In-depth reviews

MG HS review - 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

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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, 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 for the most part. However, when we tested the updated HS we found the car’s rear-view mirror hinders visibility because of how low it’s mounted on the windscreen.

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 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.

Our top-of-the-range MG HS Trophy featured the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that provides smooth gear changes but is rather sluggish and could be very frustrating at times. Even in the sportiest setting, it refused to change down a gear, worrying us that the HS would stall going up a steep incline.

The DCT auto’s driving modes comprisel 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. 

A 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 quite lives up to the claimed time. It’s quick enough for most situations though, and will cruise along at motorway speeds without complaint.

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