Newspress Awards 2024 wide

Automotive Website of the Year

Automotive Website of the Year

Newspress Awards 2024 wide

Automotive Website of the Year

Automotive Website of the Year

Find an Expert Rating: 
New car review

MG 4 review

After a week with the MG 4 EV, it's hard to imagine why you'd want to buy any petrol-powered family hatch for the same money


After a week with the MG 4, it's hard to imagine why you'd want to buy any petrol-powered family hatch for the same money. If you can charge at home and your usual driving doesn't involve long journeys, the MG 4 is pretty much unbeatable value.
Driving experience
Value for money


After a week with the MG 4, it's hard to imagine why you'd want to buy any petrol-powered family hatch for the same money. If you can charge at home and your usual driving doesn't involve long journeys, the MG 4 is pretty much unbeatable value.

Make and model: MG 4 EV Extended Range
Description: Mid-sized five-door hatchback, electric
Price range: £36,495 (plus options)

MG says: “The MG4 EV is an all-electric hatchback designed to offer customers affordable, zero-emissions motoring without compromise.”

We say: For anyone who says that new EVs are too expensive, have a look at the MG 4.


The MG 4 is one of the most significant electric cars to be sold in the UK to date, for one simple reason. It offers exceptional value for money compared to any other EV on sale, with a blend of design, performance, and technology at a price point that’s about £10K below comparable vehicles.

It has been showered with awards over the last year, including (obviously most prestigiously) The Car Expert’s Car of the Year 2024. Our award system aggregates new car reviews from up to 35 different UK media titles, so it reflects a broad consensus of opinions.

But awards and trophies from the motoring media don’t necessarily reflect the priorities of real-world car buyers. So is the MG 4 merely “a good car for the price”, or is it genuinely “a good car” without any caveats? That’s what we’re here to find out.

What is it?

The MG 4 is a mid-sized five-door hatchback, similar in size and space to cars like the Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born. Or, if you’re currently in a petrol car and thinking about switching to electric, similar in size to a Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra.

In other words, this is MG’s entry into the mainstream family hatchback market, but offering an electric motor for the same price (or better) than petrol models from other brands. The MG 4 starts at £27K, while the Vauxhall Astra starts at £29K for an automatic petrol car, and £38K for an electric model.

Who is this car aimed at?

This is pretty straightforward – anyone looking to make the switch from fossil fuels to electric power in a family-sized car. Whether for business or personal use, the MG 4 is the most affordable way to make that jump. Yes, there are cheaper electric cars now on sale – the BYD Dolphin, for example – but not at this size and with this level of equipment.

Who won’t like it?

Anyone who turns their nose up at the idea of an MG family car, and thinks that a ‘real MG’ is a two-seat British roadster of questionable reliability. Also anyone who turns their nose up at cars made in China (despite the fact that China is the world’s largest producer of cars, including those by several premium and luxury brands).

There are valid reasons to question how and why Chinese companies are able to build electric cars at vastly lower prices than European countries (massive government subsidies, apparently) and what the long-term effect on the UK and European car industries will be. But from a consumer point of view – since more than 80% of new cars sold in the UK are imported from somewhere else anyway – it’s hard to argue that you should pay £10,000 more for a European-built car than a Chinese-built car on principle.

First impressions

The MG 4 has a style that’s unlike most family hatchbacks. The nose is sharp and low, helped by the lack of a traditional engine that needs to fit under the bonnet. The side profile has various different angles that manage to look interesting rather than awful (as attempted and failed by BMW), while even the rear manages to be interesting with an unusual split rear spoiler over the rear windscreen on Trophy models. It’s slightly odd but doesn’t look bad.

Overall, it’s a much more coherent and stylish design than the MG 5 estate, which looked like a decade-old Volkswagen Passat when it was first launched, and then a weird squinty thing when it was facelifted…

Inside, the MG 4’s cabin feels bang-on average for the family car class, rather than a bargain basement special. Like most new cars, the dashboard is uncluttered, as most functions are controlled from the large central touchscreen taking centre stage. There’s a high-mounted shelf jutting out from the dashboard, which contains the gear selector dial and parking brake, along with a tray for your phone. There are some cheaper materials here and there, but most of the obvious bits are done well enough.

Cabin space is decent for both front and rear passengers, although boot space is decent without being class-leading. Again, it’s all very comparable with everything else in its class, but at a price point that makes others look silly.

What do you get for your money?

Across the range, the MG 4 looks strong. There are two trim levels – SE and Trophy – with each version having a choice of two battery sizes.

The entry-level model is the SE, starting at £27K. Bumping that up to the SE Long Range adds an extra £2.5K, which gets a larger battery (see “MG 4 economy, battery range and charging” below) and a slightly more powerful electric motor. However, the extra weight of the battery offsets the extra power, so overall performance is almost exactly the same.

The Trophy spec is available in Long Range (£32.5K) or Extended Range (£36.5K), and again the difference is the size of the battery. The Extended range model gets an even more powerful motor, but this provides a significant jump in performance as well.

All MG 4 models get a ten-inch central touchscreen, which is used to control most functions (including heating and cooling, which is annoying). It’s compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

If you pay extra for the Trophy specification, you get a better stereo along with wireless connection for Apple CarPlay. There’s also satnav (although if you’re using the Apple or Android systems, you probably won’t ever use the MG navigation), 360-degree surround cameras, heated front seats and steering wheel (which should be standard on all EVs), wireless charging (which is pointless as you still have to plug in for CarPlay or Android Auto) and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

We like: Competitive equipment levels, simple model range without extensive options lists
We don’t like: Wireless charging is pointless, heated seats and steering wheel should be standard on all models

What’s the MG 4 like inside?

You sit slightly higher than in a normal hatchback, as the batteries are mounted under the floor. There’s decent room in all directions, while the seats are passable without being anything better. The steering wheel is a slightly octagonal shape, presumably combining car designers’ unfathomable desire to mess with a simple circular steering wheel with the octagonal MG badge design…

As with almost every new car on sale today, most functions are controlled through a central touchscreen, which cuts down on buttons (and is therefore much cheaper for car manufacturers). However, the screen layout and ‘buttons’ are a bit fiddly and difficult to use on the move. We also noticed that there was often significant lag between touching the screen and getting any response. Mostly a second or two – just enough to be annoying or to make you think that you hadn’t tapped correctly –  but at one point it was more than five minutes, and long after I’d given up stabbing at the screen and resigned myself to listening to the Radio 4 news, it suddenly started responding to all of the different taps I’d made in growing frustration. The usual IT trick of switching it off and back on again fixed it, but the controls were still laggy.

This may have just been an isolated problem with our car, but it serves as a reminder that trying to control every function of a car through a central touchscreen is a terrible idea. This is not just an MG issue, as pretty much every car company is doing the same thing at the moment. It’s impossible to drive safely while stabbing repeatedly at different points of the screen, especially with the lag, so you have to pull over and stop repeatedly every time you want to find a different radio station or adjust the heating.

We like: Good cabin space, both front and rear
We don’t like: Octagonal steering wheel, poor touchscreen software, touchscreens in general

What’s the MG 4 like to drive?

If you’re expecting the MG 4 to be a Tesla-like rocketship, you’re going to be disappointed. The top-spec Trophy Extended Range offers a satisfying response as you put your foot down, but you’re unlikely to startle your passengers. The lower-output models are perfectly suited for urban driving.

Like all EVs, the MG 4 is very smooth and quiet at urban speeds. It copes well with the UK’s largely rubbish road infrastructure, providing a comfortable ride and absorbing most pothole shocks well. It’s also decent at higher speeds, on A-roads and motorways, where the car feels stable and changes direction nicely. The batteries are located on the floor of the car, under your feet, which helps to keep the car’s centre of gravity low and keeps it nice and upright while cornering, rather than leaning over like some cars do.

Steering is decent, although there’s no real feel to provide any feedback. It’s not an exciting drive, but it’s not supposed to be. You do notice a lot of wind and road noise at higher speeds, however, which is not as good as some other EVs.

Braking – again, like all EVs – is a combination of regenerative braking (where the car uses the electric motor to slow the car down and return some electricity to the battery) and physical braking (using the traditional discs and pads). You can adjust how much the car slows down when you lift off the accelerator, so if you want it to coast like a petrol car you can do that, or you can adjust it through several steps to slow down more quickly, as if you’re applying the brakes each time you lift off the accelerator.

The more regenerative braking you use, the more electricity is recovered to the battery, which can eke out a few extra miles between charges. At its highest setting, you can largely drive the car without using the brake pedal at all apart from harder stops.

On some cars, the transition from regenerative braking to physical braking can feel unusual and unnatural. But the MG 4 handles this well, so that you don’t really notice and the braking feels perfectly normal.

Some family cars do feel better to drive, like the Ford Focus, but the MG 4 certainly holds its own here.

We like: Smooth and quiet at urban speeds, braking is better than some other EVs
We don’t like: Louder than expected at higher speeds

How safe is the MG 4?

There remains a sneering assumption from some people (see “Who won’t like it?” above) that cheap Chinese cars must be unsafe. But that’s simply not true. In fact, since MG has shifted development from the UK to China, its safety ratings have improved – that’s not a criticism of the quality of the former UK engineers, but a reflection of the levels of investment that MG has made to improve its vehicles over the last decade.

In terms of safety, the news for the MG 4 is all good. Euro NCAP tested the car at the end of 2022 and awarded it a top five-star rating, with good results in all four testing categories. That makes it one of the safest cars on the road today.

All models get a comprehensive suite of safety systems as standard. This includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, speed limit assist, lane keep assist and automatic high beam. Trophy models also get blind spot assist and a rear cross-traffic alert (helpful if you have to reverse out of a blind driveway or crowded car park).

MG 4 economy, battery range and charging

If you’re starting with the entry-level MG 4 SE for £27K, you get a 51kWh battery with a claimed range of 218 miles on the official UK/EU government lab test. In real-world driving, you’re probably looking at about 180 miles.

The SE Long Range and Trophy Long Range models get a larger 66kWh battery, which increases the driving range to 281 miles for the SE and 270 miles for the Trophy (which is curious, as both cars officially weigh the same amount and have the same size wheels). Assume that you’ll probably get about 230 miles and 280 miles in the real world and you shouldn’t be too far off.

The Extended Range version of the MG 4 Trophy gets an even larger 77kWh battery that offers an official battery range of 323 miles. Let’s call it 280 miles in reality.

The two larger battery options also have a faster-charging capability, able to charge at 135kW compared to 117kW on the smaller battery. That saves you a bit of time if you are charging at some of the fastest public chargers, but won’t make any difference at home or with a slower (50kW) public charger.

In terms of electrical efficiency (the EV equivalent of fuel economy in a petrol or diesel car), the MG 4 scores well. According to our exclusive analysis of the UK new car market from comprehensive running cost data provided by our technical partner, Clear Vehicle Data, the MG 4 scores a B, which puts it in the top 40% of new EVs on sale. If you can charge it at home, the MG 4 will be cheap as chips to run.


In terms of driving the car and living with it, the MG 4 performs normal family duties as well as any other car. There are a few rough edges when you compare it to the best cars in its class, but it’s better than plenty of other competitors. It can certainly say that it competes on merit, rather than simply being a budget choice.

Unless you really need the extra range, the entry-level SE is our recommendation (and the average mileage of most UK vehicles is 120 miles/week, so a range of 180-odd miles is certainly workable for most households). The top-spec Trophy Extended Rage model doesn’t really offer enough extra, other than a bit more performance, to justify an extra £10K.

After a week with the MG 4, it’s hard to imagine why you’d want to buy any petrol-powered family hatch for the same money. If you can charge at home and your usual driving doesn’t involve long journeys, the MG 4 is pretty much unbeatable value.

Similar cars

Cupra Born | DS 3 E-Tense | Honda e | Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Hyundai Kona Electric Kia Soul EV | Mini Electric | Ora Funky Cat | Peugeot e-208 | Renault Mégane E-Tech | Renault Zoe | Smart #1 | Vauxhall Corsa Electric | Volkswagen ID.3

Key specifications

Model tested: MG 4 Trophy Extended Range
Price as tested: £36,495
Engine: Single electric motor, rear-wheel drive
Gearbox: Single speed automatic

Power: 245 hp
350 Nm
Top speed: 112 mph
0-62 mph: 6.1 seconds

CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Electric range: 323 miles
Euro NCAP safety rating: Five stars (Dec 2023)
TCE Expert Rating: A (81%, as of March 2024)

Buy an MG 4

If you’re looking to buy a new or used MG 4, The Car Expert’s partners can help you find the right car

Cazoo 600x300

Buy a car online from your sofa. We’ll deliver it. Find out more

Motors 600x300

Search less, live more. We make finding the right car simple. Find out more

Carwow logo 600x300

Discover great deals available on both new and used cars. Find out more

Auto Trader logo 600x300

Search for your next new or used car with Auto Trader. Find out more

Lease an MG 4

If you’re looking to lease a new MG 4, The Car Expert’s partners can help you find a competitive deal

Carparison 600x300

Personal contract hire deals from Carparison Leasing. Find out more

Rivervale Leasing logo 2022

Personal contract hire deals from Rivervale Leasing. Find out more

Leasing-com logo

Personal contract hire deals from Leasing.com. Find out more

Hippo Leasing 600x300

Personal contract hire deals from Hippo Leasing. Find out more

Subscribe to an MG 4

Subscriptions are becoming a very popular way for consumers to try an electric car for a few weeks or months to help decide whether it’s a suitable alternative to a petrol car. If you’re interested in a car subscription, The Car Expert’s partners can help. (PS: What’s a car subscription?)

Mycardirect subscriptions – 600x300

Car subscriptions from Mycardirect.
Find out more

Wagonex logo 2023 600x300

Car subscriptions from Wagonex.
Find out more

Cocoon Vehicles logo 600x300

Car subscriptions from Cocoon.
Find out more

Drive Fuze logo 600x300

Car subscriptions from Drive Fuze.
Find out more

Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.
After a week with the MG 4, it's hard to imagine why you'd want to buy any petrol-powered family hatch for the same money. If you can charge at home and your usual driving doesn't involve long journeys, the MG 4 is pretty much unbeatable value.MG 4 review