And if you thought the MG 5 and ZS were perfect examples of how to make great electric cars for those without a six figure salary, the arrival of the MG4 is about to cause a huge stir. It will be the first MG built on a bespoke, designed-for-electric set of underpinnings. Aimed fairly and squarely at the Volkswagen ID.3 (the dimensions are almost identical), the MG4’s foundations (known as the Modular Scalable Platform (MSP) will eventually spawn further all-electric models in the same way that Volkswagen’s ID. platform sits underneath a range of cars, from the ID. Buzz to the Cupra Born.
The MG4 is clearly the sharpest and most distinctive electric MG yet. The edges look crisp, the detailing neatly resolved and the whole shape of the car looks more family hatchback than compact SUV. The posher Trophy models have a contrasting colour roof and distinctive roof spoilers, as well as a funky rear light pattern.
Climb inside and the advantages of MG’s purpose-built underpinnings are obvious. The flat floor and lack of an engine bay means that there is plenty of legroom all round. Despite being a physically smaller car than the MG5 estate, the 4 feels the more spacious of the two, and thanks to an open-plan dashboard arrangement, it feels more contemporary, too.
A small screen sits just behind the steering wheel with a larger one above the centre console – similar to Volkswagen’s ID models. Unlike the German car, however, MG has opted to install a row of physical buttons instead of the haptic switches and slider.
The driving position feels natural and more like a traditional hatchback than an SUV. You do sit a little higher than you would in, say, a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus, but thanks to plenty of adjustment on the steering column and seat, it's easy to find a comfortable driving position. The seats themselves are sharply sculpted and offer plenty of side and under-thigh support. There could be more lumbar support though - the SE model we tried gave us a bit of backache after an hour's driving.
Our only other concern is the gear selector plinth that juts out from the centre console. Those with longer legs will find the edge a little too close to their knees - especially when getting inside in a hurry.
Further back, the boot is wide and decently shaped. The capacity figure of 363 litres is only average for the class, but trumps the Ora Funky Cat and the load floor is wide and should easily be able to accommodate enough luggage for a week away. Don't expect a flat floor when you fold the seats though, and there are areas where the cost cutting is evident when you open the tailgate too, with bare metal and dull paint.
MG4 battery and charging
The MG4 comes battery, which is unusually flat at just 110mm high. The means that MG has been able to reduce the height of the car without compromising on cabin space. Sit in the back of an MG5 or even something like a Tesla Model 3, and you’ll notice that there’s a distinct shortage of foot space between the floor the front seats. In the MG4, you can happily wear a pair of workboots and still have space to move your feet.
In terms of range, the smaller battery 4 will has an official WLTP figure of 217 miles, which should translate to around 190 miles of real world range. The SE with the bigger power pack has the longest range at 281 miles, but be aware that the Trophy model has extra drag from the spoiler and additional weight, so the range drops by 11 miles to 270.
Drivers frustrated by the MG5 and ZS’s rapid charging capabilities (that tops out at 87kW on the the MG5) will be delighted to know that the MG4 is able to accept a rapid DC charge at speeds of up to 135kW. That means an 80% charge can be completed in just 31 minutes on a 150kW or faster charger. Launch cars will be equipped with a 7.4kW AC charger which will deliver a 100% from empty in just over 10 hours. The smaller 51kWh battery can accept a DC charge at 117kW.
MG4 on the road
On the road, the MG4 delivers a sportier and more engaging drive than both the 5 and the ZS. The steering is nicely weighted and precise while the low roofline and slimline battery pack means that body roll is almost non-existent. The ride quality is good, and while it feels firmer and sportier than the 5, it soaks up bumps well and never feels overly stiff.
It doesn’t feel quite as composed as an ID.3 or a Cupra Born though, and gets a bit fidgety on rougher roads, but it's not uncomfortable. However there is quite a lot of tyre and wind noise, especially at motorway speeds, with whistling from around the windscreen.
There are five - yes FIVE - drive modes selectable in the screen menu, and the normal feels surprisingly sporty. Almost too sporty in fact, with sharp throttle responses which aren't the most relaxing in traffic. We suspect most owners will select Eco mode, which is nicer all round and more efficient too.
When it comes to stopping, the brakes are good and there is adjustable or even automatic adaptive regen. There’s no switch or paddles though - again you have to go into the menu on the screen. It's not going to give a one-pedal driving experience but works well enough.
We tried the MG4 with the bigger battery, and that means it has the more powerful engine with just over 201bhp. Now that’s plenty if you want to cope with real-world road conditions without getting all flustered.
With a zero to 62mph time of around eight seconds and a 99 mph top speed, the MG4 is perfectly perky without straining your neck or spinning wheels - certainly good enough for keeping up with whatever you need to, or the odd overtake.
The smaller-batteried version gets just under 170bhp, but because it’s a bit lighter it’s got exactly the same performance figures. There is also talk of an MG4 with twin-motors, four-wheel drive, 400bhp and a 0-62mph time of four seconds.
MG4 prices and equipment
This is where the MG4 really excels. It’s priced between £26,995 for the standard range model with up to 217 miles of WLTP ability, and you'll need to add £2,500 for the bigger battery. The top-of-the range Trophy is £32,495 and only comes with the bigger battery. That makes it cheaper than superminis, but it has more space and equipment than cars like the Nissan Leaf.
More interesting than that for most buyers are the monthly finance figures. Now these change all the time, but at the time of writing you could get an SE standard range for around £300 per month with a four grand deposit, with a three-year 30,000 mile deal. That’s because the car is expected to hold its value really well, which makes the payments cheaper. To put that in context, its about £150 per month cheaper than an ID.3. MG reckons it’ll have a couple of thousand MG4s ready for delivery at the end of 2022 - so you won’t even have to wait too long.
This car is a bit of a game changer for MG - in fact it could be for the electric car market in general. It's not perfect, but is a well priced family car which drives well and has a decent range and charging speeds. More than that, it is available for £300 per month which means the total cost of ownership will be affordable for many family drivers. It doesn't even have a long waiting list - yet- with cars available within two months.
MG reckons it will be Britain's second best selling electric car (after the Tesla Model 3), overtaking the Kia Niro EV. It certainly deserves to succeed.