Up­grade for MG’S cross­over SUV

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Motoring -

MG Mo­tor’s new-gen­er­a­tion GS will in­crease in size, in-cabin tech­nol­ogy and en­gine po­tency when it launches later this year into the hotly con­tested mid­size SUV mar­ket – Aus­tralia’s favourite ve­hi­cle seg­ment.

Although badged as HS in China, step­ping up the al­pha­bet ladder to re­flect the sig­nif­i­cant up­dates, the mid­size SUV will likely re­tain the GS moniker in Aus­tralia due to the aware­ness of the name­plate.

MG Mo­tor Aus­tralia prod­uct plan­ning di­rec­tor Pavel Meck said the name was still un­der dis­cus­sion.

“We don’t want to erode the fol­low­ing and fa­mil­iar­ity we have with the GS badge,” he said.

Last year, MG sold 333 units of its GS cross­over, a healthy 119.1 per­cent in­crease over 2017’s tally, although still last on the brands charts be­hind the ZS small SUV, 1692, MG3 hatch­back, 564, and MG6 Plus sedan, 418.

In the first quar­ter of 2019 how­ever, the GS has moved to third place with 114 new regis­tra­tions.

Cru­cially, the new GS will com­pete in the thriv­ing sub-$60,000 mid-size SUV seg­ment led this year by the Mazda CX-5, Mit­subishi Outlander and Toy­ota RAV4 – the lat­ter of which is expected to get a boost from the launch of a new-gen­er­a­tion

model next month. Though the MG GS will face an up­hill bat­tle for mar­ket share, the new cross­over grows by 74mm and 70mm in over­all length and wheel­base re­spec­tively, while also be­ing 21mm wider and 40mm lower, with only a mar­ginal in­crease in weight.

In­side, the big­gest dif­fer­ence in new­gen­er­a­tion form is the ad­di­tion of a larger touch­screen that – in China alone – will come with Alibaba soft­ware called Ali OS that in­cludes fleet man­age­ment tools and voice-ac­ti­vated search func­tion­al­ity.

Aus­tralian ver­sions how­ever, will still ben­e­fit from a far eas­ier to use and more at­trac­tive dash­board that in­cludes the 10.0-inch cen­tre screen backed up by a TFT vir­tual in­stru­ment panel that stretches 12.3-inches be­hind the steer­ing wheel.

Plac­ing the large screen above the cen­tre con­sole has low­ered the cen­tre vents, while the bank of but­tons ahead of the gear shifter is now condensed into satin-al­loy con­trols on ei­ther side of that shift lever.

In­side is an im­prove­ment in cabin de­sign and a no­tice­able in­crease in qual­ity, with fit and fin­ish well into up­per-level Ja­panese car class.

The top-tier Tro­phy vari­ant gains a leather cabin that is pleated and matched to the satin-al­loy fin­ishes, as well as pi­ano-black trim and air vents, and soft-touch dash lin­ing.

Rear seat room is bet­ter in the new model, mainly thanks to the 70mm in­crease in wheel­base, but also be­cause of the more com­fort­able seats with longer thigh sup­port.

At­ten­tion has also been given to rear ingress and egress, with the rear doors open­ing wider than be­fore.

Although ex­act boot mea­sure­ments were not given, the space ap­pears sim­i­lar to the ex­ist­ing GS, and in­cludes a false floor to se­cure goods above the space-saver spare.

The HS Tro­phy is sim­i­lar in spec­i­fi­ca­tion to the cur­rent top-spec MG Essence X, with a car­ry­over 2.0-litre turbo-petrol en­gine and six-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion that feeds power to the road via an on-de­mand all-wheel drive sys­tem.

MG quotes 170kw-360nm for the en­gine, slightly up from the cur­rent model’s 162kw-350nm. Fuel con­sump­tion how­ever, is down to 8.6 litres per 100km com­pared to the GS’S 9.6L-100km, though the Chi­nese data doesn’t de­clare the test cy­cle used.

No prices or fi­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions have been an­nounced, though it ap­pears the range will be sim­i­lar to the cur­rent model and the 1.5-litre en­gine will re­main as the en­try-level power plant.

For ref­er­ence, the ex­ist­ing GS kicks off at $23,990 be­fore on-road costs for the two-wheel-drive man­ual Vivid, and tops out at $34,990 for the au­to­matic all-paw Essence X.

FIRST DRIVE: MG’S GS gains a makeover.

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