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First drive: MG ZS EV

Date: 24 December 2021   |   Author: Pete Tullin

Looking to make the switch to EV power but still having concerns over range and affordability? Well, MG's tweaked ZS EV SUV could be the answer.
Standard equipment:
16in alloys, remote entry with push-button start, air conditioning, four electric windows, electrically adjustable mirrors, smartphone compatibility, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, 10.1in colour touchscreen, satnav adaptive cruise control, leather steering wheel, 360-degree rear reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
156hp electric motor
Equipment grades:
SE, Trophy, Trophy Connect
Single speed

Even against a backdrop of a debilitating global pandemic and a rampant semi-conductor shortage, sales of MG products continue on a steady upward spiral, and none of this success is rocket science. 

In a world crying out for affordable, long-range EV transport, few, if any, manufacturers can match MG's combination of outstanding affordability and reassuring range longevity.

The latest MG to hit the streets is the ZS EV SUV, which comes with a 68.3kWh battery, providing a anxiety quashing 273-mile range between charges and is available from £30,940 for the strongest battery version once the £2,500 plug-in grant has been applied. 

Apart from a few subtle exterior tweaks, including reprofiled bumpers and lights, the new ZS looks very similar to the car it replaces. 

Consequently, it retains a similar cookie-cutter SUV look to any number of mid-sized SUVs you care to name. The notable exception is its stubby, blanked-off grille, which for all the world looks like it has gone a couple of rounds with Tyson Fury. Overall though, the ZS EV ticks most of the boxes SUV customers expect and inside it's a similar story. 

With a few subtle upgrades to the trim, things remain solidly constructed and unassumingly styled, even if some of the materials are not exactly premium. Then again, with so many manufactures recently resorting to sustainable materials, or blatant cost cutting, depending on your point of view, the ZS has effectively moved closer to many more illustrious badged rivals simply by doing very little.   

The most notable change to the interior is the new 10.1in touchscreen, which MG claims is a significant upgrade over the previous model's sluggish reactions and 'Toys are Us' graphics.

Certainly, the overall layout is more sophisticated with subtle hues and sharp script replacing blurry colours, and when it works, its reactions are undoubtedly much snappier. Trouble is, the responses in the car we drove were quite hit-and-miss, so we look forward to trying the system out again once it has the upgrades MG claims are in the pipeline. 

With the base-spec SE featuring satnav, climate control, adaptive cruise control and MG Pilot driver-assistance, the ZS is also very well equipped and if you upgrade to the Trophy or Trophy Connect trims you'll get a panoramic roof, leather-effect upholstery and electrically adjustable heated seats thrown in.

From an everyday practicality standpoint, there's enough head and legroom front and back for a burgeoning nuclear family. While the boot measures in at 470-litres with seats up, it's not the most practical load bay as there's a noticeable step in the floor when the seatbacks are folded. At least a height-adjustable floor boot board is included to help iron out that step when it is set in its highest position. 

Undoubtedly the ZS feels most at home around town, where its supple suspension quashes most lumps and bumps pretty effectively. The brakes, meanwhile, are a bit spongy but not so compliant that you'll have problems modulating them in stop-start traffic conditions. There are also three switchable regenerative motor braking modes. You will notice the difference between the three options, but even the heftiest retardation setting isn't strong enough to encourage one-pedal driving. 

The electric motor itself is admirably quiet and refined at all speeds, and the performance it develops is pretty effective too. Although it develops a relatively modest 156hp, and despite dragging a 2t-plus combination of body and batteries, MG reckons the ZS still generates sufficient poke for a sprightly 0-60mph time of 8.2 seconds. 

Up the pace a wee bit and things do become a fair bit less encouraging as the inherent softness and gentle side to side rocking, which are so cosseting at town speeds, give way to more pronounced sway and bump induced lateral kicks. Throw into the mix the rather hefty steering efforts required to get the ZS' substantial weight to change direction and it quickly becomes obvious that the ZS is no sports SUV. 

Overall though, with so many positives in its locker and with an even cheaper, shorter-range version on the horizon, we can only see a positive future for MG's latest EV.  

MG ZS EV Trophy Connect Long Range 

P11D: £33,940 (excluding government grant)

Residual value: 39.6% 

Depreciation: £20,504

Fuel: £2,582

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,877

Cost per mile: 41.61p

Range: 273 miles

CO2 (BIK %): 0 g/km (1%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £6/£11

Luggage capacity: 470 litres

Electric motor: 156hp


  • Extensive range
  • Attractively priced
  • Good cabin space
  • Compromised boot shape
  • Touchscreen software issues
  • Wallowy handling