NEVER thought I'd see the day when the famous MG name was aboard an SUV-type vehicle – but there you go, it's on the badge of the new HS models.

These are now the biggest and most expensive being sold by MG Motor UK and they've made a pretty decent stab at producing a smart-looking contender for the C-segment SUV market.

Made in China by the SAIC group, there is just the one model at present, with one engine, though there's three trim levels, starting at sub £18,000 heading north to the top of the range model – as tested – coming in at around £24,500. On looks alone, that's good value.

The model I had came with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox matched up with the 160bhp turbo petrol engine. It was quite a decent marriage, even if there was a little hesitancy on some of the changes and when stopping and starting. You had to get used to the little lag when the auto-stop function kicked in.

The interior was not too shabby either, with well-formed front seats which allowed plenty of legroom in the rear. It's rated as a five seater, but three in the back would have to be racing snakes, rather than pot bellied pigs.

Rear seat passengers are, though, well catered for, with the reclining seats offering bags of space, twin air vents, two USBs and a sleek fold-out arm rest, which opens to reveal storage space and twin cup holders.

There's a useful array of electronic functions – ranging from the helpful keyless entry and smartphone connectivity, to safety functions such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance (watch out, this was pretty fierce), blindspot monitoring and even a rear cross-traffic alert system when reversing.

The high-tech MG Pilot driver assistance suite is fitted as standard across all versions of the HS, so that means even the entry-level models get a good-going package.

They are pretty smart-looking too. At the front, the latest version of MG’s 'stellar field' grille which gives it a sporty-look, while that 'look' is matched by the rear, twin tailpipes. An aluminium lower bumper also adds a classy and sporty finish.

Even standard in the range's bottom spec' are 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10.1-inch colour touchscreen (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and electric folding and heated door mirrors.

The mid-level Excite version, starting at £20,495, gets a rear parking camera, 18-inch alloys, rain sensing wipers and sat-nav, while the top spec' Exclusive has a choice of two leather interiors (black, or red and black), front and rear LED sequential indicators, electrically adjustable heated sports front seats, dual zone climate control, ambient lighting and a panoramic opening Skyroof.

The auto-box versions also include driving modes, including a steering wheel-mounted Super Sport button and a customisable electronic opening tailgate. That sport button, as well as upping the car's performance, also engages the car’s interior’s red ambient lighting.

The MG HS is backed by MG’s seven-year warranty, which is now standard across its various ranges.