New MG 4 Extended Range vs Tesla Model 3: costs and verdict

The new MG 4 Extended Range costs thousands less than the cheapest Tesla Model 3, yet has a longer official range. Is that game over for the Tesla?...

MG 4 and Tesla Model 3 in traffic

How much did the trip cost?

So, we know the journey was quicker and less stressful in the Tesla, but how much did it all cost? After all, one of the main reasons you might be choosing the MG over any Tesla is to save money.

Well, for this purpose, let’s assume both cars began the trip fully charged at the current electricity price cap of 27p/kWh. Many electric car owners who have off-street parking will sign up to a tariff that offers cheaper overnight electricity in return for a slightly higher day rate, but in any case we’re mainly interested in the difference in cost – not ways you might be able to do the journey cheaper in both.

Doug’s two charging stops cost a combined £91.02, plus he needed to spend £14.27 to top the battery back up to 100% when he returned to London (based on home energy prices). That’s a total of £105.29.

Will’s three Supercharger stops in the Tesla cost a total of £38.70, plus he needed £16.69 to get the battery back up to full in London. So, that’s a total of £55.39 – barely more than half the amount Doug spent.

MG 4 plugged in to public charger

This is partly because even peak-time Supercharger prices (per kWh) are cheaper than any of the public charging points Doug visited, but also because the Tesla proved more efficient. It averaged 3.8 miles per kWh, compared with the MG’s 3.4 miles/kWh. So, even though Will actually did 22 miles more than Doug in total, due to slightly different routes suggested by each sat-nav, the journey in the Tesla was massively cheaper.

Breakdown of the costs

  MG 4 Extended Range Tesla Model 3 RWD

Charging stop 1

£45 for 62.3kWh

£12.24 for 34kWh

Charging stop 2

£46.02 for 61.4kWh

£11.70 for 26kWh

Charging stop 3


£14.76 for 41kWh

Home charging

£14.27 for 52.9kWh

£16.69 for 61.8kWh

Total cost



Cost per mile




3.4 miles/kWh

3.8 miles/kWh

Our verdict

Our road trip demonstrated two things. First, that some relatively affordable new electric cars can do long trips with a fraction of the stress and jeopardy you’d have experienced just a few years ago. That’s mostly because of the much longer range that cars like the MG 4 Extended Range can deliver, but also thanks to improvements in charging speed and the public charging network.

In the MG, we encountered no broken charging points or major connection issues. And while there was probably some luck involved – we might well have had to queue at charging locations with only a couple of stalls during busier times – the fact remains that everything went largely as planned.

The second thing our journey showed is that the rest of the UK’s public charging infrastructure is still light years behind Tesla’s.

MG 4 - behind the wheel

It isn’t just that there are usually lots of stalls at each Supercharger location and that they generally deliver faster charging rates. Or that you just plug in without faffing around with an app or a card. Or that the charging bays are often bigger. Or even that prices are more reasonable.

All of that stuff helps enormously, of course, but it’s the fact that the car and the network are in constant communication that takes the stress out of the experience. It means you don’t have to invest energy in thinking about where you’re going to stop, if that place will have free bays or how you’re going to pay. It’s the closest experience to driving a petrol car you’ll get from an EV.

True, even the entry-level Model 3 costs considerably more to buy than the range-topping MG 4 Extended Range. But then it’s a vastly better car in pretty much every respect and, thanks to slower predicted depreciation, it won’t cost you much more to own in the long run, or per month if you’re signing up to a finance agreement.

Truth be told, the Model 3 is an absolute bargain, given what it offers. The MG 4, meanwhile, is brilliant value in entry-level (£26,995) form, but the more expensive it gets, the less easy it is to recommend.

MG 4 and Tesla Model 3 parked

Charging aside, what are these electric cars like on a long journey?

Doug Revolta on the MG 4

“The MG was out of its comfort zone on such a long journey. Although the ride proved reasonably comfortable on the motorway, wind and road noise were prominent enough to become very tiring after a while.

“While having adaptive cruise control is helpful, the MG’s steering assistance is poor; rather than keep you in the centre of your lane, it tends to bounce the car from one white line to the other.

“The driving position isn’t ideal, with a steering wheel offset slightly to the left, no adjustable lumbar support and precious little under-thigh support. The infotainment frustrates, too. The on-screen icons are too small, adjusting the air-con is fiddly, and even though I used Apple CarPlay, the system crashed several times during the journey.”

Will Nightingale on the Tesla Model 3

“You wouldn’t expect the Tesla to pamper you like a £100k BMW i7 – and it doesn’t. However, it was a very pleasant companion on such a long trip.

Tesla Model 3 - setting the sat-nav

“It’s much quieter than the MG, for starters, rides more smoothly at high speeds and has a fundamentally better driving position, with a more supportive driver’s seat.

“Then we come to the tech, which is in a different league. Forget about the silly stuff (such as getting it to make farting noises); it’s the assisted driving features that really impress – especially the self-steering, which does a great job of keeping you in the centre of your lane.

“Anyone tall will appreciate the extra rear head and leg room compared with the MG, and while the saloon boot opening isn’t brilliant for practicality, the Tesla can ultimately carry way more luggage.”

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