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MG ZST Review

MG is going upmarket with the new ZST compact SUV.

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MG ZST SUV

Ever since the SAIC Motor Corporation, China's largest automotive manufacturer, took ownership of MG, it has injected heaps of energy into the old British marque.

Here's one example, the all-new MG ZST. This is what you need to know about the small SUV.

Another SUV?

SUVs are super popular with buyers right now. According to the car sales figures for June 2020, almost half of the total vehicles finding new homes were SUVs.

It's no surprise then that carmakers are all scrambling to widen their SUV offerings with additional models to suit the varying size requirements and standard equipment expectations of different buyers. The ZST seems to be gunning for a more "elevated" segment and MG plans on marketing it alongside the current ZS SUV.

Specs

It's clear that MG is trying to make the ZST appeal to a more exacting clientele. They've created two trim grades, Excite and Essence. Here's the highlights of both specifications.

MG ZST Excite - Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price starts at $28,490.
115kW 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine
Six-speed automatic transmission
Black high-gloss exterior trim: grille, mirror covers, front & rear bumper inserts and side sill accents
17-inch two-tone, machined alloy wheels
Red brake callipers
Rain-sensing windscreen wipers
Fog lamps
LED headlamps and taillights
Faux-leather centre armrest
Full-grain leather-bound steering wheel, with contrast stitching
Synthetic leather interior upholstery with contrasting stitching
G Pilot, the active driving assistance suite of technologies (also used on the larger MG HS SUV, which we've driven). MG Pilot features speed assistance, adaptive cruise control (with traffic-jam assist), a 360° camera, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist and rear cross traffic alert and even intelligent headlamp control
10.1-inch colour touch display with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
Satellite navigation
Six-speaker sound system
Keyless entry and push-button ignition
Seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and a seven-year roadside-assistance package

The top of the range Essence, which costs $31,490 and upwards, receives the following goodies:

MG ZST Essence spec highlights
Class-leading panoramic stargazer sunroof
"Euro-inspired", fully digital instrument cluster
Embossed red MG logos on front headrests
Heated seats for front occupants
Six-way, power-adjustable driver's seat
Essence design 17-inch alloys
Integrated LED indicators in side mirrors

Key 2020 MG ZST statistics

Engine1.3-litre turbo petrol engine
TransmissionSix-speed automatic
Max. power115kW
Max. torque230Nm

What we are looking forward to

Here's what's got us excited about the MG ZST:

  • Value proposition. Pricing on the MG ZST is very, very keen! It's even more competitively priced when you factor in its higher-end tech and equipment, plus the seven-year warranty/roadside-assist coverage.
  • Exterior styling. Honestly, we think the ZST is a super good-looking car, perhaps even the best in the line-up to date. The 20-strong, London, UK-based MG stylist team are keeping pace with other carmakers and producing thoroughly modern vehicles. The front-end is particularly neat. You might observe some "inspiration" creeping in from other brands, but the final result is unique to MG.
  • Interior. As with the exterior, the interior is legit. It's got a very definite "European" look to it and the twin screens (on the Essence) lift the atmosphere even further. We can't wait to get in there and give it all a try and see how it works in everyday driving.

What we are keen to test

  • New engine. With a power hike up to 115kW, the ZST should be great fun to spool up and drive, especially in cities. We want to see if it delivers the same feel as a small hatch does, with a modest, but lively power delivery.
  • MG Pilot. We want to see how easy the MG Pilot safety assists are to operate and whether they get confused and flag up false positives.
  • Infotainment. Another key area occupants frequently interact with, we want to find out if the MG system is up to snuff.
  • Quality. A carmaker won't slap a long seven-year warranty on a model without confidence in the engineering and build quality. We want to assess how well assembled the ZST is and whether it has any quirks that will irritate the driver.

MG ZST Pricing

On September 1st, 2020 MG announced the pricing structure of the new MG ZST during the vehicles official unveiling in Sydney.

The 2021 MG ZST range starts with the base model 'Excite' which is priced from $28,490.

For those who want more luxury, the top-of-the-line 'Essence', with all its extra passenger comforts and styling accessories, starts from $31,490.

If you are after a bit more of a bargain, MG announced that the 2021 model will be sold along-side the MY19, which will have their prices adjusted accordingly.

MY19 ZS pricing is as follows:

  • 1.5L ZS Excite - $21,990 driveaway
  • 1.5L ZS Excite (new alloy wheel) - $21,990 driveaway
  • 1.0L Turbo ZS Excite Plus - $23,990 driveaway
  • 1.0L Turbo ZS Essence - $26,490 driveaway
  • 1.0L Turbo ZS Essence Anfield - $26,990 driveaway

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