This is a buyer’s guide for the MG GS model. It is not a review or complete list of faults but is intended to be a general guide of what to look out for on a used MG GS, something you can print off and take with you to a viewing.
What is it?
This is MG’s first entry into the incredibly popular SUV market. It’s going up against some big names and brands in the market such as the Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Ford and Renault.
Sadly, it didn’t get off to a great start due to a terribly lack-lustre and confusing TV ad campaign. Matthew Cheyne made various claims of sales numbers and despite these being small the sales targets have been missed so it appears the market isn’t flocking towards MG’s latest offering.
Which models are available?
The MG GS is available in 3 trim levels; the Explore, the Excite and the Exclusive.
All models come with the expected standard features, such as electric windows, power-steering, adjustable steering column etc, the Explore comes with Cruise control, automatic headlamps, air-con and an intelligent stop-start engine.
The Excite comes with the features of the Explore, plus a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and rear parking sensors. Finally, the
Exclusive offers you 18” alloy wheels and the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. Leather interiors are available on the Excite and Exclusive models
According to MG “All of this will put you on the edge of your seat with excitement”. Unfortunately for MG so will some other elements of the GS, for example, the colour choice and options have for some customers been inconsistent with what was ordered and what has arrived off the boat from China.
While we’re on that, the GS is not built or finished in Longbridge so don’t be fooled by any salesman talk of “Buying British”. A Qashqai would be the one to go for, if that’s your main reason for choosing.
What should I look for if I’m buying a used one?
There are a number of things to watch out for when buying a new or used MG GS. And it’s with Buying new I’m going to start.
The Sales Centre: This is MG’s flagship sales outlet. However, be warned, some customers have had a very poor sales experience and customer service experience from the Sales Centre and its staff. There are reports across owner’s forums and Facebook help pages of buyers having their credit details shared in public, having wrong orders placed, being shouted at by sales people, receiving aggressive text messages from MG staff’s personal phones and finally receiving abusive call-backs when they have the audacity to complain about all of the above. Certainly not all of the Sales Centre staff are like that, there are great people in there. If you choose to buy there try and deal with ‘Dave’ who is a long time MG enthusiast. His heart is in the right place even if those around him seem to be just there for the cheque.
Rear Boot lock: Some customers are beginning to complain that the boot door has a tendency to unlock and open itself. Edge of the seat stuff when it happens at 70mph on the M40. Make sure all doors and locks are opening and closing correctly.
Headlamps: Owners are reporting that headlights are beginning to fog up and hold moisture. Some dealerships are quick to replace these under warranty as is standard practice for most brands. However, the official response from MG is that they have not been sealed and that this is perfectly normal and in fact a safety feature. It’s a worrying response and indication of potential cost cutting and poor assembly in China and in this writer’s opinion, not something which should be going wrong with a modern and well assembled car.
Gearbox: There are multiple reports of the GS giving serious gearbox trouble already even on newly delivered cars. Everything from sticking in gear, not engaging in any gear and being slow to respond to driver inputs. MG claimed a simple software update was needed and proceeded to update the software on affected cars. This lead to the cars becoming “locked down” and non-responsive to any further dealership attempts at rectification. Some owner’s cars have been left off the road for a number of weeks with no solution forthcoming. Be warned, if the gearbox isn’t working correctly run away.
Values: MG refused to discount the GS when launched. But due to very poor sales, currently matching those of the disastrous MG6, that strategy quickly changed. Be warned, residuals aren’t looking promising.
Diesel: There is none, don’t waste your time looking for one despite the fact almost all other manufacturers offer one in this segment due to strong customer demand.
Stop/Start: This is creating many running issues for owners. Owners report that the car cuts out when still in motion, is slow to respond and some have stated that it is downright dangerous. However owners do report that when it’s switched off the car is no longer dangerous to operate. This seems to be a big issue with cars fitted with an auto gearbox.
Safety: The GS has not been crash tested however it performed well in the significantly easier Chinese NCAP tests. As MG are not importing the GS above 1000 units per year into Europe the GS does not have to undergo strict testing. But why would they not want to anyway, unless they were afraid of the out-come?
Multi-function Screen: MG owners are reporting that the MFS does not turn itself on and sometimes shuts down during use. This is resulting in cars being returned to dealers. Make sure it is operating correctly. This is a worrying sign of future reliability of the electrical equipment. A quick fix for owners is to hold down the on/off switch for 10 seconds however this isn’t seen as a permanent fix.
Over rev on manual cars: Owners are reporting an annoying over rev on manual cars. This is resulting in cars being returned to dealerships. Currently a software update is being performed but this is not a guaranteed fix.
Boot release fob: Owners have reported that the tailgate release fob is not consistently working to open the boot door. Check it is working properly.
It’s shaping up to be the second best offering from MG. I still think the MG3 is the best all-rounder from them. The unresolved gearbox issues and poor service from MG really are major drawbacks. Customers are already ignoring all the other better offerings in the market to go with the MG GS.
The GS has already been face-lifted in China but MG are for the foreseeable future only offering the old model for the UK market. Customers don’t need worries about the company and who they are dealing with to be turning them off as well as offering an already dated model. Add to that it’s got the least British content of any MG so far, now that MG has made all its production staff in Longbridge redundant the future of the company here is now in doubt.
The verdict has to be one of AVOID. Genuinely Impossible to TENNIS.