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2021 MG ZS EV Review – Cheap EV Fun…

July 8, 2021
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“The MG ZS EV is not all there yet, but I really hope one day, it and the brand are”.

MG ZS EV Radio Review

by Bowen's Garage | Marcus Paul - 2SM Super Radio Network

Bowen

Bowen's Report Card


2021 MG ZS EV Review – Cheap EV Fun…

I am not a fan of MG at all. Brutal yes, but I’m not here to sell cars. So far this year I’ve driven in the vicinity of 40 to 50 new cars. Someone tried to tell me once that I had a “car problem”. Perhaps that’s true, however, I can tell you one thing, it allows me to pick something underdone a mile away, BUT this is not going to be a crucifixion. Welcome to the MG ZS EV, the cheapest battery powered car.

Performance

The MG ZS EV is a compact SUV powered by a 44.5kWh battery. According to the gold standard World harmonised Light vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP) its range is around 263km.

This electric MG is rather brisk in a straight line reaching 60km/h in 3.1 seconds. I’m glad MG provide that figure because it makes much more sense than the usual 0 – 100 clicks figure.

It has the familiar (to me) instant torque all EV’s have on tap. In fact, given the bargain price, I do hope many Aussies get the chance to experience that thrill, I’m just not sure they should buy one just yet. More on that shortly.

There are three driving modes to choose from: Eco, Normal and Sport. Naturally to reach the claimed range staying in Eco is advisable.

There’s a “KERS” button in the centre console area. This technology (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) stemmed from F1 vehicles that first used it over a decade ago.

Essentially the ZS EV uses the electric motor like an internal combustion engine might use engine braking to slow down. In all EVs the system uses the electric motor and sometimes the brakes to either generate charge for the battery or capture otherwise lost energy.

You can adjust the three stage KERS program allowing for almost no need to touch the brakes. Instead, the car will coast to a stop when you lift off the accelerator.

The ZS EV can be charged via an included Combined Charging System (CCS) plug which is now the industry standard. That means you can plug it in via a household socket. That’s a slow process, however I’ve never had an issue with any electric car charging via this method.

No one is driving their EV home almost flat. If they are there are numerous optional wall units to juice up more quickly. A 7kW single-phase unit could charge the ZS EV in seven hours, instead of 25 hours from a 10A socket. There’s also DC chargers that would allow the time to shrink to 40 – 50 minutes to charge from 20 to 80 per cent based on a 50kW capacity unit.

Of course, having access to solar panels or perhaps a battery at home is the only way this whole concept makes sense. At least until we either go fully renewable, or nuclear.

There, I said the N word.

What is pleasing is the fact the MG ZS EV can be zapped by up to a 350-kilowatt DC supercharger, if you can find one. Reducing an overnight charge to a mere 45 minutes to obtain 80 per cent capacity.

 

The Drive

China.

People have a problem with Chinese made cars, which is at odds with the fact they also make just about everything. MG is owned by SAIC Motor; it falls within the top 10 vehicle manufacturers in the world.

The state owned SAIC has its tentacles in some household names, such as GM, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

There’s no need for any stigma at all. However, they are yet to master , in my mind, a convincing and quality product. The ZS EV is a good-looking car. China does great knockoffs.

What is certain, is very soon they will, just like Hyundai and Kia manage to get things on point.

The drive is not all that well sorted, I haven’t ridden a donkey but in my mind’s eye that’s the closest analogy I can come up with.

The battery, that SAIC makes in a dedicated factory via a joint venture with another massive mob called CATL, is located under the floor.

This low centre of gravity is a common trait with EVs. In this case sadly it’s all a bit of a mess when it comes to corners.

I also think the traction control system is poorly calibrated, especially in the wet. Sending instant torque to a FWD car is bound to cause issues, the first Hyundai Ioniq EV was a great example of that.

Of course, it makes sense to lay off the accelerator in such conditions. However, even still, there’s all sorts of crunching and pulsating going on as the MG attempts to use tech to stay on the road.

This opinion is not based on “spirited” driving either. It’s the kind of car that feels inherently obnoxious, and not one capable of overly enjoyable bouts of driving.

 

Value For Money

By EV standards you’ve won lotto with the ZS EV. The drive-away price is a mere $43,990. The battery is backed by an eight-year 160,000km warranty but only a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. The rest of the MG range is bolstered by a seven-year safety net.

You do score five-years of roadside assist as a bonus.

 

Safety And Technology

MG do provide plenty of gear. Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking plus MG Pilot. That’s a form of semi-autonomous driving useful on long freeway drives, keeping the car in the centre of the lane via mild steering inputs to help relax your wrists.

The car also scores a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating; you can’t argue with that.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are displayed on an 8.0-inch flush touchscreen. There’s also a decent six-speaker sound system and a massive glass panoramic sunroof with a cloth shade that may be a little too translucent during an Australian summer.

 

Comfort

If you’ve never sat in any of the opposition, you’ll be impressed with the MG’s interior. The faux leather seats are convincing enough, and most touchpoints are nice and soft.

It’s more the perception of quality that may convince you. However, jump in a Hyundai Kona and I’m sure you’ll think twice about that. You’ll also pay about $20,000 more.

 

What I Love

I do appreciate the fact that this car will allow some Australians to own their first electric car. I just hope it works out for them in the long run.

 

Bowen’s Report Card

No MG has impressed me to date. The only saving grace is what I’ve said a few times now, it’s opened a magical gate to get bums in EVs. Often there’s an electrified car in my driveway these days. The MG ZS EV is not all there yet, but I really hope one day, it and the brand are. It’s a 68 out of 100 from me!