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Monday, May 30, 2022

Review: 2022 MG HS 1.5 TST Trophy


As you go up the pricing ladder, considerations for a brand-new car change from just being a basic form of transportation to something more aspirational. In order to succeed, it’s no longer enough just to fulfill the basic or hygiene factors, rather it becomes imperative to connect to buyers at an emotional level as well. This is one of the main missions of the MG HS, and one that it manages to get mostly right.

Without a doubt, pricing is still the MG HS’s biggest draw. At 1,308,888 for this top-of-the-line Trophy variant, it doesn’t break the bank. Yet, it manages to cram a sensible amount of tech and convenience features. That said, at this price range, it also finds itself against more formidable opponents; opponents that don’t just include other Chinese crossovers such as the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro, Geely Coolray, and the Ford Territory, but others such as the Honda HR-V and the Toyota Corolla Cross as well.



Things start out on the right foot with a design that’s clean, elegant, and clearly familial. Compared to the MG RX5, which will be retained in the local line-up, the MG HS looks like the true big brother to the MG ZS. The same stardust grille, fancy LED lighting (they even do an animated dance on start-up), and the upward kink on the C-pillar are all recognizable MG cues by now. It also happens to get more performance-oriented cues like true dual exhaust pipes and Michelin-shod 18-inch alloy wheels.

For the most part, the MG HS hits the mark when it comes to exterior design, though if you were to be very critical about it, it’s still a wonder why the Trophy badge only appears on the driver’s side C-pillar. It’s as if the Chinese forgot to slap the emblem on the passenger’s side. And before you think it’s an honest mistake, the execution’s the same on other MG models as well from the MG ZS T own Trophy emblem to the MG 5’s Net Blue badge.

The inside echoes the exterior treatment pretty much. It’s hard to find any scratchy plastics since well-finished materials and padded textures cover virtually everything. The cabin is beautifully spartan, but the overall execution is more function over form.



Navigating through the central 10-inch infotainment screen takes getting used to. On more than one occasion, you’ll find yourself stuck at certain parts of the menu only to find out that a mastery of both the on-screen buttons and physical piano keys below it is required. Even simple commands like adjusting the climate control’s temperature requires at least two steps. It’s distracting, quite frankly.

The rest of the controls fair better and are placed exactly where you’d expect them to be. All the buttons, stalks, and switches are straightforward and operate with a nice, solid feel to them. Customization options are, however, buried in the infotainment system’s sub-menus.

The front seats are one-piece bucket seats that look like they make a great Recaro impression. Sadly, the looks don’t necessarily match the support it gives. It doesn’t come out during quick drives, but longer stints will feel like you’re sitting on top of the seats rather than on them. Even at the lowest setting, you feel like you’re perched too high. Thankfully, the bolstering is alright and there’s even adjustable lumbar support. The thickness of the seat frame also appears to rob some legroom even if the MG HS’s rear accommodations remain generous enough. There are gobs of knee room at the back and despite the “Stargazer” panoramic sunroof, enough headroom to fit a 6-ft person easy. The cargo hold is equally generous; a hidden shelf and retractable tonneau cover helps keep things organized and valuables away from prying eyes.



Meanwhile, storage in the cabin is good with large, usable door bins and dual cupholders in the center console with a removable divider. The armrest console’s also deep enough and even comes with its own vent, perfect if you want to keep canned drinks chilled. At the back, passengers get their very own AC vents and even USB ports. If there’s one oddity here, it’s the flip-open tray just forward of the shifter. There’s no storage here, instead it just hides the 12-volt and front USB ports. Want somewhere to store your iPhone while you’re using CarPlay? You’ll need to snake the cable from there to the center console.

The large glass roof aside, MG hasn’t forgotten that value is ultimately what Filipino buyers sought out in them. With that, the MG HS scores high in terms of tech and convenience features. It gets a dual-zone climate control system with rear air vents, ambient interior lighting, a power tailgate, and even a built-in cabin filtration system. It also gets solid marks for safety with tire pressure monitoring system and blind spot detection on top of the usual airbags (six of them), ABS with EBD, stability control, and rear parking sensors/camera.

When it comes to promising a level of driving excitement, the HS Trophy certainly whets the appetite. If the sport-style seats aren’t enough, there’s also the multitude of red stitching and also the thick, flat-bottom steering wheel. The most blatant sign though is in the form of a bright red button labeled, Super Sport. It’s pretty hard to miss.



Pressing the Super Sport button changes the layout of the 12.3-inch driver display from something subdued to something more in-your-face (this is on top of the usual Eco, Normal, and Sport settings). Naturally, red is the predominant color. The tach and speedo turn into a pair of eyes that seem to stare right back at you, urging you to call out your inner demon to jab down the right foot.

Sadly, the HS Trophy never fulfills those sporty pretenses. The turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder and its 169 horsepower, 250 Nm of torque output feel adequate rather than impressive. There’s some shove for sure, but it’s nowhere as close to a level that’s considered exciting. Fuel economy isn’t that impressive as well. Despite the engine’s relatively small displacement, it manages just 7.63 km/L in heavy traffic (average 19 km/h). It goes up to just 9.80 km/L in light, Sunday traffic (average speed 29 km/h).



The engine itself is quiet, often relegated to background duties, but the 7-speed dual clutch it’s attached to can sometimes make itself known. Although MG’s managed to tune it better than their previous dual clutch systems, but there’s still a general reluctance to take off from a full stop. It also seems to dislike any form of incline; parking ramps are enough to choke it. On more level ground though, the gearbox would shift more predictably though you still need to be smooth with throttle inputs. Any indecision in driver input will result in an unpleasant shudder.

Despite the sporty looks and turbocharged engine, the MG HS is definitely tuned for comfort. Honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air from many other compact SUVs that claim firmness to be part of their charm. In this case, it’ll deal with bumps and undulations remarkably well, and the abundance of noise filtering keeps the cabin hushed. The plushness, however, does have a tradeoff and here, it’s particularly prone to body roll when pushed. It’s nothing alarming, but it can feel a tad lumbering and frumpy when pushed hard through runabouts and corners.

From making budget-conscious SUVs and sedans, MG has successfully come up with a pretty convincing compact SUV. Although its biggest draw remains its appealing price, it backs it up with impressive specs and a design that’s actually neat and well-done. If you’re on a budget that won’t extend to a new SUV from the established players, you should consider this one. There are compromises to the MG HS, but there’s no denying that it marks a significant step forward for the brand. After all, the Great Wall of China wasn’t built in a day.



2022 MG HS 1.5 TST Trophy

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Ownership 2022 MG HS 1.5 TST Trophy
Year Introduced 2022
Vehicle Classification Compact SUV
Warranty 5 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 169 @ 5,600
Nm @ rpm 250 @ 4,400
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 7 DCT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.63 km/L @ 19 km/h,
9.80 km/L @ 29 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,574
Width (mm) 1,876
Height (mm) 1,664
Wheelbase (mm) 2,720
Curb Weight (kg) 1,550
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Michelin Primacy 3 ST 235/50 R 18 W (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Blind Spot Information System
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Lane Change Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Tailgate Electronic
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 6-way, Electric
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 4-way, Electric
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
Sunroof Yes
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

5 comments:

  1. One major thing lacking in the HS is a 360 camera (curiously, the ZS T has it).

    Uly, MG can't seem to fix its dual clutch system. You think a 6-speed AT is better (again, the one available in the ZS T)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.carguide.ph/2022/02/review-2022-mg-zst-13t-trophy.html

      It doesn't exactly solve the problem completely, but at least it doesn't shudder as much. It's just not exciting.

      Delete
  2. H a dated model, mg just dump it in ph. Overseas it has vry bad reputation for unreliability. The latest model has been lunch in thailand, i hope it wil hav 6sped aisen trans same wd zst n not dat jerky dual clutch.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is the DCT of Geely much smoother than the DCTs of MG and Chery?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say the DCT on the Tiggo 8 Pro (at least in the route we tested it in) is the best followed by the ones on the Geely. The MG ones are the roughest...but it's an improvement over the RX5 from before.

      Delete

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