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MG HS engines, driving and performance

How does the MG HS drive?

It’s not the best SUV on the market to drive – in fact, in some ways, it’s nearer the bottom of the class. At higher speeds the suspension struggles to control the movements of the HS’s body, leaving you feel as if the suspension has turned to jelly, especially on bumpy roads.

While we don’t expect an SUV to feel like a sports car in the corners, there’s a vagueness to the HS’s steering that doesn’t encourage you to tackle twisty country roads at pace. A Skoda Karoq or Nissan Qashqai give you much more confidence.

Is the MG HS comfortable?

The MG HS does iron out bumps reasonably well on battle-scarred British roads, but the suspension can end up feeling too soft and jiggling you about – it just doesn’t settle down like the best cars in this class, which isn’t great if your passengers are prone to feeling car sick.

That said, the HS has a reasonable range of adjustments in seat and steering wheel, and it sits you up quite high. If you like to put the seat on its lowest setting for a sportier vibe then you may feel the seat doesn’t go low enough – the driving position is defiantly old-school up-high SUV.

Refinement is largely OK – in fact, we reckon the HS is most at home doing a 70mph cruise, where there’s not much wind noise or tyre noise, and the irritating automatic gearbox has sorted itself out (more on this later).

What’s the best MG HS engine to get?

If you don’t want a hybrid then there’s only one engine choice in the MG HS – a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol with 163hp. It feels pretty brisk, but it’s seriously noisy under hard acceleration and you can expect real-world fuel economy of about 38mpg, which is middling at best.

The plug-in hybrid only improves efficiency by a few mpg, but it feels even quicker thanks to 260hp of combined petrol and electric output. It can travel for up to 32 miles on electric power alone.

One thing to note with the HS is its dual-clutch automatic gearbox – it’s one of the worst in any modern car on sale. It’s jerky at low speeds and sometimes gives the impression it’s going to stall. Want to pull away gently? You’ll need a ballerina’s delicate footwork if you don’t want to accidentally perform a racing start. It’s bad enough that we’d recommend the manual gearbox option. Oh, and don’t even think about pressing the Super Sport button on the steering wheel – it sharpens up the throttle response to the point of ridiculousness, leaving you with a jerky driving experience and no discernible difference in actual acceleration.

You can sidestep the dodgy automatic gearbox by picking the hybrid HS – its electric motor irons out most of the jerkiness.

MG HS performance

Fitted with the 1.5-litre petrol engine, the HS gets from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds. It feels a bit brisker in person than the number suggests, though it does make a right old racket when you rev it out.

The hybrid version’s combined 260hp output drops the 0-62mph dash to 6.9 seconds. It only feels that fast, however, when you really put your foot down but, in regular driving, the extra torque from the hybrid motor helps it pull away briskly.

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