2017 MG ZS Explained – Video
MG is gradually re-establishing itself in the UK market. The brand, now owned by Chinese company SAIC, is on target to sell 4500 cars on these shores in 2017.
And with the launch of this new ZS compact SUV, MG expects that number to double year-on-year. The likes of Ford and Renault will barely take notice of such minuscule volumes, but if MG can sustain that rate of growth for several years, it might one day represent a threat to the market leaders.
The ZS is aimed at the likes of the best-selling Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3 and majors on affordability. The entry-level Explore model costs just £12,495, meaning it undercuts the cheapest Juke by a useful £2385. The model tested here is the range-topping Exclusive, which costs £15,495 and comes equipped with a leather-look interior and Apple CarPlay on the standard 8.0in infotainment touchscreen.
Perhaps the ZS’s real selling point, though, is its seven-year/80,000 mile manufacturer warranty, which MG claims is class-leading.
What you will find inside the ZS is plenty of space. A tall adult will happily sit behind another while the boot offers 448-litres of storage capacity, which MG says is the biggest in this class.
There are two engine options, both of them petrol. The 1.5-litre four-cylinder develops 105bhp and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit is a little more potent with 109bhp. It drives the front wheels (there will be no four-wheel drive option) through a six-speed automatic ‘box.
Like-for-like, the 1.0 models cost £2000 more than their 1.5 counterparts. Despite that premium, the more expensive drivetrain is the one to go for, unless you really must shift gears for yourself. The normally aspirated four-cylinder does rev quite keenly to 5500rpm or so, but it’s asthmatic in its power delivery and gutless on the motorway. The torquier three-cylinder at least has a little meat to it and the auto ‘box is smooth and refined.