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MG HS Excite review


Named Excite, priced to sell.

Back in February 2020 we headed to the national launch of the MG HS. After driving both the Excite and Essence models, we concluded the review by saying “In 2019, MG sales increased by a whopping 176.9%, and with the MG HS coming to market, I can only see its market share growing.”

Fast forward a year and MG has entered the top 10 manufacturers by sales for the first time and continues to drive forward with the introduction of its new energy vehicles in the MG ZS EV and MG HS PHEV.

The vehicle pictured here is the MG HS Excite. It sits one below the HS Essence and will set you back $33,990.

If you have been researching competing vehicles for a while, you will know that’s a very competitive price and, on paper, the standard inclusions are impressive too. It’s a no-brainer that MG is on the march up the sales charts, but does the HS Excite’s price actually translate into real-world value for money?

What is the HS Excite like inside?

When we reviewed the top-of-the-line model Essence at the national launch of the HS, we thought the HS interior was punching above its price-tag. That view hasn’t changed, even on this Excite model.

Faux-leather, soft-touch materials and premium red stitching are found all around the cabin. It also has dual-zone climate control and even gets ambient lighting inside. Really, the interior doesn’t differ all that much from the model above it.

Apart from the large panoramic sunroof, HS Excite also misses out on heated and electric-adjustable front seats and a 360 degree camera.

While those additions begin to justify the additional $3,000, they are also nice-to-haves. What’s nice though, is should you choose to forego them, you’ll still find yourself comfortable in the Excite.

2021 MG HS Excite Interior

The HS Excite retains the 10.1-inch infotainment screen which comes loaded with satellite navigation, DAB radio and must-haves Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Overall, we found the system easy to use and navigate, though it can be laggy at times, especially when initially loading navigation.

Rear passengers will have plenty of space and without the panoramic roof, the already generous headroom is improved upon again. Two USB ports will also keep their devices charged should they need it.

In the boot there is 463 litres of space available with the rear seats in place and the seats fold down in a 60:40 configuration, expanding the space to 1,287 litres. When you consider competitors like the Mitsubishi ASX has 442 litres with the rear seats up and 1,193 litres with them down and the Mazda CX-5 only betters the space with an extra 55 litres of space, these are some good numbers in this segment.

Overall, the cabin feels like it has been screwed together solidly and with know-how.

What’s it like to drive?

MG recently released the Excite X and Essence X, which offer 2.0-litre turbo charged engines linked to a new AWD system. Our test vehicle though, was the 1.5-litre front-wheel drive model that has been on sale since the vehicles were launched.

The 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine produces 119kW and 250Nm of torque which is moved through a 7-speed, twin clutch gearbox. Despite suffering from some minor turbo lag and being a little underpowered for the segment, as a city runabout, you won’t have many complaints.

On a combined cycle MG says that the HS will drink 7.3 litres per 100kms, but our test in both the Excite and Essence models came in at the 9.1 to 9.2 litres per 100kms mark. These real-world figures seem to be in line with the achievable figures of competitors (with the exception of the hybrid RAV4 models, but they are significantly more pricey).

Fitted with a 55-litre petrol tank, at today's average price of $1.60 for 95RON in Sydney, it’ll cost $88 to fill to the brim.

If you opt for an HS Excite over the Vibe or Core models, you upgrade to paddle shifters, and get a “super sport” button too, for more spirited driving. I wouldn’t pay any attention to this though. While it does sharpen things up a bit, you aren’t going to find yourself pressing it much.

In this segment, it really isn’t about sportiness. SUV Consumers want comfort. The Excite delivers here, making sure the ride remains comfortable even when faced with bumps and potholes.

2021 MG HS Review

Impressively at this price point, you have access to lane keeping aids, speed sign recognition and adaptive cruise control courtesy of the brand’s MG Pilot system. All of which work well by staying vigilant and keeping you and your passengers safe. It does have a tendency to make audible “bong” alerts often, but once you get used to the system, it is easy to use.

Steering is on the light side, but that makes it easier to maneuver and with the reversing camera and sensors, it is a doddle to park.

How safe is the HS Excite?

Impressively, safety inclusions are the same across the range, whether you purchase the entry level Core or Essence. There are six airbags, autonomous emergency braking, hill start assist, child seat anchor points in the back and more.

The vehicle achieved a 5-star ANCAP safety rating when it was tested back in 2019.

MG Pilot is the important inclusion on the Excite, as it includes technology that normally isn’t available at this price-point. It includes, among other things:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Traffic jam assist
  • Blind spot monitors
  • Automatic headlights
  • Intelligent speed assistance

Our verdict

You have probably already noticed more MG vehicles popping up on the road, and that comes as no surprise. Sharp pricing and a solid list of inclusions, not just on the HS Excite, but across the range means you truly do get a lot for your money.

The extra $3,000 for the Essence is justified with the extras it adds, but if you don’t need a sunroof and heated seats, consider the Excite.

Pssst! Want to read time-saving car reviews? Visit our car reviews section. If you already know what model you want, it's worth comparing car loan options, as well as car insurance, to see how much you could save.

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