2024 MG ZST Review

By Alexi Falson on 20 Jun 2024
image for 2024 MG ZST Review
Overall Rating
out of 10
  • Practical interior layout for the segment
  • Long warranty coverage
  • Excellent safety equipment list, even in base form
  • Great value package
  • Unrated by ANCAP
  • Road manners don’t lead the segment
  • Infotainment system can prove glitchy
  • No wireless Apple CarPlay or Anroid Auto
MG ZST Essence Specs
    • 45L
    • 162
    • 5200 / 1800
    • Unrated
    • Automatic
The MG ZST has become one of Australia’s biggest volume sellers in the small SUV segment thanks, primarily, to its undeniable value proposition.

The ZST presents buyers with a more premium take on the fan-favourite ZS compact SUV while managing to successfully undercut its competitors on price.

For 2024, the MG ZST range takes on its compact SUV rivals with an unchanged lineup, with the company sticking by its incredibly generous approach to features as standard across the four-variant range.

Just how well does the MG ZST compare to its major rivals? Let’s take a closer look to find out.

    MG ZST Competition

    MG ZST

    Mazda CX-30
    Mitsubishi ASX
    Hyundai Kona
    Toyota Corolla Cross
    Kia Seltos
    Haval Jolion
    Volkswagen T-Cross
    Chery Omoda 5

    How Much Does It Cost?

    Drive-away prices for the MG ZST range kick off from $26,990 for the entry-level ZST Core, rising to $28,990 for the ZST Vibe.

    From here, the prices move to $31,990 for the ZST Excite while the range-topping ZST Essence is priced at $33,990 drive-away. 

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    MG ZST (ESSENCE) Specifications

    Model Date 2024
    Make MG
    Model ZST
    Series MY23
    Variant ESSENCE
    Body 5D WAGON
    Transmission 6 SP AUTOMATIC
    Drive FWD
    Engine TDFI
    Engine capacity 1349
    Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 12 valves
    Engine RPM 5200 / 1800
    Cylinders T3
    Torque 230
    KW 115
    Fuel tank size 45.0
    Fuel usage specs 7.3 / 0
    CO2 162
    ANCAP security rating Unrated

    What Features & Specs Does the MG ZST Have?

    MG’s entry-level ZST Core comes riding on a set of 17-inch alloys and receives automatic LED head & tail lights, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view monitor with rear parking sensors, keyless entry & start, cloth upholstery with a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

    Stepping up to the ZST Vibe adds a set of two-tone alloy wheels, fog lights, leatherette upholstery, automatic wipers and an upgraded sound system, while the ZST Excite receives red brake calipers and a more powerful 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

    Finally, the range-topping ZST Essence picks up bespoke alloy wheels, a digital instrument cluster, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, six-way power-adjustable seats and embossed ‘MG’ headrests.

    Connectivity & Infotainment Features

    The MG ZST range receives a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is paired with a four-speaker sound system in the base model, while the Vibe and above receive a six-speaker sound system.

    While it’s not the fastest unit on the market, it is one of the biggest displays you can get at this end of the price spectrum.

    The 10.1-inch infotainment system offers Bluetooth, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth connections as well as smartphone mirroring.

    You’ll find two USB ports in the front of the cabin, with another pair of USB ports in the rear to keep your devices fully charged on the move.

    Does the MG ZST Have Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto?

    Unfortunately, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are not on offer in the MG ZST.

    Instead, the ZST’s 10.1-inch display requires a USB connection to your smartphone to access your navigation, and entertainment and make phone calls on the go via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    Is the MG ZST Comfortable to Drive?

    While the MG ZST range doesn’t lead the pack in terms of driving refinement, for the money, it’s a perfectly acceptable package on the road.

    Base models come powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit pushing out 84kW of power and 150Nm of torque to the front wheels via a CVT automatic.

    Stepping up to the ZST Excite or Essence means you’ll receive a far more engaging 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces a healthy 115kW of power and 230Nm of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic.

    The turbocharged engine is the pick of the bunch, though if you’re looking for a simple A-to-B commuter, the base engine proves more than up to the task.

    Around town, the ZST ticks the all-important boxes of being a user-friendly package to drive, park and squeeze through traffic with its relatively tight turning circle and lightweight steering rack.

    Visibility throughout the cabin is also great thanks to the large windows that add to your confidence while parking or merging.

    The ride quality is far more comfortable with small and moderate-sized bumps in the urban jungle than open country roads, though all up, it’s a fairly comfortable ride.

    On the highway, the ZST is reasonably confident, and while there’s a noticeable amount of road noise, it proves itself a capable compact SUV, perfect for those looking for a simple city car package.

    Overall, the MG ZST doesn’t lead the compact SUV segment in terms of driving refinement, though for the price, it offers a pretty impressive package for those looking to go from point A to B, particularly around town.

    Is it Fuel Efficient?

    With two different engines available, fuel efficiency in the MG ZST range depends on which powertrain you’re opting for, with the base model slightly more efficient than its more powerful, turbocharged sibling.

    On a combined cycle, the 1.5-litre four-cylinder powering the ZST Core and Vibe is rated at 6.9L/100km.

    Upgrading to the 1.3-litre turbocharged unit powering the Excite and Essence increases fuel economy figures to a claimed 7.1L/100km on a combined cycle.

    How Much Fuel Does the MG ZST Use Around Town?

    • MG ZST 1.5-litre City Consumption: 8.9L/100km

    • MG ZST 1.3-litre Turbo City Consumption: 9.8L/100km

    How Much Fuel Does the MG ZST Use on the Highway?

    • MG ZST 1.5-litre Highway Consumption: 5.8L/100km

    • MG ZST 1.3-litre Turbo Highway Consumption: 5.6L/100km

    Is it Practical and Spacious?

    While the ZST isn’t a game-changer for interior space and comfort, it remains a solid value proposition that is well-equipped and looks great for the price.

    Up front, taller drivers won’t have an issue getting comfortable thanks to the amount of headroom on offer which also adds to great forward and side visibility while driving and parking.

    The layout itself looks great, with the large infotainment system representing arguably the best screen you can get at this end of the price spectrum.

    Underneath the screen, you’ll find some physical inputs for volume, temperature and fan speed controls in a clean arrangement that keeps things simple and uncrowded on the dash.

    The front of the ZST’s cabin offers a healthy range of storage options, including a large tray behind the gear lever, a glovebox, a pair of cupholders, added storage inside the armrest and large bottle holders inside each door sill.

    Move to the rear of the ZST’s cabin and interior space and comfort levels are high for the compact SUV segment.

    There’s enough legroom for adults to sit behind a fairly tall driver’s seat, with no complaints for headroom, either, making for a fairly practical member of the typically-cramped small SUV segment.

    Those seated in the rear of the ZST pick up a small storage area in place of air vents, which is a noticeable absence, though there’s still a pair of USB chargers and bottle holders.

    The ZST’s second row features no fold-down armrest, though buyers pick up a pair of ISOFIX anchors and three top tether mounts to accommodate forward and rear-facing child seats.

    How big is the MG ZST’s Boot?

    The MG ZST has a boot measuring in at 359L with the second row of seats standing, representing a healthy amount of cargo space for the small SUV segment.

    Fold down the rear seats and you’ll unlock 1187L worth of boot space when its time to lug around bulky cargo and sports equipment on the weekend.

    Is it Safe?

    For the money, the MG ZST comes packed with a very healthy safety equipment list.

    As standard, buyers pick up autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-keep assistance, a surround-view monitor, lane-departure alerts, parking sensors and six airbags.

    This means that even the entry-level ZST Core comes ready for action with all the active safety gear you could want, a feat made even more impressive by its relatively affordable price tag.

    Does the MG ZST Have an ANCAP Safety Rating?

    The MG ZST does not have a specific ANCAP safety rating, though its closely related ZS siblings have received a four-star safety rating from ANCAP after tests conducted in 2017.

    Keep in mind that the ZS’ current four-star ANCAP safety rating is due to expire in December, 2024.

    What Warranty Does the MG ZST Come With?

    The MG ZST is a class leader when it comes to warranty coverage, with the company backing its compact SUV package with an outstanding seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

    Buyers also pick up seven years of roadside assist and seven capped-price services, up to 70,000 kilometres, when maintained in the network.

    Service intervals for the ZST range stand at a comparatively shorter 12 months or 10,000 kilometres, whichever elapses first.

    Our Verdict: Is the MG ZST Worth it?

    While the ZST has no shortage of competitors, MG’s small SUV package stands confidently on its own feet as one of the best outright value propositions in the segment.

    It’s not the most refined on the road, nor the most fuel-efficient, though the ZST is user-friendly and well-rounded enough, particularly around town, that most buyers won’t notice.

    Thanks to a healthy entertainment and safety equipment list and its long warranty coverage, the ZST is certainly worth a spot on your small SUV shortlist.

    On that note, if you’re looking to upgrade to a new car, be sure to reach out to one of our car-buying experts who can help take the stress out of the buying process and find you the best possible price.

    Five MG ZST Specs You Need to Know

    1. Seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty

    2. Two engines available, both front-wheel drive platforms

    3. 6.9 - 7.1L/100km combined cycle fuel economy

    4. Seven years of capped-price servicing and roadside assist included

    5. 359 - 1187L boot space 


    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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