MG ZS EV review
The MG ZS EV is an affordable electric car with a decent amount of standard equipment and a roomy cabin. Alternatives have greater ranges and are better to drive, though.
What's not so good
Find out more about the MG ZS EV
Compared with the likes of the more expensive Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric, the MG ZS EV is a bit like supermarket own-brand biscuits – it’s a fine everyday choice, but doesn’t feel as special as most alternatives.
Part of this is down to the way it looks. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with the MG ZS EV’s squinting headlights and aggressive grille, but it looks almost identical to the standard ZS on which it’s based. This might be fine if you want your environmentally friendly electric car to fly under the radar, but it’s less of a bonus if you want to shout about your eco-credentials.
This low-key theme continues inside, where the MG ZS EV looks just like the standard car. You get the same simple dashboard design with its analogue dials and mix of hard and soft plastics, and even the 8-inch touchscreen display has been carried over without any of the tweaks you normally see in electric versions of petrol-powered cars.
As a result, the MG ZS EV’s interior feels a bit last-year compared to the cabins in the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric, but at least you get sat-nav and smartphone mirroring features as standard and there’s a decent amount of seat adjustment to help you get comfy.
There’s a good amount of space in the back, too, and a fair number of handy storage bins to help you keep everything looking neat and tidy. The MG ZS EV’s boot is also pretty roomy, but you’ll be able to carry more in a Kia e-Niro – especially with the back seats folded down.
The MG ZS EV is a good first attempt at building an electric car, but there are plenty of other electric SUVs that have greater ranges and are more comfortable to drive.
MG ZS EV range and charging
The MG ZS EV can’t quite match the e-Niro for range, either. With its battery brimmed – which takes seven hours and costs around £7.50 using a 7kW wall-mounted home charger – it will offer a range of up to 163 miles. Charging using a three-pin plug will take almost twice as long, however.
You can boost its battery pack up to 80% using a 50kW public fast charger (which you’ll find on our electric car charging point map) in as little as 40 minutes. But, if you do longer journeys you’ll be better off with a Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric – both of which can manage a claimed 279 miles between charges.
At least the MG ZS EV is easy to drive. The steering and pedals are light and – with the regenerative braking in its weakest setting – it’s dead easy to potter slowly around town. You’ll feel bumps more keenly through your seat than in the petrol-powered ZS, but the ZS EV comes with just as many safety systems designed to help prevent avoidable collisions.
If then, you’re looking for an affordable and good-value electric SUV to do mostly short trips around town and prioritise safety over sportiness, the MG ZS EV is worth a look, but there are more well-rounded alternatives out there with much greater ranges.
The MG ZS EV doesn’t compromise on cabin space compared with the standard petrol-powered car but some electric alternatives are roomier still.
There’s enough space in the MG ZS EV for four adults to get fairly comfy and its boot is big enough for a weekend away.
The MG ZS EV’s raised ride height and tall roof mean it’s very easy to step into. The front seats are nice and supportive and you get six-way adjustment as standard to help you find a comfortable driving position.
Pay extra for an Exclusive model and you get six-way electrical adjustment, along with heated front seats. All models come with four-way manual seat adjustment for the front-seat passenger, too.
You don’t get any seat adjustment in the back seats, but at least there’s space for a six-foot-tall passenger to sit behind an equally tall driver. There’s space for them to slide their feet under the front seat (even when it’s in its lowest position) and the panoramic glass roof in high-spec Exclusive versions doesn’t cut into the available headroom.
The low-slung seat bases don’t give you a great deal of under-thigh support, however, and the central seat is narrower, firmer and raised above the outer two. That said, there’s space for three kids to get comfortable, and they get a decent view out through the MG ZS EV’s relatively large rear windows.
If you need to carry much younger kids, the MG ZS EV comes with two sets of Isofix child-seat anchor points in the back. They’re a bit tricky to locate behind the seat padding, but at least there’s a decent amount of space to lift a large baby seat in through the wide rear door openings.
The MG ZS EV’s cabin comes with a decent number of storage spaces. The front door bins are large enough to hold a big bottle of water and you get two cupholders in the centre console under a sliding cover that’ll happily hold a big coffee cup.
There’s an extra storage bin under the front armrest that’s big enough for a can of drink and there’s a dedicated storage tray under the dashboard for your phone. It’s a bit annoying having to traipse a charging cable from the USB ports under the centre console to your phone, though.
The rear door bins are almost as large as those in the front and you get a pair of soft-lined seatback pockets, but there’s only one USB port between the front seats for those in the back and you don’t get a folding rear armrest or any cupholders in the back.
The MG ZS EV has 448 litres of bootspace. That’s the same amount as you get in the standard ZS and very nearly as much as you can fit in a Kia e-Niro. The ZS EV’s wide boot opening makes it easy to load bulky items and the adjustable boot floor means you can reduce the height of the load lip, but the wheel arches intrude significantly into the ZS EV’s load bay.
At least there’s enough storage below the false floor to squirrel away the MG ZS EV’s charging cables neatly. You also get a couple of elasticated storage nets, but there aren’t any shopping hooks or tether points to help you tie down smaller items.
You can fold the back seats down in a two-way (60:40) split if you need to carry longer luggage. There’s no annoying step in the boot with the adjustable floor raised, and the seats fold almost flat so you won’t have any trouble sliding large boxes right up behind the front seats. With the back seats folded down, the MG ZS EV’s boot grows to 1,375 litres – that’s slightly less space than you get in a Kia e-Niro but a fair bit roomier than the Hyundai Kona Electric.
The MG ZS EV feels perkier than your average petrol-powered SUV, but it can’t travel as far as many other EVs on a single charge and it’s pretty firm over bumpy roads.
The MG SZ EV is a doddle to drive in town but it isn’t particularly comfortable and its 163-mile range isn’t particularly good compared with most alternatives.
The 44.5kWh MG ZS EV comes with a 143hp electric motor and a big enough battery to drive for 163 miles between charges – or so MG claims. In normal driving conditions, and with careful rationing of the accelerator, you can expect to manage around 140 miles.
That’s some way off the claimed 180-mile range you get in an entry-level 39kWh Hyundai Kona Electric and far less than the 64kWh Kona Electric and e-Niro can manage with their claimed 280-mile ranges.
The MG ZS EV isn’t quite as spritely as these cars either – taking around 8.5 seconds to reach 60mph from rest compared to the Hyundai’s 7.6- and Kia’s 7.5-second time. That said, it’s still plenty fast enough for a high-riding family SUV.
Charging the MG ZS EV from empty using a 7kw wall-mounted home charger takes around 7 hours and will cost you approximately £7.50. Find a 50kw public fast charger, however, and you’ll be able to boost the MG ZS EV’s range to 80% full in around 40 minutes.
You sit higher up in the MG ZS EV than in most affordable electric cars, so you get a better view out over other traffic. The pillars beside the windscreen don’t produce particularly big blind spots at junctions and the reasonably large rear windscreen means you won’t have too much trouble parking. It’s especially easy if you pick an Exclusive model because these come with a reversing camera as standard.
The MG ZS EV’s light controls mean you won’t have any trouble manoeuvring in tight city streets, but the standard regenerative braking – which recoups energy when you slow down to help recharge the batteries – defaults to its strongest setting each time you start the car. Turn it down to its lowest setting, however, and the MG ZS EV’s brakes give you more confidence than in some small electric cars.
The suspension isn’t quite so good, however. Even small bumps cause the MG ZS EV to buck and bounce more than most alternatives, and you’ll hear more wind and tyre noise at speed than in the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric.
You do get automatic emergency braking as standard, though, with the bonus of pedestrian and cyclist detection. There’s also lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning, alongside traffic-jam assist that works like low-speed cruise control in stop-start conditions.
Pay extra for a high-spec Exclusive model and you also get blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic assist that’ll warn you if you’re about to reverse out of a parking space into the path of oncoming cars.
The MG ZS EV’s cabin looks pretty smart and it comes with a pretty impressive amount of kit, but it feels cheap in places and the infotainment system is very fiddly to use.