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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

MG ZS EV review: a cheap and cheerful electric car – and a whole lot more besides

Then you hit the first expansion joint and the front end jolts noisily. It’s a portent of the way the ride deteriorates on poor surfaces (particularly when the side of the road is broken) when the passengers’ heads bob from side to side. There’s also an unsettled feeling at the rear, particularly at speed, which never quite disappears.

There are three driving modes: Eco; Normal and Sport, which affect the accelerator mapping and the steering. As with most of these systems, it’s best left in Normal, where the steering is well weighted but without much feedback and a poor on-centre response. 

Brisk rather than stupidly fast

The response to the accelerator is more progressive, but in Eco mode you need to apply a hefty right foot to get the ZS moving. With only 154bhp and 206lb ft, there’s little effect of torque tugging at the steering and the MG feels brisk but not crazy-fast like some of its rivals. Hit a patch of wet road, however, under full acceleration and the particular wheel will spin up quickly.

It’s not fantastically efficient, either. MG quotes 3.5 miles per kWh, and even being generous and using the battery’s net capacity gives only 3.8 miles per kWh. As with all electric cars, there’s an environmental cost to charging, which in this case gives the MG a well-to-wheels greenhouse gas emissions rate of 33g/km.

Push hard and the suspension’s lack of composure makes itself felt, with the wheels dancing to the bumps’ and potholes’ tune and a distinct nose-on approach to corners. Add in brakes which, while up to the job, have a whole lot of nothing-going-on at the top of the pedal movement and you are discouraged from driving fast or even swiftly.

Conclusion

Does any of this matter? Is the average MG ZS owner going to do much more than local driving, with occasional visits to far-flung friends and relatives? Probably not, although rivals can do both tasks better. 

The MG ZS feels old fashioned in good and bad ways, but more importantly it isn’t as efficient as rivals which are coming to the market in their droves. 

The fact remains, however, that the MG fills a gap for those who simply want a battery car without frills or fancies and at a keen price. In that respect, it does everything you need. 

Telegraph rating: Four stars out of five

The facts

On test: MG ZS EV Trophy long range

  • Body style: five-door family SUV
  • On sale: now with deliveries next year
  • How much? £33,995 on the road (range from £30,995)
  • How fast? 108mph, 0-62mph in 8.4sec
  • How efficient? 3.9miles per kWh (WLTP Combined)
  • Electric powertrain: AC synchronous motor driving the front wheels via a step-down gear. NMC lithium-ion battery 72.6kWh gross/68.3kWh net, with 7kW on-board charger and Type 2 charging socket
  • Electric range: 273 miles (WLTP)
  • Maximum power/torque: 154bhp/206lb ft
  • CO2 emissions: zero in use, 33g/km (well-to-wheel greenhouse gases)
  • VED: zero rated
  • Warranty: 7 years/80,000 miles
  • Spare wheel as standard: no (a £259 option including a jack)

The rivals

Mercedes-Benz EQA, from £44,495

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