MG4 EV review
Discover EV expert verdict...
- Incredibly efficient
- Roomy and comfortable
- Engaging drive
- Start up and gear engage slow
- Interior quality and finish could be better
- Lane Keep Assist feature bordering on dangerous
The all-new MG4 EV (launched in September 2022), is the first of a series of MG models using the advanced Modular Scalable Platform (MSP) architecture, promising outstanding efficiency and driver engagement, and having lived with the SE Long Range version for a week it certainly delivers. The MG4 EV marks a bold new direction for MG Motor UK, and it’s a very exciting one, because at this price point – bar a few annoying niggles – it’s one of the best EVs we’ve tested to date.
Designed for a wide range of vehicles, the MSP can be used in hatchbacks, SUVs and sports cars with wheelbases ranging from 2650 to 3100 mm. The new platform is also rear-wheel drive, allowing for 50:50 weight distribution and thus enhancing roadholding and driver engagement, while maximising battery efficiency. The architecture also allows integration with future technologies including battery swap systems and will enable vehicles to receive Over-The-Air (OTA) updates throughout their lifecycle. It’s a progressive move for MG meaning they can offer multiple options for what is a rapidly expanding UK electric car market, while representing excellent value for money, and together with all of its other positives could well put the once British marque back on the map.
There are two battery options for the MG4 EV – 51kWh or 64kWh and five drive modes: Eco, sport, snow, custom, standard. Both power a rear-mounted electric motor, producing 168bhp with the smaller battery or 200bhp with the larger one (as per our test car) offering a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 100mph.
We have just a few complaints about this car. The Lane Keep Assist is bordering on dangerous, aggressively nudging the steering wheel – particularly on winding country roads or single-track roads with no lane markings – when you’re least expecting it to. Thankfully you can turn it off so that it just beeps and vibrates, but you have to do so every time you start up the car, which is annoying. The other niggle we had is that the car takes about 20 seconds to boot up. If you jump in the car and select Drive and it won’t engage away – sometimes taking up to two or three times to engage. Admittedly this is more annoying for drivers who don’t have to get kids in the car and appreciates racing start! On the positive side, quite a few members on the mgev forums have suggested that both issues could be solved with a software update.
That aside, it rides and drives very well, in fact we’d go as far as to say it’s fun to drive surpassing much pricier alternatives from more well-known car brands – when it went back we genuinely missed it. Round town its well-weighted steering makes it a joy to use and it does a good job of absorbing lumps and bumps while it’s comfortable when cruising at motorway speeds, too, and plenty fast enough when you want to overtake. Impressively there seems to be no trade-off between comfort and cornering ability, on twisty roads it turns eagerly, and there’s barely any lean, feeling agile and spirited. There is a bit of road noise at speed and the you can hear the suspension booming on really uneven surfaces; but this is a car that starts at £27,000, and visibility out the back isn’t so great, but a lot of hatchbacks have tiny rear windows now so that’s not uncommon.
There are four regenerative braking modes (auto, 1, 2, 3), and even at its strongest setting you do need to use the brakes to stop in traffic – it will not come to a complete stop if you lift off the throttle and hand things over to the regenerative braking system but they’re smooth and not jerky like in some electric cars we’ve experienced.
To sum up, the MG4 EV focuses more on delivering a useable range and economy rather than outright pace, while offering superb driver engagement – and that in our book is a winning formula.
Range and running costs
Three specifications are available: MG4 EV SE Standard Range, SE Long Range (as per our test car) and the Trophy Long Range. With battery capacities from 51kWh to 64kWh, the MG4 EV Standard Range is capable of 218 miles on the WLTP cycle, with Long Range SE and Trophy models offering 281 miles and 270 miles respectively.
The 64kWh battery can recharge at speeds of up to up to 135kW, meaning a charge time of only 35 minutes from 10 to 80 per cent using a 150kW DC rapid charger. MG quote 4.1 miles per kWh and over our week with the car we were getting 4.2 miles at best and driving it spiritedly 3.8 so that’s probably about right. It’s also very impressive when you consider how poor the first electric MG (ZS EV) was in terms of efficiency, this new platform promises a lot for the next generation of all-electric MGs! It’s worth noting that the Long Range SE (and Trophy models) feature an Active Grille Shutter system (AGS), which regulates air flow according to vehicle requirements and increases EV efficiency, especially at motorway speeds. Obviously every little helps.
The MG4 EV also carries MG’s trademark 7-year/80,000-mile warranty as standard, which remains one of the longest fully-transferable warranties in its class. With prices starting from £25,995 (SE Standard Range model) it also offers excellent value for money. When it comes to comparing our test car (priced from £28,495) to market rivals, it’s cheaper than the Volkswagen ID.3 Life Pro Performance which costs £36,195 and has less range at 265 but is .6 seconds quicker to 62mph, and the Renault Zoe R135 Rapid Charge at £31,195 which has just 239 miles of range and is almost two seconds slower in the same sprint. Other rivals include the Vauxhall Corsa Electric and Nissan LEAF but we’d go for the MG4 all day long.
The four year PCP offer for our model costs £309 a month at 8.9 per cent APR PCP with a deposit of £6905.53, or for a slightly bigger deposit of £9046.50 you can take advantage of a 0% APR PCP paying just £149 per month. This will also lock you in for 25 months as opposed to 49 and both restrict you to 8000 miles per year. It certainly represents an affordable entry in electric motoring.
MG’s new, modern design language is striking with its sharp lines, twin aero rear spoiler (on Trophy versions), 17’’ aerodynamic alloy wheels and all-new angular LED rear light design. There’s a choice of six colours and in Arctic White it looked very eye-catching indeed. Other unique exterior features (not fitted to the SE Standard Range) include the Active Grille System which regulates airflow into the front compartment to help with efficiency and if you go for the Trophy model you’ll get a two-tone black roof.
Inside the MG4 EV is minimal in design, like a lot of new EVs, and quite Germanic with nods to Audi, BMW and VW with some of the instruments and controls. A lot of the materials reflect the price point and the fit and finish isn’t up there with Hyundai or Kia, say, but it’s nice enough. You get choice of either black fabric upholstery (SE) or pleather with cloth inserts (Trophy). Behind the rotary gear selector sits the wireless charging pad (Trophy) located on the floating console, which helps it to look more contemporary.
The 10.25" colour touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, giving you familiar connectivity no neither are wireless – while the 7’’ driver display is configurable. The resolution is great and the widgets on the main screen give you easy access to the major functions, with on-screen shortcuts for music, phone, navigation and car settings permanently on the right-hand side. In addition, there are also physical shortcut keys along the bottom, but annoyingly the air-con settings can only be adjusted on screen, which is really fiddly. It’s a little laggy in loading and if you want built-in sat nav you’ll have to opt for the Trophy model which also gives you 360° parking camera, heated front seats and steering wheel, height-adjustable loading floor, Bluetooth key and auto-dimming rear view mirror.
Comfort and practicality
Thanks to its thin battery (just 110mm thick) and long wheelbase, the MG4 EV offers plenty of headroom and legroom, making it a very practical car for a family of four. Even with two child seats in the back there is enough room in the middle for another small adult to fit – which isn’t possible in the Tesla Model 3, or Y. It’s very comfortable and offers plenty of storage and boot space.
Available in three trim levels: SE Standard Range, SE Long Range and Trophy Long Range, the MG4 comes with lots of safety equipment as standard thanks to MG Pilot, which includes Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Bicycle Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist with Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning System (which as stated in the Driving section really lets the car down but can be switched off), Driver Attention Alert and Intelligent High Beam Assist. Opt for the Trophy model and you also get Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Door Opening Warning.
Despite being a compact EV the MG4 has plenty of space for a family of four, enormous efficiency, is cracking to drive and most importantly is affordable. If you’re after something a little sportier, the MG4 XPOWER will be available to order from July 2023, with its first public debut confirmed for Goodwood Festival of Speed. Priced from £36,495, the EV will be the most powerful production MG ever, capable of 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds. Now there’s a car we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of!
2023 MG4 EV SE Long Range
Price (RRP OTR): From £25,995 (SE Standard Long Range), £29,495 (model as tested)
Top speed: 100mph
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Driving range (combined): 281 miles
Charging time: 10 to 100 per cent at 7kW AC 9 hours; 10 to 80 per cent at 50kW DC 60 minutes; 10 to 80 per cent at 150 kW DC 35 minutes
Insurance group: TBC
Vehicle and battery warranty: 7 years / 80,000 miles, fully transferable