Sophie Williamson-Stothert finds MG’s new SUV holds its own in a number of areas – but there’s still some work to do to appeal to UK buyers.
What is it?
This is the MG GS. With sales of the MG3 and 6 dwindling, this is the brand’s chance at reaching its goal of becoming a 20,000-car manufacturer in the next five years. Taking on the market leaders in the ever-expanding SUV segment, the GS comes with an attractive starting price of £14,995, making it the cheapest in its sector.
What’s under the bonnet?
Available with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the GS is designed to appeal to buyers in a growing part of the segment – those in the market for a manual petrol. The unit was designed in collaboration with General Motors and produces an impressive 166bhp. The GS is available with a six-speed manual gearbox and also debuts the brand’s first seven-speed dry dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is available on the top-spec Exclusive and priced at £20,995. Against its rivals, the GS holds its own in a number of areas. It boasts more torque than its two-wheel-drive petrol competitors with 250Nm, it has a competitive CO2 rating of 139g/km for the manual and 141g/km for the DCT and is capable of towing 1,750kg.
What’s the spec like?
The GS is available in three specifications, priced from £14,995 for the entry-level Explore, £17,495 for the Excite and £19,995 for the range-topping Exclusive. Designed and engineered in Longbridge, Birmingham, the GS boasts a bold stance and striking detailing, clearly distinguishing it from its competitors on the road. The entry-level Explore is equipped with cruise control, automatic headlamps and air conditioning as standard, while the mid-range Excite adds DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and rear parking sensors. Step up to the Exclusive and buyers gain leather sports seats, an iGO navigation system and have the choice of MG’s six-speed manual or the brand’s first seven-speed DCT gearbox. It also benefits from a practical 1,336-litre boot space, which is a key selling point for young families.
What’s it like to drive?
Satisfactory. You won’t want to be too heavy on the accelerator, since this doesn’t do a lot of good to the fuel consumption, and you can’t help but feel a little disconnected from the wheels when cornering, as the steering wheel is a little on the light side. Other than that, and perhaps slightly too loose a ride, it was what you’d expect from a budget brand.
What do the press think?
According to Auto Express: ‘The MG GS is an SUV that offers plenty of practicality and equipment at a low price. It’s also comfortable and good to drive in town.’
What do we think?
MG is definitely aiming in the right direction, but in order for the GS to live up to the expectations laid by its competitors, it still has a little work to do. The foundations are there, but in order to appeal to the UK buyers, MG will need to step up the quality.