Devon & Plymouth Chamber CEO Stuart Elford road tests the new all-electric MG4 from Rodgers of Plymouth
When I turned up at the Rodgers of Plymouth MG showroom at Christian Mill Business Park and first saw the new MG4, my attention was immediately piqued.
Firstly, this is a good-looking and unique small family car. The bonnet, nose and headlights are purposeful and sporty looking, despite there being no grille as this is an all-electric vehicle
The rear has modern angular taillights that are shaped into the rear spoiler, and there is sporty trim around the back end which continues along the sides and joins with a scooped spoiler at the front.
This model is finished off with sporty diamond-cut alloy wheels – bringing together a package that is clearly meant to evoke the sporty MG’s of yesteryear.
Craig from Rodgers showed me around the car and demonstrated its keyless entry. Once in the spacious cabin you still don’t need the key as the vehicle senses when you are in the car and springs to life.
This isn’t a big car by any means, but there was plenty of room for my six-foot-three frame (even in the back) and the seats were supportive and comfortable, with the sporty theme continuing with quality piping.
Like many modern cars, the control systems are really intuitive – so it only took Craig a few minutes to run through the vehicle settings, including the regenerative braking and numerous driver-assists known as the MG Pilot system.
The Pilot system includes: Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Bicycle Detection; Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning System; Traffic Jam Assist; Intelligent Speed Limit Assist with Traffic Sign Recognition; Intelligent High Beam Assist; Adaptive Cruise Control; and Driver Attention Alert.
The MG4 feels like you are piloting an aircraft thanks to its dual-display screens, one in front with all the driving information and one central with all the other system controls, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Many of the systems can also be operated from the steering wheel controls.
Completing my ‘cockpit drill’ (years of police driver training I still can’t shake off!) I got a feel for all the interior fixtures and fittings.
Apparently, the MG4 shares parts with Volkswagen – and you can certainly tell. The interior of the SE model is relatively basic, but the plastics are high-quality and it comes with all the usual cup-holders, coat hooks, storage boxes and phone charging points you would expect – and even includes a glasses holder above the rear-view mirror.
It has a spacious boot that on some models can be made level with the hatchback, which would allow easy entry for Charlie, our four-legged Devon & Plymouth Chamber wellbeing officer.
Turning the rotary gear selector and pulling away into traffic, the car was extremely quiet – as you would expect from an electric vehicle – and it was only when I got up to motorway speeds that I detected any wind or road noise.
I drove through a combination of city traffic jams, dual carriageways and country roads, which the MG4 handled with equal ease.
Pressing it hard around a roundabout, the rear-wheel drive MG was extremely sure-footed, which is testament to the claimed 50:50 weight distribution and low centre of gravity. That precise handling alongside acceleration that is quiet, brisk and progressive, makes overtaking easy and, combined with impressive braking, makes this a very pleasant car to drive.
I only had the MG4 for a few hours and had some meetings in that time, so sadly I didn’t get a chance to drive it as much as I would like, but in the time I did it was very hard to find fault.
I also turned off some of the driving assist modes as there were so many I felt at times like the car could drive itself. It can’t, by the way, but it certainly has a raft of safety features to keep you on the road, in lane and away from danger.
The seven-inch driver display has a lot of information on it, but I am sure you get used to it and the 10.25-inch colour central display is intuitive and useful.
The claimed range for combined driving is a useful 218 miles and the battery can be charged to 80% in just 40 minutes, and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating makes this a very safe and practical, but not at all boring, family car.
The SE spec I drove had a lot of features, but I think I would opt for the Trophy Long Range specification that does 270 miles combined and includes sat-nav, 360-degree parking camera, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a mobile phone Bluetooth key.
That being said, I don’t know of any other electric car with this level of quality and spec for just £26,995 on the road, which goes some way to explaining why so many fleet managers and taxi drivers are buying MGs.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this car and when I dropped it back, I found myself browsing the showroom for other models in the range.
So, if you are in the market for an electric vehicle and want something a little different with a cool name to match, then pop along to Rodgers of Plymouth and speak to the team about an MG – you, too, are likely to be pleasantly surprised!
Find out more about the MG range by contacting Rodgers of Plymouth on 01752 773399 or visit the website here: https://www.rodgersofplymouth.co.uk/
Model: MG4 SE
Price: £26,995 otr
Power: 168bhp (rear-wheel drive)
0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
WLTP range: 217 miles
Features: 10.25-inch Touchscreen and seven-inch Driver Display, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto; MG Pilot System, LED Headlights & Rear Lights, Automatic Lights, Rear Parking Sensors, 17-inch Alloy Wheels, Auto AC, Adaptive Cruise Control.