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MOTORS: Secret of success for MG HS is great value for money

By Alan Douglas

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In my neck of the woods, there’s a car dealership which has the franchise for several well-known brands, including Renault and Dacia.

But the area of their extensive showroom which is doing especially big business is the one with shiny new MGs – everything in the six-car range from the 3 hatchback to the electric ZS, 5 estate and stylish 4.

That’s reflected on the roads around here too, where MGs seem to be populating every car park and street.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been driving one of the range – the petrol-powered HS SUV – that I’ve noticed just how many of the family are being snapped up by cost-conscious owners.

But the figures back it up with UK sales soaring by more than 66 per cent last year and forecasts of an even better performance during 2024.

MG claims to be the fastest growing car brand in the UK and while the cars are built in factories in several countries, some of the design is done in London. The secret of the Chinese-owned brand’s success is the great value for money, but also the 100-year-old classic British MG name must be a factor even though the big two letters on the grille are the only link with the past.

The family-sized HS SUV has always been popular because of its practicality and was given a facelift last year, but a completely new version is expected before too long. The current model has a refreshed look front and back and two new specification levels of SE and Trophy, but with the same attractive pricing.

The look has been sharpened to be a touch more aggressive and meaningful with new bi-function LED headlights and taillights, larger grille and front bumper with a set of smart 18-inch diamond cut alloys.


The SE and Trophy specifications have proved popular on the 4EV so they’ve been extended to the HS and both models are powered by a 1.5-litre, turbocharged petrol engine with an optional dual-clutch DCT gearbox which was on the top-range Trophy test car.

It is well-equipped with leather heated front seats, dual zone climate control, some smart ambient interior lighting, rear privacy glass, an upgraded 6-speaker audio system and a choice of driving modes of Eco, Normal and Sport – and a pretty ambitious bright red Supersport button on the steering wheel. It did perk up the performance but hardly threw you back in the seat.

Both versions come with the MG Pilot package of safety equipment which includes Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Bicycle Detection, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning System, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent High Beam Assist.

There’s no shortage of power from the four-cylinder petrol engine although it’s not the fastest away from the lights, but that’s not what you’re looking for from this practical and sturdy, if a little dated-feeling, family workhorse.

While in my custody, I clocked up a fair few miles including trips to Edinburgh and Inverness and it did the job without complaint. Most importantly, even after many hours behind the wheel, I still felt fresh, which was a tribute to the unexpected quality of the comfort and support of the seats and the forgiving suspension which dealt well with our questionable road surfaces.

I liked the smooth-changing auto gearbox and as long as you’re not looking to get to the shops ahead of everyone else, it is relaxing if a touch ponderous and sluggish.

Apart from the interior comfort, the HS really scores on space with superb leg and headroom all round. What’s clever is that passengers in the rear have good visibility thanks to the low window line and even tall adults won’t find their head rubbing against the roof lining.

The only drawback is that some boot space has been sacrificed, but like everything about the HS, that’s a small price to pay.


MG HS Trophy 7-speed auto

PRICE: £27,495

ENGINE: 1490cc four-cylinder turbo petrol front wheel drive

POWER: 162 bhp

TORQUE: 250 Nm

TOP SPEED: 118mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

TOWING CAPACITY: 1750kgs (braked)

ECONOMY: 36 mpg combined

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