Review - 2023 MG ZST Vibe

By Alexi Falson on 03 Apr 2023
image for Review - 2023 MG ZST Vibe MG’s range of affordable SUVs has put the company firmly on the map in a remarkably short span of time, and its mid-spec SUV, the ZST, has played a key role in the process.

Sitting in the MG lineup as a slightly more premium take on the ZS platform, the ZST offers buyers a seriously impressive value proposition within the compact SUV segment.

The ZST’s Vibe sits above the entry-level Core variant but below the Excite and the Essence, which begs the question of whether it’s the perfect option for price-conscious buyers, or if it’s missing out on some key features that its range-topping siblings receive.

Let’s take a closer look at the MG ZST Vibe to find out.

Starting Price: $26,990

OnlineAuto Savings: Enquire now

MG ZST (VIBE) Specifications

Model Date 2023
Make MG
Model ZST
Series MY22
Variant VIBE
Drive FWD
Engine MPFI
Engine capacity 1498
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6000 / 4500
Cylinders 4
Torque 150
KW 84
Fuel tank size 48.0
Fuel usage specs 6.9 / 0
CO2 161
ANCAP security rating Unrated

For more details and other variants, check car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The MG ZST Vibe is priced at $26,990 drive-away here in Australia, while the entry-level ZST Core and the range-topping ZST Essence are priced at $24,990 and $32,490 respectively.

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

You could save money by using one of OnlineAuto’s car agents to assist you in finding the best car for you. As one of the leading car buying services in Australia, our team have access to a range of dealerships across the country to help find you the best deal.

2023 mg zst vibe rear

What Features Does the MG ZST Vibe Have?

The entry-level MG ZST Core comes packaged with 17-inch alloys and receives LED head & tail lights, keyless entry & start, cloth upholstery, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera and a 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.

Over the entry-level ZST Core, the ZST Vibe picks up a set of 17-inch two-tone alloys, fog lights, automatic rain-sensing wipers, leatherette upholstery, an upgraded six-speaker sound system and built-in satellite navigation for the infotainment system.

For reference, the higher-spec ZST Excite picks up a more powerful 1.3-litre turbocharged engine, while the range-topping ZST Essence receives a digital instrument cluster, a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats and a powered driver’s seat.

2023 mg zst vibe interior

2023 mg zst vibe dash

Range Features:

  • 17-inch two-tone alloys LED head & tail lights

  • Fog lights

  • Adaptive cruise control

  • Leatherette upholstery

  • Surround-view camera

  • 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

  • Satellite navigation

  • Six-speaker sound system

MG ZST Vibe Colours

The MG ZST Vibe is available in a choice of six colours, including York White and Pebble Black as no-cost colour options, while Brighton Blue, Diamond Red, Sloane Silver and Horizon Orange are priced as $700 optional extras.

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

In terms of powertrains, MG splits the ZST range in the middle, with the entry-level ZST Core and Vibe powered by the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol producing 84kW of power and 150Nm of torque.

The power plant is paired with a CVT automatic for the front wheels which gives the ZST Vibe some pretty underwhelming acceleration when pushed.

For those looking for some more pace, the ZST Excite & Essence receive a 1.3-litre turbocharged three-cylinder producing 115kW of power and 230Nm of torque with a more sophisticated six-speed torque converter automatic.

Around town, the ZST Vibe is incredibly easy to drive, with the CVT automatic effectively blending gearshifts together, and the lightweight steering rack making for a very approachable and user-friendly experience.

The relatively short wheelbase makes the ZST Vibe easy to squeeze in and out of tight car parks, while the suspension feels perfectly fine around town.

Leave the confines of the city and you’ll find the suspension has a hard time with the bumps that so often feature on Australian roads, making it more suited to those looking for an urban commuter.

In this sense, the ZST Vibe does everything it says on the box, offering an easy to drive platform that, while lacking refinement compared to a number of its main rivals, is approachable for all drivers.

2023 mg zst vibe taillights

Is it Practical and Spacious?

The most noticeable change while stepping inside the MG ZST Vibe is the upgraded seat upholstery, with leatherette lining the seats rather than cloth, with red contrast stitching throughout.

The ZST Vibe also picks up a satellite navigation upgrade for the infotainment system and a six-speaker sound system that is noticeably better than the base model.

Our one gripe with MG’s infotainment system is that it can be somewhat slow to respond at times, though this is more or less taken care of when you connect the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto via the USB port.

The front of the cabin is on par for the segment, giving the first row a decent amount of forward visibility and a generous amount of headroom for tall drivers.

Practical touches for the ZST’s cabin include a storage tray behind the gear lever that is perfect for smartphones, a pair of cup holders in the centre console and some added storage inside the folding arm rest.

The amount of leg and headroom on offer in the ZST’s second row is relatively generous for the segment, though taller rear passengers will have to request some added legroom from those seated up front, which is common for these compact SUVs.

All up, the second row is perfectly acceptable, and while it lacks a set of air vents, those seated in the rear gain a pair of USB ports, as well as ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts for forward and rear-facing child seats.

2023 mg zst vibe rear seats

2023 mg zst vibe rear usb

Finally, the MG ZST has a boot measuring in at 359L which is quite spacious for the compact SUV segment, with boot space expanding to 1187L with the rear seats folded to help accommodate bulky cargo.

2023 mg zst vibe boot

2023 mg zst vibe tailgate

Is it Safe?

The MG ZST range is yet to be officially tested by ANCAP, though it’s twin-under-the-skin, the MG ZS, has received a four-star ANCAP safety rating.

As standard, the ZST range picks up autonomous emergency braking, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alerts with lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts.

This makes it extremely well-equipped with active safety technologies for the money, though it does lack the official ANCAP tick, which is something to keep in mind.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

The 1.5-litre four-cylinder powering the ZST Core and Vibe is rated at 6.9L/100km on a combined cycle, giving it fuel efficiency numbers that match what’s on offer from most of its main rivals. 

For reference, stepping up to the more powerful ZST Essence & Excite also raises fuel economy figures to 7.1L/100km on a combined cycle.

2023 mg zst vibe headlights

Our Verdict: Is the MG ZST Vibe Worth it?

As a complete package, the ZST Vibe ticks all of the important boxes that compact SUV buyers are looking for - it’s easy to drive, reasonably practical for a small SUV and comes packed to the brim with features.

Keep in mind that the ZST range isn’t quite as refined as some of its main rivals, though there are some serious cost advantages in play for those making the switch.

In terms of the Vibe as an individual variant, the extra features are a nice touch that give the interior a particularly nice upgrade, though we’d recommend stepping up further to either the Excite or Essence simply for the more potent turbocharged engine.

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

  1. Seven-year, unlimited KM warranty

  2. No ANCAP rating for ZST (ZS siblings have four-star ANCAP rating)

  3. 1.5-litre four-cylinder produces 84kW/150Nm (115kW/230Nm for Excite & Essence)

  4. 6.9L per 100km combined cycle fuel economy

  5. 359L boot


  • Impressive value for money

  • Spacious and practical for the segment

  • Full active safety equipment suite


  • Underwhelming engine makes Excite & Essence feel far superior

  • Four-star ANCAP safety rating

  • No rear air vents

OnlineAuto Rating: 7/10

MG ZST Competition


Haval Jolion Premium
Kia Seltos
Mitsubishi ASX
Toyota C-HR
Hyundai Kona
Mazda CX-30
Honda HR-V


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.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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