- Doors and Seats
5 doors, 5 seats
2.0T, 4 cyl.
- Engine Power
Petrol (95) 9.5L/100KM
6 Spd Auto (DCT)
7 Yr, Unltd KMs
- Ancap Safety
5/5 star (2019)
The MG HS medium SUV has been a sight on Aussie roads for almost three years now, but you might not know much about the brand still. Find out more as Drive reviews the 2022 MG HS Excite X.
- Puts an AWD SUV within reach among FWD price competitors
- Roomy rear seat
- Cushy ride around town
- Surging and jerking from drivetrain
- Ride and handling balance needs work
- Laggy, underpowered infotainment
Medium SUVs are Australia’s favourite passenger cars at the moment, and cars like the 2022 MG HS Excite X you see here are typical of the segment.
In this case there’s a four-cylinder turbo engine, all-wheel drive, seating for five, and the right blend of practicality for trips around town or weekends away.
The MG HS on test here is one of seven variants available in the range. The Excite X, as it’s known, is a mid-grade model, but the ‘X’ denotes all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is also available, as is a plug-in hybrid model.
Pricing for this grade starts from $38,990 drive-away, plus an extra $700 for metallic paint. If you opt for the front-wheel-drive Excite you can knock three grand off the price.
On the outside you’ll find standard features like 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail-lights, proximity key entry, and plenty of chrome trim.
All MG HS models come with a five-star ANCAP safety rating, from 2019, and a safety suite known as MG Pilot. This includes adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warning, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic sign recognition, among other inclusions.
In the big sandpit of medium SUVs in Australia, you’ll find the MG HS selling roughly as many cars as the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail, priced more like a Haval H6, but offering styling comparable to a Mazda CX-5, albeit with more interior space.
If you’ve been wondering if an MG HS is right for you, or you’re just curious about the brand, let’s take a look.
What is the MG HS like inside?
Because the Excite X is a mid-grade model, you get plenty of nice touches without going over the top.
The driver’s seat is manually adjustable and seats are trimmed in synthetic leather. There’s no seat heating in this model, but you can find things like a sunroof and heated sports seats higher up the range.
Its steering wheel is trimmed in leather, and has an unmissable Super Sport drive-mode button, looking like something you might expect to find in an Alfa Romeo.
The seats feel comfy enough, although I’m a little short and there’s a bit of a hard bump in the lower seatback, but I don’t reckon taller drivers will notice.
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The steering wheel adjusts for tilt only, and for me it feels just a little far away without the ability to bring it closer.
In the back seats, things are a touch more basic, so you won’t find items like window blinds or seat heating. You can adjust the backrest angle, and there’s a fold-down armrest with two cupholders.
Rear seat passengers get their own air vents but not temperature controls. There’s also a pair of USB plugs to power devices.
The space back here is decent. I’m more teenager height than full-size-adult-sized, and I’ve got decent head room and enough room to stretch my legs. That centre seat isn’t quite as nice. It’s firmer and a bit higher than the outboard seats.
Something you might not expect to find, and usually reserved for top-spec models, is a powered tailgate. In the boot there’s 463L of storage space to the cargo blind. Fold the rear seats and there’s up to 1287L.
There are no bag hooks, storage nets for small items, or seat-fold levers in the boot itself. There is a shallow tray under the floor offering a bit of subterranean storage, and under that you’ll find a space-saver spare wheel.
|2022 MG HS Excite X|
|Boot volume||463L seats up|
1287L seats folded
How big is the screen in the MG HS?
In the centre of the dash you’ll find a 10.1-inch touchscreen, but while the size is impressive, the software behind the scenes can be a bit laggy and the graphics look outdated.
There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both via a plug-in connection, satellite navigation, and AM/FM radio but no digital radio.
The centre screen also looks after all of the car’s other functions like vehicle settings and climate control. The slow responses mean you can tap the climate button and be left staring at a black screen while the system reverts from its home screen to the desired menu.
That’s not always ideal in a moving car where ease of use is key, with no physical controls for climate outside of the front and rear demister buttons.
It’s a similar situation with navigation, which is very slow to load the first time you use it each trip. So slow, in fact, that the loading screen gives way to a second loading screen as the navigation app boots itself into gear.
Ahead of the driver there’s a ‘part virtual’ instrument cluster, with a big LCD display flanked by an analogue tacho and speedo. It offers an expanded trip computer view, or info on the MG Pilot safety system, but can’t display things like digital speedo and cruise-control set speed at the same time, which is frustrating.
All petrol-engined variants of the MG HS range carry a five-star ANCAP rating from 2019. Adult occupant protection scored a solid 92 per cent, child occupant protection scored 83 per cent, but vulnerable road user protection and safety systems scored 64 and 77 per cent respectively.
All HS variants come equipped with autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, and speed sign recognition.
Protection is provided by six airbags, with ISOFIX child seat mounts on the outboard rear seats.
How much is the MG HS in Australia?
MG’s drive-away pricing means the price on the window is the price you’ll pay. There are no additional on-road charges and levies to factor in on top.
That means at $38,990 drive-away with all-wheel drive, the MG HS Excite X is the cheapest all-wheel-drive medium SUV you can buy in Australia, short of finding a deal on run-out stock of the outgoing X-Trail.
A Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD costs $40,690, a Toyota RAV4 GX with all-wheel drive also means opting for a hybrid at $39,900, and a Hyundai Tucson Elite AWD starts from $43,400 – all before on-road costs.
Even fellow Chinese budget brand, Haval, charges $41,990 drive-away for a H6 AWD, although in top-spec Ultra guise.
|At a glance||2022 MG HS Excite X|
|Warranty||Seven years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 10,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1165 (3 years), $2056 (5 years), $3340 (7 years)|
The warranty spans a strong seven years with no kilometre limit for private buyers.
Capped-price servicing is available; however, intervals are every 12 months or 10,000km, whereas some competitors run 15,000km between services. Over three years services add up to $1165, $2056 over five, or $3440 over seven.
Fuel consumption is officially rated at 9.5 litres per 100km, but over a week in the real world we returned 11.3L/100km.
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||9.5L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||11.3L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||55L|
What is the MG HS like to drive?
MG HS X models don’t just come with all-wheel drive, but also feature a more powerful engine compared to front-drive models.
There’s a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine under the bonnet with 168kW and 360Nm. In a front-drive HS you get a 1.5-litre turbo engine rated at 119kW and 250Nm, making for a handy performance boost in the all-wheel-drive models. Power is routed to the pavement via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic and on-demand all-wheel drive.
While more power is good to have, I don’t think the MG does the greatest job of handling it. Moving off from a stop, the car has a few moments of hesitation, then surges forward as the transmission works out what it needs to do.
It makes driving smoothly difficult, and is likely to upset both driver and passengers as you lunge and lurch through town. Once you’re rolling things become much smoother, and it will slip through the gears up to highway speeds without any untoward behaviour.
The HS is also surprisingly good at low-speed manoeuvres like creeping in and out of car parks – something that not every dual-clutch automatic excels at.
Its suspension is nice and soft, which means you can sail over the worst rough roads in town without rattling passengers. On bigger bumps and corrugations, the suspension can fall out of sync a little, but it holds up pretty well.
The steering is a little woolly, but without any kind of sporting aspirations, I don’t really see that being a problem.
While it’s liveable, there’s a final finish to the ride and handling that doesn’t quite match up to what you’ll find in segment leaders like the Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-5.
On the other hand, one of those cars with a more powerful engine and all-wheel drive would be well over the $40,000 mark.
|Key details||2022 MG HS Excite X|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||168kW @ 5300rpm|
|Torque||360Nm @ 4000rpm|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Six-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||99kW/t|
|Tow rating||1500kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
Is the MG HS Excite X a perfect family car?
Tough call – I don’t think anything is perfect, really. It tries hard, though, and with a price competitors struggle to match, plus a good swag of comfort, equipment and safety tech, it’s not hard to see why the MG HS sells like it does.
I reckon a local tuning program to bring the suspension and steering up to speed would do heaps to bring the HS up to the standard of cars like the Toyota RAV4.
Ultimately, the driveline will probably be the biggest thing owners have to adapt to the most. A smoother power delivery would make a world of difference.
But on value-for-money terms, there’s not much that comes close to the MG HS Excite X, except maybe fellow Chinese rival Haval.
If you’re looking to drive your dollar further, and still want to keep the peace of mind of a seven-year warranty, it’s hard to argue with the on-paper merits of MG’s medium SUV.
2022 MG HS Excite X Wagon
Interior Comfort & Packaging
Infotainment & Connectivity
Kez Casey migrated from behind spare parts counters to writing about cars over ten years ago. Raised by a family of automotive workers, Kez grew up in workshops and panel shops before making the switch to reviews and road tests for The Motor Report, Drive and CarAdvice.