The Essence is the top grade of the MG HS mid-size SUV range, and the only one available as either a front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or interesting plug-in hybrid.
The front-wheel-drive variant wears a drive-away price tag of $38,990, the all-wheel drive costs $42,990, while the halo PHEV wears a price of $46,990.
The most basic front-wheel drive model is motivated by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 119kW/250Nm paired to a dual-clutch automatic. The all-wheel drive is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo able to make use of 168kW/360Nm mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Finally, the top-spec PHEV drives the front wheels via a combination of the standard 1.5-litre engine and a 90kW/230Nm electric motor, both are linked by a 10-speed traditional torque-converter automatic.
Explore the 2021 MG HS range
All HS grades require mid-grade 95RON unleaded fuel, with the front-wheel drive having an official/combined consumption number of 7.3L/100km, the all-wheel drive at 9.5L/100km, and the PHEV at just 1.7L/100km.
Standard equipment on the Essence includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10.1-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a semi-digital dash cluster, built-in sat-nav, LED headlights and DRLs with animated LED indicators, interior ambient lighting, alloy pedals, push-start ignition with keyless entry, an electric tailgate, power adjustable and heated front seats in a sportier synthetic leather design, a puddle light for the driver’s door, and a panoramic sunroof. The PHEV adds a fully digital dash cluster and is available in the signature ‘Clipper Blue’ paint.
Like all HS grades, the Essence comes fitted with the full ‘MG Pilot’ safety suite consisting of freeway-speed auto emergency braking, which works up to 150km/h and detects pedestrians at up to 64km/h, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, auto high beams, traffic-sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist.
Room is ample for adults in the front and rear rows, despite a high seating position, and storage options are good, too. The Essence scores dual adjustable air vents for the rear row with dual USB outlets.
The boot comes in at 451-litres (VDA), which is at the lower end of the mid-size SUV segment. Fully petrol models score a space-saver spare under the floor, while the plug-in hybrid makes do with a repair kit and an underfloor cutaway for the included wall-socket charger.
The PHEV’s electric motor is backed by a 16.6kWH lithium-ion battery pack good for an EV-only range of just over 50km, which can be charged at a maximum rate of 7.2kW via a European-standard Type 2 AC charging port.
The 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbo options are covered by a seven-year and unlimited-kilometre warranty, while the PHEV is covered by just five years and unlimited kilometres, with a separate eight-year and 160,000km warranty for the lithium battery. Capped-price servicing had not yet been locked in at the time of writing.