By Mike Torpey on 2022-10-09 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
MG HS PHEV Exclusive
FULL-BLOWN family SUVs aren't exactly noted for being cheap to buy or run, but there's a certain model out there that does both - and is suited and booted like a premium player.
The name MG may still register with many folk as a British sports car brand that produced much-loved models like the MGB GT and Midget.
These days the brand is owned by SAIC - Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation - and their cars are built in China.
That, however, should in no way act as a deterrent to buying an MG HS - this large plug-in hybrid SUV comes at a price that puts much of the opposition to shame, and boasts a transferable seven-year warranty too.
The HS PHEV, the biggest vehicle in the MG line-up, is powered by the petrol model's 1.5-litre turbocharged engine working in combination with a 90kW electric motor to give an official EV-only range of 32 miles.
There's impressive efficiency too with a claimed WLTP economy figure of 156 miles per gallon plus CO2 emissions of just 43g/km, meaning it represents a 12 per cent Benefit-in-Kind tax rate for company car users.
Performance figures are also pretty nifty for a car of this size as the 0-60 sprint can be managed in 6.9 seconds for those with a keen right foot.
For a big SUV that starts from Â£22,995 you wouldn't necessarily expect too much in the way of cutting edge kit and upmarket features, and while the PHEV in the higher grade Exclusive trim costs an awful lot more at Â£33,595 it's interior and equipment can't really be faulted.
We're talking soft-touch materials all round plus a digital instrument panel and 10-inch touchscreen infotainment set-up with access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Space for five is immense with ample head, shoulder and legroom for three adults sitting across the back and, for when there are two rear passengers aboard, a fold-out armrest can be dropped down to provide a pair of cup holders and a bit of extra storage for small items.
Otherwise stowage comprises glovebox, door bins, central container, map/magazine flaps, a tray below the dash and additional cup holders.
The boot is also impressive and even though some capacity is given up to accommodate the hybrid battery there's still 448 litres available, rising to 1,375 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
Out on the road the HS PHEV is smooth and enjoyable to drive, though the suspension is quite soft, and while it may be understandable to feel that using a 10-speed automatic transmission could be over-egging the pudding, it doesn't work that way in practise.
In fact power is actually delivered via a six-speed auto gearbox and a four-speed electronic drive unit. Either way, it still performs satisfactorily.
The secret to PHEV driving is self-discipline. Unlike a full electric car you don't have to keep the battery charged - and it's easy to put it off until the following day, or not bother at all.
You pay a hefty price though, your potential 156 miles per gallon dipping drastically - in our case down to 39.5mpg - and all because you didn't bother to plug in for three hours or so from a home wallbox.
Regards equipment, just two trim levels are up for grabs - Excite and Exclusive - both including the likes of heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, auto headlamps and wipers, keyless entry and a pin-sharp reversing camera with bird's eye view.
Exclusive grade adds a panoramic roof, powered tailgate, full leather upholstery, LED headlights and ambient interior lighting.
MG HS PHEV Exclusive
Mechanical:258ps, 1,490cc, 4-cyl petrol-electric engine driving front wheels via 10-speed automatic transmission
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