★★★☆☆ | MG GS Exclusive DCT, MG’s Not So Sporting SUV
What Have We Got?
Here we have MG’s first SUV offering, the GS, with a 1.5 petrol engine mated to a 7 speed twin-clutch sportronic automatic gearbox. This top of the range MG GS ‘Exclusive’ DCT 5 seater comes in at a reasonable £21,095.
Does being reasonable mean cheap, and does cheap make it cheerful?
The 166PS 1.5 petrol turbo (the only engine available) does ok, just as long as you don’t rev it too high. It doesn’t encourage high revving. And you shouldn’t have to with maximum torque of 250NM from 1600-4300rpm. That’s a nice spread of power over a relatively wide range. Credit then to the linear surge of power from the turbo.
What isn’t so good then is the twin clutch gearbox. There are 3 main problems. Firstly, throttle pedal travel is quite short so it makes it jerky to inputs. Secondly, in auto mode, the box likes to change quite high up at around 3000rpm. Thirdly, its kick down changes are met with a surge of around 700 revs and then a kick down. It doesn’t blend very well if you are feeling enthusiastic.
That does, however, all change when you select ‘sport’ with the gearstick and use the steering wheel paddles. Up and down changes are immediate and it’s very easy to enjoy the way it drives.
Developed in 2015 and launched in the UK in 2017, it is showing its age in this fast paced market sector. However, it’s not at a total loss, certainly not at this price. The first thing to hit you are the 23 buttons under the 8” infotainment screen that deal with heating and ventilation, volume and home screen.
That’s quite a lot, but it is easy to navigate. What isn’t is the air distribution. Press for screen and it goes into full blast for no reason other than that is how it is designed. In this ‘Exclusive’ trim it also comes with DAB, satnav and all the other things you expect including mirror link for your phone.
The seats are comfortable if a little too wide and unsupportive in fast corners. The inside is quite nicely put together. It is all a bit cheap with hard plastics throughout but it is also quite sturdy in construction so you shouldn’t be finding anything falling off.
Living With It
Despite its relatively compact dimensions, it really is large on the inside. Rear leg room is overly generous even with a tall driver. Boot space does however slightly suffer. The price you pay for that passenger leg room! Loading the boot is also rather easy and worry free thanks mainly to the unpainted load lip.
The ride is a little choppy and it likes to roll in the corners. The steering isn’t as communicative as you would hope for but there is plenty of grip and it hangs on well. It just feels a little unconnected.
You get a lot for your money with the MG GS and it’s quite easy on the eye. I like its looks. There is an abundance of space for 5.
One of my biggest bugbears is poorly painted door shuts. Not so with the MG GS. It is surprisingly well painted and put together very well. At this price, the competition needs to take note.
Would I have one? If I was on a 20-minute dealer test drive, no. You need time to understand that gearbox. After a week, yes I would. It’s cheap and now I’ve mastered it, it is rather cheerful.
Fit and finish
Engine trashy at high revs
Jerky in auto
Car – MG GS Exclusive DCT
Price – £ (as tested)
MPG – 45.5 mpg (combined)
Power – 166PS at 5600rpm
0-62mph – 9.9 seconds
Top Speed – 112 mph
Co2 – 141 (g/km)