MG 4 SE Long Range road test review: With sharp looks and attractive pricing, is this iconic brand on to a winner? DAVID HOOPER drives the all-electric MG4
MG proudly claims to be the fastest growing car brand in the UK thanks to its range of affordable electric vehicles which are attracting more drivers to electrically charged motoring!
The MG brand with its octagonal badge dates back to 1924 and earned its place in British motoring history with some now iconic, much loved classics, which today continue to be sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
The MGs of today are very different with the brand now under Chinese ownership, but some things haven’t changed – the cars are still eye-catching, sporty and affordable!
Designed in Marylebone, London, and manufactured in state-of-the-art factories in several countries, today’s MGs are packed with the latest tech and feature the company’s innovative Modular Scalable Platform (MSP) and its intelligent iSmart vehicle data app, combined with a national network of more than 150 dealerships and the cars come complete with a 7-year warranty.
Our MG4 test car arrived with around a 70% charge, so the first job was to plug it in to my newly-installed Pod Point 7kW wall charger and get it fully charged up and ready to go! The connector simply plugs into the car, and charging begins, with a green light on the unit and the car showing charging is in progress, while a display on the dash shows the predicted time until the vehicle is fully charged.
The MG4 is a striking car to look at with its sculpted bonnet reminding me of Jaguar’s i-Pace, which is no bad thing, while its overall look is quite attractively sporty and I particularly liked the silver MG badge on the nose which wraps around the front of the car and into the wings, combined with a smartly designed front valance and spoiler.
True to the brand’s sports car heritage, this model although electric, boasts 50/50 weight distribution and rear-wheel-drive, so may well appeal to some enthusiasts with a penchant for electric cars!
The boot is also a good size for family duties, and I like the fact that the charging cables come in their own personalised bag with the MG logo printed on it, unlike many other electric vehicles I have tried so far which have the cables just slung in the boot, which are not only untidy, but also get tangled up in knots on a regular basis!
Inside, the MG4 is quite minimalist. It features two small screens, one in front of the steering wheel and a wider one sitting in the centre of the dash which between them convey all the crucial information, however, I didn’t find the software particularly intuitive to use.
The biggest issue for me is the lack of a Start/Stop button. When you get into the car and it detects the key, just press the brake pedal and the car lights up and you’re ready to go, but when you park, trying to turn it off again was a whole new experience for me! After much searching, I discovered a red button which turns off the car, but to get to it, you have to press the car icon, then the safety tab, which is the last choice in a block of five, and then there is a bright red Power Off button which turns the car off. I would have thought if MG were going down that route of pressing a button on a screen to turn the car off that it would at least be logically placed on one of the top menus!
While the MG does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, during my test the CarPlay system seemed to work when it felt like it and sometimes didn’t connect either CarPlay or the telephone properly.
I liked the clarity of the screen in front of the driver which displays remaining mileage and battery percentage directly under the speed read out. It also shows the traffic signs, trip computer information and the cruise control system.
The six-sided steering wheel has two large cursor type buttons on its centre bar, and three smaller buttons, either side, which bring up various menus and operate the cruise control.
The dashboard top features a nice slush-moulded material and while there are some soft panels in the door cards, the door cappings are made from hard, fingernail scratching plastic. The seats are reasonably comfortable, but I would prefer longer squabs to support the underside of my knees better.
In the centre of the car is a little plinth on which you can put your mobile phone and feed the cables through it to keep things neat and tidy, which was a nice little touch. In front of that is a big chrome dial which selects reverse, neutral, or drive and the electric parking brake switch. Also between the front seats are two cup holders and a large sliding drawer to keep things out of sight, plus a large central cubbyhole in the armrest.
So what’s it like to drive? On the road, the MG4 feels quite accomplished with light steering providing plenty of feedback. The car turns in accurately and the power from the electric motor and the poised rear wheel drive layout is an enjoyable combination and does provide the sporty feel lacking in some other configurations that I have tested so far from rival manufacturers, so top marks to MG for that!
The car’s performance is quite engaging, and makes for an enjoyable cross-country companion when you can press on and not worry about the amount of electrical energy you are using to propel the car.
One quick commute over a distance of 33 miles, saw the battery go from 100% to 65%, but thanks to my new Pod Point charger which replenishes the battery at a rate of around 30 miles per every hour on charge, our MG4 was soon topped up again and ready for the next day’s adventures.
All-in-all, the MG4 looks good, is competitively priced and fun to drive, so there’s much to like!
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: MG 4 SE Long Range
ENGINE: 64kWh battery, 203PS, driving rear wheels through synchronous, rear mounted motor.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 100 mph. 0-62mph in 7.9 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 5.0 miles/kWh.
Combined: 3.8 miles/kWh
Maximum driving range – Combined: 281 miles
Maximum driving range – City: 360 miles
Connection type: Combined Type 2 and CCS
On-board charger (AC) 7 kW
Rapid charging (DC) 135 kW
Est charging time (2.2 kW AC) 10-100%: 26 hours
Est charging time (7 kW AC) 9 hours
Est charging time (50 kW DC) 52 minutes
Est charging time (150 kW DC) 39 minutes
CO2 EMISSIONS: 0g/km.
WARRANTY: 7 years
• All data correct at time of publication.