so it loses out here. Factor in its higher price and a drab interior compared with the Kadjar, and once again the Nissan trails in its partner brand’s wake.

Third place: MG GS

A good crossover has to be a fine all-rounder, and the GS’s long kit list, affordability and decent pace aren’t enough on their own for it to win. Interior quality issues, steep depreciation and poor efficiency let it down, while the chassis doesn’t deliver the refinement or comfort to match its rivals. The manual model saves £1,500, but even that’s not enough to make up for the GS’s flaws.

Also consider

Peugeot 3008 1.2 Puretech

Peugeot 3008: price, specs and release date

Peugeot 3008 GT & GT Line front white
Due: November

More reviews for GS

In-depth reviews
Road tests
Price: £20,500 (est)
Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl, 128bhp

Compared with its dumpy-looking predecessor, the new 3008 is much more stylish, with more conventional proportions and a slick interior. A 520-litre boot and 128bhp 1.2 PureTech petrol power mean it’ll be a rival for the Kadjar.

Facts and figures

 Renault Kadjar Dynamique Nav TCe 130Nissan Qashqai Acenta DIG-T 115MG GS Exclusive DCT
On the road price/total as tested£20,195/£21,320£20,210/£20,210£20,995/£21,345
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£9,625/47.7%£9,325/46.1%£6,725/32.0%
Depreciation£10,570£10,885£14,270
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£886/£1,772£887/£1,774£1,040/£2,080
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,737/£2,896£1,815/£3,025£2,046/£3,411
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost16/£436/D/£11017/£462/D/£11017/£423/F/£145
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£299 (3yrs/30k)£159/£249/£159N/A
    
Length/wheelbase4,449/2,646mm4,377/2,646mm4,500/2,650mm
Height/width1,613/1,836mm1,590/1,806mm1,665/1,855mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,197cc4cyl in-line/1,197cc4cyl in-line/1,490cc
Peak power/revs 128/5,500 bhp/rpm113/4,500 bhp/rpm164/5,600 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 205/2,000 Nm/rpm190/2,000 Nm/rpm250/1,600 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd7-spd DCT/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/£9555 litres/£19955 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)527/1,620 litres430/1,585 litres483/1,336 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,306/547/1,500kg1,318/542/1,200kg1,467/547/1,750kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.7 metres/N/A10.7 metres/N/A11.8 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery4yrs (100,000)/4yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs5yrs (80,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers18,000 miles (1yr)/15812,500 miles (1yr)/22115,000 miles (1yr)/71
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.8th/1st28th/29th5th/12th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped/assist/stars89/81/74/71/588/83/69/79/5N/A
    
0-60/30-70mph10.6/10.4 secs11.2/11.4 secs9.2/8.4 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.9/7.0 secs5.9/7.7 secs4.0/5.8 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th10.9/15.1 secs/N/A13.7/20.2 secs/N/A8.1/11.4/15.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 119mph/2,500rpm115mph/2,400rpm112mph/2,250rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 47.0/35.5/10.5m51.3/34.6/9.8m50.9/32.4/11.1m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph68/51/65/69dB61/51/65/69dB65/51/65/72dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range35.1/7.7/425 miles33.6/7.4/407 miles29.8/6.6/361 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 41.5/57.7/50.4mpg42.8/55.4/50.4mpg36.6/53.2/45.5mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 9.1/12.7/11.1mpl9.4/12.2/11.1mpl8.1/11.7/10.0mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket186/126g/km/22%194/129g/km/22%219/141g/km/25%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/£400/noSix/yes/£495*/£750**Six/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/cruise ctrl/AEB^£1,200/yes/yes/no£1,450/yes/yes/£495*Yes/yes/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/no/£250^^Yes/yes/yes
Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go£525/no/yes£550/no/no£350/yes/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yes£750**/y/£750**/yYes/yes/yes/yes
^AEB = Autonomous Emergency Braking. *Smart Vision Pack. **Tech Pack. ^^Heat Pack.

Most Popular

Honda axes diesel power in the UK
Honda

Honda axes diesel power in the UK

Honda has quietly phased-out its diesel-powered models in Britain
19 Oct 2020
New Audi RS e-tron GT electric supercar to boast around 700bhp
Audi e-tron GT

New Audi RS e-tron GT electric supercar to boast around 700bhp

The hot Audi RS e-tron GT will use a triple-electric motor set-up and our exclusive images preview how it could look
16 Oct 2020
New 2022 Mercedes EQE electric saloon to rival Tesla Model S
Mercedes EQE

New 2022 Mercedes EQE electric saloon to rival Tesla Model S

The all-electric Mercedes EQE saloon will below the EQS limousine when it arrives in 2022 and our exclusive images preview how it could look
15 Oct 2020