The Chinese carmaker’s latest EV, the MG4, has a great range at a keen price — but is it really a game changer?
The term ‘game changer’ made its debut in 1982 when it appeared in newspapers’ sports sections, referring to crucial plays in particular games rather than to the actual rules or methods of play, according to The New Yorker.
By the early 2000s, the phrase was being used to describe all sorts of events. Somewhere along the line the term made its way into motoring jargon. Today it’s a much bandied-about term and no end of ‘game-changing’ cars are launched yearly, but few take the world by storm. Our test car this week, the MG4, just might be the exception.
In less than three years since the Chinese-owned brand first arrived in Ireland, MG has delivered a fully electric five-door hatchback with a range between 350km and 450km on a single charge — and a price tag of just €27,495. True to its core selling point as a brand that sells affordable, family-friendly electric and plug-in hybrid cars, the new MG4 joins the keenly priced range alongside the ZS, MG5 and the HS plug-in hybrid.
Like it or loathe it, there is no doubting the exterior design is radical. Our test car came in “volcano orange” and its head-turning ability would be the envy of any supercar owner.
Inside, there’s lots of plastic but the layout is intuitive and there is a good feeling of spaciousness. A seven-inch driver display and 10.25in floating infotainment screen dominates the dashboard and there is plenty to keep the tech-savvy happy. The touchscreen is a little on the fiddly side to use and more functions controlled on the steering wheel would be useful, but overall there’s little to grumble about.
There is a choice of two battery options, 51kWh (standard range) and 64kWh (long range). We drove the long-range version that promises 450km. Charging overnight on a 7kW home charger will take around nine hours; a 50kW public rapid charger will take around 60 minutes to get to 80pc or as little as 35 minutes on a 150kW DC public rapid changer.
On the road, the handling is so much better than you might expect. The steering is sharp and, whether on twisting roads or in rush-hour traffic, it’s nicely responsive and well balanced.
Impressively, the MG4 also comes with the maximum five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP tests, proving cheap doesn’t mean skimping on safety.
Two options are offered on the new car in Ireland: the entry-level Excite and the Exclusive. They come with LED headlights and rear lights; seven-inch digital driver display; 10.25in colour touchscreen; rear parking sensors; 17in alloy wheels; MG Pilot drive-assist systems and MG iSMART app.
Entry-level pricing starts at €27,495, well below rivals such as the Renault Zoe (€32,995), Volkswagen ID.3 (€42,212) and Cupra’s Born (€40,080).
The MG4 is one of the very few cars that manages to live up to the hype. While the sharp styling may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s practical and spacious, is great fun to drive and comes with a decent range and all for a price tag of less than €30,000, making it pretty much unbeatable. MG has created a very welcome template for an affordable all-electric family car that should have European carmakers worried; in other words, it’s a proper game changer.
Star rating: 5/5
MG4 Exclusive Long Range
Starting price: €27,495 (€34,495 as tested)
Engine: Electric drive
Transmission: Single-speed automatic; rear-wheel drive
Co2/motor tax: 0g/km/€120
Battery capacity: 64kWh