Car reviews - MG - HS - Plus EV Excite
Strong performance and impressive PHEV system, offers long range and minimal recharging, generous standard equipment and warranty, good looks
Room for improvement
Audio system could do with an upgrade, some hiccups with instrument panel, bright dashboard lighting annoys at night, noisy regenerative brakes
The MG HS Plus EV Excite plug-in hybrid is a tempting alternative to a fully electric SUV
19 Jul 2022
MG MOTOR Australia recently added a new variant to its HS Plus EV range with the introduction of the mid-tier Excite.
Priced from $46,990 drive-away – it undercuts the asking price of the top-spec derivative by just $2000 – the petrol-electric hybrid SUV features the same driveline and safety technology as found in the high-grade HS Plus EV Essence, but with marginally fewer features.
The HS Plus EV Excite comes with 17-inch alloy wheels (with repair kit spare), “London Eye” LED daytime running lights and taillights, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment with native satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a six-speaker 3D surround sound audio system.
The mid-sized five-seat SUV also includes, as standard, dusk-sensing halogen headlights, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and push-button start, an electronic park brake, metal-faced pedals, a six-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, leather-look trim and dual-zone climate control.
Like the HS Plus EV Essence, the Excite is equipped with the full suite of MG Pilot safety technologies, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, forward-collision warning, intelligent headlight control, intelligent speed-assist system, lane-assist system, rear cross-traffic alert, and traffic-jam assist.
The newcomer is powered by MG’s direct-injected 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, which is paired to an electric motor. With a total system output of 189kW and 370Nm, the MG HS Plus EV Excite is claimed to have a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of just 1.7 litres per 100km. CO2 emissions are listed at 39 grams per kilometre.
Courtesy of its liquid-cooled 16.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack, MG says the HS Plus EV Excite can travel up to 63km on electric power alone. Like the top-spec Essence, the new Excite is said to have a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.9 seconds.
The HS Plus Excite is available in four colours: Phantom Red, New Pearl White, Sterling Silver and Clipper Blue, the last of which is the only paint colour to not attract a $700 price premium.
NOT everyone is fully committed to owning an electric vehicle, but there are worthy alternatives that offer the best of both worlds such as MG’s $48,690 (drive away) HS Plus EV Excite.
It is a hybrid with petrol-and-electric certainty and convenience together with plug-in capability if you do decide to swing over completely to all-electric.
Similar in feel to Toyota’s popular Hybrid Synergy Drive – with a plug-in recharge facility added – the dual-motor powertrain in MG HS Plus EV Excite is as much about low emissions and low fuel consumption as it is about performance.
Combined output from the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder unit and coupled electric traction motor is 189kW and 370Nm.
Despite HS Plus EV Excite weighing in at 1737kg, those numbers translate to strong performance by anyone’s measure delivered evenly across the board thanks in part to the electric motor’s maximum torque from rest.
Unlike Toyota’s hybrid system, the MG’s liquid cooled lithium-ion battery will eventually, slowly discharge but that’s after hundreds of kilometres of assisting the petrol engine while gaining regenerative charge along the way from deceleration and braking.
Drive goes to the front wheels on this model complete with a “10 speed” Electronic Drive Unit (EDU) transmission.
Having that amount of mechanical componentry up front – including two engines, a transmission, suspension, steering and brakes – could be problematic under certain driving conditions such as uphill starts on a wet road, but the battery is down the back counterbalancing weight distribution a touch.
Fuel consumption on test hovered around the 5.0 litres per 100km mark in mixed driving without resorting to full EV mode at any stage to boost the kilometres at ‘zero cost’. Fully charged and in EV mode the HS is capable of traveling over 60km.
MG’s range of HS variants includes versions with 1.5- and 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine in front- and all-wheel drive format along with the front-wheel drive only hybrid in two trim grades.
The test vehicle was the lower priced Excite spec’ which is confounding as it boasts just about every feature known to man bar a sunroof and 18-inch wheels.
The Excite scores leather upholstery together with heated front seats, native satellite navigation, six-way electric driver’s seat adjustment, 17-inch alloys, soft-touch fascia and a full suite of advanced driver assist features called MG Pilot with 10 mainly camera-driven functions like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and the like.
It’s a good-looking SUV about the same size as a Mazda CX-5 which ironically, the MG looks a lot like. A casual glance on the street could easily mistake the MG for a Mazda.
That said, the interior is like generic Japanese or Korean cars that are feature rich and at times rather complex to operate. The MG dash has bright colours and plenty of menus to scroll through with almost overkill information availability.
The virtual instrument panel provides the driver with all relevant information, but the fuel economy read-out is only in miles per gallon despite all other measurements being metric.
A large centre touchscreen controls most of the MG’s infotainment functions and demands a familiarisation session before driving off. The six-speaker audio system is OK but could be better in terms of tonal quality.
Driving the MG HS Plus EV Excite is pleasing especially in performance terms. Roll-on acceleration is strong and, once cruise is achieved, interior noise levels are low aided by the low engine revs for a given speed.
One particularly pleasing aspect of driving this vehicle is how the battery charge level rises when coasting downhill or braking. It will hold a certain level for a long time or a lot of kilometres and only slowly consume charge.
Ride quality is supple and well damped with no complaints about how the HS steers, corners or brakes apart from the noisy regenerative discs that accompany slow braking.
It takes off in EV-mode unless maximum acceleration is required when both engines kick in.
Towing capacity is 1500kg braked while a recharge takes about six hours with a 7kW wall unit.
The interior is roomy for five and provides a decent load space down the back expandable with the rear pew folded.
MG provides a seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty on its cars and batteries including this, it’s most powerful model to date.
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