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New MG4 EV electric hatchback starts from £25,995

MG’s Volkswagen ID.3 rival will be one of the cheapest EVs on sale. We’ve driven a prototype

MG 4 EV prototype

​The MG4 hatchback looks to be another good-value EV from the brand, as it costs from £25,995. Three versions are available; a Standard Range model and a Long Range version that’s available in two trim levels. Its price means it will slot in as one of the UK’s cheapest electric cars, costing less than a Nissan Leaf and much less than the Volkswagen ID.3.

MG’s first zero-emissions hatchback, the MG4 EV will serve as the brand’s rival to the likes of the Volkswagen and Nissan, plus the Cupra Born and Renault Megane E-TECH Electric, with the electric family car boasting a range of up to 281 miles.

SE models, available with both battery options, get automatic LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, climate control, digital dials and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SE Long Range costs £28,495, £2,500 more than the SE Standard Range, and also gets active grille shutters to improve efficiency.

The Trophy trim level is only available in Long Range form and costs £31,495. This higher spec is marked out by a black roof, a spoiler and tinted windows, while extra equipment includes heated front seats, sat nav, a 360-degree camera, wireless phone charging and additional safety features like blind-spot monitoring. Six paint colours are available across the range.

Both MG4 powertrain options use a single electric motor on the rear axle. The entry-level car will get a 51kWh battery and 167bhp electric motor for a range of 218 miles on the industry-standard test cycle, according to MG.

The Long Range versions get a larger 64kWh battery and 201bhp power output; enough to cover 281 miles on a charge (270 for Trophy) and record a roughly eight-second 0-62mph time. The 64kWh battery can also be charged at up to 135kW, enabling a 10-80% top-up in 35 minutes.

MG has already said more variants of the electric hatchback are being planned, and we expect these will include models that can go even further on a charge.

An all-wheel-drive version is also in the works, with this more potent variant potentially packing around 400bhp for a 0-62mph time of four seconds – the claimed acceleration figure for the MG4’s Chinese-market equivalent, the Mulan. But that’s just speculation for now.

The MG4 EV’s Modular Scalable Platform (MSP) will be used by parent company SAIC Motor for EVs of various sizes, ranging from hatchbacks to SUVs and vans, and is expected to serve as the underpinnings for the next generation of electric MG cars.

The new platform can accommodate battery packs ranging from 40 to 150kWh in capacity, wheelbases up to 3.1 metres, over-the-air updates and battery-swapping capability – like NIO’s electric cars. Plus, it’s due to receive an 800-volt electrical system in due course, for faster charging. Exactly which of these features will appear on the MG4 EV is unclear for now.

MG4 EV prototype drive

The MG4 EV is a much sportier-looking family car than the Volkswagen ID.3 or Nissan Leaf, with the sharp front-end design featuring large side air intakes and a front splitter. MG’s rival to the ORA Funky Cat also has short overhangs at the front and rear, typical of modern EVs. At the rear, a light bar spans almost the entire width of the car, flanked by a set of curved brakelights and indicators. Finally, the electric hatchback gets a slightly raised ride height, black side cladding and a split roof spoiler.

Inside, the MG4 EV pairs a small digital driver’s display with a central dashboard-mounted touchscreen, beneath which is a row of physical controls. The two-spoke steering wheel also gets physical buttons, while the gear selector can be found on the ‘floating’ centre console, alongside a tray for your smartphone.

At just under 4.3 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.5 metres tall, the MG4 is roughly the same size as its future rivals the ID.3, Megane E-TECH Electric and forthcoming Vauxhall Astra-e. But MG has emphasised the amount of interior space on offer thanks to the EV’s all-new platform and thin 110mm battery pack.

On the road, the MG4 EV feels agile and energetic. That’s thanks to the 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive, as well as the fact that everything feels like it has been tuned to be a little sporty. The steering is sharp and direct, which makes the car feel like it can handle a corner or two. It’s fair to say our brief drive got us excited for the MG4 EV’s launch in September – and even more interested in the 400bhp version potentially to come.

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