Good game, good game !
The MG GS was launched in the United Kingdom in May 2016. Assembled in Lingang, Shanghai, China, it is MG’s third new model after the MG6 & MG3 & is the brand’s first SUV. The range starts from £15,095, which is £4,000 cheaper than the entry-level Qashqai, with the top of there range Exclusive priced at £19,995
Entry-level GS Explore models come with with air-conditioning, automatic headlights & cruise control, while my test car the Exclusive includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, Xenon headlamps, LED taillights, rear parking radar, 18” alloys, Mirrorlink, driver & front seat passenger electrically adjusted seats, MPS/iPod compatibility, a rear camera, DAB radio, Bluetooth & SatNav.
The MG GS utilises a new scalable SUV platform developed with parent company SAIC Motor. It has SUV looks, but does have it’s own signature touches, such as a low hanging front bonnet, with wraparound headlights, sloping side doors & a high tailgate, which all help make it stand out from the crowd.
In the drivers seat you’ll find it easy to get comfortable & the driving position is first rate, giving you a good view of the road. The dashboard layout & quality is a marked improvement over the now discontinued MG6 & a sign that the Chinese are getting closer to the competition.Cabin space is generous & there are plenty of storage spaces between the front seats & in the doors, for your drinks & things. The boot isn’t the largest at 483 litres, with the two wheel arches & the high floor eating into the space on offer. Fold down the rear seats & you have a very useful 1,336 litres, although the 60:40 split fold rear seats are quite heavy & don’t fold completely flat into the floor.
The GS handles like most cars of this size, meaning that the suspension is good & potholes & uneven road surfaces are well hidden from the driver. The six speed gear box is also very good allowing a comfortable change when required. I drove over 500 miles in my week in the GS & on the motorway it was both quiet & comfortable & easily kept up with fast moving traffic. On smaller roads, the 1.5 petrol engine feels underpowered & a 0-60 mph time of 9.6 seconds seems generous. The fact that the 1.5 petrol is the only engine on offer, primarily because petrol is King in China, means that here in the UK, the GS fails to match the fuel economy or CO2 emissions currently on offer from it’s competitors diesel engines & many of their petrol ones too. Claimed combined economy is 46.3 mpg – we averaged just 33.4 mpg – & emissions are on the high side at 139g/km.
In reality, the GS is cheap compared with rivals of the same size. What it lacks in refinement is more than made up for in looks which are distinctive & make the GS stand out. Fleet customers will find the petrol engine a turn off, but retail customers will not be put off by this & with it’s low asking price, the GS will find customers out there who want the practicality of an SUV at a 5-door hatchback price. Overall, it’s a big improvement from MG, who are definitely moving in the right direction.
Scores on the doors 3/5