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MG HS+EV 2023 review: Essence long-term | Part 2

The MG HS+EV will deliver up to 63km of battery-only driving on a single charge.

Look, I know what I'm doing here is annoying. And for any true tech-lovers reading this, it will be pull-you-hair-out infuriating.

Yes, I've got a plug-in hybrid at the moment. And also yes, I'm doing my best to use it in exactly the wrong way, just to see what happens.

It would be like me buying an iPod and then complaining it won't turn on when I charge it in the microwave. Or throwing away the build instructions then complaining that my IKEA desk looks more like a firewood pile when I've put it together. But I promise there is some method to my madness.

Read the other installment of this long term review

See, what I'm trying to do is use this plug-in hybrid MG HS+EV like I suspect a lot of buyers of PHEVs might use it. And that is by not following the instructions to maximise its eco-credentials.

Which is why my first month with the MG wasn’t the fairest on this plug-in hybrid SUV. Mostly because I decided not to do the whole plugging-in thing – which, to be fair, is the very thing it says on the box – which sent the fuel use soaring.

And unlike a conventional hybrid (one without a plug and in which the battery charges itself), you really do need to charge a PHEV to get the full benefit of it, because the battery is much bigger — in the case of this MG it’s a 16.6kW lithium-ion battery — and so it takes more than kinetic energy to keep it topped up.

The benefit of a battery that big is that you can unlock serious EV range. The MG HS+EV will deliver up to 63km of battery-only driving on a single charge, which should be more than enough to cover any of your trips to work and back, or any mid-week running about, really.

Honestly, there are some weeks when I'd be lucky to travel 60km total. And I reckon you'd have a few of those weeks, too. And so in real terms, the MG HS +EV has you covered.

The MG HS+EV will deliver up to 63km of battery-only driving on a single charge. (Image: Andrew Chesterton) The MG HS+EV will deliver up to 63km of battery-only driving on a single charge. (Image: Andrew Chesterton)

The downside, though, is that it’s too big to recharge on the fly. Let it run flat, as I did last month, and you might be able to recoup a couple of percentage points of charge here and there, but mostly you’ll be leaning exclusively on the petrol engine, only now you’re also carrying a big, heavy, empty battery, too, which is never good for fuel economy.

So yes, you need to be plugging in as often as you can, and preferably every night, to get the full benefit. And so that’s exactly what I did this month, charging the MG HS+EV as often as I could and then letting the vehicle figure out the rest.

That means I didn’t select the EV mode (that's next month) and instead just let the car figure out when it wanted to use petrol power, electricity, or both.

A quick recap: In my first month with the HS, I let the battery drain to empty, then just drove it normally, and, over the first 700-or-so kilometres we averaged around 9.0L/100km. Which is, frankly, not great.

Enter month two, and I switched it up, charging as often as I could. And doing that dropped the fuel use to around 6.8L/100km, which is much better.

The HS+EV needs to be plugged in as often as possible to get the full benefit. (Image: Andrew Chesterton) The HS+EV needs to be plugged in as often as possible to get the full benefit. (Image: Andrew Chesterton)

Now we're getting somewhere. I should also point out that you don't need fancy charging infrastructure, or solar panels, or anything else, really.

Sure, if you're going the full EV route, those things are massively helpful (bigger batteries mean bigger recharging times, and so overnight charging means you need to increase the power running from your home to your car).

Hell, I don’t even have a Wallbox - you know, those little home charging stations people often install when they buy an EV - which seriously reduces charge times.

If I had one, the MG would go from zero to 100 per cent charged in around five hours. But if you don’t have one, you can just plug into any regular power point (we just used a standard outdoor one at our place), and found it would take about nine hours to go from empty to full. 

It’s pretty easy to fall into the plug-in rhythm, too. It became a two-second part of the daily routine, plugging in the MG HS+EV every time I got home, and it would be fully charged and ready to go the following morning.

The fuel use dropped to 6.8L/100km when the HS+EV was charged as often as possible. (Image: Andrew Chesterton) The fuel use dropped to 6.8L/100km when the HS+EV was charged as often as possible. (Image: Andrew Chesterton)

If you are using solar, that gets a little tricker, as you really want to be charging during the day to get the full benefit of that free sun-powered energy. But we don't, and so overnight charging was no stress.

That said, the charge does drop pretty quickly. Even without using EV Mode, I would be using around 40 per cent of the battery’s energy every day or so, which helped reduce the fuel use significantly.

And running out of battery is nowhere near as daunting as it can be an in an EV — because in that case, when the battery stops, so does the vehicle — because in a PHEV you can just keep soldiering on with your petrol engine no matter what happens. 

But it is still slightly annoying, as you feel like you’re double-paying. In a conventional hybrid — like a RAV4 Hybrid, for example — you fill it up with petrol and away you go, and your fuel use is pretty impressive to boot.

But in a plug-in hybrid, you have to fill it up, and plug it in, to get real bang for your buck.

Running out of battery with a hybrid is nowhere near as daunting as it can be an in an EV. (Image: Andrew Chesterton) Running out of battery with a hybrid is nowhere near as daunting as it can be an in an EV. (Image: Andrew Chesterton)

Still, I suspect next month will be the most interesting of all, when we give EV Mode a real run for its money.

That's right, I'm going to finally use this PHEV the way its makers intended – maximising my all-electric driving, and trying to keep the petrol engine out of the equation entirely.

For that, though, you'll have to wait. 

Acquired: September 2023

Distance travelled this month: 517.4km

Odometer: 6808k

Average fuel consumption this month: 6.8L/100km

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The Wrap

Likes

Comfortable and spacious SUV
Lots - and I mean lots - of included features
Useable 60km-plus EV range

Dislikes

Underwhelming exterior design
Very slow and less-than-intuitive multimedia system
Use it or lose it battery juice

Scores

Andrew:

The Kids:

$19,990 - $39,990

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