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Car reviews - MG - ZS - EV

Our Opinion

We like
Strong acceleration in Sport mode, well featured, long warranty, relative affordability
Room for improvement
One pedal driving doesn’t come to a full stop, central locking bugs, awkward frontal appearance

MG upgrades popular ZS EV with better battery, more power and kit

9 Sep 2022



MG is a front runner in the push for EV acceptance here and with the arrival of this new, facelifted ZS EV that will only accelerate. It’s a good thing at a relatively affordable price.


In a win/win for consumers, new ZS EV has more of everything for only a little bit more money. There’s additional power and range, generous levels of kit even in the lower spec’ Excite at $44,990 drive-away, some high tech’ electronics like iSmart app control to many functions, V2L provision that would make camping so much better and plenty more to get, well, excited about.


A new Tesla-esque face heralds 2022 ZS EV complete with closed off grille and thin LED headlights. Behind that, ZS EV remains similar in appearance to any number of other small SUVs notably the Mazda CX-5.


It’s a somewhat dated look that is superseded on other, newer models with a more rakish Ranger Rover style, but the ZS is probably a five-year-old design at this stage due to the fact that it was originally penned as an ICE-powered vehicle.


From directly in front, it appears to have too narrow a track with front wheels too close together and the body protruding outwards and upwards from there. A minor criticism yes, but still a small blot on the ZS EV report card.


Apart from that it looks OK especially with a new colour palette including a striking light blue.


Driven was the top of the range Essence model that goes for $48,990 drive-away. Close to $50 grand for a small SUV but better than plenty of other offerings in the EV space.


You get extra kit in the Essence including a large “panoramic” sunroof, heated front seats and leather upholstery, none of which are needed in our opinion. Appreciated are the rain sensing wipers, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert… not fitted to the lesser Excite version.


It’s a roomy car with good size seats, plenty of adjustment for the driver and clear, easy to see and operate controls including the touch screen.


The air-conditioning is likewise simple to use once you get used to the way everything works which is slightly different to cars from other countries.


We felt safe in the ZS EV thanks to the MG Pilot system providing 10 active driver assist features, eight in the Excite model. Some are not to our liking as they tend to unnecessarily over-rule the driver.


There’s plenty of room inside right down to the load space with downward expandable floor.


The audio has decent tones, the AC pumps out cool air and the overall ambience inside is of a premium, sporty SUV… and the vehicle itself looks well put together in terms of build quality.


Drive Impressions

When we wanted to access ZS EV for a short inner city test drive, it refused to unlock using the key fob which did not augur well. A bit of fiddling somehow fixed that until we returned when it wouldn’t lock remotely. Oops.


Onto the drive so we select D, push the throttle and away we go, smoothly and silently.


The efforts by MG to quell NVH have paid dividends as the ZS EV rates as excellent in this area apart for a small amount of bump/thump over rough pavement. Otherwise there’s pretty much nothing to hear at all save minor wind noise from the exterior mirrors.


Ride quality is good with the facelifted model scoring revised suspension springs and dampers that perform well in general driving.


Forget sporty driving as the MG’s weight of nearly 1600kg conspires to overcome the suspension and tyre grip. Braking and steering are, however, not a problem particularly the regenerative KERS braking that allows near one pedal driving.


You still have to push the brake pedal to completely stop.


Three drive modes are provided Eco, Normal and Sport all with discernible differences to the way ZS EV goes and feels.


It feels a touch sluggish in Eco mode and why would you need Eco in an EV anyway, they already produce zero tail pipe emissions… So, we selected Sport mode and it was all good.


Not quite as quick as the Mini Electric driven in the same environment last week, the ZS EV nevertheless gets out of the blocks quickly and fairly zips around town to the point of taking some dull-witted road users by surprise.


Strong, instant acceleration is delivered in a pleasing tapered delivery meaning the more throttle pedal you apply, the stronger the acceleration is… happy days.


It runs out of puff at higher speeds but that’s after you have gapped most other cars on the road.


In a freeway setting, the ZS EV is similarly handy providing strong roll on acceleration from high speeds for overtaking while giving a relaxed cruise when required.


We parked it, drove on some busted bitumen, negotiated some tight turns, drove in small laneways, put stuff in the back, went for it on a freeway leading out of town and generally had a good time behind the wheel… and it still had more than half charge available indicating some 180km range still in the battery.


We wanted to see if the 50kW recharge lived up to its claim but couldn’t find one… still a problem with EVs.


So, we sat down for a coffee or three and waited…


Said recharging can be accomplished in a number of ways, overnight at home or at commercial charging facilities with rapid 54-minute recharging to 80 per cent max on a 50kW appliance.


The front recharge port is easy to access and sensibly positioned.


With front drive a hang-over from ICE days, the ZS EV can become a touch unruly on damp roads spinning the wheels if you use too much throttle but that disappears with the new generation in a few years that will use a dedicated EV platform. In the meantime the ZS EV makes a worthy city car for the family.

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