The very existence of this test is another sign that electric vehicles are maturing. Until now, it’s been practically impossible for him to compare three electric cars between what’s called the Heartland hatchback. Not the old Focus vs. Golf vs. 308 way. There weren’t enough EV hatches, and he in the group had one that was too big or too small, or had mismatched battery sizes or power. But today there were three of his cars that were very close in size and specs and perfectly matched in purpose.
Except for one thing. price. The MG is £11,000 cheaper than the other two. Lease them on a typical 3 year contract – 3 months down, 8,000 miles per year – about £450 a month for MG, otherwise he’s £600. It’s not hard to imagine someone who a few months ago had his eye on the ID.3, but now has his eye on the MG. Because financial differences could start to offset the skyrocketing mortgages. They may be apprehensive about buying a car from a Chinese state-owned company, but they mutter the words “Cost of Living Crisis.” If you think people who can afford a new car are at stake, you might want to be someone who can’t afford a new car.
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Photo: Johnny Fleetwood
Hardware anyway. Is the Renault better than the hot selling VW at the same price? And can the MG’s cost savings be seen in a real car? Or does it simply reflect the economic and social system of the country of origin?
All three are built on an all-new specialized electric platform, not the burning specter of the past. That’s why it has a long wheelbase and short overhangs. VW, and his MG in particular, seems to have been styled with the intention of promoting a new-age impetus. See the abbreviated shovel nose and skinny sides.
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The Renault’s voluptuous form is certainly a crowd pleaser and makes it look more expensive than other models. It’s a made up fantasy. The roof height is almost the same as MG. VW is the most expensive.
From the inside, the Renault’s high waistline and shallow glass make the front seats cozy. Back seats all have the same problem. The floor is a little higher due to the lower battery, and the legs of rear seat passengers do not fit under the front seats, resulting in less legroom. However, remedies exist. The person in front just needs to raise the seat a little. Because you don’t need the low touring car driving position until you’re driving alone. Renault’s trunk isn’t as long front to back as the MG or VW, but it’s deeper because of the motor underneath.
So basically it’s an overnight event. However, the cabin styles are very different. VW aims for an advanced interior style. It has a graphically simple interface and is clean. The driving position is also good. However, the transition from CAD renderings to real products has been a failure. A hard and cheap material that is far from the Volkswagen of the analog era. And the digital bit, VW’s display, and touch switches are well-documented facepalms that will make your blood boil if you try to operate them in haste while on the move.
The simplified driver display is VW’s philosophical choice. Everything is done in the background, meaning you don’t have to worry about it. It doesn’t habitually notify you of consumption or battery charge. They are buried in the menu and still very little information. This is probably a reasonable idea. Most people don’t want to be exposed to technical information and configuration options.
The Renault has much better trim materials, plush seats, stitched cloth on the dashboard and doors, and a sharper touchscreen. It’s also much easier to operate thanks to the many hardware switches for functions that are often needed in a hurry, not necessarily the most important ones to operate the car. The steering wheel buttons also have a more satisfying action.
According to VW, MG has wiped out most of the buttons. Again, its sparseness set in many straight lines and hard trim can make you feel like you’re driving one of those subdivided lunch boxes. looks sporty, but a bit hollow. By default, the screen system shows something other than Volkswagen, although some submenus are overloaded.
MG also has a large trip computer in front of you, which graphically maps all the traffic conditions around you on part of the screen. Unfortunately, light poles and strollers are often mistaken for motorcyclists. MG’s standard “Pilot” advanced driver assistance features are certainly ambitious in scope, but they’re clunky in handling and grip the steering with the smoothness of a ham-fisted learner. I’m sure it will work well enough on China’s new highways. Here, not so much. The VW doesn’t have such a full assistance package and, like the MG, slams into the steering wheel when it decides it’s getting too close to the white line on a curve. Renault’s systems are comprehensive and feature state-of-the-art.
Renault is slightly the most powerful. That his 220bhp – versus his other 204bhp – gives a slight acceleration advantage. But the Volkswagen is slightly more torquey and the MG is a little behind. So Volkswagen will take advantage of that torque and rear-wheel drive traction so that in 7.3 seconds he can jump off the line a bit faster in 0-100 mph, then Renault and finally his MG with his 7.9 is. Not much difference.
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MG adjusted the power output slightly after sticking it for miles on a twisty road. This is a difficult situation for batteries, electronics and motors as they draw a lot of power alternately in both drive and regenerative directions. Still, such heat warnings rarely occur in EVs outside of hot-weather track conditions.
The Renault’s driven front wheels sometimes squeal due to traction, but its TC doesn’t get in the way. The steering is so quick and the braking is slightly light that it can make driving jerky until you get your hands on it. Once it’s done, it feels snug by your side and changes speed and direction in response to your thoughts rather than physical input. The steering has no sense of feedback. The ride is taut but never harsh, and the noise from the tires, suspension and whitewater air is well muted.
The ID.3 is a soft blanket for peace of mind. Its steering is progressive and solidly weighted, and its brakes are easily adjustable. Lean into a corner with ambition, shrug and let the game follow the course you steer. In tight curves or wet roads, you might start oversteering, but traction control cuts power like a guillotine so you never try to do that again. The ID.3 has the softest ride here, but loose damping can be unnerving on B roads.
The MG is as solid as the Renault, but it doesn’t have that level of damping sophistication, and its tires make more noise. It feels like a crossover thanks to the harsh anti-roll bars, so it sways from side to side on bumpy straight roads. It’s still a car that makes you want to laugh. If you lift off on the way into a corner, it will back out. It’s the same even if you step on the accelerator on the way. For a docile electric hatch, this tail-hi-hi-hi-cornering-hi balance and liberal ESP combination might raise eyebrows for avid drivers and raise a little hair for beginners.
58 kWh battery under VW. Renault is 60 kWh, MG is 61.7. The results are 262, 280, and 281 miles, similar to his WLTP range. This makes the Renault look the most efficient, but the MG had the edge in mixed use. Call it 200 miles (VW), 220 (Renault), 230 (MG). For longer winter trips, the Renault and MG have the advantage of heat pumps, which make cabin heating more efficient, but cost £1,020 more in the Volkswagen. Volkswagen and Renault have heated seats and steering wheels, an even more energy-efficient way to stay comfortable in winter. They’re only available on MG’s next trim level, and they’re still only 31,495 pounds.
A 10-80 percent charge with a 150 kW charger all takes about 35-40 minutes. Conveniently, Renault can use his 22kW public three-phase AC and 7.4kW single-phase AC for normal home charging. Others are only single-phase on AC, so they max out at 7.4kW.
It’s time to wrap up. We really want to like Volkswagen. It’s sleek and its dynamics so relaxed that most people drive in an era obsessed with these efficiencies and being watched by cameras, whether petroleum or electronically propelled One good facelift to improve the cabin trim and HMI would change things.
MG has a good, efficient platform and a sense of humor in its dynamics. However, the cabin has some rough edges and lacks refinement on the move. It’s not just about the wages of the people who make it.
Renault looks great, has the best cabin, the best OS and a suitably refined ride. It comes across as a much more expensive car than the MG. And of course it is. But it seems more expensive than the VW. And it’s not. Win with it.
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