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The term “bang for your buck” is a cliché which seems to pop up now again when it comes to consumer goods. I will admit I have used it in the past when describing a car which has so much meat on the bone when compared what you pay for it. While it is an overused expression, I can think of no other way to describe the new MG4 Electric.

The MG4 is not only the most cost effective way into electric MG ownership, but also the most affordable new EV currently on sale in New Zealand. The range starts at a mere $46,990 for the entry level Excite 51 and finishes at the recently released XPOWER at $69,990.

Thrown in the clean car rebate of $7,015, however long that last that is and you have a brand new electric vehicle for the New Zealand market which sits at sub $40k. My test car was the mid-range Essence 64 which sits at $54,990 before rebate.

So what about that meat on the bone? Well the Essence features a 64kW battery pack sending 150kW of electric grunt and 250Nm of torque to rear wheels via an electric motor. The is more than the entry level excite 51 which gives you 120kW but the torque level remains the same.

The MG4 features a CCS Type 2 charger and will give you a claimed 435kms of range. The long range 77 is said to give close to 530kms according to WTLP.

That said, 435km is more than ample, especially when you consider the recharge time. A 60kW AC charger will give you 80 per cent in an hour or so, while a 150kW fast charger will give you the same amount of juice in 28 minutes.

As opposed to the MG ZS EV, the MG4 was built from scratch to be an EV, rather than take an ICE platform and tweak it suit. Pub fact, the base MG4 also undercuts the ZS EV by $3k in terms of price. At 4287mm long, 1836mm wide and with a wheelbase of 2705mm, the MG4 sports a good stance.  

It’s striking thing to look at too. Its lines follow form and function and there are a number of scoops and curves to aid in making the MG4 as slippery through the air as possible. I wouldn’t call it a handsome package but definitely striking. Especially as the MG4 comes a variety of bright colours. The Diamond Red Metallic looks good, but my choice would be the uber loud Volcanic Orange.

Hop inside and providing you have the key with you, the MG4 fires up instantly via keyless go. You basically don’t have to touch everything. Greeting you via the 10.25-inch touchscreen is a rather drawn out animation depicting the MG4 and the logo before the screen fully wakes up and gives you access to all the fruit. It’s a clear screen and easy to get your head around but it does require a bit of assertiveness with your index finger for the each function to engage.

The layout is one of minimalism and modernity. Your surroundings are uncluttered, though I do wish the 7-inch instrument cluster screen showing speed, range etc was a tad bigger. The MG4 also comes standard with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, that keyless go and features like one-pedal drive, four levels of regenerative braking and MG Pilot with nine different safety features including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist.

My Essence really goes whole hog with extra goodies like an EV trip planner, iSmart online service, a 360-degree reversing camera, LED headlights, an upgraded audio system with six speakers, wireless phone charging, 18inch alloys, electric heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a “twin-aero” rear spoiler, black sporty accents, leather trim, and extra MG Pilot safety features such as rear cross traffic alert, door opening warning, lane change assist and blind spot detection.  

In fact, it’s because of these extra features, some of which you usually find in a car costing twice the price at least, that I would be more inclined to pay the extra dosh and go for the Essence over the Excite.

The MG4 is practical too. I used it for a variety of tasks from the weekly shop to trips to Stevens and Mitre 10 to buy presents and a couple of vegetable plants for this year’s season. There were certainly plenty of hidey holes to put things and despite having 350L of boot space; I found the shopping could be swallowed up easily. A deep floor also allows for easy loading and unloading. Passengers in the front and rear also have a good level of head and legroom and exit and entry is good too.

Select drive via the rotating gear selector and you are away. However, I do find there is a slight delay when selecting reverse from drive which can be annoying if you need to do a three-point turn in a hurry.

I also noticed that when you park up, the audio system stays on until you lock the car from the outside. I found myself having to turn down the music to an adult level on occasion so that the neighbours weren’t given an audible assault from the likes of Bowie or Duran Duran.

Once on the move, the MG4 serves up a refined way of commuting. Tyre roar is minimal and it does feel lively and spirited when you flex your right foot just a tad. Rear visibility isn’t the greatest due to that swooping rear roofline but forward vision is excellent.

The 64kW battery propels you along nicely and while the steering isn’t terribly communicative, it still manages to be direct. Flicking through the drive modes and the MG4 livens up when you engage Sport.

The rear drive layout and 50-50 weight distribution means you can have a bit of fun should the moment strike you. It tracks well and even stays rather planted too. Not a laugh a minute, but for an EV of this price point, it’s impressive.

After all the hype, I was expecting the MG4 to be a good-un, and it is, really very good. A few niggles for sure, but for this kind of money, you would be hard pressed not to seriously consider the most cost effective EV on the market. The MG4 is a force to be reckoned with.

RATING: 8.7/10

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