MG4 EV: It’s an attention grabber

2023 MG4 EV 6

What is it?

While MG (Morris Garages), the iconic post-war British sports car maker, may have been mopped up by SAIC, China’s largest automobile manufacturer, it has not completely severed ties with the Old Country.

The latest MG offering to come from SAIC, formerly the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, the MG4 all-electric hatchback, was designed at the company’s London studio in Marylebone. 

Furthermore, the vehicle sparks technological innovation traditionally found in sports cars from the early days.

This includes multi-mode driving and braking, as well as MG Pilot Driver Safety Technology and vehicle-to-load function (V2L), enabling the vehicle to power exterior equipment.

2023 MG4 EV 7

What’s it cost?

MG4 EV introduces the innovative new Modular Scalable Platform that will underpin a new generation of MGs, featuring rear-wheel drive, 50:50 weight distribution and thin battery technology. 

Four variants – two Excites, an Essence and Essence (Long Range) – are on sale Down Under, with battery capacities ranging from from 51kWh, to 64kWh to 77kWh.

Range is claimed to vary up to 530km. 

Not that there is too much of a price to pay for the advanced equipment. 

The new MG4 turns out to be one of the cheapest EVs on the Aussie market. 

The entry level MG4 Excite is priced from just $38,990, plus on-road costs, then $44,990 for the 64kWh Excite, $47,990 the 64kWh Essence and $55,990 for the 77kWh Essence.

Meanwhile, orders are now being taken for the new dual-motor, all-wheel drive MG4 XPower that produces 320kW and 600Nm of torque and is due to go on sale before the end of the year.

Priced at $59,990, plus on-road costs, the range-topping XPower MG4 EV will be the most powerful production MG in Australia to date, capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in a scant 3.8 seconds.

MG4 EV also carries MG’s trademark 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty as standard.

On test was the MG4 Essence 64, which sells for $47,990, plus ORCs.

Not that the MG4 styling is ‘off the planet’, but there is a whiff of ‘Thunderbirds Are Go!’ to the twin-fin roof-mounted spoiler sticking out of the rear, a reminder of the kitsch puppet show on kids’ black-and-white TV years ago. It incredibly became an icon. 

In contrast, the rest of the car exhibits all that’s fashionable in modern car design, with a sleek two-tone roof and active intake grille shutter — no need for ugly radiator intrusion up front.

There’s also 18-inch alloy wheels with aerodynamic cover, new LED rear light design, with distinctive rear centre light bar, plus the aforementioned twin-aero rear spoiler.   

The MG iSMART system integrates car, internet and communication, now with voice activation and remote-control features on Essence models.

Interacting dual screen technology is the basis of configurable 7.0-inch driver display and 10.25-inch floating infotainment screen.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range, with six-speaker 3-D system on Essence models. 

Essence models gain satellite navigation, 360-degree parking cameras, height-adjustable loading floor, wireless phone charging and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

MG Pilot is standard on all MG4 EV models.

A comprehensive package of safety equipment, it features active emergency braking with pedestrian and cycle detection, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, intelligent speed limit assist with traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, driver attention alert and intelligent high beam assist.

Essence models also have door open warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot detection and lane change assist.

Five-star safety is at 2022 standard.

2023 MG4 EV XPOWER 5

What’s it go like?

Minimalist is the name of the game in the cabin.

Excite grade favours black fabric upholstery, while Essence features synthetic leather interior trim with contrasting cloth inserts.

Front seats and steering wheel – unusually with flat top and bottom — are heated.

The driver enjoys the benefit of six-way electrically adjustment.

For some reason air-con controls are operate via the touchscreen, not the easiest to operate on the move.

The Modular Scalable Platform design creates exceptional cabin space, storage and two-level boot floor — 1177 litres with seats folded and 363 litres with seats in place.

The MG4 single electric motor, with a 64kWh lithium-ion battery partner, is claimed to have a combined energy consumption of 13.8kWh/100km from maximum power of 150kW and peak torque of 250Nm.

A single-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels.

Where’s the starter button? There isn’t one in the MG4.

The vehicle systems spring to life when the driver sits in the seat.

Switch-off has its foibles and needs the lock button on the key fob to be pushed to shut things down.

It’s easy to walk away from the car leaving it running.  

MG4 EV is capable of up to 530km on the WLTP cycle for 77kWh Essence Long Range.

The 64kWh Excite is capable of 450km and 64kWh Essence at 435km, while the 51kWh is good for 350km.

The 64kWh battery is capable of recharging at up to 140kW.

Average combined energy consumption over a week on test was 16.2kWh/100km.

I topped up the ‘tank’ on a public fast charger from 60 to 80 per cent in 40 minutes at a cost of $9.11.

However, this public charging facility was having App connection problems and ended up with charging having to be switched on manually from base.

A true reflection of the development of the non-fossil fuel transport world – a long way to go.  

The rotary gear selector, on the centre console, turned out to be vaguer than many of its ilk but during repeated use, eased its way into driver acceptance.

Needless to say, tyre sound took the place of engine noise on almost all but the smoothest road surface and regen braking literally ‘grabbed’ attention, if not careful.  

With the MG Pilot willing to assist safe driving to a high level, the lane keep assist with departure warning tended to intrude too quickly and forcefully in an earlier drive of the MG ZS EV.

The MG4 EV appears to have it sorted.

2023 MG4 5

What we like?

  • Animated styling
  • Badge brings back memories
  • Relatively cheap for an EV

2023 MG4 EV 9

What we don’t like?

  • Hubcaps
  • Aircon controlled from touchscreen
  • Easy to leave car running
  • Rotary gear selector vague

2023 MG4 EV 8

The bottom line?

The shopping list for electric vehicles for less than is 50 grand is quickly expanding with the Chinese leading the race.

The new MG4 puts in a strong claim for attention. However, buyer beware — EV infrastructure has some way to go to catch up.

2023 MG4 EV 10


CHECKOUT: MG HS +EV: Is it worth it?

CHECKOUT: MG ZS EV Long Range: Price not so nice


MG4 Essence 64, priced from $47,990
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 7/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 6/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 6/10

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *