By Alexi Falson, 30 Sep, 2021
Review - MG ZS
AF By Alexi Falson September 02, 2021
The MG brand was revived back in 2016 when its parent company, the SAIC Motor Group announced a return for the brand to international markets. That return has since been hugely successful, with MG positioned as a budget-friendly option for those looking for hatchbacks and SUVs.
Today, we’re going to take a look at MG’s compact SUV called the ZS, which comes with a price tag of just $21,990 drive-away. It’s billed as a feature-packed compact SUV that is well-positioned to serve Australian families and is particularly budget-friendly.
With the release of the MG ZS range, the addition of the all-electric ZS EV gives MG an important accolade as the titleholder of Australia’s cheapest EV. One problem that MG faces, however, is that the compact SUV segment is one of the most competitive in the overall market, so it really needs to excel in order to secure sales.
The question remaining, then, is just how good is the MG Z, how well does it separate itself from the busy crowd of compact SUVs, and does the ZS represent one of the best value for money propositions on the market, or is it simply a budget model to scratch off your shortlist and walk past? Let’s find out.
Starting Price: $21,990 drive-away
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MG ZS (EXCITE) Specifications
|Fuel type||UNLEADED PETROL|
|Transmission||4 SP AUTOMATIC|
|Engine configuration||VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves|
|Engine RPM||6000 / 4500|
|Fuel tank size||48.0|
|Fuel usage specs||7.1 / 0.0|
|ANCAP security rating||4|
For more details and other variants, check MG ZS car page.
How Much Does It Cost?
The MG ZS lineup kicks off at just $21,990 drive-away for the entry-level Excite variant, with the higher-spec Excite Plus variant priced from $23,990. MG’s range-topping petrol-powered ZS comes in the form of the ZS Essence, which is priced from $26,490 drive-away.
Finally, the ZS lineup is headed by the all-electric MG ZS EV, which comes with a price tag of $44,990. While this is a significant premium over its petrol-powered siblings, the ZS EV is currently Australia’s cheapest all-electric car, undercutting its competitors by as much as $10,000.
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What Features Does the MG ZS Have?
MG’s entry-level ZS, the Excite comes riding on 17-inch alloys, and is packed with features like an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay connectivity, cruise control, air conditioning, six-speaker 3D audio system from Yamaha, automatic halogen headlights with LED “London Eye” daytime running lamps, a reversing camera with rear-mounted parking sensors, fog lights, roof rails, a mix of leatherette and fabric for the upholstery, paired with a full-grain leather-wrapped steering wheel and front and side full-length curtain airbags.
Stepping up to the ZS Excite Plus maintains all the features we’ve just mentioned, while adding a more powerful turbocharged engine. Moving to the top-spec MG ZS Essence adds premium features like two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, a panoramic sunroof and satellite navigation.
Finally, MG’s range-topping ZS EV comes packaged with key features like 17-inch alloy wheels, the same 8.0-inch infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, heated front seats, a reversing camera with rear-mounted parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, push-button start, leatherette interior upholstery and an electric parking brake.
17-inch alloy wheels
8.0-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay
Reversing camera with rear-mounted parking sensors
Automatic halogen headlights
LED “London Eye” daytime running lamps
Satellite navigation (Essence)
Panoramic sunroof (Essence)
Push-button start (Essence)
Adaptive headlights (ZS EV)
Adaptive cruise control (ZS EV)
Heated front seats (ZS EV)
MG ZS Colours
|Dover White||Sloane Silver|
|Pebble Black||Regal Blue|
Is the MG ZS Comfortable to Drive?
The MG ZS range behaves remarkably differently, depending on the engine you’ve opted for. The entry-level Excite is underpowered and underwhelming, but is entirely adequate when bumbling to-and-from as an urban runaround. Moving to the Excite Plus adds a turbocharger, which presents buyers with a much-needed increase in power and torque, and brings the car pretty much on par with its main rivals in terms of pushing-power. Finally, the MG ZS EV’s electric motor adds a power increase with a heap of torque, which means the car gets up to speed with much more vigor than its petrol-powered siblings.
As a city car, which is no doubt where MG is positioning the ZS lineup, the entire range is perfectly suited as a point-and-shoot urban commuter. MG’s six-speed automatic transmission makes short work of gear shifts, although it can miss the mark occasionally while picking up speed. The steering is exceptionally light, which makes low-speed turns effortless, and the fairly short wheelbase means that maneuvering into tight car parks is extremely manageable for the driver. With this in mind, the ZS is perfectly suited to new drivers, or those looking for an affordable commuter. As for the suspension, the ZS is reasonably comfortable on the minor bumps that you’ll find around town, however on B-roads the ride quality becomes extremely firm. This firm ride quality becomes more noticeable in the heavier ZS EV, which has to contend with that hefty battery pack under the rear passenger seats.
As a complete package, however, and compared to its rivals, the MG ZS doesn’t feel quite as perky or smooth as its main competitors. With that said, MG has done a great job in catching up with its rivals in terms of driving comfort and sophistication, which could set the stage for an overtaking opportunity further down the track, but not yet.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
While space and practicality are typically not the strongest points of compact SUVs, the MG ZS range does a remarkable job at accommodating people and their belongings in a relatively small package. The front of the cabin features a number of design elements taken from other manufacturers, like the VW-sourced steering wheel and the Audi-sourced air vents and door handles. This adds a nice premium and straight-forward touch to the MG’s affordability package. One thing to take note of as a driver is the lack of adjustment in the steering, which can pivot up and down, but doesn’t telescope closer to you. This means you’re likely going to be seated closer to the wheel than you might like in order to reach the wheel properly. Overall, though, the rest of the ergonomics are perfectly acceptable, and the front of the cabin is fine for even tall drivers.
In the rear of the cabin, there’s a huge amount of legroom for rear passengers, even for tall adults. This is a lot more than can be said for a number of the ZS’ key rivals, so in that respect, the ZS does a great job when it comes to occupant space and comfort over other compact SUVs on the market. ISOFIX and top tether mounting points are easy to access across the rear bench, which makes installing a child seat a simple process. In the rear of the ZS, there is 359L of cargo storage available in the boot, which expands to 1,166L with the rear-seats folded in a 60:40 configuration. This is significantly more cargo storage than what’s on offer in MG’s main rivals for the segment, which makes it one of the most practical offerings on the market.
Is the MG ZS Safe?
MG’s petrol-powered ZS range has been awarded a four-star rating from ANCAP, while the all-electric ZS EV has received a five-star rating, scoring 90% for adult occupant protection and 84% for child occupant protection. As standard, the ZS lineup comes packed with front and side curtain airbags, but no active safety technologies. Opting for the ZS EV adds adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, forward-collision warning, rear cross-traffic alerts and lane-keep assist. If safety is a key concern of yours, MG is pushing customers toward either the ZST or the all-electric ZS EV, which offer active safety features.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
The entry-level ZS Excite is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine that is rated at 7.1L per 100km on a combined cycle, while the more powerful 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit brings this figure down to 6.7L per 100km. Overall, for a small capacity engine, the fuel economy of the MG ZS range is nothing exceptional for modern times, but it’s not embarrassed by its competitors, either.
How Far Can The MG ZS EV Travel on a Single Charge?
The MG ZS EV is powered by a 44.5kWh battery pack paired with a single electric motor that offers a claimed 263km on a single charge, measured on the WLTP cycle. Your final range figure will depend on the driving conditions, how much regenerative braking you capture, as well as how heavy your right foot is. Using a 7kW charger that you’d find at home, the MG ZS EV takes around six-and-a-half hours to fully charge, while a 50kW fast-charger brings this figure down to just 45-minutes charging from 0-80%.
Our Verdict: Is the MG ZS Range Worth it?
Considering the extremely affordable price tag that comes attached to the ZS lineup, it’s a difficult car to fault, so long as you can keep your expectations realistic. As a complete package, the entry-level ZS models offer remarkable value for money, while closing the gap between the ZS and its much more established rivals. In terms of the all-electric ZS EV, while it offers unparalleled value as Australia’s most affordable electric vehicle, the limited range figure means that it might only be suitable for specific commutes, so do your research before you buy. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925
Five Specs You Need to Know
- Seven-Year, Unlimited KM Warranty
- Fuel economy of 6.7L - 7.1L per 100km
- 263km of electric range for ZS EV
- 359L of boot storage
- Four-star ANCAP rating; ZS EV has five-star
Hugely spacious and practical interior
Some of the leading boot capacity for the segment
Exceptional value for money
Long warranty as standard
No active safety tech on petrol-powered ZS lineup
No Android Auto support for ZS Excite, Excite Plus and Essence
Lack of steering wheel adjustment
Firm ride on B-roads
MG ZS Competition