2016 MG GS 1.5T first drive review MG is the latest car maker to add a stylish SUV

The MG GS is flawed in pretty much every area; in some cases only slightly, but in some cases catastrophically. Yes, it’s a good-looking SUV with generous space and decent equipment for an affordable price, but it’s not alone on that score. We’d point you towards one of the GS’s more rounded – if not quite as generously equipped – rivals instead.

Need to know:


  • New compact SUV from Chinese-owned brand
  • Only available with a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine and front-wheel drive
  • On sale now, with prices starting at £14,995
2016 MG GS 1.5T first drive review MG is the latest car maker to add a stylish SUV


What is it?
A mid-sized SUV that MG hopes will bring significant growth to the UK sales figures. And it just MIGHT. Why? Because SUV sales are booming at the moment, and the prospect of a low-cost offering, that still has all the style of its rivals, will be very appealing for a lot of buyers.

Make no mistake, the GS is very much an SUV rather than an off-roader. Despite its rugged looks, it's EXCLUSIVELY offered in front-wheel drive format and there are no plans to introduce four-wheel drive. Still, as most SUV buyers are only after the style, that's no bad thing.

In size, the GS Compares with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, the Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Sportage, but on price, it Compares with smaller SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. Question is, should you spend your money on the MG rather than one of Reviews those?
What is it like?
Climb into the GS, and you're Immediately aware of the car's budget status, Because The materials used in most parts of the cabin are hard, shiny and unappealing. The large slabs of piano black paneling do help Liven things up a bit, but it's not enough to overpower the low-rent feel.

Ergonomically, too, the GS is a mixed bag. The touch-screen works quite well, with reasonably sharp graphics and menus that are logical enough; and, the buttons on the dashboard are big and Cleary Also marked. However, there are too many of them to be Able to pick out the one you want at a glance, and you're further confused by the fact that there is no visual differentiation between the ones that work the air-con and the ones that control the infotainment system.

In fact, wherever you look inside the car, there's a confusing mix of positives and negatives in every area. The driving position is Widely adjustable and has that commanding view that SUV drivers love, but the rear visibility is abysmal due to the thick rear pillars and a screen that's small and steeply angled. There's loads of space in the rear seats, but Because the seat is set so low to the floor, you feel like you're sitting with your knees up around your ears. The rear seats fold down in an ingenious way to leave you with a perfectly level cargo area, but the boot actually looks pretty small in its normal configuration and the opening is awkwardly narrow.

Get to the way the GS behaves on the road, and things rather Become more consistent. Sadly, they're consistently consistently negative rather than positive.

2016 MG GS 1.5T first drive review MG is the latest car maker to add a stylish SUV

2016 MG GS 1.5T first drive review MG is the latest car maker to add a stylish SUV

2016 MG GS 1.5T first drive review MG is the latest car maker to add a stylish SUV

All GS models are powered by 1.5-liter petrol engine which, despite having a turbocharger, feels very flat below 3000rpm, so you have to whipping for all it's worth it to get a significant boost. Even when you do, the performance does not feel anywhere near as strong in certain 164bhp output figures show; and, although the engine is quite smooth, it's starting to sound pretty tense. shortage of machine flexibility also means you have to keep busy with a six-speed manual gearbox, which felt very notchy and tight as you shift up or down ratio.

Although the suspension is not too bad absorb large bumps and ruts, the ride and handling balance of the car was not up to scratch, either. It was really struggling with minor imperfections, high frequency and, because many of the UK road network is covered by a rippled surface and patchy like this, life will feel uneasy for most of the time. The trip did not improve much on the highway, well, and in the streets over bumpy, the body will throw around enough.

Control body does not feel so loose when you deal with a corner, with an emphasis worthy slim, and the grip level was quite good, too. However, the steering is not so good, with a large dead around the straight ahead - you have to put more than one-eighth of a full rotation before something actually happens - that it can be very confusing. One you push through it, steering actually offer some decent feedback and feel fat, but at the exit of the corner, aversion to self-center wheel can catch you.

Should I get one?

That a lot depends on your priorities. Sure enough, GS can not come anywhere close to the standards set by the best dynamic - heck, even average - cars in the class, and it has some quite fundamental weaknesses in many other fields, too. However, if all you expect is that the display and a generous standard kit for an affordable price, it might be worth a look.

But, even that came with a warning. The standard kit is generous, but only if you avoid the entry-level model Explore. Of course, it comes with alloys, air-con and cruise control, but misses out on the basics such as remote locking, DAB radio and Bluetooth. To get this (along with climate control and rear parking camera) you have to upgrade to Excite trim, and that the price increase of £ 14 995 to £ 17 495. In that kind of money, a variety of other very talented rival comes into play, albeit with a bit of kit. So, you pays your money, you takes your choice.

If you fancy splashing out £ 19 495, the exclusive model provides heated and powered leather seats, sat-nav and xenon lamps, plus the option to add a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox for another £ 1,500. We have not tried yet, so we do not know if it's any good, but even if it was amazing, we could never recommend spending £ 20,995 on GS.

Key facts:

  • Model: MG GS Excite 1.5T
  • Price: £ 17 495
  • Engine: turbocharged petrol 1.5-liter, six-speed manual
  • Power / torque: 164bhp / 184lb ft
  • 0-62mph: 9.9secs
  • Top speed: 118mph
  • Economy: 46.3mpg
  • CO2 / BIK tax liability: 139g / km / 24%
  • Boot space: 483 - 1336 liters

Also consider:

Dacia Duster
Significantly cheaper, even in the higher trim levels

kia Sportage
Down in the kit, but the entry-level petrol bang-on with mid-range GS on price

Ssangyong Tivoli
Very similar in appeal to GS, and certainly no worse for encouraging

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