2020 MG HS Excite (car review)

The 2020 MG HS Excite is the sporty and stylish mid-size SUV from once British car maker MG. Now known as MG Motor and owned by Chinese car maker SAIC Motor, the HS is its newest model, and represents its most modern offering.

The HS Excite presents very well and looks sharp. It does feel as if its exterior design is based on Mazda’s CX-5 though, from the vortex patterned front grille to the shape of the rear tailgate.

That odd feeling was made worse by the fact our test vehicle came in Phantom Red Metallic, a paint colour not dissimilar to the Soul Red Crystal Metallic you’ll see on almost every other Mazda on the road.

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Take the MG HS into the sunlight or put it under harsh white light though, and the pink tinge in the Excite really starts to pop. We recommend you move past the colour and design thing though, because the MG HS Excite is so much more than that.

The real reward is in the incredible amount of standard inclusions in the MG; it’s quite literally been filled to the brim with an array of safety and technology features, making it exceptional value for money. But more on that shortly.

Powered by a 119kW 1.5-litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine which produces 256Nm of torque, you might be forgiven for thinking this isn’t enough power. Especially if you pop the hood. The engine is tiny. The turbocharger is the size of an adult fist.

But that doesn’t let the car’s performance down at all. The HS comes off the line quite well, and picks up speed quickly. Driven at the front wheels, the Excite sits in the middle of the range, with the Vibe below it and the recently released Essence above.

It’s zippy around town and is a comfortable highway cruiser. The dual clutch transmission may seem a little bit over the top for the type of car and engine it’s paired to, but it does the job well.

MG claims a combined fuel economy of 7.3-litres/100km and in real world testing we managed 8.6-litres/100km. Power delivery is where the HS is let down however, as you’ll find yourself in situations where you slow down then need to get back on the throttle.

Unless you’ve got the car in sport and you’re manually shifting through the gears with the paddles, then you’ll notice a significant amount of lag after getting back on the gas, and you’ll find yourself flooring it just to avoid an accident.

It’s a little unrefined and sloppy but not entirely unforgivable.

The interior is plush to say the least, the leather seats are comfortable and the cabin is spacious. Leg room isn’t an issue, even for fairly tall individuals, in the front or the rear.

The ride is smooth and comfortable for the most part, and feels how an SUV is supposed to feel. Not too harsh over bumps but enough absorption so it doesn’t feel like you’re on a cloud for 80 per cent of the trip.

What will immediately jump out at you the first time you get into the driver’s seat though, is the Super Sport mode button, mounted on the bottom right quadrant of the steering wheel.

At first you’d confuse this for the engine start/stop button but you’ll feel a little intimidated once you spot it. The Super Sport and Sport driving modes are typical of your driving modes in most late model vehicles.

They mostly make some adjustments to throttle and transmission mapping. In the HS Excite, you’ll get a minor difference in the exhaust note, giving it a bit more growl once you pop it into Sport or Super Sport.

The infotainment unit is a very illuminated and clear 10.1-inch screen mounted on the dash. It behaves as the brain of the car, where every type of setting can be adjusted, from the driver assists to the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay settings.

The climate control and driving mode settings are here too. To complement the media centre, the HS Excite features a sporty looking instrument cluster.

There’s two gauges to the left and right and a digital cluster in the middle, where you can make adjustments on the fly and change what’s displayed such as digital speedometer or trip information.

As previously mentioned, the car is jam-packed with safety technology. These fall under the MG Pilot banner, which includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure assist, intelligent speed assist, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.

These will give you some peace of mind when you decide to pack the car with your family to go on a trip, but they do have a downside. The HS Excite will continually harass you with overly loud notifications and repetitive beeping.

You’ll cop it every single time you get into the driver’s seat or even when you open a door. It is truly maddening. You can opt to turn the volume down on some of these sounds but even then, it is still loud and obnoxious.

Then as soon as you take off down the road, you’ll get more notifications about which features you’ve currently optioned out of, such as lane departure assist, thanks to whatever driving mode you’re in.

Safety features and warnings aside, the HS Excite features 463-litres of boot storage, as well as plenty of cup holders and centre console storage. There’s also a USB charger port accompanied by a 12V port.

Adding convenience, there’s keyless entry and an automatic opening and closing tailgate.

The 2020 MG HS Excite is priced to sell, at $32,990 excluding on-roads. This is one of the most enticing features of the car. It’s a very smart choice for budget-conscious buyers as there’s plenty of value-for-money in the HS.

Our 2020 MG HS Excite was supplied by MG Motor Australia. To find out more, contact your local MG Motor dealer. Pictures courtesy of J_Hui Design/Photography.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - plenty of safety features; luxurious and spacious interior; excellent value for money; comfortable ride.
Cons - poor power delivery; slightly under powered; excessive audible notifications; looks like a CX-5.
Paul Pascual
Paul Pascual
Paul Pascual is an avid enthusiast of all things JDM, from the legendary powerhouses to the old school kei cars. He has a passion for modification and making his cars look like they belong on the track. But they never actually make it there.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> plenty of safety features; luxurious and spacious interior; excellent value for money; comfortable ride.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> poor power delivery; slightly under powered; excessive audible notifications; looks like a CX-5.2020 MG HS Excite (car review)