EV. It’s the buzz word of the day, and in some states, you even get a little blue triangle on your plates for driving one. But if you’re considering the revolution, and aren’t ready for a full-blown commitment, may we introduce you to the 2022 MG HS Plus EV Essence.
To be clear, this isn’t a full electric vehicle, but rather a mouthful of a model name, used to signify the latest incarnation or the plug-in hybrid mid-sized SUV from MG. The Plus EV bit basically means, petrol, plus an EV component.
It’s your average, family friendly, electric SUV with the backup of a petrol engine, for when exploration doesn’t allow for charging availability. It’s a stylish option too, with full LED headlights, chrome accents and 18-inch diamond cut alloys all feature.
There’s also sequential LED taillights to complete an overall look that feels like a bigger version of the ZST, only better, way better. Draped in Sterling Silver Metallic, the big HS also looked clean, even when it was dirty.
From a design perspective, we have to say MG’s chosen alloy wheels are one of our favourites, pulling off an impressive two-tone illusion that triggers our inner Dr Frankenstein, and thoughts of what other cars we could fit them on.
Inside the HS Plus EV Essence, there’s a bit of a lux Euro vibe going on, albeit a little entry level. That’s not a criticism, this is after all one of the best value hybrids on the market. The 6-way driver and 4-way passenger powered front seats are super comfortable too.
Customisable interior lighting, satin chrome highlights and soft-touch trimmings highlight an interior that also nabs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, Bluetooth and a host of other technological necessities.
They’re all controlled through the 10.1-inch colour touchscreen, while a large 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster allows you to review in real-time, the performance of your MG HS Plus EV. Both front and rear space is plentiful as well.
The second row can accommodate three adults, or a pair of child seats with ISOFIX points, without causing cabin claustrophobia. Unlike the smaller ZST, our second-row passengers are treated to a sibling separation device, aka the pull-out arm rest.
You’ll also find a storage compartment, door bins, dual USB points, rear ventilation, reading lights and wait for it, cup holders back there. Let the choirs sing, let the trumpets rejoice and let the Maccas runs begin.
Front row cup holder storage is also much more practical and sufficient for the needs of an average Australian, which again this feels like a massive win. Props for the fact there’s a sunglasses holder too.
Front USB ports, a centre console cooler, and, oh, another bonus, vanity mirror lighting (no husbands were abused in this test). There’s 451-litres of boot space, which expands to 1275-litres with the 60/40 rear seats tucked away.
That’s plenty of room for holiday luggage, sporting equipment, fishing gear or even the family’s furry friend. Being a hybrid, engine noise and vibration are only apparent when the petrol engine is at work, especially under heavy acceleration.
You do get a decent audio experience through the standard 6-speaker sound system though, and while it’s not a full-blown front row concert experience, it does help to drown out the cabin silence, or those missing petrol engine refinements.
Under the hood, the HS is powered by the dynamic duo, a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine (which is your permanent magnet synchronous motor) and a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery.
MG’s most powerful, this combined powerhouse produces 189kW and 370Nm. Just like a giant iPad with wheels, we recommend you charge up overnight. It takes about five hours using a 7kW fixed wall charger to be fully juiced for the next day’s activities.
Whether it’s the daily office commute or school drop off, you can enjoy emissions free silence in pure electric drive mode for close to 63km per charge. Sure, a silent getaway from the authorities is limited, however, they’re impressive figures for day-to-day needs.
Road noise, cabin noise, and the general lack of noise in EV mode, takes some getting used to, but on the road, the HS feels solid and smooth, thanks to its 10-speed automatic transmission, and responsive, flowy handling.
The all-wheel drive, Michelin Primacy tyres and overall dynamics of the HS offered an enjoyable driving experience and very minimal body roll. Ride quality was hindered by potholes, speed bumps and other road obstacles. You will notice those.
MG claim a 0-100km/h time of 6.9 seconds, and we’re sure its possible, as you don’t feel any torque steer or power dump off the line. What you do notice however, is the power delivery. The combination of hybrid and petrol does lack some linearity.
It’s all guns blazing off the mark with instant electric power, then a sudden feeling of exhaustion, followed by a second wave of energy just before you hit 100km/h. A week long test also makes it hard to establish whether MG’s IHEMS setup would help over time.
Officially known as the Intelligent Hybrid Energy Management System, it learns your driving style and adjusts the vehicle’s power output in real time to compensate for changing road conditions. It also optimises fuel economy and manages electric power.
For the record, MG claims that fuel economy is around 1.7-litres/100km, which might, and we stress the might, be possible if you fully charged every night, had stop/start activated, did no heavy acceleration when driving and covered a distance less than 80km.
In the real world, under normal driving duties, we managed a reasonable 4.8-litres/100km. Driving experience aside, the HS comes with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and a host of safety technology and driver aids.
You also get a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist. Priced at $51,690 drive away, it can be had in three colours, including Diamond Red Metallic, New Pearl White Metallic, or Sterling Silver Metallic.
Our test vehicle was provided by MG Australia. To find out more about the 2022 MG HS Plus EV Essence, contact your local MG dealership.