MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid – Finally a competitor

A recent addition to our market – MG EHS is a very interesting car at first sight. It is the cheapest plug-in hybrid SUV in its category, and its Chinese manufacturer SAIC Motor, which bought this British carmaker a long time ago, builds MG vehicles in China. However, development is still underway in the UK and it’s noticeable…
You will hardly see the MG EHS on Slovak roads yet. Like the smaller ZS, the EHS scores on looks, although it may look a bit unfashionable to some. In the overall design, the authors may have taken some inspiration from the older Mazda CX-5, and the taillights are reminiscent of Mercedes SUVs, but the details of the lamps are interesting and original.
The EHS has flashy LED headlights, a distinctive grille and rounded shapes that add to its power and, when combined with the bold Diamond Red paint, can command respect. Maybe it could do with bigger wheels but those 18″ rims it’s wearing are at least comfortable. The lower door panels are also distinctive and, as usual, no expense has been spared with the chrome accents all over the car.
This mid-size SUV takes on competition such as the Toyota RAV4 and measures 4,574mm in length. The vehicle measures 1876 mm in width and 1685 mm in height. And while the MG EHS is available in other markets around the world with both turbocharged four-cylinders and a 2.0-litre engine, we’ll have to make do with the 1.5-litre TGI petrol four-cylinder for now, complete with an electric motor and a smaller battery pack.
When you sit in the MG EHS, the interior really wows you. The design is impressive, the vast majority of the materials are soft-touch and the workmanship is of exceptional quality. The seats are very nice, with good lateral guidance, but they could have a longer seat cushion. The position behind the steering wheel could be better and I would have welcomed a lower seat anchorage. However, there is plenty of room in all directions and the rear seats are very comfortable with the optional reclining backrest. Trunk volume is a relatively modest 448 litres.
In this SUV category, I would definitely like to see a better audio system and a rather snappier information system, which also doesn’t have Slovak or Czech installed. The infotainment here is the same as in the ZS, which means incredibly high backlight brightness even on the lowest setting. Hopefully a software update will improve this.
The display in place of the instrument shield is noticeably better. It’s also slow to respond, but it has very good resolution and there’s plenty of information. I can even find out the speed of the combustion engine and the electric motor separately, plus the current voltage and current between the battery and the electric motor. From that you can calculate how much you are currently charging the battery by regeneration. Also there are things like the temperature of each tire, along with pressure.
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I like the surfaces imitating brushed aluminum, which tastefully complement the leather with stitching. We also find a camera system for a 360° view around the car, which will also offer a 3D view with a model of the car. Although not in some better resolution but for normal parking it is sufficient.
The chassis is comfortable and can cope with most of the pitfalls of Slovak roads. The EHS dampens unevenness in an exemplary manner, which is complemented by good soundproofing both at rest and while driving. I don’t miss the adaptive chassis either, because the classic one is tuned perfectly here. The steering has slightly longer gearing and isn’t the quickest, but nobody minds that in a large SUV.
The chassis is very confident in the corners, and only really very fast driving, when the tall body is already leaning more, will throw it off. In wet conditions and on snowy roads, however, all-wheel drive would be useful, because the 258bhp and 370Nm at the front axle can’t be saved by the XDS system, which tries to replace the self-locking differential with single-wheel braking.
The hybrid uses a battery with an above-average capacity of 16.6 kWh. This may indicate that the EHS will run more purely on electricity compared to the competition. Unfortunately this is not the case, as this SUV has a higher consumption when running on electricity, and so realistically it will travel just over 40 kilometers on it. The electric motor gets along great with the turbocharged 1.5 TGI four-cylinder and fills in its noises spectacularly, especially when shifting and turbocharging. The engine is refined and well soundproofed, and it connects to the electric motor without the slightest twitch. The ten-speed automatic gearbox, which is actually a robotic manual, shifts smoothly too. So it actually has six gears for the internal combustion engine and four gears for the electric motor…
A minor problem occurs under full acceleration, when the EHS shoots forward, then sort of “cuts out” power, as if the whole hybrid system needs to sync up, and then continues accelerating. The acceleration is thus very decent, but not as smooth as one would expect. Neither is the fuel consumption dazzling, which is further accentuated by the small, only 37-litre tank. So with a dead battery you won’t look below 8l/100km but if you have somewhere to charge, then you don’t have to deal with that at all.
As with any plug-in hybrid, consumption will only depend on how often you charge. With a fully charged battery you can go 100km in something like 5l/100km. It can charge with “up to” 3.7 kW, so expect a charging time in excess of 4 hours. Other hybrids achieve similar figures, but the plug-in hybrids from Stellantis, for example, can handle twice as much and charge much faster. S EHS-which you’ll have to make a pretty long purchase if you’d like to recharge during breaks.
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Of course, like all plug-in hybrids, the EHS can also switch to pure electric mode, but the stumbling block here is the comfort and logic of the EV. Perhaps all plug-in hybrids can run on full electric heat to be able to be emission free in urban conurbations. However, the MG EHS, which only has an electric cell to speed up preheating, does not. So in cold temperatures, the internal combustion engine will always start when the ignition is switched on, just to heat the coolant for heating, and it won’t let you switch to electric mode until the cabin is at the desired warmth.
I have to commend the MG Pilot autonomous driving system, which handles lane keeping well when driving out of town, and the adaptive cruise control responses are very pleasant. It’s intuitively controlled by a third lever on the lower left under the steering wheel, and lane keeping can be switched on or off independently of the rest of the system. However, you can’t set the regenerative braking when the accelerator is released, for example, and the one that is set is quite strong, so the car brakes immediately when the throttle is released. You need to learn to drive with your foot on the gas and sort of fine tune the absence of glide.
MG EHS starts at €36,790 in Emotion trim. The price of the car we tested in Exclusive trim is €39,990 and the manufacturer gives a 7-year warranty (or 150,000 km) on both the hybrid drive system and the battery. There’s even roadside assistance for the first year included in the new car price, and the second up to the 15th year for customers who carry out regular maintenance at an authorised MG dealership. You can even currently choose the colour of the car completely free of charge, and specific equipment features are tied to the trim, as they were with, for example, of the ZS model and you can find out more from MG Slovakia’s current website: https://www.mgmotor-slovakia.sk/ehs/
To sum up, the MG EHS is a decently crafted, spacious and well soundproofed car that offers decent performance while still managing to run very pleasantly, despite its not exactly light weight. Perhaps the only criticism is that it can’t be procured with all-wheel drive, which is probably the biggest minus if we take a comparison with most of the competition. Otherwise, I’m glad that such cars have finally arrived on our market and hopefully the competitive struggle will push some European carmakers more towards the customer…