MG's real future starts with this model, the new MG4 EV. MG's two previous electric cars - the MG5 EV and MG ZS EV - were great but they lacked desirability. The new MG4 changes that, and as such is a serious rival to vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.3 thanks to its huge standard specification list, impressive driving dynamics and relative affordability for a cutting-edge five-seat electric hatchback.
The impressive MG4 EV is still great value this quarter. The 'SE' standard range is £0 Advance Payment, the 'SE' Long Range is £199 and the top-spec 'Trophy' long range is £799, a saving of £200 compared to last quarter (section updated October 2023).
For the first time in its long history, MG is a proper mainstream player. Proper in terms of sales (it's currently outselling both Skoda and Land Rover). And proper in terms of product - or at least in terms of this one, the MG4. The company calls this compact full-EV hatch a 'disruptor', offering much more for much less: and that's exactly what it is. For less than the cost of an EV supermini, here's an all-electric family car that makes similarly sized rivals look hopelessly over-priced.
This new EV is the first of several future models from the brand to use the sophisticated all-new Modular Scalable Platform that in coming years will transform what we can expect from the marque. If you're about to order an EV, stop and read this first.
There's no key or starter button: you just get in, take a seat, press the brake and the car comes to life. On the move, there are five driving modes (Normal / Sport / Eco / Snow / Custom) and four selectable regenerative braking settings, including an Adaptive mode, the fiercest setting doing 80% of braking for you. This is the first of a series of new-era MG models that ride and handle at a similar level to pricier volume brand competitors. Being able to base everything on properly modern underpinnings helps - in this case, the brand's freshly developed Modular Scalable Platform. But there's more to the engineering here than that: a slender battery pack that occupies almost the whole wheelbase length, a compact rear-mounted motor and perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
To start with, there's a choice of two powertrains, both of which put out 250Nm of pulling power. The base 51kWh version has a 170PS motor, manages 218 miles of range and makes 62mph from rest in 7.5s. Ideally, you'll want to stretch to the 64kWh version, which has a 203PS motor, is a fraction slower to 62mph (7.7s), but goes 281 miles between charges - or 270 miles if you opt for the plusher (but portlier) 'Trophy' trim spec. If that's not really enough for you, then wait until MG introduces the Extended Range model, which has a larger 77kWh battery and targets 329 miles of range. For the future, a dual motor AWD performance hot hatch model is planned, which will be the fastest MG in history, with 443bhp and a sub-5 second 0-62mph sprint time.
We hope MG does something about steering feedback by the time it introduces that car because there isn't much of that here. Which is a shame because in most other respects, this car feels really quite sporty. As promised, that new chassis helps the car feel taut and responsive; and though the ride is on the firm side, it's something you can live with and gives you the feel that this MG would be up for a few playful back roads if you could afford the battery range to let it have its head. Do that and you'll find decent body control, eager traction and not too much evidence of the portly near-1.7-tonne kerb weight. It's easily the most entertaining MG to date.
Think of this car as a Chinese take on a Volkswagen ID.3 and you won't be far off the mark. The two cars are similar in size and if anything, the MG4 looks more contemporary, with its 'floating' roof, heavily sculpted black lower bodywork, short rear overhangs and intricate rear light clusters. The insectoid looks could do with a larger set of wheels than the standard 17-inch rims to set them off, but aesthetically that's about it on the debit side.
It feels uber-modern and a whole generation on from anything MG has ever produced inside the minimalist cabin too. At first glance, there's a curious steering wheel (flat-topped and bottomed) through which you view a 7-inch instrument screen. Plus a centre 'floating' 10.25-inch infotainment display. And not a lot else. The interior lacks the bright and cheery feel of an ID3. And you could nit-pick about some aspects of plastics quality. But overall, the design here lacks little in either ambition or execution.
Apart from the drive selector and the parking brake, the only physical controls are a row of buttons beneath the central screen. Rear seat space is fine by the standards of Focus-sized compact hatchbacks - couple of six-footers will just about fit. And there's a reasonably-sized 363-litre boot with no load lip and a false floor, the area extendable to 1,177-litres by the usual split-folding rear bench.
If you were buying a new MG4 EV outright, prices start from around £27,000, which gets you the MG4 EV in base 'SE' trim, a variant available with either Standard Range or Long Range batteries. The top 'Trophy' version only comes in Long Range form.
MG hasn't skimped on kit. 'SE' models get automatic LED headlights and rear lights, rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control and MG iSmart app connectivity. Plus the company's MG Pilot advanced driver assistance system. Top 'Trophy' variants gain a two-tone roof, rear privacy glass, a twin aero rear spoiler, a leather interior with electric driver's seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, a Bluetooth key, satellite navigation, a 360 camera, wireless phone charging and an upgraded MG iSmart system compatible with live services. Plus there's an upgraded MG Pilot system, with the inclusion of Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Lane Change Assist (LCA) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
Earlier we gave you the driving range figures: 218 miles for an 'SE' 51kWh model; 281 miles for an 'SE' Long Range 64kWh version; and 270 miles for a 'Trophy' 64kWh top variant. With the promise of 329 miles for the future 77kWh Extended Range derivative. To achieve these figures, you'll obviously have to regularly select the provided Eco driving mode and get familiar with the fiercest regenerative braking setting. As for charging, well the 64kWh variant that most will want equals the same charging speed you'd get with a rival Volkswagen ID.3, accepting rates of 135kW. That's enough to replenish the battery from 10 to 80% in 35 minutes.
Since MG was taken over by the Chinese SAIC conglomerate, the cars it's sold have been good value, well equipped and practical. But never desirable or dynamically truly class competitive. All that changes with the MG4. It's one of the most surprising cars we've reviewed for ages. All the engineering stuff stacks up, it looks good and driving range and charging figures are all up to date.
You might find the minimalist interior a bit sombre and criticise a few of the plastics. But you'll forget all that when you find that this car much better value than most of its obvious rivals, is better equipped and comes with a 7 year warranty. After trying an MG4, you may well still decide you want a better-known segment rival. But make no mistake: if you're choosing an EV in this class, try one you must.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new MG4 EV through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local MG dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these MG Mg4 Ev models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: