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In-depth reviews

MG HS - Engines, performance and drive

Power seems reasonable enough on paper, but the 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

3.5 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
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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 an acceptable fashion. Where the HS falls down is its lack of decent body control at higher speeds, with the car struggling to maintain composure over grooves and off-camber sections of tarmac at higher speeds. 

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The steering off-centre is vague, which only adds to the problem. The HS doesn’t inspire the same confidence from behind the wheel or innate feeling of agility as the Mazda CX-5 or Skoda Karoq, both of which are better suited to those looking for some driving inspiration on a family day out. That said, the HS is comfortable enough, and some drivers will appreciate the high driving position and good forward visibility. However, we found the view out the back wasn’t so good using the low-mounted rear-view mirror.

If you like a quiet cabin, 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 and can provide plenty of power, but go beyond 4,000rpm, and you’ll find power drops off significantly, and the noise builds to an irritating level that continues even at a motorway cruise.

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The optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (a six-speed manual is standard) provides smooth gear changes, but is rather sluggish in its responses, and that could be very frustrating at times when you need a quick burst of power – like when you go for an overtake. Even in the sport drive mode setting, it refused to change down a gear, worrying us that the HS would stall going up a steep incline. Paddles are provided behind the steering wheel in order for you to attempt to control the gearbox manually.

The DCT auto’s driving modes comprise of Eco, Normal and Sport settings. The latter can be accessed at the push of a bright red ‘Supersports’ button on the steering wheel that looks ridiculously out of place in this mid-size family SUV.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

A simple 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine sits under the HS’s bonnet. In the regular model, it produces 160bhp and 250Nm of torque; enough to sprint from 0-60mph in 9.9 seconds, according to MG, and reach a top speed of 118mph. 

plug-in hybrid version is also available, which combines the power from the 1.5-litre petrol unit with a 120bhp electric motor for a total output of 254bhp and 370Nm of torque. The official acceleration stats are predictably more impressive, with 0-62mph taking 7.1 seconds on paper, but the HS PHEV never entirely lives up to the claimed time. It’s quick enough for most situations, though, and it will cruise along at motorway speeds without complaint.

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