MG GS Excite 1.5
MG GS budget SUV

Verdict on MG GS Excite 1.5 TGI:

Throughout MG’s rather chequered history it’s been difficult to bracket the badge as a premium brand so it’s a breath of fresh air that the latest Chinese owners leave us in no quandary – it’s a fully-fledged budget brand.

As such, the sort of nit-picking you might reserve for much more expensive products from Nissan don’t really have a place in this road test. Of course, there are issues with any bargain basement vehicle if only down to the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’.

That said, for the entry level price, the MG GS provides a useful piece of transport at a reasonable price and, if you can live with the niggles, it has to be worth considering for those who put value for money over badge snobbery…

MG GS Excite 1.5
Boot is a useful size for a compact SUV
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MG GS budget SUV|Boot is a useful size for a compact SUV
  • P11D Value: £17,340
  • 5-door front-wheel drive SUV
  • 166PS 1.5-litre turbo petrol/6-speed manual
  • Performance: 9.9sec/118mph
  • CO2/Economy (claimed): 139g/km / 46.3mpg

What is it?

THE MG GS Excite 1.5 TGIMG’s first attempt tilting for the lucrative and, seemingly, insatiable appetite for crossovers, SUVs and soft-roaders runs in the same value end of the spectrum as its other products.

Priced from just £14,995, the compact crossover boasts a vast array of standard equipment that would not have disgraced a high-end premium car of just a few years ago.

Road presence, too, is impressive with it sitting snugly beside many more expensive CUVs in the corporate car park. It’s also big enough to meet the needs of most 2.4-children families or busy sales executives heading off with a serious of knock-‘em dead pop-up presentations.

While MG is Chinese owned, the design is firmly from a British drawing board and, while it won’t get the neighbours net curtains twitching, is a decent looking vehicle of this genre. At the moment, it only comes with a 1.5 turbo petrol engine which, considering diesels’ current air quality reputation, is probably no bad thing from a sales point of view.

What’s hot?

  • The 1.5 TGI start/stop function motor is punchy for this price point boasting a claimed 166PS matched with 249 Nm of torque allows the car to reach 62mph in 9.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 118mph. This is perfectly adequate to cope with its kerb weight of 1,420kg and it will sit happily at high motorway speeds all day at a relaxed sub 3,000rpm.
  • Luggage capacity for what some would say in a small crossover is rather good with 483 litres with all seats in place swelling to 1,336 with the rear seats folded.
  • Standard equipment is really impressive for this price and features 17-inch alloys, LED running lights, infotainment with DAB radio, CD, MP3 compatibility, AUX/USB, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, auto climate control, auto headlights, cruise control, hill hold and rear parking sensors and camera.
  • Handling, while worlds away from an MG-sports ride, is nonetheless pleasingly neutral when pushed and benefits from a well weighted steering feel.

What’s not?

  • Probably the first thing you will notice on a long run is cabin wind noise which is a bit more intrusive than we would have liked. It’s possible that MG has spent more time on creating a pleasing looking car than one that is truly aerodynamic because we also found the vehicle’s fuel consumption varied wildly dependent on the head wind – on two trips between London and Manchester economy swung between 32mpg to 41mpg.
  • In common with some other small turbo-charged petrol engines these days, the engine seems designed to meet the needs of an auto gearbox than a manual by hanging on too long to its revs when pushing hard. Also the manual gearbox also suffers from a long throw and it’s very easy to stall the engine through the sharp clutch action so we would recommend choosing the 7-speed DCT option over the manual.
  • Possibly trying to maintain a ‘sporting’ ride, the suspension does feel a bit harsh particularly on our potholed and rutted urban streets.
  • Unlike its fellow budget brand, the Ssangyong Tivoli, the MG GS is not offered with full AWD.
  • It’s easy to spot the cost savings on the interior dashboard finish and use of cheap-feeling plastics and switchgear.
  • The so-called sports seats don’t provide a great deal by way of support and will try aging backs on long trips.
  • Its infotainment system comes with MirrorLink which stubbornly refused to completely hook up to an Apple iPhone 6.

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