MG goes posh with

new HS flagship SUV

MG HS, 2019, front, action
MG HS, 2019, front
MG HS, 2019, side
MG HS, 2019, rear
MG HS, 2019, interior, manual
MG HS, 2019, interior, automatic
MG HS, 2019, instrument panel
MG HS, 2019, rear armrest
MG HS, 2019, rear armrest, open
MG HS, 2019, display screen
MG HS, 2019, engine
MG HS, 2019, rear seats
MG HS, 2019, boot
MG HS, 2019, boot, maximum
MG HS, 2019, badge

MG is expanding its line up with a new flagship SUV called the HS that's both big on value and equipment.

Priced from £17,995 the famous British marque - now owned by the Chinese Shanghai Automotive Corporation - is setting its sights on the big hitters in the fastest growing part of the car market.

Significantly cheaper than the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Sportage, the new MG HS is of similar proportions and powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 163ps.

All but the entry-level HS can be had with a seven speed dual clutch transmission in lieu of a six speed manual box and the three trim range tops out at £22,995 for a manual and £24,495 for the automatic version.

Specification levels across the range are high and all feature MG's Pilot semi-autonomous drive system while higher grade Excite and Exclusive versions come with sat nav, 18-inch alloys and - on the DCT models - automatic cruise control.

MG's seven year, 100,000 mile warranty is also included in the price and that is an attraction matched only by Kia at the moment.

We have just tried out the new HS in both powertrain formats and each performs adequately, joining the company's established - and smaller - ZS SUV which has recently been reborn as an all-electric model.

Of the two versions of the HS, the manual performed the best although the gearbox on the car we tried was not the smoothest.

Average fuel economy was 35.9mpg which was not far off the official 37.2 under the new WLTP test regime while the DCT returned an average of 32.7 to the gallon compared to an official 36.2.

Emissions are 145 and 157g/km respectively and the performance figures are the same for both with a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 9.6 seconds and a maximum of 118mph.

On the road the HS handles well although it does not feel as sporty and some of its competitors.

Wind and road noise also became increasingly evident as speeds rose towards motorway limits.

That said, the HS is a roomy car with a good amount of space throughout the cabin - especially in the rear where legroom is plentiful.

Trim quality is out of the top drawer with leather upholstery, a smart look to the dash and a classy looking panel of keys to operate the main touchscreen.

Boot space is a good-sized 463 litres expanding to 1,454 with the rear seats down and it has a towing limit of 1.75 tonnes - par for the course with SUVs of this class.

The HS is front-wheel-drive only and comes with an electronic parking brake as standard and that includes an automatic function which is a bonus when driving in traffic.

The top end Excellence DCT version of the HS also has a drive mode selector which featured a Porsche-like Supersport button on the steering wheel but transition through the settings was not at all fast and the sport mode - when it arrived - was quite abrupt.

On the electronics front there is something of a primitive feel to the operation of the technology although the displays in the centre of the dash and the digital instrument panel were bang up to date and comprehensive with the information displayed.

In the current MG stable - which starts off with the MG3 hatch at just £7,995 - the HS is a worthy flagship, plusher than the other offerings and well put together.

Its strengths hav to be its value for money and the long term warranty and those can only help with residual values when it comes time to change.

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