Modern technology gives us many things.

We get behind the wheel of the MG ZS electric SUV – driving into the future

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  • VERDICT

The MG ZS EV is a great first choice for an electric car because it’s not actually too different from a regular car – apart from the fuel you put into it. MG has done a great job creating a vehicle that offers the same features as a regular fuel car with a comfortable and spacious cockpit and the technology you’d expect from a modern car.

The MG ZS is not only the first fully electric SUV in Australia – it has also been priced competitively so it can be a serious consideration for any customer thinking of making the switch to an EV.

Tech Guide got behind the wheel of the MG ZS EV which looks and drives just like a regular SUV but instead of refuelling at the petrol bowser – you plug it in.

I’m already very familiar with electric cars – I’ve been driving a Tesla for almost three years – so this is going to be two reviews in one.

One for those who have never driven an electric car and another comparing it with the Tesla experience.

For those new to EVs and thinking of moving across from a petrol vehicle the MG ZS EV is much more affordable option at $43,990 on the road.

Before this the only option to switch to EV was to get behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S or Model X which was well over $100,000.

Even with the release of the more affordable Tesla Model 3 in 2019, you’re still looking at more than $72,000 for the base model.

Now the MG ZS EV is no Tesla – it doesn’t offer the performance, range and level of technology – but it’s an excellent option for those with an eye to the future who don’t want to pay for petrol any more.

On the safety side, the MG ZS EV has already achieved a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating thanks to its high strength cabin and torsional rigidity of the chassis design.

When you sit inside the MG ZS EV for the first time you really can’t see any difference with a regular car.

And that’s a good thing because most people don’t want a steep learning curve or want to radically change their driving habits.

The interior of the MG ZS EV is nicely appointed with high quality materials and workmanship.

What we really loved was the massive panoramic sunroof that covers 90 per cent of the roof – one of the largest in its segment.

It has the same start/stop button of a regular vehicle as well as the usual instrument cluster in front of the driver and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen.

When you hit the start/stop button, the car comes to life and the displays instantly switch on.

The only difference is you don’t hear and feel a large combustion engine roar to life.

So far, so good.

One difference you’ll notice is the regenerative braking which will start to slow the car down as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator.

When you do that the motor is immediately thrown into reverse and the energy this action generates goes back into the battery.

You can set the level of regenerative breaking from mild to aggressive which adjusts how power you can recoup. We ha it set at aggressive and it wasn’t too much of a jarring adjustment.

Aboard the MG ZS EV there’s the usual array of knobs for the air conditioning and audio volume – which is also on the wheel.

There is no central gear shifter or stalk on the steering wheel.

Instead there is a gear shifting knob which is twisted to drive, neutral and reverse and the button on top puts you into park.

The range of the MG ZS EV is about 263km which is fine for city drivers but might not be an option for those who need to drive longer distances regularly.

The biggest adjustment an electric car owner has to make is finding places to charge the onboard 44.5Kw battery.

The obvious choice would be to charge the vehicle at home using the supplied adaptor cable which then plugs into a regular power point.

Charging this way will take many hours so it would be a case of leaving it overnight so you wake up to a full battery.

You can get a slightly faster charge at a destination charger in shopping centres, hotels and car parks and also you can also plug the car into a supercharger and get to 80 per cent battery level in just 45 minutes.

The charging port is locating behind the front grille – simply press the MG badge the grille pops open and swivels upwards to easily gain access to the charging port.

There’s a battery level indicator in the driver’s instrument cluster in the same place where  you’d see a petrol gauge.

One thing you’ll notice is a much quieter drive – there is no internal combustion engine remember?

Performance-wise the MG ZS EV is a zippy drive.

Now you’re not going to get the same hit between the shoulder blades like when you hit the accelerator on a Tesla but it’s as good as what you’d get with your old petrol car and can go from 0-60km/h in 3.1 seconds.

The power is there when you need it and you’ll quickly find it’s a fun car to drive.

In terms of connectivity it’s easy to pair your smartphone via Bluetooth or with a cable to charge it from one of the USB ports located in a small niche below the main screen.

It has both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay so you can connect your phone with a cable and have full control of the apps you’re allowed to use behind the wheel via the car’s touchscreen.

Onboard is MG Pilot which includes a range of drivers safety technologies including adaptive cruise control, front collision warning, emergency breaking, speed assist and lane departure warnings.

The MG ZS EV compact SUV has a driveaway price of $43,990.00 and is backed by an 8 year 160,000 kilometre battery warranty, a five year unlimited kilometre warranty plus five years of roadside assistance.

VERDICT

The MG ZS EV is a great first choice for an electric car because it’s not actually too different from a regular car – apart from the fuel you put into it. MG has done a great job creating a vehicle that offers the same features as a regular fuel car with a comfortable and spacious cockpit and the technology you’d expect from a modern car.

Standard features include:

– One variant/Trim level

– Two tone 17-inch alloy wheels

– MG logo with charging breathing light

– Diamond radiator grille

– London eye headlamps

– Lipped waistline

– Synthetic leather flat bottomed steering wheel

– 360-degree Turbo vents

– Soft touch dash material

– Rotary Gear Selector

– Electric Parking Brake

– 3 Regenerative Braking Modes (Light, Moderate, Heavy – S-Pedal)

– 3 Driving Modes (Eco, Normal and Sport)

– Centre Armrest

– Panoramic Stargazer Sunroof

– 8-inch colour touchscreen

– Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

– Satellite Navigation

– Synthetic leather upholstery with French double-stitching

– Silver Roof Rails

– MG Pilot – Driver Safety Technology

    • Traffic Jam Assist
    • Intelligent Cruise Assist
    • Adaptive Cruise Control
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Speed Assist
    • Forward Collision Warning
    • Automated Emergency Braking
    • Intelligent Headlamp Control

Exterior Colours

– Clipper Blue, metallic paint (Exclusive to MG ZS EV)

– Diamond Red, metallic paint

– Regal Blue, metallic paint

– Dover White

– Pebble Black
Dimensions of the MG ZS EV

Length 4,314mm
Width 1,809mm
Height 1,644mm
Wheelbase 2,585mm
Kerb weight 1,532kg, 50kgs more than MG ZS
Maximum trunk space 1166L