By Alexi Falson, 13 Jan, 2022
Review - MG ZST
AF By Alexi Falson January 14, 2022
MG is a brand that is no stranger to offering Australian buyers a heap of value, while somehow managing to undercut its major rivals on price.
The MG ZST continues with this recipe within the compact SUV market, taking on the likes of the Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi ASX, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona and the Mazda CX-30 in one of Australia’s most competitive market segments.
But just how good is the MG ZST, and how well does it assert itself over its fierce competitors? Let’s find out just how much value is on offer in the latest MG ZST to see if it’s the pick of the bunch for Australians looking for a small, affordable SUV.
Starting Price: $25,490
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MG ZST (CORE) Specifications
|Fuel type||UNLEADED PETROL|
|Engine configuration||DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves|
|Engine RPM||6000 / 4500|
|Fuel tank size||48.0|
|Fuel usage specs||6.9 / 0.0|
|ANCAP security rating||Unrated|
For more details and other variants, check MG ZST car page.
How Much Does It Cost?
The MG ZST lineup kicks off in the form of the ZST Core, which is priced from $25,490 drive-away. Moving to the ZST Vibe comes at a cost of $26,990, while the ZST Excite variant is priced at $29,990. Finally, MG’s range-topping ZST Essence receives a sticker price of $32,990 drive-away.
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What Features Does the MG ZST Have?
ZST Core Features
The entry-level MG ZST Core comes riding on a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, and receives features like automatic LED head and tail lights, adaptive cruise control, cloth upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and start, a surround-view camera, faux leather interior trim, as well as a 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is paired with a four-speaker sound system, as well as the MG Pilot safety system.
ZST Vibe Features
Stepping up to the ZST Vibe adds a set of 17-inch alloys with a two-tone finish, as well as a faux leather interior finish for the upholstery, a set of fog lights, satellite navigation upgrades for the infotainment system, as well as an upgraded six-speaker sound system.
ZST Excite Features
Opting for the ZST Excite adds a set of red brake calipers as well as an upgraded 1.3-litre turbocharged engine, while the range-topping ZST Essence adds a set of special 17-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, digital driver’s display, heated front seats, six-way power-adjustable front seats and some MG logos throughout the interior.
Automatic LED head and tail lights
Adaptive cruise control
Surround view camera
Keyless entry & start
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
Four-speaker sound system
MG Pilot safety system
Two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels (ZST Vibe)
Fog lights (ZST Vibe)
Leatherette upholstery (ZST Vibe)
Satellite navigation (ZST Vibe)
1.3-litre turbocharged engine (ZST Excite)
Red brake calipers (ZST Excite)
Panoramic sunroof (ZST Essence)
Digital driver’s display (ZST Essence)
Heated front seats (ZST Essence)
MG ZST Colours
The MG ZST is available in a choice of Brighton Blue, York White, Diamond Red, Sloane Silver, Pebble Black.
Is it Comfortable to Drive?
While MG seems to let its marketing of equipment lists and features do most of the talking when trying to impress potential buyers, the way the ZST drives on the road is equally as impressive when you consider the price tag. It’s worth noting, though, that there are two engines available in the range, and one is significantly more entertaining to drive both around town and on long distance journeys.
The entry-level Core and Vibe receive a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 84kW and 150Nm of torque, which results in a fairly straightforward and unimpressive driving dynamic, although it remains perfectly suited as an urban runaround thanks to the CVT automatic that takes care of shifts without the driver noticing.
Stepping up to the ZST Excite and Essence variants, however, adds a smaller capacity but turbocharged 1.3-litre engine that produces 115kW and 230Nm, which, translated to English, is far more engaging to drive and closes any performance gaps between the ZST and its more established rivals. Power is put to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that offers smooth shifts at all speeds.
On the road, the ZST offers an extremely approachable driving dynamic thanks to its user-friendly platform and lightweight steering rack. While the steering tends to lack a sense of feedback as you pick up speed, for the majority of drivers and real-world driving situations, the lightweight steering feel makes low speed turns and squeezing into car parks a simple task.
Thanks to its relatively compact proportions, the ZST is able to squeeze into the majority of spots without the driver needing to take a second glance, however, the clever surround view camera is there to help you out if you get stuck.
In terms of ride comfort and quality, MG has upgraded the suspension components to stand up to some heavier loads and rough road surfaces, and on the majority of road surfaces around town, it remains extremely comfortable. It is guilty of some noticeable body roll through the corners, however as a complete package, the ZST’s suspension offers a noticeable amount of refinement over the ZS.
As a complete package, then, while the ZST lineup might be guilty of not offering too much in the way of excitement, it remains a near faultless everyday commuter. The turbocharged engine is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch, but few buyers will be disappointed by the entry-level variants, either.
Is the MG ZST Practical and Spacious?
MG’s lineup of compact and midsize SUVs has earned itself quite the reputation when it comes to cabin space and comfort, and the ZST is no different. It improves upon the ZS’s recipe, offering a truly family-friendly and practical compact SUV that can more than handle family duties.
Up front, the driver and front passenger are treated to a comfortable set of seats with a significant amount of adjustment in the driving position and the steering wheel to get comfortable on longer journeys. Storage options for the front of the cabin include a set of door bins either side, storage in front of the gear lever and underneath the folding armrest, as well as a set of cup holders in the central console.
Space and comfort in the front of the cabin are impressive for a vehicle of this size, with a heap of head and shoulder room available, made even more impressive by the panoramic sunroof fitted to the range-topping Essence variant.
Moving to the rear of the cabin, the bench seats are perfectly comfortable for tall passengers, although that sunroof we just mentioned can eat up into the space potential available. Overall, though, the rear of the ZST’s cabin is more than capable of handling family duties, and can even accommodate full-sized adults for short to medium journeys, with an impressive amount of legroom on offer compared to some of its competitors.
The real-world practicality keeps on coming when you move to the ZST’s boot, which offers cargo capacity rated at 359L and translates to a boot that can accommodate a load full of groceries and school bags without a problem. Space in the MG ZST’s 359-litre boot extends to 1,187L with the rear seats folded down to accommodate any large, bulky objects you might be moving.
Is it Safe?
The ZST is yet to be officially rated by ANCAP, however, the car on which the ZST is based, the MG ZS, received a four-star ANCAP safety rating when it was tested back in 2017, while the all-electric variant received a five star ANCAP safety rating in 2019.
As standard, every MG ZS variant comes fitted with autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, lane-keep assist and lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alerts, as well as traffic jam and headlight assistance.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
As we’ve mentioned, the ZST lineup comes with a choice of two petrol engines, depending on which variant you opt for. The entry-level 1.5-litre four-cylinder returns a combined cycle figure of 6.9L per 100km, while the 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder is rated at 7.1L per 100km. This means that while the ZST lineup doesn’t lead the pack in terms of fuel economy, it’s not significantly outpaced by its competitors, either.
Our Verdict: Is the MG ZST Worth it?
While it’s more difficult than ever to truly stand out from the crowded compact SUV lineup, the MG ZST is well-deserving of your attention, especially when you consider just how much value for money is on offer.
As a daily driver and family-friendly SUV the ZST performs admirably, and is particularly difficult to fault when you factor-in the generous equipment lists and attractive ownership program on offer. If you haven’t already, ensure that the ZST is on your shortlist while shopping around for compact SUVs. 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 with roadside assistance
1.5-litre four-cylinder and 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines
No official ANCAP safety rating; ZS rated at four-stars; ZS EV rated five-stars
359L boot capacity
6.9L per 100km fuel economy in Core and Vibe; 7.1L for Excite and Essence
Attractive value for money offering
Generous equipment lists
Perky 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder engine
User-friendly urban commuter
Sluggish acceleration from base model engine
Infotainment system issues
Some cheap interior finishes
MG ZST Competitors
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