MG ZS EV Review
The MG ZS EV is a strong value electric car that offers SUV styling in a small package plus the prospect of 163 miles per charge
Strengths & weaknesses
- Competitive purchase price
- Low running costs
- Emission-free driving
- Some interior materials feel cheap
- Range could be better
- Questions over reliability
We’re going to be seeing a lot of new electric vehicles (EVs) over the next few years, aiming to compete with existing models such as the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro and, as well as higher-end models like the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron and BMW i3.
The good news is that not only should EVs be comparable in price to regular petrol or diesel cars by around 2025 - judging by how prices have fallen to date - but we are seeing increasing numbers of affordable models appearing on the market right now - the MG ZS EV included.
An all-electric version of MG’s ZS compact SUV, this is an intriguing car in many ways. Let's take design first. The exterior is well proportioned, with just the right amount of styling lines to give the ZS some character, without being too fussy.
Inside, it's slightly less impressive. This is clearly a car built to a strict budget. It's not that it feels cheap, but it does fall below the standard of even mainstream cars, which, in EV terms are perhaps best reflected by the Leaf and Kona Electric. The driving position isn’t great, either, with a high-set driver’s seat and a steering wheel that doesn’t adjust for reach, which is very odd these days and makes it trickier than it should be to get comfortable behind the wheel.
However, there is a colour touchscreen media system and smartphone connectivity, so there’s access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which is very useful. The built-in sat-nav looks good, but feels a little slow to react, so you might find yourself using your smartphone’s nav app instead.
It's in terms of practicality where the ZS excels itself as a family car, with a 470-litre boot that is significantly bigger than those in the Kona, Leaf and Zoe. There’s plenty of space in the cabin, too, with good rear headroom and legroom that is particularly impressive.
MG has also managed to include a lot of very useful safety equipment, under the umbrella of its MG Pilot package. Most of the driver assistance features – which include autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist – are standard.
On the road, the ZS EV is perfectly driveable. There’s nothing remarkable about it, but it handles decently and rides comfortably and the instantaneous acceleration from the electric motor gives it some get up and go.
There are also three stages of energy recovery from lifting off the throttle pedal. Depending on which mode you choose, lifting off the accelerator brakes the car to different degrees of severity, but even the highest setting doesn’t stop the car as well as in the Volkswagen e-Golf, for example. MG talks about ‘one-pedal driving’ in this mode - where you can simply press the accelerator to speed up or lift off to slow the car without needing to press the brake pedal - but the ZS EV doesn’t really brake quickly enough to do that.
The few minor niggles are more than outweighed by the value that the MG ZS EV represents. The price for the entry-level Excite EV trim is £28,495, which falls to £24,995 after the government’s plug-in car grant is factored in. However, MG is matching that grant for the first 1,000 buyers, which reduces the price to £21,495. If you want a ZS EV using PCP finance, you can secure one for £279 per month with a £1,750 deposit for two years (or £299 for a car with the Exclusive EV trim). This is very good value, especially if you also consider that MG reckons owners will spend just £25 a month on running costs (as opposed to £75 for a petrol-engined ZS), making it a very attractive proposition.
|Boot size||470/1,100 litres|
|Width||2,048mm (inc mirrors)|
|Tax||£0 in first year and £0 thereafter|
Best MG ZS Electric for...
Best for Economy – MG ZS EV
There’s just one version of the ZS EV, and it's electric, so fuel costs should be low. With a 163-mile range you will have to charge up more regularly than you would have to fill up the petrol equivalent but running costs should be low, especially for owners who can charge it at home or their workplace.
- May 2019 MG ZS EV unveiled in London
- September 2019 First deliveries
Understanding MG ZS Electric names
Exclusive EV Trim
There are just two available trim levels, Excite EV and Exclusive EV. The latter is more expensive, but comes with additional equipment fitted as standard.
MG ZS Electric Engines
The ZS EV’s electric powertrain is based on a 44.5 kWh battery pack and 105kW motor that produces a total of 143hp. As is the case with most EVs, it feels pretty speedy from a standing start and can hit 62mph in 8.5 seconds. Around town, this is plenty of pace, especially if you’re taking off from a set of traffic lights.
We also found that on a dual carriageway, the ZS EV doesn’t feel like a slouch, keeping pace with the other traffic easily. This suggests that that the ZS EV should also be able to handle motorway cruising with relative ease. The top speed is only 87mph, but as that’s greater than the UK speed limit, it should be more than enough.
The range is 163 miles on the combined cycle under the new WLTP testing regime, or 231 miles on the city cycle. With most daily usage considerably less than this, the range should suffice for the majority of drivers, especially if most of your driving is in urban environments.
MG ZS Electric Trims
Excite EV, Exclusive EV
MG has kept it simple with the specifications of the ZS EV, with just two trim levels available.
The entry-level Excite EV has a pretty extensive range of equipment, which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and push-button start, an eight-inch touchscreen media system that includes sat-nav and smartphone integration (including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay). Also included is the MG Pilot driving assistance package, which uses cameras and sensors and combines active emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, emergency lane keep, adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist features.
For an additional £2,000, an Exclusive EV trim car adds a full-length sunroof, electric heated and folding mirrors, artificial leather upholstery on the seats, heated front seats, a driver’s seat that has six-way electric adjustment, rear parking camera and a couple of additional features on the MG Pilot system - blind spot detection and a rear cross traffic alert.
MG ZS Electric Reliability and warranty
The existing petrol-engined MG ZS has a decent reputation for reliability, appearing in the most recent Auto Express Driver Power survey – which bodes well for the EV version, especially as there are fewer components to fail in an electric car than equivalent petrol and diesel models. However, MG is only the 27th most reliable manufacturer out of 30, so the ZS EV may not be completely trouble-free.
The seven-year warranty covering the ZS EV offers a useful peace of mind for buyers, though, and is only matched by the Kia e-Niro among rival EVs.
Used MG ZS Electric
At time of writing, the ZS EV hasn’t gone on sale, so there are no used examples on the market – something that is unlikely to change until late 2020, although there might be some nearly new cars before that.
When the model does become available as a used car, demand for them could prove quite high, not only because of the low prices (from new it will be relatively inexpensive once MG's initial discount i withdrawn), but also because of the seven-year warranty that MG is offering, which will be transferrable to used owners.