MG HS SUV
"The MG HS SUV is an affordable, practical and well equipped family car, but rivals are better to drive"
- Best MG interior yet
- Seven-year warranty
- Unrefined petrol engine
- High running costs
- Reliability concerns
MG might have a history of building sports cars but more buyers than ever are interested in SUVs instead, so it makes sense that the reborn brand has moved to offer a pair of crossovers. The MG HS is its biggest model to date, sitting above the MG ZS SUV and MG 3 supermini. You can think of the HS as a good-value rival to the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008.
From the front and at a distance it's hard to tell the HS apart from the ZS, as the two cars share the same grille and headlight design, while a reasonably low beltline should ensure there's good visibility and an airy interior. It kicks up towards the rear, adding a sporty touch, while the back has wide rear lights, dual exhausts and a silver skid-plate style rear bumper.
Buyers are looking for more upmarket features in this class, and the interior of the HS delivers on most fronts. It's the most convincing yet from the modern MG era, with lots of padded materials and metallic trim, along with leather-look upholstery for every trim level. These are fairly straightforward, called Explore, Excite and Exclusive, and a 10.1-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard across all three. The HS is priced very competitively, and MG thinks many customers will go straight for the top trim as a result, bringing luxuries like a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and a rear-view camera.
Space is certainly plentiful, as the HS is relatively large compared with rivals, and the car offers plenty of room for passengers. Legroom and headroom are good, and there's comfortably room for three people in the back and a 450-litre boot behind the seats. A towing capacity of 1,750kg should also endear the HS to caravanners.
Driven at a relaxed pace, the HS performs adequately, but its 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is less convincing if you push it, when it feels coarse and less powerful than its 160bhp power output would suggest. It's a similar story with its handling, which has an initial stiffness that hints at positive responses but gives way to some vagueness and a bouncy ride.
Some SUV owners will be more impressed by the MG's seven-year warranty and won't be too concerned about its handling. It's also covered for up to 80,000 miles (whichever comes first) and, thanks to safety kit like standard autonomous emergency braking, it was awarded a five-star safety score by Euro NCAP.