MG ZS EV
Please note this review is based on a pre-production vehicle
You kind of know you are on to a winner when you get a London Cabbie gesticulating to you to wind your window down so he can ask you about the car as happened on our test drive. The MG ZS EV would make a fabulous private hire vehicle. With a 200 mile plus city driving range it would easily handle a day's shift before it's 44.5kWh pack needs charging and with that liquid cooled battery allowing multiple rapid charges it could be fully up and running again in around 40 minutes. (WLTP 231 miles city, 163 miles combined)
The MG ZS EV is a battery electric version of the solid but perhaps not world shattering petrol MG ZS, Qashqai sized, crossover. This battery version is no mere afterthought. From day one the MG ZS design took into the account the need for an EV and this is especially noticeable in the battery placement under the passenger compartment and no compromise on space - in fact the boot is actual bigger than the petrol version. That isn't the only place the EV is superior. Part of the reason the petrol ZS is not considered world shattering, despite solid build quality and a very good interior package, is perhaps a lack of driving excitement. The instant torque of the EV version more than makes up for this. In particular the 3.2 second 0 to 30 makes for an impressive pull away from the lights.
Plenty of leg room in the back for the cabbies passengers although the lack of a centre headrest makes it more of a four seater than a five in my mind. 3 kids in the back maybe. The lack of the centre headrest does help visibility out the back. Not that it needs much help as visibility is generally superb. Seeing around the B pillar is very easy for example unlike the almost equivalent, if bigger battery, e-Niro.
Opting for the top of the range 'exclusive' version gives you a reversing camera which is amazingly clear. Shame it isn't on the base model as it should be a standard feature these days.
Plenty of safety features on the base model though including autonomous emergency breaking and lane keep assist. All provided as part of MG Pilot an Adaptive Cruise Control system.
Build quality is good with surprising use of soft touch materials and otherwise high quality plastics that could fool you into thinking they were metal.
The seat is soft but comfortable and soaks up road bumps really well. The ride quality on the eV version is definitely better than the petrol version probably due to the low centre of gravity.
Driving it feels confident - you know it will go where you point it, you know it has enough zip to get there and if you have to it will definitely stop in time. It has three levels of regenerative breaking, or what MG call KERS, to help with that and the highest level is really strong.
Another new feature in the top of range Exclusive model is the rather fantastic opening sun roof. It's really good to see this being fully electric including a powered blind. It's amazing how much more light and airy the cabin feels with this fitted.
The exclusive also gets heated front seats with the drivers seat being power adjustable - although the passenger has to cope with manual controls.
The infotainment system has been upgraded in all variants of the EV version and now also features Android Auto as well as the already present Apple Car Play. The design of the system seems a bit better than the petrol model. We did have some issues searching for destinations however but we were told this wasn't the final version.
So what do we think? Put simply this is the best car MG has produced in a very long while and we don't just mean the best EV. It deserves to be part of your consideration and I can see them flying off the shelf especially as the first 1000 purchasers will get an additional 3500 GBP discount from MG which with the plug-in car grant from the government brings the cost down under 22K for the base model which is a bit of a bargain in the EV world.
This car deserves, and wins our award, to be called