2023 MG4 EV review

2023 MG4

Toby Hagon

Posted August 15, 2023

There’s a battle for the budget EV dollar taking place around the $40,000 mark in the new-car market. And the MG4 is one of a trio of small electric vehicles aiming to tempt people out of Toyota Corollas and Mazda3s.

While MG has been one of the pioneers of lower priced electric cars in Australia, the MG4 takes a different path to the MG ZS EV that is already on sale.

That’s because the Chinese-made MG4 was designed from the start to only ever be an EV. That means no requirement to fit an engine or gearbox. Instead, the MG4 was configured from the start to have a battery pack lining its floor and a compact electric motor placed in the rear of the car.

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The MG4 takes a different path to the MG ZS EV that is already on sale. Image: Supplied.
The MG4's branding is nicely understated. Image: Supplied.
The MG4 comes with 17-inch alloy wheels. Image: Supplied
The MG4 has a battery pack lining its floor and a compact electric motor placed in the rear of the car.. Image: Supplied.

MG4 pricing and models

The MG4 is available in two trim levels with three different battery capacities.

It’s the entry-level Excite 51 that is the most interesting because of its starting price of $42,127 driveaway. It’s outdone only by the BYD Dolphin ($41,331) and just slides in under the GWM Ora ($42,566).

But whereas its two prime rivals come generously loaded with kit, the MG4 is relatively sparsely equipped. Sure, there’s a small digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch screen incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But other than 17-inch alloy wheels there’s not a whole lot more to get excited about. It doesn’t even have speakers in the rear, with a tinny four-speaker sound system focused on the front.

Spending another $6,200-odd for the MG4 Excite 64 ($48,739) only steps up the capacity of the battery (from 51kWh to 64kWh), in turn extending the range from 350km to 450km (according to the WLTP standard).

You can get that same battery in the Essence 64 ($51,505), which adds a 360-degree camera, climate control ventilation, wireless phone charging, satellite-navigation, rear speakers, a rear spoiler, two-tone roof and electrically adjustable driver’s seat. There are also 18-inch wheels, although the stickier tyres reduce the claimed range slightly to 435km.

From there it’s a leap to the MG4 Long Range 77, which costs $59,841 – only $500 less than a Tesla Model 3. It shares the same Essence equipment levels but gets a 77kWh battery, taking the claimed range to 530km.

Down the track there will also be a high performance XPower model that adds a second motor as part of its high-performance pitch. Pricing details for that model haven’t been announced yet, but expect it sometime in 2024.


MG4 front view

The MG4 comes in two trim levels with three battery capacities. Image: Supplied


MG4 safety equipment

Some recent MGs have lacked key safety equipment, in turn endowing them with a lacklustre ANCAP rating.

The MG4 hasn’t been rated by Australasian NCAP yet, but it has scored the maximum five stars in European NCAP testing to the 2022 protocols.

As well as front, front-side and curtain airbags, there’s an assortment of driver assistance systems packaged under the MG Pilot marketing banner. They include autonomous emergency braking, speed sign recognition and lane departure warning.

However, only the MG4 Essence and Long Range models get blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, as well as a warning not to open the doors if another vehicle is approaching from behind.


MG4 rear lights

LED lights enhance the MG4's safety and appearance on the road. Image: Supplied


MG4 interiors and design

The MG4 may not have a long list of standard fare – at least in entry-level Excite form – but the basics are done well.

For now, we’ve only sampled the MG4 Excite 51 – the most affordable model – and the car we drove was a UK-specification vehicle, but it was representative of what’s being delivered in Australia.

There’s no shortage of grey inside although some blue stitching on the seats adds some colour. And the front seats are broad and supportive.

Those in the rear are well catered for with knee room and foot space is also good; it’s helped in the middle seat courtesy of the flat floor.

But headroom is tighter due to the high-ish seat base (blame the batteries underneath) and sloping roofline. Plus, there are no air vents in the back.

The boot provides 363 litres of space, but split-folding the back seats can open it up for bulky items. Unlike some EVs, there’s no storage under the bonnet.

Up front, the dash is clean and neat and there’s an unusual shelf that houses a rotary gear selector. It’s also home to the wireless phone charger in more expensive models, although its surface means phones can slip off when cornering.

The digital instrument cluster nicely presents basic information, while leaving entertainment and audio functions to the central touchscreen. While that 10.25-inch screen is crisp and clear, there are occasional foibles, such as having to access menus for often-used functions, such as recirculating the ventilation. We also found the screen was occasionally laggy in its responses.


The MG4's interior does the basics well. Image: Supplied
The MG4's digital cluster presents information neatly. Image: Supplied
The MG4's touchscreen is crisp and clear. Image: Supplied
There's no shortage of grey in the MG4. Image: Supplied

MG4 battery power, charging and efficiency

The MG4 gets a 51kWh battery in its most affordable guise. There are no official consumption figures yet, but looking at the claimed 350km range it suggests something like 14.6kWh/100km. We found it using a bit more than that – with real-world range of around 300km - but it was still respectable.

It can be charged at up to 6.6kW using a wallbox charger, enough for a full charge in about eight hours. A regular home powerpoint would take more like 25 hours. Faster DC public charging can be done at up to 88kW.

Stepping up to the 64kWh battery pack increases the maximum DC charge rate to 140kW, which the company says can provide a 10-80 per cent charge in 26 minutes. Combined with the longer battery range, that’s clearly going to be more useful for road trips.

There’s also a vehicle-to-load (V2L) function that allows 230V appliances to be powered by the car. However, you have to pay extra for the cable to enable that functionality.


The MG4 can be fully charged in about eight hours using a wallbox charger. Image: Supplied
You can easily spot the MG4's charge level on the touchscreen. Image: Supplied

MG4 performance and handling

We’ve become accustomed to city hatchbacks powering the front wheels. But the MG4 turns that around with a rear-wheel drive setup. It’s indicative of the packaging benefits of an electric vehicle, the compact electric motor easily slotting beneath the boot floor.

That change of thinking also changes the way the MG4 behaves. Maximum outputs from the single motor are 125kW and 250Nm, the latter having the biggest impact on how it accelerates. There’s an effortless surge that makes for modest but accessible acceleration; the claimed 0-100km/h time is 7.7 seconds.

It makes for a refreshingly fun and engaging electric hatch. Pitch into corners and it can be playful, while still being easy and relaxing around town.

There are three levels of regenerative braking and each time we started the car it reverted to the more aggressive highest level. We’d prefer if it would have stayed with the middle level we consistently chose.

It’s mostly well-mannered over bumps although could do with more control over larger imperfections. Like the rest of the car, then, it’s good but not perfect.

Which in some ways sums up the MG4. It’s a terrific addition to the entry-level of the electric car market, albeit with a skinny equipment list in its most basic form. But at least there’s some spark and zing to the way it gets around.


The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.