Located at Mascot and surrounded by many of the automotive big hitters, the venue was used to unveil its new mid-sized HS SUV as the replacement for its ageing and underachieving GS model.
MG HS is bigger all round than its predecessor and, more importantly comes with a raft of safety, driver assistance, technology and entertainment features that combine to make it the most refined MG to date.
Two variants are offered, both with the same 1.5-litre 124 kW / 250 Nm turbo-petrol engine, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The entry-level Vibe has a driveaway price of $30,990 while the higher-spec will sell for $33,990, or just $1000 more than the listed prices of $29,990 and $32,990 respectively.
The styling highlights come at the front of the car with a large honeycomb grille with chrome finish and the iconic ‘MG’ badge front and centre. The grille then flows into wide, narrow headlamps with daytime running lights above extended lower air vents, also honeycombed.
Entry into both front and rear seats doesn’t require much effort and there’s plenty of headroom in both areas. Boot space is an impressive 463 litres with the rear seats in place and expands to 1287 litres with the seatbacks folded.
The advanced safety and driver assistance features in the HS are packaged together with the clever name of MG Pilot. They include autonomous emergency braking; adaptive cruise control; lane keep assist; intelligent speed limit assist; intelligent headlight control; traffic jam assist; rear cross traffic alert; and blind spot detection.
Also standard are six airbags; enhanced ABS brakes; active yaw control; hydraulic brake booster, brake disc wiping, hill hold; reversing camera; IsoFix child seat anchors; and rear parking sensors.
No ANCAP rating has been announced as yet but given that the outgoing GS received five stars it’s likely that HS will match that score.
Infotainment features are displayed on a 10.1-inch touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available. There are four USB inputs, two at the bottom of the front console and two at the rear.
Paying the extra three grand and stepping up to the Excite model provides satellite navigation; LED headlights; 18-inch alloy wheels (17-inch in the Vibe); dual-zone climate control; rain-sensing wipers; powered tailgate; welcome lights; and a Super Sport mode that adjusts transmission, throttle and steering for enhanced driving performance.
The MG HS launch was conducted entirely within the dealership and we’ll need to wait until the new year to take one out onto the road but will report on our drive impressions including that Super Sport feature.
Taking on such established and similarly-sized rivals as Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail and RAV4 will be a huge challenge for the new MG SUV but the combination of very competitive pricing and a comprehensive safety and tech inventory makes it worth considering. Then of course there’s one of the most recognisable badges in automotive history – that alone will no doubt attract some buyers.
MG’s policy regarding warranty is to match the best available in the country that they’re being sold in which, thanks to Kia, equates to seven years and unlimited distance in Australia. MG also provides seven years of roadside assistance.
HS Vibe: $29,990 ($30,990 driveaway)
HS Excite $32,990 ($33,990 driveaway)