Do you take a test drive before buying a new (to you) car? I do. I thought everybody did. But if the television adverts are anything to go by, just select one on your phone and it will be delivered to your door. Job done.

This is a shame. It suggests that the driving experience is ranked below colour, style, and price. Maybe it always has been, but low enough to forgo the test drive? Hmmm. Perhaps we don’t have the time to travel to a dealer now, or even the will to bother. Delivery is everything. Just don’t get me started on fast food…

I took a test drive recently. It was just down the road…… in New Zealand. A long way to travel admittedly, but worth it. An almost brand new MG4 EV Xpower, with over 400PS and four-wheel drive. It even has orange brake calipers! Circumstances worked well. A late evening drive from downtown Auckland to our home in the hills, courtesy of owners Jennie and Andrew Walbran. Andrew threw me the keys and off we went. Well, actually, he didn’t as there was no need. Just get in and drive off. It is odd to jump in, drive, get out and walk away without knowingly switching ‘the car’ on or off.

Anyhow, what is it like? Typical EV step off performance and easy deployment of all that torque. (As an aside, my ZTT 260 has similar performance, but trying to match the step off performance would simply create a bonfire of smoke, rubber on the road and very little forward motion). What else? Surprisingly good body control, turn in response and linearity. The structure appears to be very rigid, giving good road input isolation. It bodes well for longevity. Large mid-bend disturbances are dealt with nicely, with only small steering wheel tugs – in fact, a tug is too strong a description. Rather, minor torque variations, easily dealt with. Perhaps this is where the major problem lies. The steering is accurate, reasonably weighted and the driver just has to look, point and go. So, what problem? Well, feedback, or a lack of it. I didn’t really know what level of grip I had. The road was dry and I was being (reasonably) circumspect, despite being encouraged by owner Andrew from the passenger seat. Very competent, very (very) fast and good fun while it lasted. I am pleased that MG has produced such a great all-round package, with a more sporting version for the (modern) enthusiast.

Did I enjoy it more than the MG ZS180 that we would be using for our holiday? I’m afraid not. So, the ZS180 was the winner of ‘most fun to drive car’ driven by me in New Zealand? Well possibly, but what about the MG Metro turbo? I’ll tell you next time.