Review - 2023 MG ZS

By Alexi Falson on 04 Oct 2023
image for Review - 2023 MG ZS
OnlineAuto Rating
out of 10
  • Class-leading second-row space
  • Long warranty coverage
  • Generous features list
  • Accessible price tag
  • Uncompetitive four-speed automatic
  • No active safety tech
  • Short service intervals
  • Not as refined as key rivals
    • 48L
    • 165
    • 6000 / 4500
    • 4 star
    • Automatic
Since its introduction, the MG ZS has been absolutely dominating sales tallies in the compact SUV segment thanks to MG’s particularly generous pricing.

The ZS remains MG’s cheapest SUV package, indeed one of the most affordable compact SUVs on sale here in Australia, though that title does come with some important considerations that might rattle some buyers.

Just what compromises are you making opting for the MG ZS? Let’s take a closer look to find out.

MG ZS Competition


Mazda CX-3
Hyundai Venue
Kia Seltos
Honda HR-V
Toyota C-HR
Mitsubishi ASX
GWM Haval Jolion
Toyota Yaris-Cross

Starting Price: $23,990

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How Much Does It Cost?

The MG ZS range is available in a single variant lineup here in Australia, with prices standing at $23,990 for the ZS Excite.

Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change and do not include on-road costs.

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MG ZS (EXCITE) Specifications

Model Date 2023
Make MG
Model ZS
Series AZS1 MY23
Variant EXCITE
Transmission 4 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive FWD
Engine DIRFI
Engine capacity 1498
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6000 / 4500
Cylinders 4
Torque 150
KW 84
Fuel tank size 48.0
Fuel usage specs 7.1 / 0
CO2 165
ANCAP security rating 4

What Features Does the MG ZS Have?

The MG ZS Essence comes riding on a set of 17-inch alloys, and picks up halogen headlights with LED daytime running lamps, front and rear fog lights, and leatherette upholstery with a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

You’ll also pick up cruise control, a rear-view camera with rear-mounted parking sensors and an 8.0-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay which is paired with a six-speaker sound system.

2023 mg zs excite dash

2023 mg zs excite man touchscreen

2023 mg zs excite taillights

Range Features:

  • 17-inch alloys

  • Halogen headlights with LED daytime running lamps 

  • Front & rear fog lights 

  • Leatherette upholstery 

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel

  • Cruise control 

  • Rear-view camera with rear-mounted parking sensors 

  • 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay 

  • Six-speaker sound system

Is the MG ZS Comfortable to Drive?

While MG has done a great job in catching up with its competitors in such a short period of time, the ZS remains noticeably behind its main rivals when it comes to overall driving comfort and refinement.

Power for the ZS range comes supplied by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 84kW of power and 150Nm of torque, powering the front wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission.

2023 mg zs excite wheels

This means that the ZS doesn’t have a heap of power at its disposal, and picks up speed off the line in a very, very casual manner, while the four-speed automatic lacks the refinement of a more conventional six-speed auto powering its rivals.

Having said that, the power deficit isn’t too dramatic for the compact segment, though it’s worth noting that the ZST’s turbocharged engine offers far more performance.

Around town, the MG ZS remains extremely well-mannered, with its user-friendliness bolstered by its featherweight steering and compact proportions that make parking and navigating tight traffic a breeze.

Leave the city and you’ll notice the steering is a little lacking in terms of real-world feedback for the driver, though the majority of drivers will be happy at just how easy the steering wheel is to manoeuvre.

The gap between the MG ZS and its more sophisticated rivals becomes clear when you leave smooth city streets and hit some rougher country roads.

2023 mg zs excite headlights

The ride is fine on the highway, though the suspension package struggles to keep up with the bumps and undulations of an Australian B-road, making it less versatile than its main rivals.

All up, though, and considering the ZS’ price tag, the driving experience will prove more than adequate for the majority of drivers - so long as you’re planning to stay on smooth city streets.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

The MG ZS has fuel economy figures rated at 7.1L/100km on a combined cycle, putting it smack-bang in the middle of the compact SUV when it comes to fuel efficiency.

2023 mg zs excite engine

For reference, the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine powering the ZST is rated at 6.9L/100km while offering a significant power and torque premium.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

The MG ZS lineup has been stripped back to a single variant here in Australia, which means that there are no major special touches reserved for a range-topper.

It’s an egalitarian approach that has seen the ZS priced even more competitively compared to a number of its rivals, and while the cabin doesn’t offer much in terms of style or excitement, it’s surprisingly practical.

Up front, the driver and front passenger pick up a flashy-looking interior layout with leatherette upholstery, silver highlights and some faux carbon fibre wrapping its way around the infotainment display.

2023 mg zs excite interior

The centre console doesn’t feel as premium as it looks on first impressions, though the leatherette stretching over to the door surrounds is a nice, premium touch - especially at this price point.

Headroom in the front of the cabin is excellent for the segment, while the driving position is nice and lofty for shorter drivers looking for a better view out over their surroundings.

  • Length: 4314mm 

  • Width: 1809mm 

  • Height: 1644mm 

  • Wheelbase: 2585mm

Storage options in the front of the cabin include a storage tray behind the gear lever, a pair of door bins on either side of the cabin, two cup holders and some added storage inside the folding armrest.

Move to the rear of the cabin and you’ll find an impressive amount of leg and headroom, making for one of the most spacious compact SUVs in its segment.

2023 mg zs excite rear seats

There’s not much in the way of rear-seat amenities in the second row, though you will find a pair of ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts for child seats.

Finally, the impressive practicality package is rounded out with a decent 359L of boot space, expanding to 1166L with the rear seats folded down.

2023 mg zs excite boot

2023 mg zs excite tailgate

Is it Safe?

Safety is not a strong selling point of the MG ZS range, which picks up a four-star ANCAP safety rating and misses out on key active safety technologies that you’ll find as a standard feature in most of its rivals.

That means there’s no autonomous emergency braking, nor any blind spot monitoring or cross-traffic alerts, though you still pick up emergency brake assist, hill-launch assist, active cornering brake control, a rear-view camera with rear parking sensors and six airbags inside the cabin.

Our Verdict: Is The MG ZS Worth it?

As a complete package, the MG ZS offers an impressive value proposition within the highly competitive world of compact SUVs.

Major shortfalls include the underwhelming driving experience, four-speed automatic and the lack of safety equipment, though the remainder of the features list is quite impressive for its accessible price tag.

2023 mg zs excite front grille

If you’re tossing up your best options in the world of compact SUVs, be sure to reach out to one of our automotive specialists who can help find you the best possible price on your dream car.

Five MG ZS Specs You Need to Know

  1. Seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty 

  2. 359L boot space 

  3. Four-star ANCAP safety rating 

  4. 7.1L/100km fuel economy figures 

  5. 12-month/10,000km service intervals


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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