The MG ZS EV, no its not a cipher but rather an affordable electric crossover from Chinese giant SAIC. Lets face it, electric, crossover, and affordable are the holy grail of the car industry so this is a car with big potential.
First things first. In petrol form the ZS is an affordable crossover, in fact it is a bit of a steal, but in EV spec it is uncomfortably close to hatch back rivals such as the Nissan LEAF and Hyundai IONIQ so you have to really, really want the crossover styling to justify going for the MG.
Assuming you do want a crossover, the MG does undercut electric rivals, but you can tell where the money has been saved. In terms of range and performance both are adequate but not great. Range may be an issue for some as it is more city car than crossover, but at over 100 miles it will comfortably deal with day to day running. All MG’s get an excellent 7 year 80,000 mile warranty but that extends to the battery in the EV model where the norm is 8 year 100,000 miles.
Charging is taken care of via 7 kW AC and 50 kW DC capability which is fine given the moderate battery capacity. It is good to see that MG has adopted the CCS standard which is a better long term bet than CHAdeMo. The net result is that you can get a 0-80% charge at a Rapid charger in around 40 minutes so although the range isn’t great you can get going again quickly.
In terms of looks the ZS is inoffensive but does look a bit budget. It is also clear where the money has been saved inside, where the steering wheel lacks reach adjustment and both the design and materials around the cabin are below class standards. This is absolutely excusable in the base petrol ZS but the EV is twice the price and here it rankles.
On the move the MG is good to drive helped by an admirably low kerb weight. It isn’t as refined as mainstream rivals but generally rides well, and the boot is big so it is practical too. Performance is adequate but it does struggle a bit at high speed. One disappointment is that the remaining range isn’t displayed at start up, requiring a change of display to get key information.
The ZS EV is tricky to pigeon-hole. It arguably isn’t cheap enough to justify the compromises and in this case less does give you less. If you absolutely must have a crossover and can’t stretch to the price of mainstream rivals it does make sense, but we would recommend trying out the alternatives first.
Estimated real world range: 110 – 160 miles
Official range: 163 miles
Official electricity consumption: 186 Wh/km
Battery pack: 44.5 kWh (gross) lithium ion; 7 year / 80,000 mile warranty (70% SOC remaining)
Recharge time: 7 kW charge approx 6 hours 30 minutes; Rapid CCS 50 kW 40 mins (0 – 80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.