2020 MG ZS update: new specs and styling

Looking for a cheap SUV that isn't the Dacia Duster? The spacious MG ZS is the next cheapest thing, and it's just been updated with new tech

Simon Ostler
Jul 16, 2020

Trying to keep costs down on your next set of wheels but want a comfy, high-riding car? There are a handful of cheap SUVs on the market and MG has just launched an updated ZS with a fresh new look and more technology than before, while its strengths remain in practicality and comfort.

The ZS, MG’s value for money family SUV, has been on sale since 2017 and is positioned to compete against the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Kona, while also offering an alternative to the ultimate cheap SUV – the Dacia Duster.

Priced from £15,495, this updated model now comes with a longer list of available tech, along and some styling tweaks inside and out to make it look a bit sharper, but it remains an affordable, comfortable and practical SUV.

Drivers looking for peace of mind may also be swayed by MG’s seven-year/80,000-mile warranty, which is more than is offered by anything other than the much more expensive Kia Sportage. This warranty means that even if you choose a four-year old model to get the cheapest cash price or lowest monthly payments, you still get three years' warranty cover - as much as comes with most brand new cars.

2020 MG ZS model range

The headline here is that the cheapest Explore trim has been dropped from the ZS range, meaning only two options are available at this point – Excite and Exclusive.

This makes Excite the new entry level, raising the base price of the ZS to £15,495 in the process, which may turn off potential buyers considering this alongside the Duster. As mentioned above, therefore, to make the most of the lowest costs and still have plenty of warranty cover, going for a used MG ZS makes a lot of sense.

The interior has been updated and the design appears much cleaner this time around, featuring a new 10.1-inch touchscreen media display compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with Bluetooth connectivity and a digital radio.

There are also redesigned controls for air-conditioning and audio settings, while standard tech includes rear-parking sensors, electric heated door mirrors and cruise control.

Stepping up to Exclusive trim brings sat-nav, a 360-degree reversing camera and leather upholstery along with a second digital information display, Blind-spot Monitoring and automatic wipers.

The additional tech included here bumps the price up to £17,795, which is still cheaper than the less well-equipped entry-level Hyundai Kona and the Nissan Qashqai.

2020 MG ZS engines

If you’re wondering which SUV in this section of the market has the broadest engine range, it’s not the MG ZS. Most rivals offer more choice of engines, along with more powerful and more economical options. However, since the purchase prices are so low, the ZS should still cost you very little overall to purchase and run.

Along with Explore trim, the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine - which was only available with a six-speed automatic gearbox - has also been removed from the ZS range, meaning all new models from now on will be powered by a less powerful 1.5-litre non-turbocharged motor instead - which is a shame because we quite enjoyed the power of the smaller engine. Consequently, if you fancy the more responsive 1.0-litre engine, it's worth tracking down a used model.

The ongoing 1.5-litre engine produces 106hp and can manage 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds, which is fine for a car of this type if not particularly speedy. Meanwhile, claimed fuel economy stands at 41.4mpg, according to the latest and most accurate testing procedure. Yes, there are more fuel efficient cars of this type, but consider the low purchase costs and the ZS is neither expensive to purchase or fuel.

The 1.5-litre petrol is coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox only; the six-speed automatic that was available with 1.0-litre engine has also disappeared from the range. Again, you'll want to look at used models to get an automatic gearbox.

2020 MG ZS dimensions

If you’re wondering which SUV of this size is going to be best for overall space and practicality, it might well be the MG ZS.

At 4,332mm long, 1,809mm wide (2,048mm if you include the door mirrors) and 1,653mm tall, it’s larger than the Kona and comparable to the Qashqai. This means it's still a relatively small car, despite its high driving position and interior room.

But it’s the 448-litre boot in the ZS that roundly beats both rivals. It’s bigger than the Duster, too. So there will be more than enough space for pushchairs and suitcases with all five seats in use.

However, that crown is quickly snatched away if you fold the seats down, with 1,375 litres of space proving only good enough for third place in this four-way contest. That's still a decent amount of space, but if you need maximum room for moving big bits of furniture, or a pack of Great Danes, one of the others will work better.


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