The ZS EV is a medium-sized family SUV, with a smart, compact urban design outside and a great interior that mixes smart plastics with bold, unusual graphics
Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader
Ignore the clunky handful of letters: this is an SUV worth test driving. MG is a brand your granddad would be familiar with, from its heyday as maker of small British sports cars in the Sixties. It’s now changed beyond all recognition: its owners are Chinese, and it’s building electric SUVs. Good ones, too, at a reasonable price.
The ZS EV is a medium-sized family SUV, with a smart, compact urban design outside and a great interior that mixes smart plastics with bold, unusual graphics. The digital screen has a different colour for each function (satnav, radio etc) that looks jazzy and makes the system easier to use while driving. The seats and dashboard are slimmed down, and black plastics with white stitching everywhere brightens the interior. There are two design options: Excite or the more expensive Exclusive. Our car was a very pretty pastel blue with silver roof rails.
For the price (see below) you get plenty of technology. There’s smartphone integration for Apple and Android, Bluetooth connectivity and a large screen for accessing all the systems. The Exclusive version gives you more speakers (six) with surround sound, as well as rain-sensing wipers, electric and heated wing mirrors and a rear parking camera which is becoming a necessity in high-sided cars that are continuously parked in town.
There’s shoulder, leg and head room for five adults, and a large boot which has two levels for the floor to slot into, depending now how much stuff you need to load on board. When you fold the rear seats down, although they don’t go flat, they do leave a space deep and wide enough for bikes and pushchairs. There are handy little storage nets on the sides of the car, cup holders and door bins. Enough, in other words, for a family on a road trip.
Best of all, because this is an electric car, it’s silent, save for some distant wind and tyre noise. Passengers will be asleep in no time.
The ZS EV is a pure electric car (the standard ZS comes in petrol or diesel form, but we highly recommend this electric version). To charge it, you press part of the grill at the front of the car which slides up to reveal two sockets, one for charging at home and one for a 50kW fast-charging public point.
It will charge to 80 per cent from empty via a domestic charging point in 6.5 hours (in other words, overnight). That goes down to 40 minutes at a rapid charging point. And it should be good for 160 miles between charges.
On the move, this standard-looking SUV has extraordinary handling characteristics – it drives sublimely, with precise, light steering and a character that belongs to a car costing twice this much. It’s one of the motoring surprises of the year for us.
Astonishing value, given that both the battery and car are covered by MG’s seven-year warranty. The Excite version starts at £24,995 and the Exclusive at £26,995. That’s including the Government grant for electric cars. Add to that the running costs of an electric car, which are roughly half that of a petrol or diesel equivalent, and this looks like a great choice for those wanting value for money.