MG4 review: an Impressive EV that has a bright future

The MG4 EV drives well, looks good, and is a real contender in its class.
MG4 review: an Impressive EV that has a bright future






from €27,495 - €34,495 as tested


150 kW electric motor


435 km

The Spec

shockingly good


A super little car, but be careful in the wet

We did not, unfortunately, get off to a great start with the new era of MG under its far-from-Oxford guise as part of the Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation in China.

The MG 5 EV was the first car sold in Ireland under the new regime and, it truth, it wasn’t great. Decent, but not great by any standards. In our review of the car last year we described it as looking like “the bastard offspring of a mating between a Ford Mondeo estate and a VW Passat estate.” That it appeared to come from the pen of a designer who had just woken up from a 30-year sleep, certainly didn’t help. It had all the charisma of a cow pat.

No sooner had we delivered our review of the car when into view hooved the MG 4 EV, which is a beast of an entirely different colour – a lurid orange, in this case – and one which, with one or two reservations, will propel this new Chinese MG into the mainstream with considerable ease if what we experienced applies to future models.

The MG 4 is an apparent challenger to such as the EV chart-topper, the Volkswagen ID.3, but it is much smarter looking and cheaper – a lot cheaper. It is easily MG’s most convincing car and the way it goes about its business – again with one or two reservations – is a very promising sign for the company and its chances of success not only here in Ireland, but across Europe too.

So, let’s look at the positives.

First up, it looks smart – real smart. Unlike the stodgy MG5, this thing oozes character and modernity. Whether it will still do so in 12 months time is another thing. You know the sort of design – it immediately catches your eye because of sharp lines and nice detailing, but will it still look as tasty months or years down the road?


There have been many cars down the years which stood out from the crowd at launch-time, but after a while they don’t. It is not that age has caught up with them, just that what looked great last week, looks crap next week. That’s just a simple truth.

Whether that will be so with the MG4, only time will tell. For now, though, it looks the berries – and not just because that gaudy overcoat it has on will not fail but to catch your eye. The sharply sloped bonnet and the deep front airdam with all those swishy contours and faux air inlets (it is electric and therefore shouldn’t need cooling ducts) and a really neat LED light layout.

The same applies to the rear end, where there is a very attractive – but simple – LED light layout; the split rear ‘dual wing’ aerofoils on the ’Exclusive’ spec. tester provide a faintly ‘supercar’ vibe, as does the faux diffuser. From the side, the darkened rear windows shout everything from ‘rock star’ to ‘drug dealer’ while the 17” alloys add a touch of class.

All told it looks great for now and while the interior does have a largely quality feel – the leather squared-circle steering wheel is very tactile - while in front of the driver there is a decent digital screen with all the expected information and a lot more beside. Another 10.25” screen in the middle of the dash for all the infotainment/climate doings initially seemed unnecessarily complicated, but it rewards a little bit of patience.

The seating is comfortable and the driver’s seat multi-adjustable; there’s bags of room in here too and those that have compared the airiness of this cabin to that of the VW ID.3 in terms of space are not wide of the mark.

There’s nothing terribly crass or awfully plasticky here and you will be shocked at the level of specification there is for the money and the top level model we tried certainly doesn’t want for much.

Our initial driving experiences were pretty eye-opening too and we have a regular test route covering some 150km which covers all type of roads, surfaces, gradients and corners and will generally give you an idea if the car cuts the mustard on the ride and handling fronts. This one does – with honours.

The chassis is a dedicated EV platform, although the 150 kW electric motor is mounted on the rear axle and drive only the rear wheels. There will be another version soon with 4WD and uprated performance, but this one should certainly not disappoint the enthusiast.

Top speed is a tad over 160 km/h and the 0-100 km/h dash is achieved in 7.9 seconds. Range is very acceptable to at 435 km for this ‘Exclusive’ model and even if you’re acting the hooligan you should get close enough to what’s promised.


The ride is good, even on rough surfaces and the handling is a sharp as you’d wish from something that likes to project something of a ‘GTi’ image. But I found a kink here – unexpectedly, I have to say.

Having completed one leg of the test route in dry conditions, I was shouting from the rooftops that this was one of the smartest electrics I’d laid hands on and that you could really lean on it when you wanted and there were no vices.

The return leg was in the wet, however, and all of a sudden, things were not so hot. Now this was not biblical rain, just normal West Cork rain and on its relatively slim Continental tyres, the car was prone to unexpected and unwanted aquaplaning.

It was not as if I was on the door handles speed-wise that it became suddenly tractionless and I do not know if the tyres are Chinese-made or are a specific European design, but they did not like wet Irish roads.

Experienced drivers will know that horrible feeling you get when you take a corner and the steering wheel suddenly goes light and you realise you’ve effectively got no steering. All you can do is take your foot off the accelerator, don’t touch the brakes and just hold on, hoping traction happens soon.

This happened to me on three or four occasions during that run and it not do a lot for my blood pressure, heart-rate or sphincter muscle function. If purchasing, then, I would be looking to make sure the tyres on which the car will run in Ireland are fully suitable for Irish conditions.

In fairness, I cannot say whether this is a problem due to the design, or simply the tyres, but I would be looking to get it sorted one way or another.

This was an unfortunate blip on what was otherwise a hugely impressive test. This is a car that is frightening the bejaysus out of the trade in general. It is great to drive – in most conditions – truly well specified. It’s no wonder the industry is frightened.

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