When it comes to leasing cars there are two things that many drivers are looking for: SUV practicality and battery electric economy.

If you’re looking for the same thing, then the compact family-sized MG ZS EV delivers. It’s an SUV, it’s battery electric, its well-equipped and above all, it’s very affordable. If you’re working to a budget and don’t need the ultimate when it comes to range, then you might like what the ZS EV has to offer. 

Background 

Interest in electric vehicle technology is growing at a rapid pace, but price continues to be a barrier for some. Enter the MG ZS EV. Priced to undercut its rivals by a significant margin, it’s even cheaper than some supermini EVs.   

The ZS has been around for a while. The spacious compact SUV was launched in 2018 with a choice of 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre petrol engines. However, MG had their eye on full electrification from the very outset and designed the ZS platform with that goal in mind. 

Driving Experience 

The ZS EV is powered by a 44.5kWh, water-cooled lithium-ion battery which delivers a WLTP-rated driving range of 163 miles. It’s not quite cutting-edge when compared to comparable family EVs which manage 200 miles from a single charge – but those cars are significantly more expensive and are less spacious to boot. 

As with any EV, the ZS EV is quick off the mark with an immediate 353Nm of torque. There’s 105kW of power - the equivalent of 143PS - which will see you hit 62mph in just 8.5 seconds. However, off-the-line performance isn’t quite matched by top speed which is limited to 87mph. 

At the wheel there’s a nifty Rotary Gear Selector in place of the usual gear stick, offering the choice of Drive, Neutral and Reverse, coupled with a switch that allows you to select between three levels of braking energy recovery (or the option of disabling the feature.) Level one provides a small amount of regeneration whilst requiring much the same braking action on the part of the driver whilst level three offers a near one-pedal driving experience with maximum braking regeneration kicking in as soon as the accelerator is lifted. Once you get used to it, this level provides an easier drive, improves overall efficiency, and reduces overall wear on parts. Clever stuff. 

Design and Build 

MG has done a great job with the styling. At a smidge over 4.3m in length the ZS EV sits between smaller crossovers like the Nissan Juke and larger family-sized crossovers like the Kia Sportage. It also sports a couple of model-specific features such as the updated ‘star-rider’ front grille which frames the iconic octagonal badge and there’s a unique colour option which MG call ‘Pimlico Blue’. 

Without exception, every EV model under the £30,000 price mark is considerably smaller than the ZS EV – both inside and out. The battery pack has been carefully positioned beneath the car to avoid eating into valuable passenger or luggage space. The 448-litre boot capacity offers around 60-litres more than a standard compact SUV making it capable of handling bulky loads with ease from bikes and prams to copious amount of IKEA flat-pack. 

Of course, the interior isn’t quite up to the same standard as some of the more established brands. But that’s not to say the cabin feels cheap. MG has done a very good job outfitting the interior with faux-leather upholstery and a pleasing array of metallic and chrome finishes which belie its price point. 

Market and Model 

There’s a choice of two trim levels, ‘Excite’ and ‘Exclusive’. Once the government’s Plug-in Car Grant has been deducted, the list prices are around £26,095 and £28,595 respectively. That’s exceptional value. To put that into context, an equivalently sized EV crossover like the Kia e-Niro starts at around £30,345. Even smaller supermini EVs such as the Corsa-e and the Peugeot e208 will set you back at least £27,000. Whilst these models offer greater range than the ZS EV, for the typical suburban motorist that the ZS EV is aimed at, range may not be a huge issue. 

Equipment levels are also strong with both variants benefitting from MG’s latest infotainment system which comes with an 8” colour touchscreen featuring sat nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming and DAB radio. The rather fetching EV-specific 17” diamond-cut alloys are also standard. An optional glass sliding 'Sky Roof' offers a splash of style and there's also the brand's 'MG Pilot' camera safety package which includes Advanced Emergency Braking, Blindspot Monitoring, Lane Keep Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control. 

Cost of Ownership 

The WLTP-rated range is 163 miles which rises to 231 miles on the WLTP city cycle. Charging is simple enough thanks to a combined CSS and Type 2 socket conveniently mounted on the front grille for easy access from either side of the vehicle. The CSS socket offers rapid charging from a 50kW public charger which will deliver 0 to 80% charge in just 40 minutes. 

If you’re charging at home using a standard 7kW wallbox you’ll be all done in six hours, so overnight charging is a breeze. If you’re really stuck, you can use a standard 3-pin plug – though you’d have to be really desperate or have plenty of time on your hands. The battery pack weighs just 280Kg providing competitive emission-free performance. MG has developed its own ‘Intelligent Battery Temperature Control’ system which insulates the battery pack from external temperature variations delivering the optimum power and range in all weather conditions. Both variants also benefit from MG’s seven year/80,000 miles warranty package – the longest fully transferable warranty in its class and two years more than rivals such as Hyundai and Toyota. 

Summary 

HeraldScotland:

MG has delivered a typically tightly priced package that demonstrates just how affordable a family-sized EV can be. Whilst range isn’t the best, if you’re mainly an urban driver the ZS EV, with its spacious interior, good levels of equipment and exceptional transferrable warranty, might just be the cheap, electric SUV you’re looking for. 

Is it the best in its sector? No. Is it an impressively affordable model in its class? Absolutely. 

Considering the MG ZS as your next car? View our MG ZS offers 

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