MG ZS EV Exclusive
A focus on value-driven models sees MG pitch its ZS all-electric SUV as a bang-for-buck proposition. With a longer range than cheaper and less practical rivals, Richard Gooding finds a car which impresses for its affordability
What is it?
Now owned by the Chinese SAIC Motor Corporation Limited and reborn as a maker of family cars, MG's range of vehicles is strongly built on value. The ZS is the smaller of the company's two SUVs, and the all-electric ZS EV is sold alongside its 1.0 and 1.5-litre petrol-engined siblings.
How does it drive?
From the outside, the MG ZS EV looks as conventional as some other electric cars appear different. The familiar SUV shape is tidy, and although the standard 17-inch alloy wheels look a little small, the silver accented grille is the key tell-tale that this ZS is powered by electricity.
Inside, the cabin may lack the ultimate quality of more expensive competitors, but it's still built well with some thoughtful highlights, such as the stitched leather effect on the dashboard, and the rotating propeller-like air vents. In the middle of the dashboard sits an eight-inch colour touchscreen with DAB, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a navigation system as standard. On occasion it needs a second prod to acknowledge a 'button' press, but for the money, the level of standard kit is high.
A value-driven SUV isn't focused on sports car handling, but the ZS EV is still enjoyable to drive. Its 105kW/141bhp electric motor gets it to 62mph in 8.5 seconds, and three driving modes – Eco, Normal, and Sport – can be chosen by a toggle button on the centre console. The three levels of regenerative braking can be adjusted by a similar button, and the system offers nicely-judged increments of retardation. Control of the automatic gearbox is by a rotary dial.
The MG's passengers are insulated from the external wind and road noise well enough, too. There's a little noise from the electric motor, but along with a comfortable ride, the MG EV offers good refinement for its price.
What range does it have?
Longer than some of its smaller more 'premium' rivals pitched at similar price points, the MG ZS EV has an official WLTP-certified 163-mile, single charge range.
How long does it take to charge?
The MG ZS EV has CCS and Type 2 sockets to charge its 44.5kWh lithium-ion battery. On a 7kW home charger, it can be replenished in seven hours, and thanks to the rapid charging capability, 80% of the battery's capacity can be reached in 40 minutes from a 50kW charge point.
What does it cost?
Starting at £25,495 (MG has committed to topping up the support to the previous £3,000 Plug-in Car Grant level for all customers who order a new MG EV during March 2021), the MG ZS EV is one of the cheapest routes into family sized EV ownership. The entry-level Excite includes adaptive cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry and start, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, and active emergency braking and lane-keeping safety systems. The range topping Exclusive on test here adds automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, a rear view camera and blind spot detection among other goodies.
How much does it cost to tax?
Under current taxation bands, and in common will all fully electric cars, the MG ZS EV is exempt from VED charges in both the first and also subsequent years. The ZS EV is rated at zero per cent Benefit in Kind (BIK) for 2020-2021, rising to one per cent in 2021-2022, and two per cent in 2022-2023.
Why does my fleet need one?
Sold on its supreme electric car value for money, high equipment levels, and seven-year warranty alone, the MG ZS EV is a winner. A longer electric range and a larger, more practical body than more 'premium' rivals cements its reputation as a superbly sensible proposition.