MG GS Exclusive

MG GS, interior, front, action
MG GS, interior, front, family
MG GS, interior, front, static
MG GS, interior, rear, family
MG GS, MGGS, front
MG GS, interior, manual

WHEN the MG revival under Chinese ownership got under way there were thousands of car enthusiasts who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of a stylish and sporty roadster.

That hasn't happened as yet and in truth it probably won't - at least any time soon.

MG might have once been a marque renowned for its capable and affordable sports cars but it's been taken in a different direction by current owners SAIC.

Not only that but if you look at the automotive marketplace fewer car makers are turning out roadsters any more.

Demand isn't what it once was and it can prove a risky, costly and ultimately fruitless venture.

Vehicles that are very much in demand however are SUVs and crossovers in all their shapes and sizes.

They have now effectively replaced the family hatchback and estate as the de facto car of choice for many and pretty much everyone is in on the act.

MG might have come to the party a little late but progress has been somewhat slow in terms of delivering new models, at least as far as the UK and European markets are concerned.

First up was the MG6, which proved something of a stuttering start but it was followed by the MG3 supermini which really saw things take off.

The GS crossover probably represents MG's biggest step yet and arguably its best.

Given the changing market it could probably have done with being launched some time back but it's here now and hopefully it can see MG make up for lost time.

The truth is the MG GS really is a very good effort.

It's a stylish looking vehicle that could equally be described as an SUV or a crossover.

It has elements of that traditional SUV boxy shape but curves are thrown into the mix and there's even a subtle hint of the family design DNA pioneered on the tidy looking MG3.

In reality it's competing against crossovers like the all-conquering Nissan Qashqai, the Peugeot 3008 and Renault Kadjar.

Is it a worth competitor?

In short it is and its price pitching is such that can also be seen as an alternative to budget buys like the Dacia Duster.

With a range that starts at just £14,995 the GS certainly represents excellent value for money.

Move further up the range and it actually has quite a luxurious feel to it, as was the case with this Exclusive model.

The instrumentation and switchgear still have that slightly curious mix of erring towards premium in places but looking like corners have been cut in others.

To be fair it's more good than bad though and I really liked the iGo touchscreen navigation system.

Browsing through the stored radio stations was super user-friendly and swift and it could actually teach a few far more salubrious in-car systems a thing or two.

Despite those SUV looks the GS is very much a soft-roader. It only comes in two-wheel drive guise and also, for the time being at least, there's only one engine - a 1.5-litre petrol unit.

Given the shift to smaller petrol units generally then maybe this isn't such a bad thing, though I would imagine there are lots of potential buyers who really would want a diesel.

That said it's a decent and smooth unit that powers the GS along nicely and is impressively refined too.

In terms of handling the GS is a fairly standard crossover - not unpleasant to drive at all but with some pitch and roll given the body height.

The cabin is roomy and open and the boot is a decent size too.

There are three trim levels - Explore, Excite and Exclusive - which certainly trip off the tongue nicely.

This wasn't quite the range-topping model - it was the six-speed manual rather than the seven-speed automatic.

There's a lot to recommend about the GS. It comes with a five-year warranty and in line with general MG policy all models are generously equipped.

The mid-range Excite comes with stop/start, hill hold, rear parking sensors and camera, alloys, DAB stereo, Bluetooth, climate and cruise control and the MirrorLink app connection system.

FAST FACTS

MG GS Exclusive

Price: £19,495

Mechanical: 164bhp, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 9.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 46.3

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 5yrs/80,000 miles

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