MG was one of the few positive stories of 2020.
UK sales shot up 41 per cent to nearly 18,500 and this year it plans to hit 30,000, despite uncertainties over Covid.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the reinvention of MG by its Chinese owner Shanghai Automotive, which sold 300,000 cars worldwide last year and plans to hit a million by 2024, MG’s 100th anniversary.
We’re expecting to see an all-electric sports car before the year is out and that will be a much-needed halo car that links back to MG’s glorious heritage.
Driving out of the gates at Longbridge – MG’s old HQ – in the latest HS plug-in hybrid SUV, it is still hard to believe that less than 20 years ago the Birmingham site produced 200,000 cars and employed 6,000 people.
In its heyday in the Sixties, Longbridge had 26,000 workers and was the biggest car plant in the UK.
Today, all that remains is the engineering department with 250 staff.
The HS model I tested is the perfect illustration of the new MG – a high-riding family SUV which, like many rivals, doesn’t actually have any 4×4 capabilities.
It’s strictly front-wheel drive.
The only real clue it’s an MG is the giant badge in the middle of the grille.
But the HS’s strongest point is the price, which starts at £29,995, and includes lots of kit including 12in digital dash, 10in touchscreen with 360-degree parking camera and electrically adjustable heated seats.
The HS gets a quiet 1.5-litre turbo petrol with a 90kW electric motor good for 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
Just don’t expect any sporty MG handling from the past.
It handles like the majority of crossovers out there with light, easy steering that lacks feedback.
But the important bit is 43g/km CO2 and 32 miles of pure electric driving.
So it is future-proofed for many years yet.
The battery pack recharges in three hours with a home wall box.
Ignore the official 155mpg.
The reality is nearer 40mpg using the petrol engine, which is still decent.
There’s lots to like about the HS, not least the fact that it is reviving a great British name – and that’s not easy to do in the current climate.
Key facts: MG HS Plug-In-Hybrid
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol with 90kW electric motor
Power: 258hp, 370Nm
0-60mph: 6.9 secs
Top speed: 118mph
EV range: 32 miles
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