The 2022 GREENFLEET Electric Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year, MG Motor UK hopes to entice drivers into its MG4 EV with a very tempting combination of value, equipment, tech and range. Richard Gooding finds out if the all-new electric hatchback has what it takes to succeed
What is it?
Once a maker of British sports cars, the 21st Century MG Motor UK is now owned by Chinese automotive manufacturer SAIC Motor. Already popular with fleet drivers because of the all-electric ZS compact SUV, MG5 EV estate as well as the MG HS PHEV, during the first nine months of 2022, the company was the UK’s 12th most popular car brand. The MG4 EV is arguably the manufacturer’s most important car launch in recent times. Built on a new and bespoke Modular Scalable Platform (MSP), the family hatchback has a high specification and is priced to undercut its major rivals.
What range does it have?
The MG4 EV comes with two battery choices. A 51kWh (50.8kWh usable) battery is available on entry level SE models, and gives a combined WLTP single charge driving range of 218 miles. A larger 64kWh (61.7kWh usable) battery powers the SE Long Range and Trophy Long Range versions. As their name suggests, they can travel further, up to 270 miles on the WLTP combined cycle.
How long does it take to charge?
All MG4 EVs are fitted with a 7kW on-board charger. Cars with the Standard Range battery can charge at speeds of up to 117kW DC, meaning a 10-80 per cent rapid charge at a 50kW charging point takes around 50 minutes. Models with the larger 64kWh battery and 135kW DC charging capability take around an hour for the same refill.
Plug the MG4 EV into a domestic socket and a 10-100 per cent charge takes around 21 hours for the 51kWh models, increasing to 26 hours on those with the larger battery. A 7kW home wallbox can replenish the MG4 EV from 10-100 per cent in just under eight to around nine hours, depending on battery size.
How does it drive?
Even though the MG4 EV takes the familiar five-door family hatchback template it’s in no way derivative in terms of styling. Sharp features front and rear give it some individuality, and the twin aero spoilers on high-spec Trophy Long Range are distinctive touches. Add in a palette of vibrant colours and it’s very hard to mistake the MG4 EV for anything else.
Inside, MG’s newcomer takes a minimalist style, similar to that used by the Volkswagen ID.3. However, and here’s one surprise of many, the perceived quality is better. Surfaces are nice to the touch, too, and screen graphics are sharp, even if the 10.25-inch infotainment unit isn’t the easiest to navigate – both driving mode and air conditioning controls are operated through the screen. The easy-to-use rotary gear selector sits on a central ‘shelf’ containing more practical elements, such as channels for smartphone cables and the wireless charging pad, which could be a little deeper.
Move off, and it's obvious that care has been taken to get the driving experience right. The MSP platform gives the MG4 EV 50:50 weight distribution and with the motor in the rear driving the rear wheels, there’s an already built-in sense of engagement. With 203bhp and 184lb ft (250Nm) of torque – identical to the 170bhp entry level model – the MG4 EV Trophy Long Range isn’t slow, and gets up to motorway speeds quickly with very little fuss.
Overall, MG’s new family electric hatchback feels agile, engaging, and is comfortable, too. Similar to many electric cars, the ride is firm, but not jarringly so, and the MG4 EV grips the road well, almost too well for a car this affordable. The steering is quick and direct, if a little too light, but that’s a boon around town where the MG makes easy work of nipping in and out of traffic. A series of five driving modes – Eco, Sport, Snow, Custom and Normal – allow for tailoring of the driving experience, along with four levels of regenerative braking. Active grille shutters on Long Range battery models help regulate air flow and increase efficiency.
What does it cost?
Wanting to ‘disrupt’ the market, MG has priced the MG4 EV to undercut potential rivals such as the Volkswagen ID.3 by quite some margin. The entry level SE model starts at £26,995 and includes a 10.25-inch colour touchscreen, a seven-inch digital driver display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity as standard.
The £29,495 SE Long Range model features the same specification as the SE – which also includes the comprehensive MG Pilot suite of driver assistance and safety technologies – but is fitted with the larger 64kWh battery. As tested here, the £32,495 MG4 EV Trophy Long Range uses the same 64kWh battery as the SE Long Range, but gains luxuries such as heated front seats and steering wheel, and additional practical features. Satellite navigation, a wireless smartphone charger, 360-degree parking camera and Bluetooth mobile phone key are all standard, as is V2L capability.
For comparison, at the time of writing, the 204bhp Volkswagen ID.3 Business with 58kWh ‘Pro Performance’ battery and a WLTP-combined all-electric range of 264 miles costs from £39,425.
How much does it cost to tax?
In common with all electric cars, the MG4 EV is currently exempt from VED charges in its first and following years of registration. For fleet drivers, MG’s electric hatchback attracts a two per cent Benefit In Kind (BIK) value under 2022-2023 company car tax rates, and this also applies for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025.
Why does my fleet need one?
MG very much sees the 4 EV as a market ‘disruptor’ and with a combination of decent electric range, lots of equipment and sit-up-and-take-notice prices, the newcomer has been given the weaponry to succeed. And succeed it does. The MG4 EV is a very pleasantly surprising car. For how affordable it is, its driving experience, levels of on-board technology and kit, and all-electric driving range shade most if not all of its major rivals.
There’s a reason why MG Motor UK won the 2022 GREENFLEET Electric Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year award, and with plans for the arrival of an even longer range 4 EV – as well as a performance version – there is no reason for that success to dim. And that’s all before the launch of a family of MSP-based EVs which will make the MG4 the company’s oldest model by 2024. There’s lots to look forward to from this fast-moving brand, and the brilliant MG4 EV is just the start.