MG was a famous English car maker renowned for its inexpensive 2 seater sports cars such as the MG Midget and MGB GT. The company, now under Chinese ownership, stopped manufacturing sports cars like those the brand was once famous for and instead focused on producing high volumes of family-friendly affordable motors.
We were delighted to have the opportunity to visit Lebanon to find out about the latest SUVs to the MG range – the HS and RX8.
Each is an attractive vehicle, with big front grills proudly bearing the MG badge, and decent amounts of boot space inside. There are lots of built-in storage spaces and cup-holders, and thoughtful additions such as a big center arm rest, central air vents, reading lights, and USB slots for passengers seated in the back.
Both the HS and RX8 share the same engine, a 220-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo petrol engine that develops a maximum torque of 360Nm mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Driving up into the mountains south of Beirut with four adults onboard, this engine was perfectly adequate.
The RX8 is the company’s first 7 seater model and MG claims it has the largest wheelbase and roomiest third-row in its class.
Both the HS and RX8 handled well on both highways and twisting mountain roads, and have lots of interior room, front and rear. The panoramic sunroofs made the cabins feel even roomier.
The smaller HS comes in 3 options levels; Explore, Excite, and Exclusive. All offer alloy wheels, LED headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and electric folding door mirrors.
Excite models have 18in wheels (instead of 17”), a reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers and sat-nav. Exclusive models have diamond-cut 18” alloys, leather interior, sequential indicators front and rear, electrically adjustable front seats, and a full-length sunroof.
All versions of the HS come with MG Pilot, a range of electronic safety equipment that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot detection… and more.
Moving on to the RX8, this is the company’s first 7 seater model and MG claims it has the largest wheelbase and the roomiest third-row in its class. It offers a real-time 4×4 Torque on Demand system with six different driving modes: Auto, 4L, Off-road, Snow, Sport, and 2H.
Features include matrix-style LED lights, 20-inch alloy wheels, and premium interior finishes including wood grain, chrome and soft-touch trim in a choice of three color schemes.
My only complaint about these SUVs is there’s a lag in power when driving in low revs. I’ve driven other current model MG cars and I’ve noticed the same lag in all of them. It’s not serious, but some people may find it annoying.
But, the overall quality felt good for the price. These are decent value-for-money SUVs and come very well equipped. The company has ambitious plans, so expect MG to sell well in the price-conscious Bahrain market.
Prices in Bahrain start at BD 7,349 (inc VAT) for the HS, and BD 8,925 (inc VAT) for the RX8. All MG cars come with 6 years or 200,000 km manufacturer’s warranty.