Long term test: Plugging into the MG HS PHEV
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MG HS +EV (PHEV)
Clean Car Rebate
- 52km of EV range
- Cushy ride quality
- Overnight trickle charging
- Defaults to petrol use
- No DC fast charging
- Slow EV mode gearshifts
Is it any good? That’s the real question and answer that we’re asked most often.
The MG brand has successfully evolved from old semi-reliable British sports cars to modern, Chinese passenger vehicles, and with the sales success of the all-electric ZS racing up sales charts thanks to its sharp price and fortuitous government clean car rebate introduced on July 1 last year.
With its bigger brother HS presented as an SUV Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), the big question remains, is it any good?
We’ve started a four-month long-term test with the HS PHEV to see what it’s all about, both as a brand, car and PHEV. With the likes of Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross and Outlander PHEVs joined by the Escape PHEV, Mini Countryman, Kia Niro and Sorento and even BMW 330e, there are over 20 PHEVs currently on sale in NZ. But is this MG HS any good?
Yes, and no, to be short and blunt. Let’s start with the name, officially the HS Plus EV/+EV, which is plain confusing, so we’ll stick with standardized nomenclature and call it PHEV.
But we’re keen to dive in and detail. A RAV4-sized five-seat SUV, the HS handles practicality in a pretty good looking package, especially its standout Clipper Blue hue.
At $54,990, less the new PHEV rebate of $5750, that’s a lot of car for $49,240, but also a $3250 premium over the top-line petrol HS, that also offers a turbo and AWD.
How far does it run on EV? Being a PHEV, it offers 52km of WLTP range, and impressively, we’ve hit that claim a few times. It runs a 16.6kWh battery and accepts charge up to 6.6kW through a Type 2 wallbox-style plug, but with a catch: unlike most PHEVs, however, the HS PHEV prioritises using petrol, and drives like a hybrid, not a PHEV. It also uses the petrol engine to warm the battery components before enabling EV mode.
Charging is assumed it’s only ever done at home, as there is no fast charge option, via the Type 2 plug, for AC wallboxes or AC public chargers. So anything above 6.6kW is a waste. On the plus side,
however, we’ve found very few people use the public AC chargers/port, as it takes around three hours to recharge from flat (as opposed to seven hours with the home three-pin trickle charger).
Charging while driving is also done when braking or going downhill, though the scavenging is rather mild, and oddly doesn’t work when on cruise control.
All this electric assistance is helpful, because there’s a modest-sounding but very capable 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, that, in combination with the EV motor, jumps to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds.
There’s also a ten-speed gearbox, but that is also misleading, as there’s a conventional six-speed for the petrol engine, and a four-speed for EV mode, with very distinct steps/two-second pauses in acceleration.
Fuel use is claimed to be 1.7l/100km, but this is wildly dependent upon EV range use. We’ve seen it range from 1.5l-8l/100km depending on the battery use and frequency of recharge.
Electric aside, there’s a host of gear in the HS range-topping Essence model, MG Pilot suite of safety gear such as radar cruise, blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking, full ‘Stargazer’ panoramic roof, digital gauges, 360 degree camera and sporty electric, heated seats with leather/Alcantara. It doesn’t end there, with keyless entry/starting, power tailgate and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Add in the seven-year unlimited-km car and battery warranty that MG claims by then should still be good for 70 per cent of its charge capacity, and there’s some solid reasoning for ownership.
Just how strong we shall see over the next four months.
MG HS +EV (PHEV)
ENGINE: 1.5-litre petrol four-cylinder, electric motor
BATTERY: 16.6kWh, 6.6kW charge rate
POWER: 189kW/370Nm combined
GEARBOX: 10-speed (6 petrol, 4 EV), FWD
ECONOMY: 1.7l/100km, 52km EV range (WLTP)
PRICE: $49,240 ($54,990 less rebate)