13.4.2022MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review
MG’s line-up may be small, but it’s extensively electrified. Alongside the pure-electric ZS EV and MG5 EV models, there is also the HS Plug-in Hybrid. We test the PHEV version of MG’s largest car to discover how well it performs.
Review by Chris Lilly
MG HS PLUG IN-HYBRID: PERFORMANCE
Powered by a combination of 1.5-litre petrol engine and 90 kW electric motor, the MG HS Plug-in Hybrid produces a combined 258 hp - almost 100 hp up on the standard petrol model. Power is put to the front wheels via a complicated 10-speed automatic transmission, which combines a six-speed auto-gearbox for the petrol engine with a four-speed electronic drive unit for the electric motor.
Combined, the MG is capable of covering the 0-62mph sprint in 6.9 seconds, so it’s a nippy car for its size then, and feels sprightly enough when moving. The electric motor is a decent power for this class, and manages to both easily shift the HS Plug-in Hybrid by itself, plus also fill in the power gaps at low revs from the petrol engine. The engine isn’t particularly refined, and neither is the auto ‘box quick to change, but driven at a normal pace the MG provides a seamless driving experience.
The handling set-up is in line with the performance potential, with a gentle approach best suited to the MG’s character. Hustling the HS Plug-in Hybrid along will see the SUV cope, but it’s far happier sitting at a cruise. Body roll is moderate, but kept under control well enough, but stretching the car’s legs on a motorway is much better suited to its skill set.
In town, the HS feels like the large family SUV, but the steering is direct and accurate, instilling confidence in threading the MG through tight spaces. Feedback is surprisingly good, and the MG HS Plug-in Hybrid is easy to drive with confidence. It will struggle with the worst of Britain’s pot-holes and poorly surfaced roads, but deals well with the rest.
Subtly stylish, the MG HS is a large SUV that will put no-one off, and bring a few customers over. It’s not bold or going to grab attention, but the overall design is pleasant particularly the rear end which looks like a far more premium car. Traditional proportions means the HS looks large in the metal, but isn’t overbearingly so.
It translates to a hugely spacious interior, with loads of head, leg, and shoulder room for four adults, as well as a large boot. A little load space is sacrificed for the drive battery, but it’s still more than enough for daily use, and occasional holiday loads. If occupant space is a priority, the MG HS scores highly.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
MG’s vehicles significantly undercut their rivals, so cost savings must be made somewhere. Unfortunately, this means that the cabin tends to suffer from the demands of the accountants. But MG has boosted the design and feel of its interiors recently, and the HS is no different.
Don’t expect a high-quality, near-premium feel to proceedings, as you will be disappointed. However, everything works nicely, and there is a high level of kit throughout. Efforts have been made to include tactile surfaces up top, and switchgear is not just a bland collection of buttons to prod. Far from noteworthy then, but the MG HS Plug-in Hybrid does little wrong, apart from perhaps feeling a little dated.
MG HS PLUG IN-HYBRID: RANGE & RUNNING COSTS
Official efficiency scores for the HS Plug-in Hybrid are a fuel economy figure of 155.8 MPG, with 32 miles possible under electric power alone. That equates to a CO2 figure of 43 g/km for tax purposes.
On the road, I found the plug-in hybrid powertrain a little frustrating. It would start in petrol-mode, even on a full charge, which is unusual. It was not quick to change into electric-mode either, even when the EV button was pushed, and despite a decent electric range, the fuel economy never performed particularly well, particularly with a relatively small fuel tank. Over more than 900 miles, the trip computer read 43.2 MPG, though this was after plenty of long, non-charging runs. On tips between around 60-100 miles, with a charge, the MG was reporting around 75 MPG, which is considerably better, but this is a PHEV system that requires regular charging - though to be fair, that’s true of most PHEVs.
The 16.6 kWh (14.9 kWh net) battery is at the heart of the HS Plug-in Hybrid’s green credentials, with a theoretical range of 32 miles on a charge. Even in winter, we saw around 25 miles available, so it’s pretty useful. Charging it will take 4.5 hours for 0-100%, which is carried out through a Type-2 inlet.
There is brake energy recuperation available to help boost the economy score, but just the single level nail you feather the brake pedal to gain added regen. Likewise, there are no Eco-based driving modes, so the driver is the main option here in terms of how economically the MG can be focused.
There are two trim levels for the MG HS Plug-in - Excite and Exclusive. Fitted as standard are 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air conditioning, keyless entry and start, digital driver’s instruments, automatic wipers and lights, adaptive cruise control, 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity and navigation, 360-degree parking camera, and a suite of driver assistance systems.
In fact, there’s very little that isn’t included on the entry-level model, leaving only a few features for the Exclusive trim These include LED headlights, metal sports pedals, power tailgate, panoramic sunroof… and that’s about it.
MG HS PLUG IN-HYBRID: MODEL SUMMARY
The HS Plug-in Hybrid goes to show how well MG has done with its pure-electric offerings, since there’s a sense that the HS would be best-suited to a full-EV powertrain. However, used to its strengths, the HS Plug-in Hybrid proves to be a well equipped and practical family SUV, with a reasonable electric-only range.
Model tested: MG HS Plug-in Hybrid Exclusive
Body-style: Family SUV
Engine / CO2: 1.5 litre petrol engine and electric motor / 43 g/km
Trim grades: Excite and Exclusive
On-road price: range from £31,095.
Warranty: Seven years / 80,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.0 Stars