The MG 4 is a relatively great looking electric car from Chinese car maker SAIC. For an EV that is about the same size as a Ford Focus or VW Golf, it is priced really well too – from €29,495. It even has party tricks, like it’s no button starting function – where your bum is the key! This is just like Volvo’s system in the XC40 Recharge EV – when you unlock the car and sit in the driver’s seat it activates the ignition and you can drive off – just select D from the automatic’s rotary gear selector.
The MG 4 looks great thanks to its technical lighting and in particular a great ‘front end’ that highlights the car’s hatchback design. The MG 4 turns heads – not something you can say about many EVs. The rear wheel drive MG 4 is built on an all new MG platform (called MSP) that spearheads the brand’s upcoming models. The MG 4 is striking when viewed head on, with a sharp and technical looking face that looks fresh and up to the minute. Inside the cabin, the MG 4 seats five people or four in comfort. The dash in neatly laid out with a digital driver’s display and a large centre touch screen display. Looking great and working great don’t always go hand in hand and our test car’s screen liked to work at its own pace. Some of MG 4’s touch screen controls could be better placed and at times their activation proved frustrating. Often a finger press would fail to deliver the expected action. MG 4 has another quirk – it’s non-circular steering wheel. It features multi-function switchgear and two thumb-toggle switches. The boot is small at 363 litres but it is expandable. With its rear seats down there is up to 1177 litres of cargo room.
Electric cars by the nature are quicker than their internal combustion rivals and MG 4 is no slouch. 0-100km/h takes just under eight seconds (GTi-like). In terms of ride and handling the MG 4 is impressive – and it should be given the car’s lighter non-SUV body style and its near perfectly balanced weight distribution. Its brakes have their own feel, and took us a while to adapt to. The under foot pedal feel didn’t quite match up to the actual braking affect and felt a little soft / odd. Cornering body roll is managed well, and despite lacking much feel, the steering sensation was fine. The MG 4 has a steering wheel flattened at the top and bottom – so it is just like an old Allegro! I’m used to flattened-at-the-bottom wheels in sports and supercars but in the MG 4 its only advantage is the way it frames the drivers display – but hey it’s a talking point.
Our test car came equipped with a host of driving assistance systems (ADAS) designed to keep the car safely in its lane and to help avoid collisions – but during our week with the car we found the system’s actions and interventions too intrusive – and at times seriously off putting. Steering interventions would often occur randomly and deliver jerky movements. MG is not the only car to suffer from these overly eager systems with many having a tough time interpreting Ireland’s roads – but the MG 4’s set up was the most unnerving we have tested. A lot of blame can be placed at poor road markings and signage but despite trying numerous combinations in the ‘MG Pilot’ settings, out of frustration I set most driving aids to off.
There are two battery options, the entry 51kWh and the range topping 64kWh. The driving range from a full charge is quoted at 350km (51kWh) and up to 450km in the 64kWh. AC charging is rated at 7 kW/h – so slow (22kW) public chargers will only deliver the same amount of charge per hour as you can get a home charger. This is unfortunate when you consider a few EVs such as the Renault Megane Electric can charge at up to 22 kW on AC. In MG’s defence production costs must be factored in. With faster ‘DC’ charging the MG 4 can peak at 135kW. (It’s worth noting that with most EVs a rule of thumb is you roughly double the battery size to get a sense of what maximum speed the car can charge at). MG says the 4 can go from 10% power to 80% in 35 minutes.
The MG 4 is a very interesting car. It’s very well priced and offers a lot for the money. MG (Morris Garages) was once a small British brand that shone brightly for a few decades and then slowly died along with the British car industry due to inefficiencies and poor workforce management. Chinese ownership has brought a new shine to the famous MG badge that now appeals across all generations. The MG 4 cannot be ignored if you are in the market for a new car – not just an EV. Chinese EVs are now a dominant factor in the global Electric car market. The ID. 3 sized MG 4 electric hatchback is well styled and at a price point that demands attention.