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The MG HS is the latest competitor in compact crossover segment

The top-of-the-line variant costs just P1,208,888 (for now)

Is it just us or the HS really resembles a Mazda crossover? PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The compact crossover is shaping up to be one of the most competitive segments in the Philippine market. For buyers who want a little more luxury over its competitors while still retaining an affordable price tag, MG Philippines just has the crossover for you.

This is the MG HS, the latest compact crossover offering from the brand that will also curiously be sold alongside the RX5. Other than that, it’s aimed squarely at the likes of the Ford Territory.

No, the color is not called Soul Red. It’s Phantom Red. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The HS comes in at 4,574mm long, 1,876mm wide, and 1,664mm tall, making it roughly the same size as the RX5.

While it doesn’t adopt the newer edgy looks of the ZST, it’s still a very posh design with a sporty flair that’s reminiscent of the ZS. Upscale touches include the (animated) LED lighting with sequential turn signals, the chrome-trimmed “Stardust” grille, and 18-inch “Diamond Cut” alloy wheels.

The cabin is spacious enough to carry five people (or cargo) comfortably. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA AND HANS BOSSHARD

The spacious cabin definitely carries some European flair in it, along with dashes of sportiness here and there. You’re swathed in black leather and matte silver accents, with small hints of red contrast stitching.

The power-adjustable front seats in the Trophy trim are MG Sport bucket seats. Thankfully, they’re not as uncomfortable as real bucket seats, offering a decent amount of bolstering and support while adding to the cabin’s sportiness.

The rear bench seat (which has a center armrest with storage space and cupholders) can also be folded in a 60:40 split to accommodate longer cargo. To make things easier when loading in spaces with a low ceiling, the power liftgate can also be adjusted to multiple angles.

The cabin is loaded with all the tech you'd expect from a modern car. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA AND HANS BOSSHARD

Other niceties include a panoramic sunroof, 10-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (for the Trophy), configurable ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, a center armrest with cooled storage, and a built-in PM 2.5 air filter.

Other convenience features include a (quirky) Sport mode button, an electronic parking brake with brake hold, adjustable electric power steering, a tire pressure monitoring system, and a reversing camera with parking sensors.

The Trophy trim comes with additional safety features like blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic and rear driver alert, and lane-centering assist.

The turbocharged 1.5-liter in-line-four has plenty of grunt on tap. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

Powering the vehicle is a 1.5-liter turbocharged in-line-four gasoline engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with a manual mode (or TST in MG-speak). It sends all 166hp and 250Nm to the front wheels, which should be more than enough grunt to putter about in town and cruise on the highways.

During the short time we had with the vehicle, we could definitely feel that it was tuned for comfort, not for excitement (but you can always fiddle with the other drive modes). The ruts and the uneven surfaces were handled pretty well, but there was a noticeable amount of body roll when going around the corners.

The engine was also responsive (even outside of the Sport modes), where you can feel the turbocharging kick in after a few seconds for that added oomph you’ll probably need when overtaking. The transmission also seemed smooth within the closed-off area we were driving in, but only a proper road test can show off its true colors.

Will you be looking at one as your next crossover? PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

The MG HS will be offered in two variants: the Alpha and the Trophy. It will be available in Surfing Blue, Phantom Red, Maya Brown, Pearl Black, and Pearl White. It will come with a five-year (or 100,000km) warranty and the MG Hero Services (with 24/7 roadside support).

If you’re looking to get one soon, you’ll be able to snag it with the introductory cash prices of P1,158,888 for the Alpha and P1,208,888 for the Trophy until April 31. After that, the prices will be P1,258,888 for the Alpha, and P1,308,888 for the Trophy. It’s still an attractive price for the feature set this car brings, don’t you think?

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.