You don't have to be an eco-warrior to find electric cars tempting these days. Plenty offer a long list of benefits that can lure buyers away from petrol or diesel alternatives, although typically, new electric cars have been more expensive than their engine-powered equivalents. That's something MG is setting out to change, however - and the new MG4 does it in the most effective way possible. At £25,995, it is the cheapest new electric car you can buy in Britain right now.
That title alone means it's set to be a major disruptor, but does it also deliver on quality, range, safety and tech? After driving the MG4, we reckon it's got plenty going for it - as we'll explain in this review.
The MG4 represents a new direction for the brand because it uses MSP architecture - which is MG's new electric car base. It will be the base for all of its future EVs, making it the first of a new family.
So, what does this new MSP base give the MG4? For starters, it offers more interior space than other MGs while still being hatchback-sized, making parking and general manoeuvring uncomplicated.
The new underpinnings also enable the introduction of a new look. The MG4 gets a sharp nose, floating rear light bar and a standard-fit rear spoiler, making for an aerodynamic, appealing image.
The MG4 is available in six colours, with a vivid orange (pictured) and bold blue part of the palette for people who like to drive a car that stands out. The design is very similar on all three trim ranges, but some features (like the two-tone black roof) are exclusive to the SE Long Range or Trophy Range trims only (more on those in a mo'). But like with everything on this MG4, you really don’t lose out on much if you go for the entry-level SE trim.
It's immediately very aerodynamic and spacey, yet appealing and approachable
What's it like to drive?
Eyebrows may indeed raise when we claim that the cheapest new EV on sale is a great drive. But seriously, the MG4 is more than an eco-box with some angular looks.
The car's weight distribution is a perfect 50:50, it's rear-wheel drive (like a sports car!) and the steering is responsive and predictable. There’s enough power from the electric motor for it to feel nimble and fun, while the ride is smoother than many small electric cars, taking on bumps in a way that many SUV owners would recognise. Sure, there’s a bit of roll in sharp corners, but generally, the low centre of gravity keeps the MG4 glued to the road. It feels mildly sporty, if not as sporty as the new performance Cupra Born.
Visibility is one of the car's biggest strengths, and the cabin is so light and airy that you get a real sense of your surroundings. It’s a relatively small car that feels spacious.
You get a choice of two battery sizes and three battery ranges. There’s a 51kW or a 64kW battery (the bigger number being the bigger battery). The entry SE trim has a claimed range of 218 miles, the SE Long Range manages 281 miles claimed and the Trophy Long Range 270 miles. At home, all models will charge on a 7kWh plug in under 10 hours, while a public rapid charger of 150kWh (the sort you often see at service stations) is claimed to take an MG4 from 10% to 85% in around 35 minutes. Decent.
Right, to a key selling point of the MG4: interior tech. For a car that starts at £25,999 and hits a max of £31,495, it’s bursting with tech. All trims have a 10.25-inch central touchscreen and a 7.0-inch driver’s screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, you get USB ports and even an iSmart connectivity app that lets you configure all kinds of things remotely. Lane assist, traffic jam assist, adaptive cruise control... it's all there loaded into the car's technical armoury.
The touchscreen is very easy to use, and the driver’s display is one of the clearest in the hatchback class. The interior is spacious and the quality is great considering the price, with softer, more premium-feeling plastics in frequently touched spots. It's evident how sensibly thought out the design is and how it’s made with minimum fuss in mind. From the cubbyholes to the gear selector that’s placed conveniently in the centre of the dash, it’s individual and intuitive.
It's evident how sensibly thought out the design is
Considering this is a small EV there’s little compromise on the space it offers. This is due to the wheelbase and MSP platform we mentioned earlier, and we’re very grateful for it. Seating five adults in a hatchback can sometimes be a squeeze, but the MG4 is a small car you really could do the teenagers' school run in. The boot is good too, a small case and weekend bags plus the shopping should be fine. Storage throughout is excellent, with cupholders, cubbyholes and wide armrests.
Running costs and reliability
The MG4 is electric so you're not subject to the price at the pump but rather electricity costs. To keep them as low as possible, the MG4's claimed ranges of 218 to 281 miles (variant dependent) are more than decent, and the onboard range prediction is extremely accurate too. Many urban drivers would need only to charge their car once a week. Also, don't forget that electric cars consistently top reliability rankings (they've fewer moving parts and so on) so you’re likely to save money on maintenance costs versus a petrol equivalent.
What we love
One of the biggest barriers to electric cars is the price, so at £25,995, the MG4 has set the precedent for other manufacturers to follow. It gives a good value for money as its larger sibling, the MG5, and we expect this to be a bit of a watershed moment for the EV market!
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Great handling, decent quality and fantastic value for money. The MG4 has a lot going for it.
This review was