What's the used MG GS hatchback like?
For those who are old enough to remember, MG used to exclusively produce sports cars, much like Porsche. Trouble is, there isn’t a huge amount of money in sports cars and what the buying public really demands are SUVs. Porsche relented over a decade ago and added an off-roader to its line-up and so did MG with this, the GS.
A used GS significantly undercuts its rival from Stuttgart on price, and competes with the likes of the Ssangyong Tivoli and Dacia Duster. However, unlike its rivals, you can’t have four-wheel drive with this MG.
The engine range is limited to just a 164bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol unit. You can have either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, though. Despite having a turbo, the engine needs to be wound up to 3000rpm to reach its best and beyond 5000rpm it can sound coarse.
There’s no getting around the fact that the GS feels like a heavy SUV to drive due to plenty of body roll, a firm ride and a long-throw gearchange. The steering is pleasant enough, however, even if it is heavier than you’ll find in its competitors.
Space up front is plentiful and you get to sit nice and high, which means you have a good view out, plus the bonnet is fairly flat so you can see the extremes of the car quite easily. Room in the back is up there with the best in class and there’s a virtually flat floor. The base of the seat is slightly too close to the floor so your knees will be bent a little more than they should be.
The boot is easily big enough for a holiday’s worth of luggage and the standard split-folding rear seats essentially lay down flat. The only issue is the boot opening, which narrows as it gets to the bottom, meaning that you have to be careful when loading items into the back.
Interior quality isn’t stellar, but given the low price of it new, that’s to be expected. The bigger issue is the design of it. The touchscreen infotainment is okay to use, but only top-spec cars have sat-nav and the system doesn’t have Apple CarPlay. MirrorLink is included for Android phones, but it’s not as good as the stand-alone Android Auto application. Then there are the stereo and air-conditioning controls that are grouped together, requiring you to divert your attention from the road because of its confusing layout and small symbols.