The MG ZS EV is an all-electric compact SUV that’s good to drive overall, practical, and it’s better value than many rivals.
MG is no longer a British manufacturer of sports cars, but a Chinese-owned brand that is selling increasing numbers of electric cars. We like the MG5 EV Estate; the MG ZS EV has recently been refreshed, and given a longer driving range – so is it as good as the MG5?
The MG ZS EV has a 72.6 kWh battery, an electric motor producing 156 PS of power and 280 Nm of torque, and it’s front-wheel drive.
The ZS is a compact SUV so it’s a practical shape, with a good-sized boot and there’s extra space underneath the boot floor for storing the charging cables. Our test car even had an electric driver’s seat and a large sunroof.
The MG ZS EV is all-electric so it’s good to drive overall, with responsive acceleration and decent refinement. At 1620 kg, the ZS is lighter than many EVs, which helps to make it fun to drive.
The vast majority of EVs, despite being heavier than a petrol car due to the weight of their battery, go round corners with minimal roll because the battery is located in the floor. However the MG ZS EV displayed more roll when cornering than most EVs, and the ride was quite bouncy on many road surfaces.
There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport – and three levels of regenerative braking, which can be adjusted via the KERS switch on the centre console.
The MG ZS EV is front-wheel drive so the front wheels can struggle for grip in the cold, damp December conditions in which the car was tested.
One thing to note about the MG ZS EV is that there’s no adjustment on the steering column for reach. Added to this is the fact that the driver’s seat position is very high, and it can’t be lowered significantly. All this means that it can be impossible to get a good driving position.
We also had challenges with the infotainment system. When we got in the car the system appeared to be announcing somewhat random dates and weather forecasts. The radio also seemed to have a mind of its own – it stopped working when you started the car – you had to switch it back on again every time. Traffic announcements were coming on, and pressing the button to stop these announcements didn’t appear to work. And although there was a reversing camera, there were quite a few occasions when this didn’t come on. And the buttons on the touchscreen to adjust the cabin temperature didn’t seem to work very well.
When coming to a halt at junctions, images from cameras showing the road to the front and side of the car appeared over the satnav screen, covering much of the map, which isn’t particularly helpful when you need directions.
Other observations were that the interior heating never seemed to get properly hot, the electronic handbrake appeared to go on automatically in slightly random ways, seemingly if the car was on a slight incline, and the headlights weren’t particularly effective.
The MG ZS EV has an official WLTP electric driving range of 273 miles. The car was tested in mid-December, when the heating was on virtually all of the time, and the real-life range averaged 200 miles.
The ZS EV can be rapid charged at up to 100kW, when a 0-80% charge takes 42 minutes. A 0-80% charge using a 50kW charger should take just over an hour. A 0-100% charge at a 7kW home wall box should take around ten and a half hours.
We experienced an issue on three occasions with the car not releasing the charging cable from the socket. We had to investigate how to resolve this and discovered that the solution is to open the bonnet and pull a cord to release the cable from the socket manually.
How to charge an electric car
The MG ZS EV Trophy Connect costs £33,495, or £31,495 after the plug-in car grant. The ZS EV is available from £27,495 (after the plug-in car grant). Trim levels are SE, Trophy and Trophy Connect, and the ZS EV is available as a standard range or as a long range model.
The MG ZS EV is basically a good car to drive. and it’s also practical. Perhaps most importantly, it’s one of the more affordable electric cars, and motorists need as many affordable electric cars as possible. However the infotainment system falls well short of most rivals, and a steering column that’s adjustable for reach would be a useful improvement. The MG ZS EV gains a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.