MG ZS EV Review : Bang For Your Buck
Singapore - Formerly purveyors of class British sports cars like the MGB or the MG Midget, Morris Garages has come a long way since the marque’s inception in 1920.
Now they’re backed by new money from Chinese-based manufacturer SAIC Motor, and they’ve taken to producing family cars and EVs. In fact, the model range in Singapore consists of one ICE model (the MG HS) and two EVs. The MG 5 Electric station wagon and this, the MG ZS EV crossover.
At the time of writing, the MG ZS EV is for all intents and purposes the cheapest passenger EV for sale in Singapore at S$148,888. Its low starting price of the car can be attributed to a number of reasons, including its S$25,000 VES A1 rebate and EV Early Adopter Incentive (EEAI). Given its electric power consumption figures and sub-150hp power output, the
Another reason for the car’s affordability lies in its Category A COE banding, which recently saw its 97kW power limit raised to 110kW for BEVs, so the ZS just manages to slide under the (typically) more pricey Category B premium.
Given its frugal electric power consumption figures and sub-150hp power output, it’s not difficult to see why you’re getting so much bang for your buck with the ZS EV.
MG ZS EV - Exterior
From the outset, the looks of the ZS EV are unlikely to draw ire from buyers. While subdued and perhaps lacking a little flamboyance, the looks of the ZS are inoffensive. Dominating the front fascia is a studded grille with a large MG badge, which pops open and lifts up to reveal the charging port.
Along the sides, the satin silver roof rails and sill plates strike a stark contrast against the Copenhagen Blue bodywork, along with 17-inch two-toned rims. The rear hatch is also kept simple, with clean lines and minimal badging. Simple, not basic. And it’s a design ethos that’s been carried over to the interior.
MG ZS EV - Interior
Of course, one can’t expect the ZS EV to be decked out with copious amounts of animal hide for a car at this price point. It’s built to a cost, but there are some swathes of leather set into the centre console and door cards. As a whole, the overall fitment finish in the cabin is excellent, with textured trim pieces and plenty of soft touchpoints that give the ZS EV an almost Germanic quality. It’s even got an electronically adjustable driver’s seat and a panoramic sunroof.
You get a multifunction steering wheel with the requisite indicator/headlamp and wiper stalks, but also a third stalk on the lower left portion of the steering column that operates the cruise control functions. (See what I mean by Germanic?) The analogue instrument dials are clear and legible, not overly fancy but they do the job. You also have an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wired of course. Thankfully, MG has left physical buttons for the HVAC controls. It might be a cost-cutting measure, but it's one we truly appreciated.
In the centre console, you get a rotary dial for a gear selector and three helpful paddles that allow drivers to toggle between drive modes, select different levels of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) regeneration and monitor the car’s battery levels.
It’s a spacious, well-built interior for the price with plenty of storage spaces and a sizeable 448-litre boot, to boot. Pun intended. But no frunk.
MG ZS EV - Powertrain and Drive
Beneath the hood lurks an electric motor that sends 143 horsepower and 353Nm of torque to the front wheels. Paired to that is a 44.5kWh battery set beneath the floorboards. Sure, it’s not the biggest battery or the most powerful motor, but it delivers that power with such spontaneity that you’re rarely in need of more punch. One prod of the throttle and the car surges forward with ease. Select the sportiest drive setting, and you're looking at a slightly more violent surge of torque.
On the road, the ZS EV does a fairly decent job of soaking up most road undulations, although the comfort-biased suspension setup tends to rock the car a little when traversing speed humps or rumble strips at higher speeds. Around town, the car’s NVH levels are impressively low but once you get up to highway speeds, there is a slight intrusion of wind and road noise that punctuates the near-deafening silence in the cabin. Really, it’s a minor foible, and one we’d happily look past.
The ZS EV is rated for 263km of range on the WLTP cycle but in practice, we found that its 13.8kWh/100km efficiency figure is a modest understatement. According to our math (and our right foot), we’d say you could comfortably average an easy 280km on a single charge without depleting your batteries. 300km, if you go lighter on the throttle and claw back some charge using the KERS system.
In the coming years, we may expect to see an updated ZS EV model with a reworked exterior and a much more posh interior with a new digital gauge cluster and a larger 10.1-inch infotainment screen. There’ll even be a version with a larger 72kWh long range battery, which has an on paper range figure of 440km. We’re certain that it’ll be affordable too, but we’d have to wait and see for ourselves.
As of now, the MG ZS EV is cheaper to purchase than its other competitors in the EV SUV niche, cheaper to run than petrol-powered vehicles in its class, and it's shown us how adept it can be on the roads. Really, it makes a damn strong case for itself. It’s no-frills driving, with the added benefit of instantaneous throttle response and the serenity we've come to expect from EVs in this day and age.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
MG ZS EV
Electric Motor 143hp/353Nm
Electric Range up to 263km (WLTP)
Top Speed 140km/h
Dimensions 4314/1809/1644mm (LxBxH)