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2020 MG ZS EV Review

The complete MG ZS EV review.

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finder score: 82.00%

Avg. critics score: 82.00%
4 critics
How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of CarAdvice, Practical Motoring and CarsExpert to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
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Critic reviews

WebsiteRatingNotable quotes
CarAdvice80%"And, as an entry-level EV, I do believe it delivers on what consumers have been asking for."Read more
Practical Motoring82%"I'm not going to pretend this is the best EV on sale just because it's the cheapest. But it's much better than its price tag and the reputation is badge suggests. I can't say I went in with high expectations, but the way it drove around town and on the freeway was genuinely impressive."Read more
CarsExpert84%"As it sits, this EV combination for the money looks just about right. If it proves that real-world city range is, as its maker claims on its public site, well into the thick end of the 'threes' then MG's proposition is more enticing still."Read more
Finder"If you are in the market for a new electric SUV, go and test drive this and the Kona. Only you can determine if the extra investment is worth it for your needs."Read more

How does the MG ZS EV compare with other electric vehicles?

Name Product Finder Score Number of seats Single Charge Range (km) ANCAP rating Price (from) Review
Tesla Model S
88.5%
5 seats
713
5 stars
$111,400
Porsche Taycan
87.75%
5 seats
485
5 stars
$280,300
Tesla Model 3
83.5%
5 seats
620
5 stars
$83,400
Polestar 2
83.25%
5 seats
540
5 stars
$59,900
Hyundai IONIQ
Green Company
Hyundai IONIQ
82.25%
5 seats
311
5 stars
$48,970
Hyundai Kona Electric
82%
5 seats
557
5 stars
$58,500
MG ZS EV
82%
5 seats
263
5 stars
$43,990
Nissan Leaf
76%
5 seats
385
5 stars
$49,990
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The comprehensive MG ZS EV review

MG ZS EV pricing

There's just one MG ZS EV trim option on sale in Australia, marketed as "Essence".

MG ZS EV Essence

The single-model range of the ZS EV certainly makes your purchasing decision easier. The Essence starts from $43,990 driveaway.

The main highlights are:

  • 8-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • 6-way power-adjustable driver's seat
  • Leather-bound steering wheel (with contrast stitching and perforations)
  • Panoramic glass sunroof
  • Push-button ignition
  • Satellite navigation
  • Synthetic leather on key interior trim pieces
  • Rearview camera
  • 17-inch diamond-cut EV-model alloys
  • LED DRLs
  • MG "Exclusive" grille with inset MG logo and charging "breathing" light
  • Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes
  • Three regen brake modes
  • Liquid-cooled Li-ion battery
  • MG Pilot safety system

Click on a price to compare car loans for the MG ZS EV.

MG ZS EV Essence
105kW motor, 44.5kWh battery, auto transmission, AWD: $43,990

MG is one of few car manufacturers to offer more than one free paint option. The no-cost paint colours include:

Clipper Blue (the flagship, and probably the best looking, ZS EV colour)

  • Dover White
  • Pebble Black

Premium paints cost $500:

  • Diamond Red
  • Regal Blue
The above prices are taken from MG's official website. They are driveaway prices, available to private buyers.

Overview

Cheap really can be cheerful. For not a lot of investment (by electric car segment standards), you can get a thoroughly modern, highly specced SUV. The MG ZS EV really doesn't appear to have any critical flaws, so if you're looking to buy an electric SUV, you should absolutely check one out. With such low pricing and reasonable range, established car manufacturers must be sweating under the collar. Also, it's quite refreshing to have less purchasing options to choose from. If you want an electric MG ZS EV, you go to MG, pick your colour and place your order.
WebsiteProsConsNotable quote
CarAdvice
  • Excellent value
  • Elegant styling
  • Comfortable high-speed ride
  • Bumpy road comfort
  • 5-year warranty not as long as petrol ZS
  • Plasticky, cut-price trim pieces
"It might not be the best electric car you can buy right now, but if you are planning on 2021 being your first step into EV ownership, then the MG ZS EV is certainly worth your consideration."
Practical Motoring
  • Attention-grabbing price
  • Charging port location
  • Passenger compartment size
  • Realistic EV range
  • Value
  • Unexpected lack of 7-year warranty
  • "Hard" interior plastics
"It's eye-opening in a good way – it's a fully electric SUV for nearly 20 grand less than its nearest rival, at least like-for-like."
CarsExpert
  • Price
  • Drivetrain
  • Stand-out handling and ride
  • Range
  • Average equipment levels
  • Broad, plain styling
"Instead, the Chinese newcomer goes, rides and handles like a well-sorted champion. Given what this model sets out to achieve at this price point, it's a real eye-opener."
Finder
  • Budget price
  • Boot size
  • Battery size
  • Autonomous cruise control screen
  • Road and wind noise
  • 2 years shorter warranty than other MGs
"In terms of numbers, competitors like the Hyundai Kona may be on top, but when it comes to the sting in the wallet, a $16,000 price difference isn't insignificant, making the ZS EV a relative bargain for someone looking to go green."

Engine and performance

MG offers just one powertrain for the ZS EV SUV.

MG ZS EV motor

MG uses a front-positioned, synchronous motor. Maximum power output for this motor measures 105kW. Peak torque is rated at 353Nm. On the road, MG says the ZS EV will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds.

Those figures are about in line with rivals which cost a lot more money. For example, the Nissan Leaf has 110kW and 320Nm. The Hyundai Kona SUV has 150kW and 395Nm and the IONIQ generates 100kW and 295Nm.

MG ZS EV transmissions

According to the brochure, the MG ZS EV has an automatic transmission. We couldn't find any other technical information on this component.

Car reviewers' impressions of the MG ZS EV motor and transmission line-up

What's the MG ZS EV like on public roads?

Motoring experts assessed it as pretty good.

Apparently, the motor picks up quickly and is very responsive – a trademark of electric vehicles in general, as maximum torque is available from the get-go. Sport mode reportedly gives the car a bit more zest. Driving in town, MG ZS EV testers again summarised the performance as very zippy. One tester found it was possible to make the tyres squeal if you bung it in sport mode, get aggressive with the wheel and slam the right pedal. They also liked how the motor spooled up quickly.

At speed, car reviewers again found the electric motor responded pleasingly.

Finder's Alex Jeffs, when he drove the car, stated:

"Despite the modest 0-100km/h sprint time, the ZS EV feels surprisingly nimble. Our test route incorporated some fantastic, twisty stretches of road where we were able to dart in and out of corners and it felt quicker than perhaps 8.2 seconds would suggest."

Overall, there were no concerns raised by the motoring experts here. The MG ZS EV has a solid and lively powertrain.

MG ZS EV engine and transmission figures

MG ZS EV Essence
Motor typeSynchronous motor, front-mounted
DrivetrainFWD
Motor output105kW/353Nm
Battery capacity44.5kWh
0-100km/h8.2 seconds
WLTP combined range263km
Energy efficiency: WLTP (kWh/100km)18.6
Top speed (km/h)140km/h (UK spec model)
SecurityEngine immobiliser
TransmissionAutomatic transmission
Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)N/A
Charge times7kW wall charger: 8 hours
240V portable emergency charger: 33 hours
50kW fast charger (to 80%): 54 minutes
Battery warranty8-year,160,000km

MG ZS EV Review: Range, electric costs and energy efficiency

Here's a breakdown of the MG ZS EV energy costs and usage.

According to the Green Vehicle Guide – a government-endorsed website that helps you compare different vehicles' fuel economy – the MG ZS EV uses:

  • 162Wh per km

If electricity is priced at 30 cents per kWh, your annual power bill to charge the car would be around $680. That's to travel 14,000km, with 66% of the time spent in and around urban areas. By comparison, the Hyundai Kona EV would cost $550 annually under the same driving conditions. It's more energy-efficient, consuming only 131Wh per km.

In terms of emissions, the MG S EV, as an electric car, outputs no pollutants from the exhaust – it doesn't have one! But, when factoring in the CO2 emissions generated by electricity production, the MG ZS EV is responsible for 146g of CO2 per kilometre travelled.

A word about car maker energy consumption figures
To allow buyers to compare different models' energy consumption, car makers use either a WLTP or NEDC testing protocol. The test takes place under strict conditions designed to replicate driving on public roads.However, outside of a laboratory, many variables impact the actual energy used (and thus the range). Things like the number of passengers, weight of cargo, vehicle wear state, the surrounding environment and weather will all affect efficiency. Consequently, you should view energy consumption figures and range only as an estimate or guide.

One journalist, after testing the MG ZS EV, felt the range claims were realistic and not exaggerated.

Interestingly, the MG ZS EV press release has an indicative "city range", which is a much higher 371km.

Picture not described

Handling

With the ZS EV being an SUV, an electric vehicle and also incredibly affordable – you might think the handling is going to suffer.

Surprisingly, it would seem the reviewers found it handles with self-confidence. One tester thought it was more comfortable and refined at higher speeds, saying the suspension could provide a stronger cushioning of bumps in the road. They noted you could feel rough, patchy road surfaces in the cabin. Another reviewer backed up the previous tester when they rated the ZS EV's handling as adequate. They did describe the ride as soft enough to absorb hard knocks.

More than one reviewer summed the ZS EV up as a city car, meaning it really was ideally suited for bobbing and weaving through traffic and around tight, slow-speed corners.

Steering response is described as light, accurate and crisp. The ZS EV SUV isn't a sports car, but judging by the comments of reviewers, it handles perfectly fine for an everyday vehicle.

On the subject of what the ZS EV is like to drive, Finder's Alex Jeffs said:

"In terms of ride comfort, you won't be uncomfortable in the ZS EV by any means. However, it perhaps isn't the most refined ride, with the suspension being a bit stiffer than it probably needs to be."

Interior and equipment

If you want your money to go as far as possible, the MG ZS EV is very appealing. You get a lot of tech for your money. One tester said it's a budget passenger cabin, executed well.

Testers felt the passenger cabin was excellent value for money. Crucially, it was also labelled as polished and stylish. Another tester wrote the interior was surprisingly large. In terms of ease of use, the MG ZS EV seems to score well here too. Reviewers liked the switchgear for selecting drive modes and brake regen. Also appreciated was the sizable 8-inch touchscreen as standard, which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – in addition to MG's own sat-nav system.

One car writer bemoaned the sound quality, saying it was only adequate. Also mentioned were the interior plastics, which some felt were cheap, hard and hollow.

It appears the cabin is practical though, especially in the rear. Thanks to the EV configuration, there's no hump in the middle, so the rear floor is flat and the middle passenger can scoot into their seat without obstruction. One tester even went as far as calling it workable for taller people. Car reviewers liked the positioning of cup holders and the provision of a centre console and a phone stowage place in front.

Evidently, the MG ZS EV is comfortable too – there were few complaints there. The front seats reportedly have sufficient support and cushioning for the body.

Boot space is just about on par for the segment – it's certainly usable. With the rear seats in place, the boot volume measures 359 litres, to the level of the security cover. With the seats flopped forwards, the volume increases to 1,187 litres. Finder's Alex Jeffs noted this outdoes the Kona Electric.

Overall, the MG ZS EV has a stack of safety and passenger comfort equipment. For the money, it's very appealing.

MG ZS EV safety, security and driver assists

ZS EV Essence
5-star ANCAP rating
Airbags
  • Front (driver)
  • Front (passenger)
  • Side chest protection (front)
  • Side head protection (front)
  • Side head protection (2nd-row)
Intelligent seat belt reminder, driver, front passenger and 2nd-row seats
Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
Forward collision warning
Lane departure warning
Traffic jam assist
Intelligent cruise assist
Blind spot detection
Rear cross-traffic alert
Intelligent headlamp control
Speed assistance system
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) – city, interurban, vulnerable road users
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Automatic headlights
Emergency brake assist (EBA)
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Active cornering brake control (CBC)
Front door side-impact absorbent door padding
Three rear 3-point seatbelts
Hill launch assist
Rear seat child restraint anchorage points
Electric rear door child safety locks
Automatic door unlocking after accident
Automatic emergency braking hazard lights
Ultra-high tensile steel body shell
Immobiliser
Automatic locking
Door open warning
Speed-sensitive power steering
Remote control central locking
Rear parking sensors
Rearview camera
Day/night rearview mirror
Rear fog light
LED "London Eye" daytime running lights
Lights on warning alert
Intermittent windscreen and rear wipers
Automatic headlights

MG ZS EV interior and comfort features

ZS EV Essence
8-inch multi-function colour touchscreen
3 Regen braking modes (1, 2, 3)
3 driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport)
4-way manually adjustable seat for front passenger
6-way driver's power-adjustable seat
Synthetic leather interior with contrast stitching
Satellite-navigation
Air-conditioning
Trip computer
Leather-bound steering wheel with perforations and contrast stitching
Speedometer with digital odometer
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Electric windows with one-touch operation for driver
Height-adjustable steering wheel
Push-button start
60/40 split-folding rear seats
Multi-tier boot floor
Steering wheel audio controls
6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, USB and 3D Sound Field
Speed-connected volume controls
Front door stowage with bottle holders
2 x front cup holders
Seat back map pockets
Courtesy and boot light
Front map reading lights
Satin chrome interior trim accents
12V centre console power point
Front sun visors
Electric parking brake

MG ZS EV exterior highlights

ZS EV Essence
17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels
Halogen projector headlights with height-adjustment function
Rear 3D-effect tail lights
Heated rear glass
Follow-me-home headlight illumination
MG "Exclusive" grille with chrome surround and satin silver inlay
Chrome side window trim
Chrome finish fog light surround
Roof rails
MG logo with charging breathing light
Body-colour door mirrors with integrated turn signal
Body-colour door handles
Rear spoiler
Side-sill extensions with chrome highlights
Wheel arch moulding
Panoramic glass sunroof with shade and anti-trap

Verdict

The MG ZS EV is generally held as an impressive first attempt at building an electric vehicle. The main highlights are its price (currently the cheapest new electric car, by a long way), the high level of equipment and an attractive exterior and interior aesthetic.

If you're looking for an electric SUV, you should certainly test drive an MG ZS EV – you could save thousands compared to direct rivals. The savings would be more than enough to pay for the installation of a dedicated electric wall charger, with a lot of change left over.

You shop around for electric cars, so don't forget to shop around for your car loan and car insurance, too. Doing so can save you hundreds of dollars, for just a few moments' effort.

MG ZS EV Review: Finder hands-on

Living with Australia's cheapest electric vehicle, the MG ZS EV.

Back in November of 2020, we attended the national launch of the MG ZS EV. For those that don't know it's the first battery-electric car from MG and the cheapest electric vehicle on the market in Australia.

We were particularly impressed by the fact that, such is their commitment to emission-free motoring, SAIC (MG's owners) have invested in their own battery supply chain. It's one of only three manufacturers in the world to do so.

But spending one day with a vehicle doesn't always reveal the full picture. So, we spent a week with the new MG ZS EV to see if it is worth your dollars.

Currently MG prices the ZS EV at $43,990 drive-away, making it $23,215.88 cheaper than the Hyundai Kona electric and $9,200 less costly than the Nissan Leaf !

There is only one trim level too, "Essence", meaning shopping for one is much easier.

What is the ZS EV like inside?

If you sit inside any new MG vehicle at the moment, you're bound to be impressed with the interior of the car as you glance between it and the price-tag.

Despite being sharply priced, across all ranges, the current batch of MG vehicles feel more premium inside than the prices suggest.

With the ZS EV for instance, you have faux-leather seats. Both occupants upfront get a heating function, while the driver also benefits from 6-way electronic adjustment. There's an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system which is loaded with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,as well as satellite navigation if you prefer to use the native MG software.

While the native software is well laid out and easy to navigate, we did find it to be a bit laggy, with a fairly long loading time when opening the sat-nav. We found ourselves using Android Auto for the majority of our time with the ZS EV.

A panoramic roof spans the length of the ceiling, as standard. It operates electronically and comes with a power-retractable shade should things start getting a bit toasty on your dome. Most touchpoints are covered in soft-touch material too, further adding to the comfort levels.

MG ZS EV Motor

The ZS EV is powered by a 44.5kWh lithium-ion battery and a motor that outputs 353Nm of torque and 105kW of power. The battery is liquid-cooled and has an official range of 263 kilometers on a combined (city and highway driving) cycle.

Power is sent to the front wheels only and it will get to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds That's on the slower side when you look at Kona Electric (which has 150kW and 395Nm). That SUV will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds, where the Nissan Leaf covers that distance in 7.9 seconds.

What's it like to live with?

There is a good amount of space available in the ZS EV, with legroom in the back being adequate. Headroom ranks as one of the best in class too, despite the panoramic roof.

Space inside the cabin isn't affected by the need to store the battery somewhere either, with inside dimensions remaining the same as a conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) model.

WIth 260Km of range, there is going to be more than plenty left in the reserves for the average commute to work. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics back in 2018, the average commute to and from work was 32Km. That means a single charge would last you a week with enough to run the kids around after work, too.

MG says the ZS EV can replenish 80% of its battery in just 45 mins from a rapid charger.With a 7Kw wall charger, the battery will reach 100% capacity in 7 hours.

Recharging is easy, with the charging point hidden behind the grill at the front - a nice little party piece. As we don't have a wall box, we charged it on a normal DC socket overnight. Because we didn't use the entire battery in a drive, we returned to a nice, full battery in the morning. I imagine this is what the majority of Aussies will do - meaning there's no range anxiety for the day-to-day travels.

359-litres of space is available with the back-row in place. Fold the seats down and that expands to 1,187-litres. This is more than the Hyundai Kona Electric which has 332-litres.It is less than the Nissan Leaf, but with the seats folded down, the space is more accessible.

What's the MG ZS EV like to drive?

As mentioned above, on paper, it is on the slower side for an electric vehicle. But really, in a vehicle like this, these are just numbers. What you need to know is that out on the open road, it feels swift and has no hesitation accelerating when you press the pedal.

It also comes across as well balanced when you start going around turns too, without too much lean through the corners. This comes down to the way the engineers have packaged the vehicle up, with what MG calls a "flat-floor architecture" , Basically, that means everything is more or less under the floor - giving the ZS EV a low center of gravity.

There are three-levels of regenerative braking, which help to replenish the battery and keep you on the road longer. All of these KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) settings give varying levels of brake pedal-free driving, with the vehicle coming to a stop by itself as it generates energy. We found setting 'three' to be too aggressive for our liking, while setting 'one' was much more subtle.

We tended to select setting 'two', which offered a good overall balance.

In our initial review of the ZS EV we found the ride to be comfortable, but perhaps not as refined as it could be. We also noticed some wind noise when you're on the open road.

While we're sure that the wind noise is exaggerated by the virtually silent motor, our assessment didn't change over the course of our week with the vehicle.

MG ZS EV Safety

When tested by ANCAP, the ZS EV scored a 5-star ANCAP Safety rating.

While it has 6-airbags dispersed around the cabin, the MG Pilot system is a massive value add for all the MG vehicles.

MG's Pilot System adds tremendous value to the ZS EV and there are 6 airbags dispersed throughout the cabin.

Whether it is entry-level,or top of the range model, you get access to advanced safety technology. These include:

  • Advanced Emergency Braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Blindspot Monitoring
  • Lane Keep Assist (with Lane Departure Warning)
  • Traffic Jam Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Speed Sign Recognition

Warranty and servicing

The MG ZS EV is covered by a five-years, unlimited kilometer warranty. That may seem strange, considering it is less than the 7-years MG offers on petrol vehicles. However, you do get an 8-year, 160,000km warranty for the battery pack.

MG guarantees the powercells will retain 70% of their capacity by the end of the 8-years.

Services are done every 12 months or 10,000kms, whichever comes first.

The Verdict

For leading the charge on affordable, emission-free driving, MG should be applauded. As a package the MG ZS EV is a good little city runabout, which delivers value for money in an otherwise rather expensive EV market.

While the range may put some people off, you really need to consider your daily driving, in most cases a single charge will get most of us around for the lion's share of a week (yes, there will be fringe cases).

Overcoming range anxiety may take a while though for Aussies.As you know, things are quite spread out. If battery capacity causes you worry, but you're still keen to make a move towards more efficient motoring, the MG HS PHEV is another option.

Compare some options to finance a MG ZS EV

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