‘The SUV you haven’t seen before’… That was the line used to introduce the new MG HS. Of course, as you’ve probably noticed, MG is no longer a British sports car maker. The brand now falls under the Chinese state-owned SAIC Motor. The Australian launch has just taken place, here are my thoughts. 

Let’s just clear the air here, what’s the deal with sticking an MG badge onto a range of SUVs. I’m hoping at some stage we may see a true MG sports car, but for now sadly not.

The 2020 MG HS is a mid-sized SUV. It falls into a category occupied by the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5, a huge mountain to climb.

The exterior design of the all new MG HS is interesting. It’s not ugly, but it does look like different departments had their own ideas. The front on view, sails close to looking like a CX-5, the profile has a tad of Nissan X-Trail while the rear end is fairly neutral. 

MG managed to break into the top 20 of vehicles last year, not a massive deal but they’ve lasted longer than I thought. 

Many people associate Chinese cars with poor build quality. But across the two models, the Vibe and Excite, I dead setcan’t complain about anything. There are no squeaks or rattles but rather a solid and secure feeling. It has been bolted together very well. How it drives is another thing but more on that later. 

I’d previously only driven a MG GS back in 2017, I walked away from that launch thinking to myself “Aussies won’t cop this”. 

But here we are now in 2020 with stylish, refined SUV that’s full to the brim with technology. 

MG Pilot is standard across the range. It includes Lane Keep Assist with intervention if required. There’s also speed sign detection and Autonomous Emergency Braking that detects pedestrians when the HS car is running between 30 and 60km/h.

It also has Traffic Jam Assist, now that’s impressive. This allows the car to follow the lead of the car in front, meaning all you need to do is steer in heavy traffic conditions. This isn’t even found in European cars priced over $100,000, most of the time it’s an option.

The list goes on via a huge 10.1’’ Touchscreen. MG’s own infotainment system is nice and colourful. However, there’s a row of what look like piano keys, under the screen, with each designed to open a menu up. It just doesn’t have any logical flow to it, plus the software is way too slow. 

But to the rescue comes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto! 

There’s even multicoloured ambient lighting, if you want to relive your days at a Disco Tech. 

The upholstery is fake leather, and there’s plenty of it – such as on the centre console bin and door armrests. There aretwo USBs up front and in the rear, strangely, there’s no roof light in the back.

Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine that produces 126kW/250Nm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT). This is where things start to unravel. The pairing of that 1.5-litre and the DCT make for some unpleasant surprises. For example, when you enter a roundabout the last thing you need is turbo lag and a slow to react transmission. 

The engine feels like it should be in another, smaller car. MG really needs to work on that front. The overall body control was passable. Over undulations it’s a bit like a pogo stick. It takes a little longer to settle than I’d like.

Fuel ecomy is rated at 7.3L/100km, which seemed plausible. Driveaway pricing is $30,990 for the “Vibe”, while the “Excite” is $33,990. All MGs come with a 7-year warranty.

China one day will be sending excellent cars our way. The MG HS is far from an epic fail, it’s full of tech, is safe and a genuine value proposition.

It’s a 7 out of 10 from.