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Auto-only MG ZS from $20,990 BOCs

Asian sensation: MG’s latest SUV, the ZS, will wear a pricetag of just $20,990 before on-roads and is equipped as standard with an automatic transmission.

Keen pricing for MG’s new ZS small-sized crossover, with cheaper version planned

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MG logo24 Nov 2017

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MG MOTOR has launched its second SUV in Australia with the automatic-only ZS from $20,990 plus on-road costs, making it one of the cheapest small SUVs on the market and undercutting equivalent key rivals such as the Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HR-V and Holden Trax.

However, a more basic Core variant is due sometime in the first quarter of next year with pricing at around $19,000 for the standard auto, beating the Chery J11 also out of China and only leaving the much smaller Suzuki Ignis as the cheapest in segment.

At launch however, the SAIC Motor-owned British marque’s smallest SUV will come in two variants offering distinct front-wheel-drive powertrain choices co-developed with General Motors.

Starting with the Soul variant at $20,990 and stretching out to $23,990 with the Essence, MG Motor Australia product planning manager Pavel Meck said the brand is not worried about the prospect sales cannibalisation between the new crossover and its already-established GS mid-size SUV that starts where the ZS tops out.

“They appeal to two considerable different buyer groups,” he told GoAuto at the ZS unveiling in Sydney this week.

“Its smaller size makes the ZS ideal (for urban buyers), and we’re also looking at a lot of couples, younger families and segment-first buyers looking for more utility in a more compact vehicle.

“That type of buyer is different in terms of the needs of the more traditional SUV buyer as we’ve seen in the larger GS… and so the GS will remain in its current positioning and hopefully both cars will attract their own unique buyers.”

While active driver-assist safety tech such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) will not be made available until model year 2019 updates in the ZS at the earliest (it is standard in the base CX-3 manual from $20,490), the Soul range-opener on sale now does include an 8.0-inch touchscreen with reversing camera and Apple CarPlay connectivity, rear parking sensors, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Additionally, as with the latest version of the larger MG GS mid-size SUV (dubbed the MY17.5), the newcomer scores a seven-year warranty with roadside assistance, up from the continuing MG3 light hatch and MG6 mid-sizer’s six-year period.

The $20,990 Soul employs a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 84kW of power at 6000rpm and 150Nm of torque from 4500rpm.

Mated solely to a four-speed torque-converter auto, it averages 7.1 litres per 100km for a carbon dioxide emissions rating of 165 grams per kilometre.

Another $3000 nets the ZS Essence, bringing with it a 1.0-litre three-cylinder direct-injection turbo-petrol engine driving the front wheels via a six-speed torque-converter automatic.

Though it delivers less power (82kW at 5200rpm), torque increases (160Nm from 1800-4700rpm), and benefits from a 0.4L/100km and 8g/km saving in fuel economy and emissions respectively.

Both Euro 5-emissions rated units require premium unleaded.

With its greater efficiency, panoramic sunroof and push-button start, the more advanced-specced Essence is expected to be the more popular of the duo, at least until the Core comes on stream in about March.

As with most of its rivals, the ZS features MacPherson-style struts up front, a torsion beam rear axle and electronic power steering with three settings to aid low-speed effort and feel.

Aiding SAIC Motor Australia’s sales expansion plans is the recent addition of three dealers in Queensland and New South Wales (including Albury/Wodonga) taking the total number to nine for this year, while Melbourne is next on the docket with an MG Motor showroom opening in January.

2017 MG ZS pricing*
Soul (a)$20,990
Essence (a)$23,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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