What Car? says...
Think electric cars are too expensive? Well, the MG4 EV is actually cheaper than many petrol or hybrid equivalents.
Surely, then, the bargain-basement pricing (in electric car terms, at least) must mean the MG4 has a tiny range between charges, a cramped interior and not much equipment on offer? Well, that's what we'll be finding out in this review.
Read on to learn how the MG4 EV compares with the best electric car rivals, including the Cupra Born, the Fiat 500 Electric, the GWM Ora 03 (previously the Ora Funky Cat) and the Renault Megane E-Tech.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
There are currently four versions of the MG4 EV, three of which have a single electric motor driving the rear wheels.
The entry-level model is called the SE and gets a 50.8kWh (usable capacity) battery, an official range of 218 miles and is said to cover 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds. That range is longer than some more expensive rivals, so given the value it offers, it's our recommended version.
The Long Range version has a more powerful 201bhp electric motor, gets a bigger 61.7kWh battery and can officially go up to 281 miles on a full charge. In our summer real-world range tests, it managed an impressive 253 miles, compared with 196 miles in our winter range test.
Those ranges are similar to the Cupra Born 58kWh and Renault Megane E-Tech, although both those rivals cost significantly more than the MG4.
The Long Range’s bulkier battery makes it heavier than the SE, so it’s a touch slower (0-62mph officially takes 7.9 seconds), but still plenty quick enough to nip into a gap in busy traffic and get up to motorway speeds with little fuss.
If you really must go quicker, there's the MG4 XPower, which delivers truly jaw-dropping acceleration. It has a second electric motor driving the front wheels to give it four-wheel drive and a colossal 429bhp in total.
In our tests, the XPower managed to sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.6 seconds – that's quicker than a Porsche Taycan 4S. However, while it has a relatively big 61.8kWh battery, it's heavier than other versions of the MG4 and has stickier Bridgestone tyres, so it's not as efficient. The XPower's official range is 239 miles (bank on 200 in warm weather).
There are five regenerative braking settings (including an adaptive mode) on all versions of the MG4. The strongest setting allows for "one-pedal" driving, bringing the car to a stop fairly promptly when you lift off the accelerator.
When you do need to use the brake pedal, you'll find it well judged by electric car standards, making it easy to know how much pressure to apply to slow the car smoothly. Mind you, while the XPower has upgraded brakes to help cope with its performance, they can overheat surprisingly quickly under hard use.
Finally, there's the Extended Range version, which has a longer range than the Long Range version (officially up to 323 miles), thanks to an even larger 77kWh battery. It's nowhere near as fast as the XPower, but offers snappier acceleration than the rest of the MG4 range (0-60mph takes 6.1 seconds).
All versions of the MG4 we've tried ride bumps in a respectable manner, albeit with less finesse than the Born and Megane. It takes the sting out of bigger obstacles pretty well, with just a subtle pogoing sensation at faster speeds that counts against it.
The XPower jostles you around in your seat a bit more than other versions due to its firmer suspension, but by hot hatch standards it's comfortable enough.
That firmer suspension, combined with stiffer anti-roll bars, is designed to help the XPower go round corners better than the regular versions of the MG4. The differences aren't huge, though, and it doesn't handle anywhere near as well as the best hot hatches.
Strengths Strong acceleration (especially in the XPower); impressive range; reassuring brake pedal
Weaknesses Relatively noisy on the motorway; rivals are more comfortable
The interior layout, fit and finish
The driving position in the MG4 EV isn't ideal because the steering wheel is offset slightly to the left and doesn't line up perfectly with the seat. There's no adjustable lumbar support either, although the driver's seat in Trophy and XPower versions does have six-way electric adjustment.
Every model gets a 7.0in digital driver display behind the steering wheel, although some drivers might find the wheel rim cuts off the top of the screen. It depends how you set up your driving position – as always, it’s best to try before you buy to make sure it works for you.
Visibility is generally good, although you will be hindered when parking by the shallow rear windscreen, and the lack of a rear wiper to clear off water and dirt. Top-spec Trophy and XPower versions get a 360-degree parking camera to help mitigate some of those issues.
Most of the climate control functions have to be adjusted through the 10.25in touchscreen infotainment system, which is fiddly and distracting while you’re on the move (old-fashioned buttons are much better).
You can save the temperature control as a favourite on the steering wheel to more easily adjust it with one of the wheel’s joysticks, but it’s a faff to set up and you have to remember to come out of that function if you want to adjust something else – the stereo volume, say.
Adjusting the regenerative braking and drive modes must be done by navigating through the touchscreen infotainment system’s many confusing menus while squinting at its tiny text. The Fiat 500 Electric and the Renault Megane E-Tech have more intuitive interfaces.
The minimalist interior offers some showroom appeal and looks at first glance like a big step forwards from other MGs but it doesn't hold up brilliantly to closer scrutiny. When you prod some of the materials, you find the quality is disappointing compared with some rivals, including the Cupra Born, the Fiat 500 Electric and the Renault Megane E-Tech.
Strengths Electric seat adjustment on pricier versions; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard
Weaknesses Interior feels cheap; fiddly infotainment system; no adjustable lumbar support
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The MG4 EV is fairly practical by small electric car standards. There’s lots of room in the front – even for tall people – along with a helpful amount of storage space.
For example, there's a cubby under the central armrest, while further down on the centre console you'll find another lidded compartment. And just below the infotainment system there’s a spot for your phone (with wireless charging on Trophy and XPower versions). The door bins are quite small though.
Rear leg and head room is generous, so six-footers can fit in without feeling cramped. The MG4 is more accommodating for rear passengers than the Renault Megane E-Tech, but the Cupra Born is a better option because it has more supportive seats and three headrests in the back (there isn't one on the middle rear seat in the MG4).
The boot is a little disappointing, too. We managed to fit in five carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf, compared with six in the Born and seven in the Megane.
You can, of course, fold down the 60/40 split rear seatback when you need to carry more. Only entry-level SE trim misses out on a height-adjustable boot floor, which reduces the lip at the boot entrance and the step in the floor of the extended load bay. There’s no front boot on any version.
Strengths Plenty of space in the front; better rear space than a Renault Megane E-Tech; height-adjustable boot floor on some trims
Weaknesses Smaller boot than rivals; Cupra Born has comfier rear seats
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
You'll struggle to find a new electric car that undercuts the starting price of the MG4 EV. In fact, even the most expensive versions are cheaper than the entry-level equivalents of many key rivals.
Better still, the MG4 is predicted to depreciate more slowly (in percentage terms, at least) than the more expensive Cupra Born, the GWM Ora 03 (formerly the Ora Funky Cat) and the Renault Megane E-Tech. That’s good news, because it usually means lower finance payments.
Remember, you can check the latest prices using our New Car Deals pages.
So, which version of the MG4 should you go for? Well, we reckon you're best off sticking with the smallest (50.8kWh) battery in entry-level SE trim.
That keeps the price down and you still get plenty of standard kit, including adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors and vehicle-to-load charging (V2L), which allows you to use your car's battery to power most things with a three-pin plug.
Trophy trim (available only in combination with the Long Range and Extended Range batteries) adds a few styling flourishes and a 360-degree camera, as well as heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. It's much cheaper than any like-for-like rival, but not such staggering value for money as the entry-level car.
The XPower offers incredible straight-line performance for the money, even though it's not huge fun through corners and has a shorter range than the cheaper Long Range. The Extended Range is the least recommendable MG4, although it's worth considering if you need to do 250-mile journeys in one go.
It's worth noting that you'll need to go for Trophy trim or the XPower to maximise safety kit. Those versions add blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assistance. You get automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance on all models, though.
The MG4 scored the full five stars for safety when it was tested by Euro NCAP but it's worth noting that adult occupant crash protection was found to be significantly better in the Born.
The Standard Range model can accept a maximum charging rate of up to 117kW, which means a 10-80% top-up takes less than 40min (in ideal conditions). The Long Range model can accept a maximum of 135kW (slightly more than the Born) and can go from 10-80% in roughly 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Extended Range and XPower versions can accept a little more charging power again, but a full charge will still take 35 to 40 minutes.
MG didn't do too well in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing 25th (out of 32 brands) in the overall league table. The MG4 itself was reported to be one of the least dependable electric cars in the survey.
You get a very competitive seven-year warranty (limited to 80,000 miles) as standard, though. Few rival car makers can match that (Kia offers a warranty of the same length but capped at 100,000 miles).
Buying & owning overview
Strengths Cheap to buy outright or on PCP finance; plenty of standard kit; long warranty
Weaknesses Worrying reliability; no centre rear head restraint
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No, the MG4 isn't available with a heat pump in the UK – and you can't add one as an option, either.
The exterior dimensions are 4,287mm in length, 2,060mm in width (including the mirrors), and 1,504mm in height. That puts it in our small electric car class.