MG ZS EV review: An affordable all-electric SUV

In September 2019, MG Motor released its first all-electric vehicle – the ZS EV. Prices started from £21,495, which led it to become an instant success as it was the least expensive all-electric SUV on the market.

Its affordable price was made possible after MG (once known as Morris Garages) was acquired by the Chinese state-owned automotive company SAIC Motor; the latter company subsequently merged with Nanjing Automobile Group – another Chinese automaker – in 2007.

Despite the changes of ownership, MG has garnered a positive reputation with its customers, namely due to its reasonably-priced cars and its bundled seven-year warranty across the entirety of its fleet. But, is the MG ZS EV worth it? Let’s find out.

You can also watch the review of the MG ZS EV on our YouTube channel.

MG ZS EV price

The SUV’s price has risen since its release in late 2019, whereby its tempting £21,495 introductory offer has now expired. At the time of writing, the ZS EV is available from £25,495 – a 15.6% increase.

This is is partially due to the government’s £500 reduction in the plug-in car grant (PICG), which followed after the announcement of the 2020 Budget in March.

MG ZS EV review

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Nonetheless, the MG ZS EV is still the cheapest all-electric SUV on the market, sitting below the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric, which can be found from £34,995 and £29,900, respectively.

Take away the ZS EV’s all-electric powertrain and you’ll find far cheaper alternatives, such as the gasoline-led MG ZS that starts from £14,495.

Read next: MG ZS EV Exclusive audio review: Impressive 3D surround sound

MG ZS EV trims and options

The MG ZS EV is available in two trims: the ‘Excite’ and the ‘Exclusive’. The latter model on review starts from £27,995 (after PICG). For the additional £2,500, you’ll get the following features:

  • Blind-Spot Detection (BSD)
  • Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • Electrically adjustable driver seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-style upholstery
  • Odour and pollutant filter for the air-con
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Rear parking camera
  • Silver roof rails
  • Six-speaker audio system with 3D Sound

Both trims come with an 8″ infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 17″ diamond-cut alloy wheels (215/50 R17) and have keyless entry as standard.

As for the colour options, the ZS EV is available in Arctic White at no additional cost. Black Pearl or Pimlico Blue add £545 to the overall price, while Dynamic Red adds £695.

MG ZS EV taillights

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MG ZS EV exterior review

No matter which colour you choose, the ZS EV is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes – at least in our subjective opinion. The SUV has angel headlights with soft edges around the front wheel arches, a distinct boot design and five-spoke 17″ alloys that give its side profile a somewhat sporty look.

At the front, its large grille serves a purpose, as under the MG logo are the vehicle’s Type 2 and CCS charging ports. Elsewhere, the front trunk – also known as frunk or front boot – houses the ZS EV’s motor, whereby the batteries are lined within the vehicle’s floor. Unlike Tesla’s vehicles, there’s no additional luggage space at the front.

As for the roof, the Exclusive model features a panoramic sunroof and silver roof rails. The former adds additional ambient light into the cabin – of course, an electronically adjustable sunshade is at hand if one wants to block out sunlight.

Read next: What is an EV? Everything you need to know about hybrid and electric vehicles

MG ZS EV interior review

Speaking of the cabin, the vehicle’s interior is similarly elegant; from the well-thought-out steering wheel to the five comfortable, leatherette-style seats.

Indeed, everywhere you look, you’ll find handy non-cumbersome controls. Sure, the interior isn’t as exciting as an Audi A8, but given the vehicle’s price and its competitors – MG has managed to tick every box, without overly complicating the basics.

MG ZS EV steering wheel

Let’s us take the centre console as an example: there’s a stowed away compartment for loose change, two cup holders and even a small rubberised area to place a smartphone; under which you’ll find two USB Type-A ports and a 12V cigarette lighter. As for the gear selector, it’s extremely responsive and easy-to-use: tap the rotary dial to put the SUV in Park, twist it to access Reverse, Neutral and Drive. Simple.

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As for the instrument cluster; it’s similarity straightforward: on the left there’s a speedometer, on the right a power indicator (in percentage) and in between the two dials is a small LCD screen that shows key information – such as the remaining charge, the selected drive mode and the time. You can flick through the various options using the buttons on the steering wheel.

However, the same thought-out logic and intuitive controls couldn’t be said for its infotainment system. The 8″ display and indeed the operating system is sluggish and unresponsive. Flicking through menus is a chore, while waiting for the notifications to pop up once the desired fan speed or temperature is dialled feels laborious.

Thankfully, you needn’t worry too much about the vehicle’s infotainment system, as with the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay both supported, the display gets transformed into a 21st-century media haven. Here, one can access popular apps for navigation and play locally-stored music without a hitch.

If you’d like to learn more about the SUV’s speaker setup, read our in-depth review of its audio system, here.

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MG ZS EV storage review

When it comes to storage, the ZS EV has 448 litres of space in the boot and 1,375 litres when the seats are folded down. As such, there’s ample amounts of space for a few large-sized luggage and carry-on suitcases.

Elsewhere, you’ll find small pockets of space dotted around the vehicle’s cabin – the doors have compartments that’ll fit a 500 ml bottle with ease, while under the centre armrest there’s additional storage for valuables.

Taller individuals will also be pleased to know that the ZS EV doesn’t feel cramped. Both in the three rear seats and the front two, there’s lots of legroom and headspace for six-foot-plus individuals.

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MG ZS EV comfort review

While having ample space is appreciated, the ZS EV’s ride height is somewhat overdone. Driving around inner-city roads will feel unnatural to most; where spacial awareness might be an issue for those who aren’t accustomed to driving larger-sized vehicles.

Similarly, if you’re coming from a family-sized vehicle with soft suspension, you’ll find the ZS EV has somewhat of a stiff suspension. Now, don’t be mistaken – MG’s all-electric SUV won’t feel as stiff as a BMW M4 Competition with sport suspension, but it’s certainly not as forgiving as Jaguar’s air suspension found in its all-electric SUV.

MG ZS EV cabin design

MG ZS EV performance review

However, this does have its advantages, as when driven around country roads, the ZS EV doesn’t suffer from too much body roll. An aspect that plagues a lot of larger-sized vehicles.

It’s responsive too; the accelerator works well throughout the three driving modes – Eco, Standard and Sport – while the brake pedal is easy to press and makes for easy deceleration. Speaking of which, the ZS EV has three levels of regenerative braking methods (also known as KERS); starting with level 1 that replicates engine braking, through to the more aggressive level 3, which decelerates the ~1,539kg SUV in a much quicker fashion.

As for the vehicle’s performance, MG’s all-electric SUV houses a singular front-mounted motor that outputs 105 kW (143 hp) of power and 353 Nm of torque. This will get you to 62mph from a standstill in 8.5s, where its top speed is limited to 87mph.

MG ZS EV front design

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When driving at speed, you’ll find the vehicle sits planted on the road, however, it does incur a fair bit of cabin noise, when wind is deflected off its A-pillars and front wings. Road noise also seeps through via its 17″ alloy wheels. Ultimately, it’s not the most tranquil cabin, but it’s certainly not the noisiest either.

Moving onto its driving range, the ZS EV is rated to last 163 miles on a single charge, while inner-city driving should net a higher figure of 232 miles. In our tests, we found mixed driving cycles netted slightly lower results of around 150 miles; still, that’s more than most will need for a week’s worth of commuting.

To charge the vehicle’s batteries, you’ll need to have access to either a 7 kW Type 2 or 50 kW CSS-style charging point. The former takes 6.5 hours to charge to full, while the latter will recharge to 80% in under 40 minutes.

If you’re looking for an all-electric SUV that’ll go that extra mile, we’d urge you to consider the more expensive Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric that’ll net 282 miles and 278 miles on a single charge, respectively.

MG ZS EV charging

As for safety, the ZS EV scored five stars in Euro NCAP’s rigorous safety tests, where it managed to score 90% in adult occupancy and 85% for its safety of child occupants. A few built-in safety mechanisms will help keep the mind at rest: for example, Lane Keep Assist (LKA) helps stay in lane on the motorway, while Intelligent Speed Limit Assist helps identify the speed limit and will help notify of any upcoming speed traps. If you opt for the Exclusive model, you’ll also find a rear parking camera, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) that notifies of any incoming danger while reversing.

Read next: Mini Electric audio review: An impressive audio system

TotallyEV’s verdict on the MG ZS EV

On the whole, the MG ZS EV is a fascinating car. While it might have had a few price hikes since its inauguration in September 2019, it’s still the most affordable all-electric, family-sized vehicle on the market.

MG ZS EV review TotallyEV award

Starting from £25,495, the MG ZS EV is £4,500 cheaper than the Hyundai Kona Electric, and a whopping £9,500 less than the Kia e-Niro. While these SUVs might yield a more premium driving experience, the ZS EV still holds its unique position in the market; quite simply, it’s the best budget all-electric SUV. As such, the MG ZS EV receives TotallyEV’s Value award.

What do you make of the ZS EV? Let us know in the comments below or via social media; we’re on: YouTubeInstagramFacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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