MG ZS Review & Prices

The MG ZS is an inexpensive small family SUV with a spacious interior and a large, practical boot – but it doesn’t have much modern safety technology and there’s no diesel option

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RRP £18,335 - £23,390 Avg. Carwow saving £3,560 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Roomy interior
  • Big boot
  • Reasonably priced

What's not so good

  • No diesel engines
  • Slightly bumpy suspension
  • Lacks modern safety tech

Find out more about the MG ZS

Is the MG ZS a good car?

If you’re looking for a small family SUV that’s practical, affordable and reasonably well-equipped, the MG ZS is well worth considering.

Okay, it might not feel quite as upmarket as the likes of the Mazda CX-3 but it’s significantly cheaper to buy and much roomier inside. The standard fabric seats come with enough adjustment to get comfortable and the buttons you’ll regularly use are easy to reach and laid out in a logical, uncluttered fashion.

Both the Excite and Exclusive trims come with a 10.1-inch colour touchscreen as standard for the infotainment system.

You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Exclusive also has integrated sat nav. The MG’s system is easy to use and responds quickly to your finger on the screen, but some of the menus can be tricky to go back a page, so it’s not quite as intuitive to use as that in a Ford Puma.

The back seats don’t get so many nice touches. Although you’ll find there’s much more headroom and legroom than in a Renault Captur, Mazda CX-3 or Nissan Juke, there are no cupholders or centre rear armrest.

The 448-litre boot’s roomy too – it’s more than 90 litres larger than the Mazda (350 litres), and 26 litres more than both the Renault or Nissan (422 litres). It's more than big enough to carry a large baby buggy and some big soft bags at once. Flip the back seats down and there’s just enough space to carry a bike with its wheels attached.

You can think of the ZS as supermarket own-brand cereal – it might not be as tasty as the big-name alternatives but it’s much cheaper and still keeps you full until lunchtime

You can get the ZS with two petrol engines. Pick the 1.0-litre turbo petrol if you spend lots of time driving around town or the 1.5-litre petrol model if you do lots of motorway miles. Both are relatively quiet – if not particularly quick – and will return around 35mpg in normal conditions compared to MG’s claimed 44.9mpg and 49.6mpg respectively. There's also the MG ZS EV - one of the most affordable electric SUVs on sale - that we've reviewed separately. Here we're focused purely on the petrol model.

Whichever engine you pick, the ZS is easy to drive thanks to its adjustable steering that provides extra assistance at slow speeds. Unfortunately, the view out the back isn’t great, which can make squeezing into tight parking spaces a bit tricky – but at least rear parking sensors as standard.

You even get cruise control on all models to help make long drives a bit more relaxing. Unfortunately, the ZS is quite noisy at motorway speeds and you’ll hear quite a bit more wind and tyre noise than in the likes of the Mazda, and it isn’t as comfortable over bumpy roads as the Citroen C3 Aircross.

Unlike these alternatives, the MG doesn’t come with the option of automatic emergency braking to help stop the car quickly if it senses an obstacle ahead. As a result, it has only managed a three-start score from Euro NCAP.

If this isn’t a dealbreaker for you, the MG ZS makes a strong case for itself as an affordable, yet spacious, small family car. Avoid the rather spartan entry-level models and it’s an SUV that’s well worth considering.

Should the MG ZS be the car for you, make sure you check out our latest MG ZS deals and browse our used MG ZS models. You can also look through other used MGs to find out how much you could save when buying through carwow.

You can also sell your car through carwow, where our dealers will bid on your car to get you the best price.

How much is the MG ZS?

The MG ZS has a RRP range of £18,335 to £23,390. However, with Carwow you can save on average £3,560. Prices start at £15,385 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £225. The price of a used MG ZS on Carwow starts at £9,139.

Our most popular versions of the MG ZS are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.5 VTi-TECH Excite 5dr £15,385 Compare offers

MG has kept the steps between the trim levels, two engine choices and pair of gearboxes on offer very simple. With the Excite, you can have either engine but to jump from the 1.5- to the pricier and more powerful 1.0-litre motor costs £2500 as this also adds the automatic gearbox.

In the Exclusive trim, going from 1.5- to 1.0-litre engine adds £1250 to the bill for a manual, and the same again if you want the auto ’box.

ZS prices compare very keenly with others in the class like the Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Karoq, with the MG undercutting them by thousands rather than mere hundreds of pounds.

Performance and drive comfort

Plenty of peppy performance for the MG ZS from its turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine, but the driving experience is below par for the class

In town

The MG ZS delivers the raised driving position that makes this type of car ideal in town traffic. You get a good view to the front and sides of the MG, but the view over the driver’s shoulder is hampered by the sweep of the window line and thick rear pillars.

Countering this are standard reversing sensors on both trim levels. The Exclusive also comes with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert to make life simple driving on multi-lane roads or when backing out of a space.

A comfy and easily adjusted driving position makes a good case for the ZS, and the Exclusive has heated front seats and electric adjustment.

There’s lots of room for the driver’s head, legs, elbows and shoulders, while the gear lever in manual cars is an easy reach. You’ll also find the pedals are weighted to be light on the feet for use in the city.

For those who prefer an automatic gearbox to take the stress out of town driving, the MG’s is decent enough in town, but struggles for smooth shifts on faster roads.

The 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine is no quicker than the larger capacity 1.5-litre petrol, but the smaller unit feels livelier and is more refined, so it’s the one to have. It’s just a shame you can only have it with the auto ’box in the Excite trim, which adds to the overall price of the car.

On the motorway

If the MG ZS is decent around town, it comes a bit unstuck on the motorway. The ride that deals well enough with urban potholes becomes choppy and unsettled at faster speeds, whereas a Dacia Duster is much more compliant over bumps.

On the motorway, there’s also a lot of road noise that makes its way into the cabin of the ZS, so it can be a loud place to spend a journey if you’re on a coarse grain of road surface.

The engines both pull well up to the national speed limit and cruise happily, helped by standard cruise control with speed limiter in both trims. However, neither engine is particularly hushed and definitely not as quiet as you'll find in a Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Karoq.

On a twisty road

Take the MG ZS on to a country road and it feels much more in its element than on the motorway. There’s a good amount of grip from the front-wheel drive set-up into and through corners, so you can press on more than in a Dacia Duster.

Steering feel in the MG is also a highlight of its driving manners, offering plenty of feedback and just the right amount of weight as you turn it.

The MG isn’t as agile or as much fun as a Ford Puma, but it acquits itself well enough in this area to be worth considering for anyone who lives out in the sticks.

Space and practicality

Comfort and space are both excellent in the MG ZS, though the rear seats and boot are not as versatile as some

You’ll find it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel of the MG ZS as all models come with driver’s seat height adjustment. The steering wheel also moves for height and depth, while the seat slides back and forth a long way to accommodate drivers of all heights.

Should you opt for the higher Exclusive trim, you also get heated man-made leather front seats with electric movement.

The view out of the MG to the front and sides is unhindered, but you will find vision over your left shoulder not so good due to the thick rear screen pillars and the way the window line sweeps up. Still, all ZS models come with rear parking sensors as standard, and the Exclusive adds rear cross traffic alert to warn you of vehicles approaching from the side as you reverse.

In most ZS models, you get a proper handbrake lever, but 1.0-litre cars with the automatic transmission come with an electronic parking brake instead.

Next to the normal handbrake, you’ll find a pair of cupholders moulded into the transmission tunnel. That’s about your lot for storage in this area of the car as the space in front of the gear stick is small, though there are a couple of USB chargers in the dash console.

The glovebox is small, but the door bins can cope with a typical water bottle.

Space in the back seats

There might not be any clever tricks to the MG ZS’s back seat, like sliding bases or tilting backs, but you do not go short on space.

In fact, the ZS provides the sort of rear seat room you’d normally expect to get in cars that are a size up from this small SUV.

The result is it’s easy to lift kids through the rear door entrance into their seats, which are secured with a pair of ISOFIX mounts in the two outer rear chairs.

Adults will find loads of leg, head and shoulder room, and the seat offers decent comfort and padding on longer trips.

Three triple-point seat belts are included with the ZS and there’s enough breadth in the cabin for a trio of adults to sit for short journeys. On longer adventures, it’s a bit tight and the seat base will pinch on the central passenger’s thighs.

Storage comes courtesy of small door bins and a pair of soft pockets in the front seat backs.

Boot space

With 448 litres of luggage capacity in the MG ZS, there's more than enough space to deal with most shopping or holiday needs.

That's a few litres bigger than a two-wheel drive Dacia Duster has to offer, but in four-wheel drive form that drops to 411 litres, making the MG ZS more appealing if you don't need the extra 4x4 grip. The Renault Captur has 422 litres of space, but you can push the rear seats forward to increase this to a healthy 536 litres.

A height-adjustable boot floor also lets you vary the load bay to a small extent, with the floor in its higher place sitting flush with the load sill.

The rear bench is split 60-40 and tips easily enough to free up a maximum of space. However, there is a step in the load floor, so it’s not as easy to slide in longer loads than in, for instance, a Ford Puma.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The MG’s cabin and build quality give no hint of the car’s budget prices, though the infotainment isn’t the slickest

If the keen price of the MG ZS range makes you suspect corners will have been cut inside the cabin, think again. There is no hint of the car’s affordable prices on show, even when you let your hands wander to the plastics lower on the doors and dash where sharp edges and hard plastics often lurk.

There are some scratchy plastics in the MG, but the ZS does a good job of using them where your hands tend not to go very often. Even the centre console’s cupholders that are moulded into the plastic still feel quite substantial and strong.

In the Excite trim, the only thing to really give the game away that it’s the lower of the two trims are the standard analogue main dials. They use a simple white-on-black design that’s easy to read even in bright sunshine, plus there’s a digital information display in the middle.

The Exclusive upgrades to a fully digital main dash display that can be configured in a number of ways to suit your preferences for style and how the data is presented – all very mid-level management meeting!

In front of this, the thick-rimmed steering wheel gives a pleasingly sporty feel to remind you this is an MG, while buttons on the wheel work the stereo and cruise control.

A few small buttons on the centre console take care of some of the heating controls, but almost every function is worked through the 10.1-inch infotainment screen.

For some, this will be a techy delight, while others will rue not having physical buttons for the heating and stereo operation.

At least with this infotainment set-up, MG has banished the previous smaller screen and gives us big on-screen icons. It’s simple to scroll through the menus, though trying to go back a page can be harder than it should be if you want to change your mind about something.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto take care of hooking up your phone to the infotainment, but there’s no option of wireless charging for your device. You’ll have to make do with plugging in a cable to one of the USB charge points.

The Excite comes with four speakers for the stereo, while the Exclusive has six speakers and 3D sound. With the higher trim model, you also get a 360-degree parking camera on the infotainment screen, as well as integrated sat nav.

MPG, emissions and tax

Given there are two engines and two gearboxes to pick from in the MG ZS, you’d reckon on a bit of variation for the fuel economy and emissions figures.

Not so with this MG. Instead, it comes with the same official combined economy number regardless of which trim, engine, or gearbox you choose. That number is 42.7mpg, which is some way behind the best a Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Karoq can offer.

It’s the same story with carbon dioxide emissions, where the MG ZS emits a low of 149g/km. Again, that trails the class leaders in this sector.

These figures also mean the MG falls into the £230 first-year bracket for road tax with the lowest emitting versions, but some others stumble into the much more expensive £585 category.

At current company car tax rates, that means the MG ZS business driver will pay car tax at anywhere between a steep 34-37%.

Safety and security

The MG ZS has scored only a poor three-star result in Euro NCAP tests. It does well enough for adult occupant safety, recording a 71% score, but child safety is down at 51%.

What really holds the MG back from a better Euro NCAP result is its limited amount of safety assistance technology. It doesn’t have automatic emergency braking, or lane departure warning or lane keeping. Many of the others in this sector come with this tech included.

However, the MG does have six airbags, and the Exclusive version has blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert as standard.

Reliability and problems

The car scores well with owners for satisfaction and reliability is cited as one of the main reasons for this.

MG provides a seven-year/80,000-mile warranty with every one of its cars, which is among the best cover for new cars in the UK.

There have been no recalls issued for the MG ZS, so there’s nothing to worry about on that front.

Buy or lease the MG ZS at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £18,335 - £23,390 Avg. Carwow saving £3,560 off RRP
Carwow price from
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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