Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Turbocharged petrol four the only engine
  • Available as 162hp petrol and 258hp PHEV
  • Choice of manual or automatic

On paper the 162hp peak output of the 1.5-litre petrol four is pretty good. But the reality is that it’s set up for economy rather than performance. If you push it hard for a rapid getaway it’s jerky and unwilling. And if you keep pushing, in search of the 118mph top speed, it’s noisy and unresponsive. The best tactic is to change up earlier and drive it a more relaxed manner, where it is perfectly fine.

Nobody will buy an HS in order to drive it fast, and it’s perfectly happy pottering around town or cruising on the open road, where it’s more than happy at the legal limit. On the motorway, it's quiet enough thanks to relaxed gearing, and for those who spend lots of time here, the HS won't disappoint.

The on paper performance figures for the plug-in hybrid HS PHEV looks more promising. With 258hp and 370Nm of torque, the 0–60mph time of 6.9 seconds looks good, although the maximum speed of 118mph remains unchanged. More importantly, MG claims the HS PHEV will deliver a WLTP fuel economy figure of 155.8mpg and just 43g/km of CO2. In city driving, the MG claims its battery-only range can be extended to as far as 43 miles.

DCT automatic

The two-pedal DCT version looks good on paper, offering the convenience of an automatic without any penalties in fuel consumption and performance. It works well on the move, mating up with the MG Pilot adaptive cruise control system seamlessly, smoothly changing up and down – down to walking pace – when following other cars.

Sadly, it's not so smooth when setting off, changing with a jerk if you're not exceptionally smooth with the accelerator pedal. As a consequence it can lunge, leaving your passengers wondering at your driving technique. But once you adapt to this and drive with a light right foot, you'll find it's sweet enough – and certainly no worse than some of its more expensive rivals.

It's preferable to the manual version, though, which has a sloppy and unrewarding change quality.

2019 MG HS cornering

Handling

  • Light but accurate steering
  • Handling is biased towards ride quality
  • Brakes are powerful

Combined with the roomy cabin and good seats, the HS’s tuned-for-Britain suspension does a good job of insulating occupants from potholes and scarred road surfaces. The driver gets some jittery vibration through the steering wheel on some surfaces, but nothing drastic.

What this tells you is that the MG HS is a car that's been finessed for ride quality and not precision handling. This in itself is not a bad thing, unless you're an enthusiastic driver, as it's safe and secure in bends. It's better in bends than a Citroen C5 Aircross (which is even more biased towards ride quality), for instance, but lags behind the Peugeot 3008 and Mazda CX-5. Again, a perfectly acceptable effort that doesn't set the world on fire.