ZS compact SUV set to be game-changing sales driver for MG
MG has raised its game with the ZS compact SUV - style, value, good to drive and a seven-year warranty. No wonder it aims to double sales, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
MG says its ZS compact sport utility vehicle hails a new era.
Joining the MG3 supermini and larger GS SUV, the ZS introduces flowing ‘Emotional Dynamism’ styling, a new face dominated by the grille and bigger MG badge, a huge leap in quality and a seven-year, 80,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty which can be transferred to the next owner.
Matthew Cheyne, MG Motors UK head of sales and marketing, said: “This is MG putting its money where its mouth is. With the introduction of a seven-year warranty, we are making a clear statement of intent about the quality of our design, engineering and manufacturing.”
Under the bonnet
Two refined petrol engines, two transmissions – 1.5-litre five-speed manual, 1.0-litre turbo six-speed automatic.
The 1.5 trickles along at low revs and feels crisp above 3,000rpm, returning 42mpg overall.
The 1.0-litre turbo unit, developed with General Motors, pulls strongly from low revs, so feels livelier with smooth auto box, despite a slower 0-62mph time, and returned 38mpg.
How it drives
With its sports car heritage, the aim was a dynamic drive without sacrificing ride comfort.
The firm suspension is more evident from tyre noise than ride which is acceptably supple but can be caught out by rough roads at low speed but quickly regains composure.
For an SUV, it’s pleasantly agile through the twists and turns. There’s some body roll initially going into fast corners but it can be hustled along with confidence. Steering has good feedback and light urban, normal and heavier dynamic modes on mid and top spec.
Space and comfort
Put simply, the MG ZS makes a huge impression with class-leading passenger space and boot.
Climb into the back and you’re struck by generous legroom, even with six-footers in front, and feeling of spaciousness – enough headroom for Tom Jones to keep his hat on and fit three average adults.
The clever packaging also creates a vast 448-litre boot – considerably bigger than many rivals – with a two-level floor and storage space around the tyre-inflation kit in what would be the spare wheel well. Rear seat backs split 60/40 and fold flat, with the floor panel at its highest level, for a 1,375-litre load bay.
Build quality has also improved with soft-touch materials topping the fascia and door grabs while harder plastics lower down look good and there are no squeaks or rattles.
At the wheel
Get hold of the flat-bottomed steering wheel, check out the jet turbine-design air vents and you know MG has put a lot of effort into the fascia with a logical layout and eye-catching brightwork trim highlights.
It’s very user friendly with large, clear dials, simple rotary controls for heating and ventilation and, on Excite and Exclusive, a fast-acting eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay.
Trims and equipment
The £12,495 Explore 1.5 is a price entry model with cruise control, LED running lights, auto headlights, Bluetooth and hill-launch assist, but Excite, from £13,999, adds 17in alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, heated/electric mirrors, front fog lights, air-con, DAB radio, parking sensors, remote locking, chrome window surrounds and roof rails.
Exclusive, expected to be the best seller, includes diamond cut alloys, leather style upholstery, sat-nav and reversing camera and sensors.
Excite and Explore also get the 1.0-litre auto for £2,000 more.
The MG ZS is its best car by far. After seven years establishing the brand, this new SUV will build it, attracting younger customers and doubling annual sales to nearly 10,000.
It will sell on style, space and spec and low price and peace-of-mind warranty is the icing on the cake.
SPEC AND TECH
MG ZS 1.5
Engine: 1,498cc, 106PS, four-cylinder petrol
Performance: 0-62mph 10.9 seconds; top speed 109mph
MPG: Urban 41; extra urban 58.9; combined 49.6
CO2 emissions: 129g/km
MG ZS 1.0T
Engine: 999cc, 111PS, three-cylinder turbo petrol
Performance: 0-62mph 12.4 seconds; top speed 112mph
MPG: Urban 34.5; extra urban 54.3; combined 44.9
CO2 emissions: 144g/km
Price: Explore £12,495; Excite £13,995 manual, £15,995 auto; Exclusive £15,495 manual, £17,495 auto
Warranty: Seven years or 80,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,314mm; W (including mirrors) 2,048mm; H 1,636mm (with roof rails)