MG ZS EV
If the MG ZS we have here looks familiar, that’s because it’s been around for quite sometime now – since 2017 to be exact. Like all current MG’s, the ZS is an affordable mode of transport made more appealing by the 7-year warranty that comes as standard.
Look a little more closely, though, and you’ll notice this is a particularly slippery ZS with aero wheels and a blanked off grille, and that’s because this is the MG ZS EV. There aren’t many models in the MG range that run solely on fossil fuels now. Some are hybrids, the MG5 was the only electric estate car on the market on its release and they have recently released details of the rather striking looking MG4 EV. This ZS EV uses the more old-fashioned approach of taking an existing model and filling it with electric internals.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. According the MG’s official specs, turning the ZS into a ZS EV has actually gained it some space in the boot when the rear seats are in place (up to 470 litres from 448). Granted, drop the rear seats and you lose some storage space as it drops from 1,375 litres to 1,100, somehow. Something else you gain in the electric ZS is some extra mass to lug around, an additional 300 – 350kg dependant on spec.
More upmarket inside
Inside the ZS EV has seen a massive improvement when compared to the extremely budget cabins MG’s have come with since they returned to the UK. A new, landscape mounted infotainment system that puts far more premium offerings to shame comes as standard, higher spec Trophy models get wireless charging too. Some aspects have been kept as physical buttons and switches such as drive mode, music volume and heater controls; manufacturers seem to be realising we don’t want every last variable squirrelled away inside a screen. The only slightly odd thing about the ZS EV’s infotainment system is that anything you may be listening to on the stereo doesn’t cease playing until you either physically turn it off or you lock the door.
Trophy or SE
There’s only two specs to choose from – Trophy and SE. All ZS EV’s get a digital dashboard, and an iSmart user app to control charging times etc. The Trophy also gets heated ‘leather-style‘ front seats and a very clever 360 degree camera that can display an image of your car from what’s best described as HGV driver’s-eye view. The ZS EV inherits some pretty sizeable C-pillars from the standard ZS so any help with visibility is most welcome.
Fancy a cuppa?
A feature that comes as standard across the ZS EV range is vehicle to load charging. This basically reverses your charge point so it can be used to power other electrical items like a cool-box, a kettle or a….erm……widescreen TV. There’s software inside to stop you flattening the battery completely as that would be embarrassing. Every electric car should come with vehicle to load charging if we’re honest.
The leather-style seats in our test car definitely couldn’t be described as sporty but they’re comfortable enough. They could do with some more scope to be adjusted, though, as the steering wheel only adjusts for rake, not reach. Rear passengers get USB ports for charging and there’s ample storage, even if the centre console does eat into elbow room.
Long Range option
The 73kWh battery the ZS EV was launched with has now been joined by a 51kWh battery. They’re called, rather imaginatively the Standard Range and the Long Range, they’re both available in either SE or Trophy spec and the Long Range will set you back an extra £2,500. The Long Range takes potential range from a single charge up to 370 miles from 266 miles in the standard version – obviously expect less than that as conditions or driving style dictates. The good news is that all ZS EV’s come with rapid charging capability; an 80% charge from a 50kW point will take 54 minutes in the standard range car, 1h 3 minutes in the long range. Find a 100kW point and those times drop to 36 and 42 minutes respectively.
Going for the larger battery may increase your range but it decreases power and performance. Standard models get 175bhp and 0-62mph takes 8 seconds, the long range only gets 155bhp but 0-60mph isn’t dramatically affected at 8.2 seconds. Neither versions have a limited top speed, but it is only 108mph.
It may not be breathtakingly quick in EV terms, but around 8 seconds to 60mph isn’t that sluggish either. Let’s not be drawn into thinking the ZS EV is built with spirited driving in mind, though. The steering is assisted to the absolute maximum so feedback is minimal, ditto the brakes. The skinny wheels and tyres are great for economy but scrabble for grip in bends and the extra weight becoming an EV inevitably brings turns undulating surfaces into a bouncy castle.
Should I buy an MG ZS EV?
The MG ZS EV is a lot of car for the money, as you’d expect from MG, especially in Long Range guise. It comes with not only lots of kit, but some well thought out features too. Just don’t expect too much from a circa £30k electric car in terms of interior quality and driving dynamism.
By Ben Harrington
The MG ZS EV is available now, priced from £29,495. For full details go to: www.mg.co.uk