New Affordable MG ZS

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This week we are driving the MG ZS, with prices starting from £12,995 (in ‘Explore’ trim), it comes to market around £5,000 cheaper than entry level rivals such as the Hyundai Kona, the seat Arona, or the Renault Captur.

It’s fair to say that you won’t have the range of trim levels, nor a vast array of engines, and neither will you have a plethora of plush materials inside, nor the general spec.

For me though, £5,000 is a serious amount of money and the saving of that amount is definitely worth investigating, especially when you consider that your warranty is almost double that of many rivals within this compact crossover segment.

As standard the MG ZS comes equipped with all the basic safety amenities you need as well as ISOFIX rear seating points, cloth upholstery, bi-function automatic projection headlights, LED daytime running lights, electrically adjustable door mirrors, remote central locking, cruise control, front and rear electric windows, and a radio with auxiliary input and Bluetooth connection.

An ‘Excite’ trim starts from £14,495 and adds front fog lights, follow me home headlights, rear parking sensors, silver roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, DAB radio, and an 8-inch colour touch screen with Apple CarPlay.

As tested and photographed, an ‘Exclusive’ trim starts from £16,295 and adds 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, leather effect upholstery with contrasting stitching, a six speaker audio system with 3D sound and sat-nav, and a rear parking camera.

Add the metallic ‘Dynamic Red’ paint seen on this car, along with an automatic gearbox and the price for this model tested is £18,990.

There is a simple choice of two petrol engines for the MG ZS. A 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine produces 106ps which see’s 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds, with a top speed of 109mph and a return of just over 40mpg. This engine is only available with a 5-speed manual gearbox.

For those who prefer an automatic ‘box, the 6-speed auto is paired to a 1-litre, 3-cylinder engine producing 111ps which will see 0-62mph in 12.4 seconds with a top speed of 112mph and a return of a bit over 35mpg.

For what it is, I feel that this MG looks pretty good from the outside, the addition of rear privacy glass would definitely aid it looks, post-purchase. The boot offers reasonable space for a small family or a couple of holiday bags for a short break and inside the cabin isn’t quite as utilitarian as I expected, which is a good thing.

A carbon fibre effect on materials used around the dash detracts from the fact that they are cheaper materials than seen on other brands. The fake leather upholstery isn’t horrendous either, though it would definitely benefit from heated seating.

The touchscreen infotainment hub is surprisingly simple and easy to use with a decent reversing camera and even steering wheel controls.

With noticeable body roll, the driving experience is just what you would expect from a car so affordable. The MG does what it says on the tin and for someone looking nothing more than a reliable A to B car, it’s adequate.

Fitted with the 1-litre turbocharged petrol engine, this model tested is ideal around town or for doing the school run, with its light steering and reasonably nippy power delivery.

An all-electric version of the ZS is available from £25,495 (after plug-in car grant) and offers a range of around 160 miles.

If you’re in need of a vehicle which looks good and do not require too many frills, don’t let the limited dealer network put you off having a look at the affordable entry level range of MG today.

Fact File for model tested

Make :  MG
Model : ZS
Trim : Exclusive
Engine : 1-litre turbocharged petrol
Gearbox : 6-speed automatic
Cost : £18,990

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About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at grahamcurry.com

RMS Forum Comments

David.S replied at 09:38, Fri 01 May, 2020
Good value for money.
_Stu_ replied at 10:36, Tue 05 May, 2020
I have a real irrational hatred for these things. You can see MG cheaped out so much that they didn’t even put a green tint in the window glass. Only been in one of these being Once and it was a taxi. The seats were rock hard, it was noisy, it was so unrefined for a modern car. Personally I’d prefer to buy an ex demo version of one of the rivals instead and probably save a fortune on the inevitable depreciation one of these is going to suffer with.
gary1365 replied at 10:38, Tue 05 May, 2020
Was anyone else disappointed this wasn't a v6 petrol saloon I certainly was lol.