MG’s new HS serves as the brand’s entry into the compact crossover SUV segment, though this means that it is also sitting side-by-side with the equally-sized but more mundane RX5. Specifically, this is the top trim 2022 MG HS Trophy, which means you get a lot of bells and whistles for an attractive P1,308,888 (I don’t know why its distributor is so obsessed with 8s) price tag. The HS definitely wins the mind of value-conscious buyers, but unlike past MG vehicles, this one manages to tug the heartstrings much better as well.
That starts with how this 2022 MG HS Trophy looks. It’s one of the brand’s finest-looking SUVs yet, and while it still won’t win any design awards, it certainly carries much more charisma than the RX5 and ZS. The chrome grille that’s flanked by LED headlights with sweeping LED turn signals does look great, and so are its proportions that remind us of the Porsche Cayenne. Likewise, the LED taillights come with sweeping turn signals as well, which is a design feature I appreciate in some cars nowadays. For all its good looks, however, I still find it odd why MG only keeps the “Trophy” badge on the left of the vehicle. Mind you, this is not a manufacturing mismatch, because this is also the case in the MG 6 Trophy.
It’s on the inside where the MG HS Trophy impresses even more. At its price point, the HS has the best interior design and quality, and that’s thanks to the generous use of soft-touch plastics and padded surfaces on huge areas of the dash and doors. Ditto this Trophy variant’s sporty bucket seats, though whether this SUV is actually sporty is something you have to find out later in the review. Configurable ambient LED lighting further makes the cabin feel special, especially at night.
I also appreciate the fact that MG has resisted the urge to add piano black surfaces on frequently-touched surfaces. For instance, the window switches and the center console are mainly finished in faux aluminum trim, which is very resistant to fingerprints and scratches.
Features and Infotainment
Now, when it comes to cabin tech, the 2022 MG HS Trophy is a mixed bag. The hard buttons are appreciated, but they’re mostly just buttons to access the various menus of the vehicle. The infotainment’s graphics do look good, but its response isn’t as snappy as I’d like. Even worse, all the climate controls are buried in a menu that as I’ve mentioned, also takes time to load. This is made worse when you simply want to change the temperature, which would’ve been a single-step process when there are dedicated knobs for it. I did not give the Peugeot 5008 a pass in this aspect, which means the MG HS will also suffer the same fate.
On the upside, at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. Some of its other features that are also worth mentioning also include its panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, center console-mounted air purifier, and power-adjustable front seats.
Space and Practicality
Space on all two rows of the MG HS is very spacious, and that’s despite the fact that those front sports seats reduce rear legroom by a bit. For those seated at the back, the seats are wide enough to accommodate three adults. Those at the rear also get to enjoy USB ports and of course that aforementioned panoramic sunroof. There’s actually nothing much else to report here, other than that it’s a pretty good back seat.
Trunk space, however, is on the smaller side, at least when you compare it to something like a more mainstream (but more expensive) Honda CR-V. Going through the numbers, the HS offers 463 liters behind the second row and 1,454 with those folded down. It’s on par with the Ford Territory, so I guess this should be good enough for most.
Unsurprisingly, being a Chinese (or Sino-British) vehicle, the 2022 MG HS Trophy comes with a turbocharged small displacement gasoline engine. In this case, it’s a 1.5-liter mill that produces 169 hp and 250 Nm of torque. While these numbers are strong, they’re not exactly that felt out on the open road.
The MG HS isn’t underpowered, mind you, but all that power is somehow hindered by a bit of turbo lag. Put your foot down, and the turbos take time to spool up. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic that drives the front wheels isn’t the most refined or responsive either. While the tuning this time around is much better than past MGs, there’s a bit of hesitancy during stop-and-go traffic or even worse, at inclines. I even encountered a time when I was parking the HS in reverse incline at a restaurant and there was a sudden feeling as if a manual driver accidentally slipped the clutch. Not exactly the most confidence-inspiring feeling when you simply just want to park at an incline.
Other than that, the MG HS feels like a much more cohesive vehicle than its past offerings. Apart from those aforementioned powertrain quirks, the engine and gearbox are much more refined and cooperative once you’re at higher speeds. Even the ride is really good as the MG HS manages to absorb road imperfections with delicacy. Despite that large panoramic sunroof, chassis rigidity is very good, with none of the shake and rattles present in some of its competitors with this feature. Combined with the excellent sound insulation, the HS makes for an excellent long-distance cruiser.
Now, regarding those sports seats, they actually don’t match the car’s demeanor. The softly-sprung suspension, as well as its light and numb steering don’t encourage any form of sporty driving. Oh, and I also must mention that the brake pedal feel is a tad soft at low speeds. It’s not exactly a negative, but more of an observation that you will eventually get used to.
As for fuel economy, the MG HS under my hands achieved around 9.2 to 9.7 km/l. If you know my driving situation, I do not live in Metro Manila, and thus I often report double-digit fuel economy figures. The HS, therefore, isn’t as efficient as I expected, though it’s not what I would consider as thirsty, either.
The 2022 MG HS Trophy makes a great case for itself in the brand’s lineup. For just a little more over the RX5, what you get is a much more well-engineered and cohesively-designed SUV. While its main selling point is still its affordable price tag that has so much 8s in it, you won’t anymore just get an affordable SUV for the sake of being affordable. This time around, its affordable price is matched with a level of substance that manages to satisfy both the mind and the heart.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★☆☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.3 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.