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The MG HS is good looking and feature-packed crossover that sees itself going up against the Honda HR-V, the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, and Mitsubishi ASX in the upcoming Middle East Car of The Year (MECOTY) awards. Given the opportunity to take the HS for a spin one afternoon, we set out to discover what made it unique and if its attractive price tag was enough to trump its Japanese and Korean rivals.
Playing with the brand’s X-Motion concept, the design of the MG HS is worthy of praise. The protruding hexagonal grille and sleek headlamps that give it a bold appearance are both pleasant to look at and reminiscent of the MG 6 we tested earlier. With a strong focus on sportiness, the HS receives 18-inch alloy wheels with red brake calipers and plenty of sharp, distinct creases along its bodywork. The combination of chrome garnishes, LED headlamps and tail lamps, and a large diffuser lend it a strong presence on the road.
Continuing its dedication to sportiness on the interior, the MG HS is home to a flat-bottom steering wheel with a blend of smooth and perforated leather. The design of the cabin is also modern and minimalistic with brushed metal trim embellishing the center console and a bright, responsive 10.1-inch infotainment screen playing as the central command center.
To make it look and feel premium, MG has used plenty of soft touch materials on the dashboard, door panels, and center console, with the seats and gear shifter receiving their own special treatment. While the seats are well bolstered and look like they’ve been taken out of a German sportscar, they are covered in a fine mix of leather and Alcantara. The gear shifter, on the other hand, gets an elegantly embossed MG logo, something that we didn’t find in the brand’s flagship RX8 SUV we tested earlier.
On the feature front, the HS doesn’t leave a lot to be desired. Packed to the brim with comfort, entertainment and safety features, a few of its most noteworthy features include a full-length panoramic roof, a 12.3-inch virtual instrument panel, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert. All of these are accompanied by power adjustable seats for the driver and passenger, a tire pressure monitoring system, cruise control, and a power tailgate.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that resides under the hood of the MG HS, produces a healthy 231 horsepower and 360 Nm of torque. Top speed measures in at 210 km/h and if driven sensibly it will return an average of 13 kilometers per liter. Three drive modes are available: Eco, Normal, Sport but since the HS positions itself as a sporty SUV, let’s focus on the latter.
Upon getting into the driver’s seat, you’ll quickly notice the red Ferrari-style button on the steering wheel. While this prominent button is used to switch on and off the engine in the Italian masterpieces, in the HS it activates ‘Super Sport’ mode. Making adjustments to the transmission and ECU mapping, the HS begins to feel more responsive and makes sure you notice the transformation by holding on to gears longer and changing the cool blue theme in the instrument cluster to a sporty red.
For some mild off-road adventures, the MG HS does come fitted with an electronic differential lock and hill descent control. Speaking of the differential lock, we should point that out the model we tested was an All-Wheel Drive variant and so the function of the differential lock remains to split power perfectly 50-50 between the front and rear wheels as opposed to the onboard deciding on how much power goes to each wheel.
Despite being easy and comfortable to drive at city speeds, the same cannot be said about the HS’ Sport and Super Sport modes. With peak power and torque coming in at 5,300 RPM and 4,000 RPM respectively (which is extremely high for a turbocharged engine) the HS feels slow to respond when power is needed straight off the line. Wait a few seconds for the turbo to spool and then it kicks in hard, making for a very jerky drive on the whole. Simply said, it is best left in Eco and Normal modes.
At 79,000 Dirhams, the fully loaded MG HS makes a strong case for itself. It looks good, it has plenty of features, and is decent to drive too. Will it be stealing customers away from the Honda HR-V, the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, and Mitsubishi ASX? Well, time will tell.