MG ZS EV review

The MG ZS EV is a very impressive first electric-car effort from the British firm, offering a very affordable route into zero-emissions motoring

£28,495 - £30,495
£24,995 - £26,995
£21,495 - £23,495
Electric

Pros

  • Very competitive price
  • Seven-year warranty
  • Quick to charge

Cons

  • Cheap-feeling interior
  • Range not the best
  • A bit dull to drive
Car type Electric range Wallbox charge time Fast charge time
Electric 163 miles 6hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7kW) 40mins (0-80%, 50kW)

Reborn under Chinese ownership, the 'new' MG brand has been active in the UK for a good few years, focusing mainly on selling attractively priced alternatives to more established names in the supermini and SUV classes. And with the might of Chinese parent company SAIC behind it, it's now able to offer a fully electric version of its ZS SUV, called simply the ZS EV.

Starting at just under £25,000 after the government plug-in car grant (or just over £21,000 if you're one of the first 1,000 customers to place an order), the ZS EV's price is the first thing that grabs your attention. While the Renault ZOE is cheaper, as a supermini it can't come close to matching the ZS' interior or boot space. The MG is certainly cheap enough to make potential Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric buyers think twice.

True, it can't match the range of those cars, returning 163 miles according to WLTP testing, compared to at least 180 miles for the Hyundai and 280 miles for the Kia. But family buyers doing regular short trips and who have access to a home wallbox charger (free for the first 1,000 customers) likely won't need that sort of range.

Performance is peppy rather than blistering, with a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 87mph. Again, though, the ZS EV will show better in an urban environment, where a rapid sprint from 0-30mph is called for much more often.

With a battery on the relatively small side, the ZS EV has fairly short charging times: six-and-a-half hours to recharge fully at home from a 7kW wallbox, or just 40 minutes to pull an 80% charge from a 50kW public fast-charging station. The car comes with both CCS and Type 2 charging adaptors.

The ZS EV is only offered in the higher specification levels available for the ZS, so it's well equipped whichever of the two available version you choose. We think the entry-level Excite offers the best value for money, coming as it does with 17-inch alloys, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, parking sensors, plus a full infotainment and smartphone connectivity setup, as well as plenty of active safety technology. The chief benefit of spending £2,000 or so more on the Exclusive is large panoramic glass roof that floods the interior with light.

That interior is well laid out and a nice enough place to spend time, although some of the plastics are a bit cheap and scratchy. Passenger space is in plentiful supply, with no differences in the amount of room on offer compared to the petrol ZS, and the boot is a useful size and shape, too.

To drive, the ZS EV isn't very inspiring, but neither are a lot of the cheaper electric cars on the market. The motor is as smooth and quiet as you'd expect and the soft suspension does a good job of soaking up lumps and bumps in the road. If it's sporty handling you're after, though, you'll come away disappointed.

But when it comes to doing the hard sums, a seven-year warranty and attractive finance rates, plus the prospect of zero tax for company-car users in the 2020/21 financial year, all make the ZS EV an extremely compelling prospect.

For a more detailed look at the MG ZS EV, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.