MG delivers its best car in decades – and it’s priced to give its rivals sleepless nights

MG delivers its best car in decades – and it's priced to give its rivals sleepless nights

It may be the color of a carnival car, but the new MG4 will brighten up the lives of many car buyers looking for electric.

Forget the pretense of MG’s English heritage; this Chinese car is a small cracker. The numbers are impressive, but it’s the time behind the wheel that really convinced us of the MG4’s appeal.

But let’s start with those numbers. You get an all-electric five-door hatchback with the promise of 350 to 450 miles on a single charge, depending on whether you opt for the 51 kWh or 64 kWh battery pack. It can charge quickly at speeds of up to 135 kW and can go from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 8 seconds. The interior is somewhere between that of a supermini and its clear rival, the VW ID.3. However, the price is the big number that matters: from €27,495.

The MG4 will come in three trim levels when it lands in Ireland in the coming months: the MG4 EV Excite 51kWh Standard Range, the Excite 64kWh Long Range and the Exclusive 64kWh
Long distance. The price of the Excite Standard Range is €27,495; the Excite Long Range price is €30,995 and the Exclusive Long Range price is €34,495.

To put that into perspective, the Renault Zoe EV starts at €30,295 with a range of 395km, while Peugeot’s 208 Electric supermini starts at €30,545 with a range of 361km. Still, the MG is a family hatchback, similar to the traditional Ford Focus or VW Golf, so its real rival is the Volkswagen ID.3, which starts at €35,310 with its 58 kWh battery and a claimed range of 425 km.

Another similarly sized competitor is the Renault Megane E-Tech, but it starts at €37,495.

The MG4’s price points should be enough to pique everyone’s interest. But it’s behind the wheel that the MG is a real surprise.

This new MG4 is a bit of a marvel, a big step up from the rest of the car company’s offerings to date.

Our test car was the 64 kWh Exclusive Long Range version and time behind the wheel has forced us to rethink our view of MG as just a value proposition. This car has much more to offer than a competitive price. This is an MG EV that is fun to drive.

New platform

Beneath the metal is a new platform that will form the basis for several future models within the SAIC Group, the ultimate owners of MG.

Beneath the floor is a hefty battery – developed by MG and battery cell maker CATL – that powers a rear-mounted electric motor that has enough power to give the MG4 the zest to rival its rivals. And as with all these EVs, the low center of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution make for an impressive ride. That’s not always a given in EVs, and not in MGs lately, but this one delivers. There’s very little body roll and the MG4 delivers impressive cornering stability, handling poorly paved back roads while cruising in comfort on national routes.

The most surprising feature of the MG4’s driving dynamics is that subtlety on bad roads

The most surprising features of this car’s driving dynamics are that subtlety on bad roads, along with a remarkably quiet cabin. MG seems to have put a lot of effort into noise reduction, especially in the wheel arches, and the result is impressive: you hear little of the usual tire rumble that permeates the interior. There are premium brands that would be proud of this library-like tranquility.

This is the most entertaining MG we’ve driven in decades, a big surprise from a car company that has hitherto defined itself more by price than driving performance.
MG has opted for a large dial to switch between drive, reverse or park, so it’s really a matter of getting in and going. And while the infotainment screen doesn’t look state-of-the-art, it’s a cinch to navigate the menus.

The 10.25-inch touchscreen and 7-inch digital driver’s screen may be reminiscent of the software you got in a Renault a few years back. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

While our test car was in the dazzling Volcano Orange, the cabin is a little gloomy compared to more colorful rivals, but it’s uncluttered and for rear-seat passengers there’s plenty of legroom for adults, even if the low seating position and high floor put you off. a little high knees, while the view of taller occupants is obstructed by the hefty rear pillar. The toggle switches on both spokes of the steering wheel are also a bit tricky to maneuver.

The equipment level of this car is impressive. All models come with a range of driver safety assistance systems, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control, LED lighting and rear parking sensors. Switch to the Exclusive versions and you get features such as Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and comfort features such as an electric driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, Sat-Nav, wireless phone charging and a Bluetooth key system.

All in all, this is a very impressive family car. The luggage compartment is 363 liters, increasing to 1,177 liters with the rear seats folded. That’s only slightly less than what’s offered on the VW ID.3.

The MG4 is a car that should give you sleepless nights at VW’s headquarters – and any automaker gearing up to launch a hatchback for the EV family. It delivers just as much driving pleasure as its electric rivals, but at an impressively competitive price. There’s more than the launch color that should grab the attention of potential EV buyers.