British automotive marque MG Motor has just launched the 2023 VS in Thailand. This is the third MG vehicle that straddles two categories, as it is both a crossover and a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) capable of 175 horsepower.
The new VS HEV slots in between the ZS subcompact and HS compact crossovers, following the facelifted ZS EV and EP within MG’s electrified range. MG is positioning its latest model against the likes of the Toyota Corolla Cross and Nissan Kicks e-Power, two of its rivals that run on a similar hybrid powertrain.
The new MG VS HEV stands 4,370mm long, 1,809mm wide, and 1,653mm high on a 2,585mm wheelbase. According to the automaker, the VS HEV is designed and engineered around what it calls the ‘Absolute’ concept.
The model bears a strong resemblance to the ZS subcompact crossover
Highlighting the exterior design that bears a close resemblance to the ZS subcompact is the streamlined Electrified Matrix Grille, giving the VS HEV an EV-like appearance. This is flanked by automatic LED projector headlamps on either side, accompanied by large ports on the corners of the front bumper.
It features a power hands-free tailgate
The large fenders housing 17-inch alloy wheels are bridged by a pair of character lines, accompanied by body cladding all around. A blacked-out roof starting from the A-pillar is complemented by roof rails that reinforce the VS HEV’s sportiness. The rear resembles that of the ZS T, especially the LED taillamps surrounding the hands-free powered tailgate, although the VS HEV has a slightly different rear diffuser.
Accommodations inside the VS HEV’s cabin feature room for five occupants on synthetic leather seats. Depending on the trim level, the VS HEV comes with either a monotone black or two-tone black and white interior palette with piano black surfaces. Six-way driver’s seat adjustment is standard, electrically actuated on the upper-spec X trim.
The VS HEV uses a Dual Screen Cockpit layout
There’s a dedicated cargo area as well, expandable by tucking in the 60:40 split-fold rear bench. Second-row occupants will appreciate the rear air-conditioning vents linked to the digital climate control system that also integrates a PM 2.5 air filter to block out allergens and other irritants. An available panoramic sunroof lets ambient light in for sunnier drives.
Tech & Safety
The VS HEV is MG’s first B-segment crossover that makes use of a Dual Widescreen Cockpit format. This comprises 12.3-inch screens for both the instrument panel and the infotainment interface running i-Smart operating system that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Rear cargo space can be expanded by folding down the rear seats
Six speakers pump out the sounds on drives, and occupants can take advantage of four USB ports (three Type A and one Type C) as well as wireless charging for their mobile devices.
The VS HEV is equipped with at least 12 synchronized safety systems including six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control, Curve Brake Control (CBC), 360-degree camera, electronic parking brake with auto hold, and an Active Speed Limit (ASL) system. These are all underpinned by a Full Space Frame (FSF) safety body structure.
Engine & Drivetrain
Powering the VS HEV is the same 1.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder gasoline engine found under the hood of the ZS. This is paired with an electric motor powered by a 2.1 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, for a combined system output of 177 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. MG claims that the VS HEV manages more than 25 kilometers per liter.
Combined system output is 177 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque
Routing power to the front wheels is an e-CVT, actuated by a gear lever that enables three driving modes: Eco, Comfort, and Sport. The VS HEV also features a 3-level Kinetic Energy Recover System (KERS) that converts heat generated by the brakes into electrical energy that can be stored within the onboard battery.
The new MG VS HEV is available in two trim levels
The 2023 MG VS HEV is priced at 859,000 Thai baht (Php around 1.34 million) for the base D and 919,000 Thai baht (Php 1.44 million) for the higher-spec X trim. Customers can test-drive and order the model at 158 MG dealerships across Thailand, with deliveries expected by the end of August.
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Joseph Paolo Estabillo