MG GS (2016-present)

The MG GS is good to drive and cheaper than a Nissan Qashqai but has its flaws

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Distinctive styling
Cheaper than rivals
Mid-level cars are well-equipped

Weaknesses 

Small boot
Plummets in value, so expensive to own
Lack of a diesel option

MG used to be best known for its zippy two-seat sportscars that were as traditionally British as flat caps and Sunday cricket on the village green.

But the company, which began in Oxford, is now Chinese-owned and selling practical family cars like the new MG GS - a crossover. These cars are meant to blend the comfort and economy of a hatchback with the higher driving position and versatility of an off-road car.

The formula is increasingly popular with families and MG says that it hasn’t abandoned its sporting history because the GS is more fun to drive than many other crossovers, which include the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, Renault Kadjar and Seat Ateca.

It’s certainly cheaper than these cars. With prices starting at £15,000, the MG is around £5,000 cheaper than most rivals and on a par with smaller crossovers such as the Renault Captur and Vauxhall Mokka. However, the car is predicted to lose a large two-thirds of its value after three years, making finance or ownership costs more expensive than other, pricier crossovers. You’ll also need to upgrade from the cheapest model if you want wireless Bluetooth connectivity for your phone and parking sensors.

At the moment, there’s only one, powerful, petrol engine available, which is shared with Vauxhall. You can’t choose an MG GS powered by diesel, which is usually more economical in larger cars.

Official fuel economy figures are 46mpg but will, in real-world driving, be less. Particularly as you have to push the accelerator hard down to get the full 166 horsepower.

Inside, the dashboard buttons feel well-made. However the quality of plastics is not up to the standard of the best in class - like the VW Tiguan. The sat nav on the top-of-the-range Exclusive version isn’t very intuitive to use either.

Rear seat passengers have a good amount of room and can recline the seat backs for a more comfortable journey if you haven’t filled the boot. The boot itself is small with space for only 335-litres of luggage without obscuring the back screen (the Mazda CX-5 has 503l), but there’s room for a full-sized spare wheel under the floor.  

The MG doesn’t disgrace its name (GS stands for Grand Sporting). It goes round corners with confidence and without lots of leaning - much like the Mazda CX-5 and Seat Ateca. But the attempt to give the car a sporty feel makes the ride bumpier than that of rivals over broken-up road surfaces and speed humps, The MG does soften on better roads and should be comfortable on motorway journeys, where the car is also quiet.

Front and side airbags are standard, as are two sets of Isofix mounts to securely attach child seats but the GS doesn’t offer automatic emergency braking. This is likely to limit its safety score from independent crash testers, Euro NCAP.

If you’ve come out of a older second-hand car and love the looks, the GS won’t disappoint. But for those who have tested the rivals, the GS will fall short.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 17:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
5 years / 80,000 miles
Boot size: 
335-litres
Width: 
1855mm
Length: 
4500mm
Height: 
1665mm
Road Tax: 
From E (£130 per year) to F (£145)

Best 

MG GS 1.5 TGI Explore MT
There’s only one engine: combined with a manual gearbox, it’s slightly better on fuel at 46mpg against 45mpg for the automatic. Explore trim is basic but cheap.
MG GS 1.5 TGI Excite MT
In the midst of the chaos caused by a car full of kids, you’ll appreciate upgrading to the rear parking camera and parking sensors on the mid-range Excite model.
MG GS 1.5 TGI Exclusive DCT
When fitted with an automatic gearbox, the MG GS is noticeably quicker to accelerate at higher speeds - when you’re pulling out to overtake a car on the motorway, for example.
MG GS 1.5 TGI Exclusive manual
The top-of-the-range GS has leather seats, sat-nav and bigger alloy wheels. This means you’ll pay more for it new, but it’s unlikely to be worth much more second-hand. This does make the car an excellent used purchase, though.

History 

  • May 2016 The MG GS is launched in Britain

 

Understanding names 

  • Engine
    1.5 TGI
  • Trim level
    Exclusive
  • Gearbox
    MT
  • Engine
    There is just one engine choice. It's 1.5-litres in size, the T means it’s turbocharged for more power and good fuel economy, while the GI is a reference to the fact it’s a direct gasoline (petrol) engine.
  • Trim level
    There are three trims in total (Explore, Excite and Exclusive), each rising in price and equipment levels.
  • Gearbox
    MT refers to manual transmission, a six-speed, while the automatic is badged DCT - which stands for dual-clutch transmission: technology that makes gear changes faster and smoother.

Engines 

1.5 TGI

Right now the only engine available in the MG GS is the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It’s decently powerful at 166hp compared to petrol rivals in this segment. For example the Ford Kuga 1.5T EcoBoost has 150hp, while the Nissan Qashqai 1.2-litre turbo has 115hp. Anyone used to a diesel won’t like its lack of overtaking urge or the drop in fuel economy if you push it, but it’s quiet and smooth most of the time with a pleasing rasp at higher revs. MG may eventually launch a diesel version.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration

Top speed

1.5 manual

Petrol

46.3mpg

164hp

0 - 62mph: 9.9

118mph

1.5 DCT

Petrol

45.5mpg

164hp

0 - 62mph: 9.9

112mph

Trims 

Explore, Excite, Exclusive

Choosing the right trim level in the MG GS is particularly important because it affects the amount of standard equipment that you get. Unusually, you can’t pay for many options individually so if you want sat-nav, for example, you have to buy the most expensive model; it can’t be fitted to any others.

The cheapest GS is the Explore at £14,995. That’s a good price if you’re comparing it against the entry-level Nissan Qashqai with a 1.2-litre turbo, which costs £18,545. The specification lacks a couple of important features. There is no Bluetooth connection for mobile phones, no DAB digital radio and no remote unlocking function for the doors. However it does come with cruise control, electrically-adjustable mirrors, a USB port, air conditioning and 17in alloy wheels. Standard paint is either solid white or black.

 The Excite is the mid-range option at £17,495 and probably the best blend of value and equipment. It adds remote locking, DAB radio and Bluetooth, as well as reversing sensors and a rear camera that displays on the central touchscreen. The screen also includes Mirrorlink that replicates your smartphone screen on the car’s.

The Exclusive is the top spec model at £19,495 and is the only one that lets you add the automatic gearbox, pushing the price to £21,995. It also comes with leather-covered seats, which are electrically adjustable and heated on the front. The side mirrors can be folded electronically and the 17in alloy wheels are upgraded to 18in versions. It also has satellite navigation and brighter xenon front lights. However it lacks safety options such as automatic emergency braking, or lane departure warning to warn you if you are straying out of your lane on the motorway.

Reliability and warranty 

Chinese MGs might be relatively new to the UK but they’ve been highly praised by those who bought them. The brand was impressively rated the fifth best manufacturer in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power survey, with owners rating their cars’ running costs, handling and comfort highly.

MG has confidently given the GS a five-year, 80,000 mile warranty, which matches the class best out there.

Used 

The GS has only just gone on sale, so used versions won’t appear until around late autumn. All the indications are that it will be an excellent second-hand purchase, thanks to its lengthy warranty and predictions that it will plummet in value - reducing used prices.

 

List price

buyacar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for economy

Price

£14,995

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MG GS 1.5 TGI Explore

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Best for families

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£17,495

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MG GS 1.5 TGI Excite

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Best for performance

Price

£21,995

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MG GS 1.5 TGI Exclusive DCT

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 Prices correct at time of publication