MG ZS EV SUV review
"The MG ZS EV is a surprise hit thanks to a powerful electric motor, excellent practicality and bargain price"
- An affordable EV
- Improved drive
- Cheap interior feel
- Wallowy handling
- No one-pedal driving
You may or may not know that the MG brand was rekindled around a decade ago, or that the MG ZS is the firm's attempt to rival the Ford Puma, Renault Captur and SEAT Arona. Regardless, it's this version - the MG ZS EV - that's best placed to put the British marque back on the map, transforming the small SUV from an also-ran into a serious contender.
That's because MG's rather tepid petrol engines have been replaced with an electric motor and a battery pack, offering better performance, significantly lower running costs and an altogether nicer driving experience. With 154bhp and 280Nm of torque on tap the instant you prod the accelerator pedal, it's four seconds faster from 0-62mph than the petrol engine version and a whole lot more refined too.
Since the MG ZS EV was launched, the Chinese-owned brand has launched a plug-in hybrid version of the bigger MG HS SUV and started selling the fully electric MG 5 estate, the first zero-emission estate car sold in the UK. The ZS EV has also been given a facelift, with a new blanked-off front grille marking out the electric version, but the changes weren’t just cosmetic.
Under the floor of pre-facelift models, you’ll find a 44.5kWh battery pack that's good for a 163-mile combined range and around 231 miles in the city. Those aren't bad figures at all but the new ZS EV now gets two choices, including a 72.6kWh Long Range model capable of 273 miles on a charge. According to MG, the Long Range model can manage up to 370 miles between charges in city driving. Even the Standard Range model manages 198 miles, or 266 with stop-start driving.
Prices have risen slightly but the MG ZS EV is still good value. Its starting price makes it one of the very cheapest electric SUVs on sale, with its nearest rivals on cost being superminis like the MINI Electric and Peugeot e-208. The Long Range version undercuts comparably sized SUVs like the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka-e but offering far more range.
A bigger 10-inch touchscreen is fitted inside, with better graphics, a host of online features and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity as standard. Even the SE, the cheapest of the three trim levels, also comes with LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera for easy parking and keyless entry. Vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging is also included, meaning you can power other electrical devices from the MG’s battery.
It's inside where MG's cost saving measures are clearest, even if the facelift has improved things. There are some cheaper looking plastics and a steering wheel you can adjust vertically, but not pull closer or push further away. The next trim level, Trophy, adds a panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers, wireless phone charging and leather-effect upholstery, with seat heaters in the front.
Practicality is a strong point too, thanks to a 470-litre boot that's unaffected by the move to electric power and seating with lots of headroom. It's a family EV with few compromises and the top trim even has roof rails to attach your bikes, kayak or camping gear. More safety equipment than the standard MG ZS also pays dividends, improving its Euro NCAP safety rating from three to five stars. MG also impresses with a generous seven-year/80,000-mile warranty.
Which Is Best?
- Name105kW Excite EV 45kWh 5dr Auto
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- Name115kW SE EV Long Range 73kWh 5dr Auto
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- Name130kW SE EV 51kWh 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeAuto