HAS THE LATEST MG ZS EV GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO PULL THE PLUG ON RIVALS?

MG have revealed their latest ZS EV. It presents potential buyers with a cheaper EV option with a great deal of kit and warranty. Is it any good?

*** ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF NETCARSHOW.COM ***

I really, really dig the colour.

I really, really dig the colour.

MG ZS EV

The MG ZS EV returns to UK shores in November, adding a facelifted look and improved technology all-round. It's evident to me that the owners of MG (SAIC Motor) have invested a great deal into this budget brand. I say budget, because it is. In every single segment that each of MG's model sits, it's one of if not the cheapest model you can buy. Take the MG3. It's cheaper than a Fiesta, a Polo (Even an UP!) or a Corsa. It comes with a load of kit, good looks and modern touches. There's literally the Sandero that's cheaper, as far as I can tell, and that's it. Then it's the MG3.

Returning to the point of SAIC Motor's investment, the MG ZS EV truly benefits here. I think we've reached a time in the automotive world where even the cheapest option feels somewhat modern. If we look at this new ZS EV, it's got modern touches all-round and has some fantastic technologies which will not only make it more practical, but also easier to live with and more enjoyable. A great deal of work has been put into this car by MG to make it sellable. Will it all succeed, though?

AESTHETICS

As I said earlier, we seem to have reached times where cars no longer really look cheap. On the outside, anyway. This new MG proves this, showing that cars no longer have to be for the wealthy and you no longer need to spend tens of thousands to really look good. With the ZS EV, we've got LED technology in both the headlights and the taillights. The taillight design is pretty cool, actually. The pattern that stretches across the centre of the taillights is simple but effective, almost three-dimensional. The strip that forms a sort of funky 'L' shape atop the taillight mirrors the daytime running lights at the front, adding symmetry and a cohesion to the design of the ZS EV. The headlights are quite basic but, again, effective and it all works well. At the end of the day, this is an MG and not a Maybach so we can't expect hyperbolic designs and excessive levels of attention to detail and chrome. Just like the MK7 Golf (When it arrived), the MG ZS EV has what appears to be a collision sensor at the front, located almost identically to where the aforementioned Golf did. This is good, of course, because it means that insurance is cheaper because the car is safer and, well, it's peace of mind at the end of the day.

Since this is the EV model, MG have done a few things to make distinguishing it from the internal combustion engine versions very simple. Chiefly, there's no grille up front and instead there's a stamped-effect insert where the grille would normally be. This actually happens to house the charging port for the car, too. This surely aids aerodynamics for the MG ZS EV, improving range. I like this version of the car a lot more aesthetically than the standard ZS. Something about the normal car gives me Ford-influences up front and I can't exactly explain why. Either way, it's not as unique as the outgoing ZS was. But, my complaints are fixed in the EV model. From the front, we see a car-wide bottom bumper up front which works beautifully in black, stretching and then rising around. The black colours look excellent against the primary blue colour which I think is one of the best colours I've seen in the automotive world for a while. I mean that.

From the side it's just standard MG ZS, really. Nothing exciting at all, given the class of car and the size. It's just a very good, basic, boxy shape. Wheel designs are new, though. Anyway, the back end is where more goes on, with a redesigned rear bumper which has that perfect colour combination of the black and this blue. That rear bumper itself impresses me, because MG haven't bothered with all of that fake exhaust nonsense and instead have integrated everything to be open and honest about what it is - An EV. And, we see this if we're behind this car quite clearly. That EV badge doesn't hide. Well, in this colour choice it does camouflage a little but, it's negligible.

INTERIOR AND TECH

The ZS EV now comes with MG's latest iSmart infotainment system which brings many thinks. Firstly, there's Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto, meaning that you can eliminate the need to use the manufacturer's pants satellite navigation and replace it with the best in the business (Still Google or Waze). That central touchscreen you see is the updated system, boasting a 10.1-inch display. A new instrument cluster is also present, ever-modern with full digitalisation in this EV model. You can get wireless charging in the new MG ZS EV, however that's reserved for the highest specifications.

According to MG, their iSmart system is ''state-of-the-art''. Funny they say that, as if they've only just opened their eyes. Why? Because remote climate settings, locking and unlocking and even charging have been around for a few years now. Either way, let them have it - It's awesome that it has these features and it furthers my point about the worst of the industry not actually being bad. I call MG the worst because they're relatively cheap and the build quality and technology just isn't on par with European rivals. But, that said, they're still really really good. I mean, Kia was like this before and now look at them.

POWERTRAINS, GEARBOXES AND CHASSIS

Not much change at the rear, a meagre facelift. More goes on at the front.

Not much change at the rear, a meagre facelift. More goes on at the front.

The ZS EV will, for the first time, be available with a long range battery. It's a 72kWh battery which offers a range of 273 miles on one charge. The current car only has a range of 163 miles from it's 44.5kWh battery pack. With this range upgrade, the ZS EV appears far more competitive when taking into account Asian rivals such as the Kia e-Niro or Nissan's Leaf. However, the ZS retains itself as the 'Duster' of the class (Come on Dacia, you can do it. It can't be that hard...) by undercutting both on price. The retention of cheapest electric SUV status shows, given that the starting price of this long range model will be around £30,000. But, MG will also offer a cheaper version which comes equipped with a 51kWh battery that allows for a 200 mile range. This one will be closer to £25,000 but, UK prices are still to be confirmed. All in all, this seems like great value for money and, you've got a Kia-rivalling seven-year warranty to give you peace of mind, too.

When it comes to charging, the ZS will fast-charge at 76kW from a service DC charger. Charge time is around 40 minutes. However, if you use a standard Type 2 charging infrastructure (Like a home wall-box), you can expect to need around eleven hours for a full charge due to the 7kW cap. Apparently, the Europeans are getting a three-phase 11kW charger included as standard. However, this has yet to be confirmed for the UK market. Knowing Brexit and stuff, we're probably limited to the 7kW standard charger.

CONCLUSION

I genuinely believe that (in terms of sales) the ZS EV will literally pull the plug on rivals. I have seen a great deal of MG ZS EVs around my area (Doesn't help that there's a rather large and popular MG dealer near me, but there's also Kia, Mercedes, Audi etc) when it comes to the outgoing model. I've seen maybe three Kia e-Niros, a fair few Nissan Leafs and a Tesla Model 3 or two. But I've seen a huge number of these around. I'd say I don't know why, but I know exactly why that car was a hit. And, it's the same reason why I think this new ZS EV will dominate the market, too. That would be the price-to-technology ratio. Yes, I've managed to make that up however, it makes sense. For the price you're paying, you get digital dials, wireless charging, an upgraded infotainment system which looks good because of graphical updates and runs smoother because of better processing power, a seven-year warranty to rival the best in the business and really genuinely decent looks. Sure, the build quality is probably average and the charging and range isn't class-leading. However, those last few bits are negligible when looking at the price-to-technology ratio. You get so much for so (comparably) little. This'll be a winner and good on MG. Just, please, make a few small sports cars and some hot hatches. Get back to your roots. If SAIC are reading this by any chance - BRING BACK SMALL MG SPORTS CARS.

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