2023 MG ZS EV road test review

2023 MG ZS Excite EV

Danny Baggs

Posted May 11, 2023


The MG ZS EV has a new look and features, and it could be your gateway into electric motoring if you’re looking for a mid-size SUV.

It’s not as techy as the top-selling Tesla Model Y, but the 2023 MG ZS EV offers an alternative entry to electric mid-size SUV motoring that won’t intimidate new EV drivers. It’s a definite improvement on the previous model, with a sleek new front fascia, more power and plenty of features.

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MG ZS EV video review

MG ZS EV pricing and models

The MG ZS EV is an entry-level electric SUV that represents good value for its practicality and family-friendly size. The MG ZS EV comes with a choice of three grades: the Excite (from $47,337 driveaway in Victoria), the Essence (from $51,505), and the Long Range (from $59,841). In addition to all the Excite’s features, the MG ZS Essence EV offers front seat heating, a panoramic glass sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, roof rails, heated and electrically folding door mirrors, a wireless phone charger, synthetic leather seats, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, and 6-speaker audio. The Long Range grade includes all the Essence’s features, but increases the available driving range up to 440km, making it more viable for those that enjoy road trips, or that live regionally.

The MG ZS EV range sits in an increasingly competitive spot of the EV market. The BYD Atto 3 recently launched with much fanfare from $48,011, and the 2023 GWM Ora has now undercut the vehicle as Australia's cheapest EV.

The MG ZS EV is eligible for the Victorian Government’s $3,000 Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) subsidy.

 

The 2023 MG ZS EV has more power and plenty of features. Image: Ben Weinstein
The MG branding is clean and modern on the MG ZS EV. Image: Ben Weinstein
The MG ZS EV's branding is clean and modern. Image: Ben Weinstein
17" alloy rim wheels make the MG ZS EV look especially classy. Image: Ben Weinstein
The MG ZS EV's interior is sleek and feels surprisingly luxe. Image: Ben Weinstein
MG ZS Excite EV exterior shot

The MG ZS EV comes in three models: Excite, Essence and Long Range. Image: Ben Weinstein


 

MG ZS EV safety equipment

The MG ZS EV comes with standard dual frontal, side chest and side curtain airbags, and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane support systems (LSS).

Notably, the MG ZS EV comes with MG PILOT: a suite of technological safety aids that scope your surroundings for unseen hazards. These include:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking 

  • Lane Keep Assistance

  • Speed Assistance System

  • Traffic Jam Assistance

  • Adaptive Cruise Control

  • Intelligent High Beam Control.

Two MG PILOT safety features are missing from the Excite grade and are only available in the Essence and Long Range variants: Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

 

MG ZS EV front grille

The MG ZS EV's MG PILOT safety suite scopes your surroundings for unseen hazards. Image: Ben Weinstein


 

MG ZS EV interiors and design

Outside, the 2023 MG ZS Excite EV boasts a bolder appearance than the last model, with a new grille-less front fascia that turns a few heads on the road. Inside the MG ZS EV’s cabin, you'll find red contrast stitching, houndstooth seat fabrics, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and a carbon fibre-style dashboard that all make an impression.

Behind the wheel, the driver’s seat features thigh bolstering for cornering support and driving comfort, but it’s so thick that some might find it uncomfortable for longer journeys. Both passenger and back seats are much more comfortable, with plenty of legroom. There’s also an abundance of interior headroom throughout the vehicle; at 167cm, I have plenty of space between my head and the roof.

The MG ZS EV’s interior is dominated by the hi-res 7” low-glare Virtual Cluster that provides all your key driving information, and the 10.1” colour touchscreen loaded with inbuilt satellite navigation and full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. With a 170-degree viewing angle and reduced reflective rate, the screen is readable even in bright sunshine.

Best of all, there’s a 360-degree rear parking camera that helps elevate your awareness of your surroundings while parking and reversing. There’s room for improvement in terms of the screen’s crispness, but it's acceptable for the car’s price point.

Round the back, the MG ZS EV’s boot clocks in at 359 litres, which is more a typical hatchback’s storage space than an SUV’s. There is also no spare tyre underneath the boot, only a repair kit.

 

The MG ZS EV's interior is comfortable and classy. Image: Ben Weinstein
The 10.1" colour touchscreen is loaded will full Apple and Android connectivity. Image: Ben Weinstein
The MG ZS EV's steering wheel features detailed stitching. Image: Ben Weinstein

MG ZS EV engine, performance and handling

The MG ZS EV starts silently thanks to a push button start and no growling petrol motors. The peaceful silence continues on-road thanks to improved cabin soundproofing which is great if you love listening to the radio or your Spotify playlists, although the indicator sounds like a loud grandfather clock ticking away in your ear whenever it’s on.

The MG ZS EV offers a smooth driving experience for both driver and passengers. The 2023 model has lifted its drive motor up from 105kW to a more powerful 130kW, but torque is down from 353Nm to 280Nm. The MG ZS EV is right at home zipping in and out of city traffic and rolling down suburban motorways, with adequate torque for urban environments where you’re regularly accelerating from 0-60km/h. Sensibly sized Michelin Primacy tyres and decent suspension keeps the MG ZS EV comfy at higher speeds too.

Regenerative braking kicks in on the MG ZS EV as soon as you lift your foot from the accelerator pedal, allowing for some efficient one-pedal driving - though it certainly doesn’t deliver as much deceleration as other EVs, so don’t rely too heavily on it.

The MG ZS EV also offers three driving modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) to tailor your driving experience. If you’re keen to maximise your charge efficiency and driving range, selecting the Eco driving mode will certainly save you some kilometres – though be aware that acceleration will become slightly less responsive as a result.

 

MG ZS EV touchscreen

The MG ZS EV's colour touchscreen is easy to navigate. Image: Ben Weinstein


 

MG ZS EV battery power, charging and efficiency

The MG ZS EV uses a new 50.3kWh lithium-ion battery that’s fully electric liquid-cooled for better reliability, more flexible charging, and a boosted driving range. The 2023 model’s driving range has been increased to 320km on a single full charge, up from the last model’s 263km. This is slightly less than the BYD Atto 3’s 345km range, but more than the GWM Ora’s 310km range.

Keep in mind, however, that the range can drop to around 250-270km when you’re on long highway drives where you can’t take advantage of the regenerative braking.

The MG ZS EV uses Type 2 AC and CCS DC charge ports, with a peak DC charging speed of 80kW. A standard 7kW home AC charger will charge the MG ZS EV is about 8 hours, while a 50kW DC public charger can take the car to 80% in 54 minutes. A three-prong trickle charger can be found under the boot floor for plugging into regular power sockets in a pinch, although this charging option will prove very slow.

The 2023 MG ZS EV also offers Vehicle To Load Functionality at up to 2.5kW, which allows you to use the electricity stored in your car’s battery to power your appliances and electronics – handy for camping trips in particular.

 

The MG ZS EV uses Type 2 AC and CCS DC charge ports. Image: Ben Weinstein
The MG ZS EV's interior touchscreen features a detailed charging screen. Image: Ben Weinstein
The MG ZS EV offers a peak DC charging speed of 80kW. Image: Ben Weinstein

The verdict on the MG ZS EV

The MG ZS EV is targeted at medium SUV buyers looking to move towards electrified motoring and cut down on their vehicle running costs. Overall, the MG ZS EV is an intuitive and comfortable entrance into the world of EVs for families and couples. While it has no standout traits or features, the MG ZS EV offers a smooth electric-powered driving experience suited to urban environments and shorter road trips.

 


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