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MG GS 1.5 TGI Exclusive DCT Test Drive Review

Date: 29 June 2016   |   Author:

Category: Crossover
Key rival: Kia Sportage
P11D: £20,995
On sale: June 2016

Chinese-owned MG is being very bullish in declaring that its new GS SUV can compete with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage - the models against which the GS is benchmarked - on merit rather than as a budget alternative.

However, pretty awful ride quality, some cheap cabin materials, and below-average refinement suggest otherwise.

On the plus side, MG's first SUV looks good, handles tidily with good control of body roll, and there's a decent amount of both rear legroom and, in particular, headroom, although the boot doesn't look or feel as big as the figures suggest.

But the GS is significantly cheaper than its competition. Equipment is good at the entry £14,995 Explore trim level, including auto lights, aircon, 17-inch alloys, cruise control and a USB socket (but bizarrely not remote locking).

We think it's worth stepping up £2500 to Excite trim, which adds climate control, rear parking sensor, a reversing camera, DAB radio, remote locking, Bluetooth and tyre pressure-monitoring sensors.

Top-spec Exclusive is a further £2000 more (plus another £1500 for the DCT auto driven here), and includes heated, electric, leather seats, 18-inch alloys and satnav.

It's hard to know where the GS will sit in whole-life cost terms. Coming only with a 1.5-litre petrol engine - which in itself is a decent unit, if not the most refined - is a handicap in fleet terms, and the company then made the odd decision not to release pricing, spec and technical details until the day the car went on sale, which means a delay before it can appear on KwikCarcost's system, and on most leasing choice lists. So we don't at this stage know how it will stack up against mainstream or budget rivals.

Fundamentally, it feels like MG has achieved the thing it says it set out to avoid - producing a car that's not as good as the established big players in the segment, but it's a well-kitted cheaper alternative. The downside is that the Ssangyong Tivoli does that job with fewer compromises.

MG GS 1.5 TGI Exclusive DCT

Model price range £14,995-£20,995
Fuel consumption 45.5mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 141g/km (25%)
BIK 20/40% per month £87/£175
Warranty 5yrs/80,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 335/1336 litres
Engine size/power 1498cc/166hp


Good value but nowhere near the best in class
  • Good value
  • Good standard equipment
  • Looks pretty good
  • Poor ride quality, some low-quality cabin plastics
  • Refinement not up with best in class