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First Drive

First Drive: MG HS PHEV

The story: MG’s first plug-in hybrid is a crossover model with a 32-mile range that gets it into the 11% BIK band for this tax year
Key rival:Vauxhall Crossland X
On sale:Now

MG has launched its first plug-in hybrid, with the MG HS PHEV complimenting what is now a pair of full electric models in the brand’s line-up.

The PHEV HS, which is also available with a 162hp petrol engine alone, adds a 90kW motor for a total of 258hp and an electric-only range figure of 32 miles, enough to get it over the threshold into the 11% company car Benefit-in-Kind tax band for this year.

First Drive - May 2021 - MG HS PHEV - Image 3The PHEV comes in Excite and Exclusive trim levels, with the lower trim costing just under £30,000 and the higher trim an extra £2500. Both are well-specced, with the higher trim getting features including a panoramic sunroof, a powered tailgate and powered sports seats that look like they should be in a more sporting car than a plug-in hybrid MG crossover.

The HS looks understatedly smart inside and out, with the quality generally impressing, although stowage isn’t plentiful in an otherwise good-looking and decent-quality cabin.

However, space is plentiful, with rear passengers really able to stretch out, and the boot is a very decent 448 litres, just 15 litres less than is on offer in the petrol HS.

First Drive - May 2021 - MG HS PHEV - Image 6The powertrain is though something of a frustration, because in auto mode it’s meant to choose the most appropriate combination of petrol and electric power, but it can be reluctant to switch back to running on the battery once the engine has kicked in. There’s also a vibration through the accelerator pedal when the engine is running, and when in EV mode, the powertrain sometimes splutters rather than giving power fluidly.

There’s an absolute wealth of information about the car’s performance available across the dashboard and central touchscreen systems, so you’re always fully up to date.

Rival-wise, only Vauxhall’s Grandland X in Business Edition spec can compete on price, and although it can’t match the MG’s specification it has a better powertrain. The MG’s insurance is also surprisingly high, but it’s a tax-busting, well-kitted and spacious PHEV.

paul barker

The verdict

Well equipped for the price, and nicely designed inside and out with plenty of space, but the powertrain is below par.