The MG ZS EV is, as you’ve probably guessed, the fully electric version of the formidably priced, practical and appealing ZS compact family SUV. It’s a little more expensive, whereas the regular ZS starts at just over £15k and tops out at around £20k, this starts at £25k, and the range-topper tested totalled nearly £29k. Visually you can tell the EV by the neat windmill style diamond cut 17-inch alloy wheels, the lack of exhaust pipe and the hidden compartment in the front grille that houses the charging port. Actually you can’t use that as an identifier, because it’s hidden.
Next year there will be an updated version of this to bring it inline with the aesthetic refresh of the regular ZS and rumour has it, it will get a bigger battery. Currently there is a 44.5kWh lithium-ion battery powering an electric motor that puts out the equivalent of 143bhp and 260lb ft of torque. That’s good for 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds though it only reaches a top speed of 87mph.
The range is 163 miles and as for charging, you can get up to 80% on a 50kW fast charger in 40 mins, nearly 7 hours on a home chargerif you have one installed, or 14 hours if you just plug it into a wall socket. MG claims it’ll do 3.3 miles per kWh – I’ve saw 3.6.
There really doesn’t appear to be any loss in space inside, despite the batteries lurking in there somewhere. You can lower the 448-litre boot floor for more room and drop the seats to expand your cargo-carrying capacity. The rear passenger compartment is comfortable enough for a six-footer sitting behind another. Three abreast wouldn’t be too uncomfortable, and a panoramic sunroof on the test car, makes it feel quite airy.
Up front the quality is not as bad as some reviewers make out, though this is clearly not the premium product it mimics in the style of the dashboard including the air vents and interface. The largish touch screen works well, though is a little glitchy and needed restarting a couple of times. But this ZS is generally very well equipped and at this level you’ll want for nothing, apart from maybe a better stereo as it only has a four-speaker system.
On the go the ride is firm but comfortable, it’s easy to pilot, visibility is good, and the size is just right for the city. It cruises well on the motorway, but you will see the range drop alarmingly. Around town it does far better in calming your range anxiety, thanks to three levels of regen, though it’s not quite one-pedal driving.
A very practical, and not too costly EV offering from MG when you consider that smaller and less well equipped EVs start at more money. If you can charge at home and will only use it for urban journeys this could make sense, especially considering the saving on the rising cost of fuel prices.