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Guangzhou show: First MG ZS images break cover

Changing faces: A first glimpse at the forthcoming MG compact crossover ahead of its unveiling next week has revealed a change in design direction for the Chinese-owned British brand.

MG ZS compact crossover to debut at Guangzhou motor show on November 18

15 Nov 2016

MG Motor has teased images of its first compact SUV in a pair of low-light stylised design renderings ahead of the new model’s official public debut at the Guangzhou motor show later this week.

The compact crossover – dubbed the ZS for Chinese markets – will compete in the smallest end of the SUV market with proportions similar to the Holden Trax, and with styling that appears to have evolved away from its GS mid-size SUV sibling that has more of a resemblance to current MG models, including the MG6.

In place of the GS’ slender grille and pointed snout, the ZS has a more aggressive and purposeful grille that is flanked Mazda-esque headlights and a sporty lower valance.

Heavily sculpted side panels may have been accentuated for the renderings but the angular rear haunches that flow through to the sleek rear light lenses will likely stand out as clearly on the show car when it rolls out on November 18.

The change in design direction follows a restructuring of the MG design centre in the United Kingdom, which saw design director Anthony Williams-Kenny return from SAIC headquarters in Shanghai and the appointment of exterior team leader Pierre Luigi Ferrari and interior team leader Paul Matthew.

Exactly how much influence the UK team had in the latest SUV is unknown outside the company, but it is likely the project was shared between Chinese and British offices under the direction of SAIC Design.

No details have been released with the images and it is not yet known which markets will be offered the ZS beyond China, but Australia is likely given the local demand for SUVs and the confirmation from the company that it is planning a trio of SUVs.

The relaunch of the MG brand under the governance of SAIC Motor Australia earlier this month has also created a more healthy platform for the introduction of the little crossover should it come Down Under, alongside the GS SUV sibling and MG6 sedan and MG3 hatchback.

If it is given the green light for Australia a rename is likely to distance the SUV from the unrelated MG ZS sports sedan that launched in 2004.

MG has a limited number of engines at its disposal and a version of the 1.5-litre that powers the GS is a possibility for the smaller vehicle with either the same 124kW/250Nm or a detuned unit for economy.

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