The MG XS is called the ZS in China
The crossover will slot into the MG line-up beneath the GS, with a choice of a 123bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre or a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre engine, based on the one in the MG 3.
Following Autocar's first drive of the XS, UK marketing boss Matthew Cheyne said that the XS will also add new engines to MG's range, with a hybrid and electric version both in the pipeline. These could also be used in the next-generation 3, although that model's UK debut is a long way off.
At launch, the GS's six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will likely be offered in the XS - both produced in-house at Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
The XS's styling differs dramatically from its larger SUV sibling, receiving the Anglo-Chinese car maker’s new Jaguar-like grille and Mazda-style headlights.
The XS has been styled by SAIC Design, a division of MG's parent company SAIC, with input from its design studios in China and the UK. Its new design language aims to provide the XS with a more upmarket appearance than the GS.
Cheyne told Autocar that, like the GS, the new car would offer a large amount of equipment for considerably less money than rivals. This strategy could put the car in direct competition with the Ssangyong Tivoli, which costs from £12,950 - nearly £4000 less than the Nissan Juke. The class's most affordable offering is the £9495 Duster.
Following the launch of the XS, MG’s SUV line-up will be completed by a larger SUV, similar in size to the Nissan X-Trail. The brand's UK sales increased by 83% in August compared with the same month in 2016, with its recently launched scrappage scheme and demand for the GS labeled as key catalysts for this growth.
However, the brand's overall market share remains small - it had 4200 registrations last year.