2021 MG HS AWD Essence
2021 MG HS AWD Essence

MG HS +EV: Is it worth it?

2022 MG HS EV 10

What is it?

MG HS +EV is a mid-sized SUV from the Chinese manufacturer that is making such an impact on the Australian market. 

The name can be a little misleading because it’s not fully-electric, but rather a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

It comes with a petrol engine together with a battery that can be charged in the same manner as an EV. 

Plug-in hybrids are an excellent concept, but in practice they don’t make a lot of sense — at least at this stage of their development.

Firstly, they typically cost at least $10,000 than their petrol-only equivalents. 

Secondly, because they have relatively small batteries, the EV electric-only range is quite low.

Once the battery has expired, they become just another hybrid — but a tad heavier due to the battery.

2022 MG HS EV 9

What’s it cost?

MG HS +EV competes against similarly-sized PHEVs such as the Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape and the just-released Mazda CX-60.

With driveaway prices starting at $49,690 it’s the cheapest of the four and comes with the longest (seven-year) warranty.

MG HS +EV comes in two variants, Excite and Essence.

The latter is $53,690 and was our test vehicle.

It’s a neat and conservative vehicle without anything to make it stand out from the SUV crowd.

The front is dominated by a large honeycomb grille with the familiar ‘MG’ badge at front-and-centre.

We often wonder how many buyers, especially younger ones, recognise that iconic badge and its history – we suspect not many. 

The grille flows into wide, narrow headlights with daytime running lights above extended lower air vents, also honeycombed.

Essence comes with 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, LED headlights, front fog lights, puddle lights that project the MG logo on to the ground and a panoramic glass sunroof with sunshade.

Excite gets only halogen headlights and 17-inch alloys.

Four body colours are available, all metallic: Pearl White, Sterling Silver, Black Pearl and Diamond Red.

Inside there are two large screens, a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster with built-in satellite navigation and a 10.1-inch multi-function high-definition infotainment colour touch screen with large user-friendly displays. 

The twin information screens are easy to read and operate although, as is becoming increasingly common, too many of the most-used features needed screen taps rather than being controlled by physical knobs.

Smartphone mirroring is available through cabled Apple CarPlay or Android Auto with two USB ports at the front and another pair at the rear.

Satellite navigation is standard in both variants.

The big touchscreen is impressive and provides sharp and clear vision through the reversing camera. 

One side of the digital instrument cluster is devoted to the petrol engine, while the other keeps you up to date on the battery level as well as how much assistance the electric motor is providing – with three figures for consumption across the bottom.

Both variants get the same six-speaker 3D-surround sound audio system.

HS +EV is yet to receive an ANCAP crash rating but the petrol variants were tested in 2022 and received the maximum five stars.

Standard safety features in both variants include six airbags, enhanced ABS brakes, electronic stability program, active cornering brake control, front seat impact absorbent door padding, hill start assist, emergency automatic door unlocking and hazard light activation, tyre pressure monitoring; reversing camera, and rear parking sensors. 

Essence adds a 360-degree surround-view camera.

Both models also come with the MG Pilot package which adds enhanced features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning; traffic jam assist, intelligent cruise assist, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, intelligent headlight control, and speed assistance system.

2022 MG HS EV 11

What’s it go like?

HS +EV is a good size, with large comfortable seats, plenty of rear legroom and air vents for back seat passengers.

Entry is easy to manage and there’s good interior space.

Rear legroom is acceptable and there’s plenty of headroom despite the Essence’s panoramic sunroof.

Excite comes with polyurethane/PVC seats while the Essence steps up to two-tone leather front sports seats with power adjustment and heating as well as LED ambient lighting.

Boot space is a reasonable 451 litres with the rear seats in place and expands to 1275 litres with the seatbacks folded.

Essence comes with a powered tailgate.

The boot is shallow but offers a reasonable 451 litres rear seats up and 1275 litres with the seat backs folded. 

The Type 2 charge cable is stored under the boot floor where it doesn’t get in the way, but also leaves no room for a spare wheel (a reinflation kit is provided).

Power comes from a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine that generates 119kW of power and 250Nm of torque, together with a 16.6kWh battery pack and 90kW electric motor that combine to provide an impressive combined output of 189kW and 370Nm.

It is mated to a 10-speed EDU II automatic gearbox, which consists of six-speed auto for the internal combustion engine and four-speed electronic drive unit.

All-wheel drive is available in the petrol-only HS but, at this stage, the +EV is front-wheel drive only.

Battery charge time is listed at around seven hours from a normal household socket.

We were able to charge from empty to full in just under four hours from our home 7kW JetCharge wall box.

As with most hybrids the HS +EV takes off using the battery but once under moderate acceleration the petrol engine takes over.

Unlike some others though, it is possible to drive purely under battery power by tapping the ‘EV’ button on the centre console which ensures that the engine doesn’t activate while ever there is charge in the battery.

Fuel consumption is listed at 5.8L/100km under the city cycle but drops down to just 1.7 L/100 km on the combined city/highway cycle. 

Note that it does need 95 RON premium fuel.

Maximum range under battery-power alone is a claimed 63km so the only way to get even close to the 1.7L/100 is to stop the car every 100km and fully recharge the battery before heading off again.

Not a very practical scenario.

Midway through our week in the HS +EV we did a specific test entirely in EV mode with the battery fully charged.

We chose the flattest available route and with conservative driving he got close to the 63km distance.

At the other end of scale we tested the fuel consumption with no charge in the battery and averaged 6.9L/100km on our predominantly motorway drive from Gosford to Sydney helped along by the usual brake regeneration feature of most hybrids. 

These issues aside we found the plug-in MG to be a pretty impressive vehicle.

The instant torque and silent running of EVs contribute to a very enjoyable driving experience.

There’s little or no excitement, but that’s the norm with vehicles at the smaller end of the SUV segment.

Steering is a bit on the heavy side but responsive enough. 

The amount of brake regeneration when decelerating cannot be adjusted but we found that the level was just right, effective without being too intrusive.

The steering is okay but doesn’t provide a lot of feedback and the same can be said of the brakes which could do with more feel.

2022 MG HS EV 5

What we like?

  • Relatively cheap
  • Neat and conservative
  • Large comfortable seats
  • Satellite navigation is standard in both variants

2022 MG HS EV PHEV 4

What we don’t like?

  • Plug-in hard to justify
  • Too many taps for too many things
  • No Safety rating for plug-in
  • Brake regeneration cannot be adjusted

2022 MG HS EV 4

The bottom line?

Whether the extra $10k for the +EV over its petrol-only HS equivalents can be justified will depend on buyer’s individual circumstances.

For urban buyers with short distance commutes and a home fast-ish wallbox it would make sense. 

At around $50K the price is not that much less than mainstream offerings from the Japanese, principally Toyota’s best-selling RAV4 Hybrid, which although it is not a plug-in does provide excellent fuel economy.

Importantly, with long waiting times for most of its competitors – including the aforementioned RAV4 – buyers can get into most MG models within weeks rather than waiting many months.

2022 MG HS EV PHEV 9 1


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MG HS +EV Essence, priced from $53,690 driveaway
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 9/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 7/10

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