2021 MG HS Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle review

By Adam Smith
2021 MG HS Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle car EV
2021 MG HS Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle car EV

Grunt and affordability could see the 2021 MG HS Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) shake up its SUV rivals

MG must be feeling quite pleased right now. Sales for February 2021 saw it crack the Australian top 10 sales chart for the first time to land in eighth place.

While early models saw teething issues in build quality and driving manners, MG has steadily gained a foothold here despite the low expectations for Chinese-manufactured vehicles in the minds of some buyers.

Key to MG’s rising success is an ability to undercut its closest rivals on price. This is particularly glaring when it comes to electric technology, with the carmaker already releasing Australia’s cheapest electric vehicle to date – the MG ZS EV.

How much does the 2021 MG HS PHEV cost?

The 2021 MG HS Plug-in Hybrid takes the honour of being Australia's most affordable plug-in hybrid SUV. At $46,990 drive-away, it’s likely to lure buyers away from the well-known Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which starts at $47,990 for the base model and doesn’t include on-road costs.

However, the 2021 MG HS PHEV misses out on MG’s usual seven-year warranty, with buyers having to settle for a five-year unlimited kilometre vehicle warranty and an eight-year battery warranty.

2021 MG HS Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle car EV

What is the 2021 MG HS PHEV's driving range?

The 2021 MG HS PHEV's 16.6kWh battery has a claimed pure electric range of 52km and charges from an AC power point in your home in around five hours. This means it can be used as an EV for most daily commutes, although it isn’t equipped for DC fast-charging stations.

The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine makes range anxiety a moot point anyway, and the hybrid system delivers a claimed 1.7L/100km fuel consumption.

What tech and safety does the 2021 MG HS PHEV get?

Available in only the top-spec HS Essence front-wheel-drive variant, the Plug-in Hybrid is loaded with a panoramic sunroof, 18-inch alloys, electrically adjustable leather seats with front-seat heating, a 360-degree surround view camera, smart keyless entry, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an electric tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, sat-nav, and a full suite of active and passive driver assistance tech.

The cabin has a spacious and premium vibe, with soft-touch surfaces and red-stitching on the trims and flat-bottomed steering wheel. The plasticky feel of the 10.1-inch touchscreen’s analogue navigation buttons is one of its few shortcomings.

Another is having the adaptive cruise control on a third stalk behind the steering wheel. Its settings can only be read on a half-turn, which makes for a steep learning curve.

2021 MG HS Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle car EV

How does the 2021 MG HS PHEV drive?

On-road, the 2021 MG HS PHEV is a much smoother drive than the combustion-only HS Essence (which is so laggy it can feel like the accelerator pedal is on the end of a rubber string). The Plug-in Hybrid benefits greatly from the extra power and torque the electric motor provides and the powertrain pushes this medium SUV to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds.

The lane keeping assistance works pleasantly in the background, though any temptation to drive with fingertips will get a flashing reminder on the 12.3-inch digital dash to keep your hands on the wheel. The digital speedo can be set front and centre – a good thing considering the analogue version is on the far left and a little hard to read.

With AWD HS models also joining the range, it’ll be interesting to see which variant sways buyers more. MG has billed its hybrid as an affordable stepping-stone to the latest electric tech. For suburban households looking for a comfortable daily commuter that’s frugal on fuel, the choice seems obvious.

The 2021 MG HS PHEV at a glance

Pros: Cabin refinement; smoother drivetrain than regular HS

Cons: Only a five-year vehicle warranty

Thinking of getting into a 2021 MG HS PHEV?

Members save on new-car loans