The MG ZS on test for Changing Lanes!
The MG ZS EV on test for Changing Lanes!

It’s not every day a new car brand enters the Irish market! But last November, MG announced they were making a return to Ireland. This time with a range of pure electric and hybrid vehicles.

Now under the stewardship of the Frank Keane Group, the brand has already appointed a 6-strong MG dealer network with retailers around the country in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

MG was originally a British brand with numerous MG cars marketed in Ireland over the years. But now the parent company is SAIC Motor (Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation). SAIC is the 7th largest car manufacturer in the world and was the first automobile group in China with annual sales of more than 7 million units.

So it’s a completely fresh start for MG Motor Ireland with some very on-trend new models that combine SUV-style with new electrified powertrains.

The MG ZS is the brand's first all-electric SUV to market here in 2021
The MG ZS is the brand’s first all-electric SUV to market here in 2021

What’s so special about the MG ZS?

At Changing Lanes, we are meeting the MG ZS EV for the first time, which looks to be one of the brand’s most important new launches here. The all-electric compact SUV retails from a headline grabbing €28,995 including Government grants and VRT relief.

Powered by a 44.5 kWh battery, giving a range of 263 km (WLTP), the ZS makes a strong statement about the affordability of electric cars that are also capable of realistically supporting the needs of a family.

The MG ZS is launched on the market as a compact SUV, and people love these at the moment, right? MG looks to be finding its niche with design but as a new brand, it may not be immediately recognisable on the road. At the front there is a large MG badge to dominate the front grille, flanked by headlights with LED daytime running lights.

It sits well among the other SUVs, and with that sort of pricing it should gradually become a more familiar presence on Irish roads. MG is the fastest growing car brand in the UK and growing across Europe with sales in a number of markets.

Inside the new MG ZS EV
The interior of the new MG ZS EV

Inside the new MG ZS

With the new MG ZS, we are encountering a new brand for the first time at Changing Lanes so first impressions will account for a lot as we get to know the MG way of doing things. The interior of the ZS makes a good impression. The perceived quality is good with a mixture of cabin materials and soft touch surfaces, finished with detail stitching. In fact, it’s all a bit sporty inside here! Exclusive versions have leather-style upholstery.

MG has gone with more traditional analogue dials for the driver but there’s a familiar touchscreen to the driver’s left that keeps things modern. It can be on the slow side to respond to touch presses, but Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility mean you are unlikely to be frustrated too much.

The feeling of space inside the MG is excellent for a B-segment SUV. There is lots of headroom and large windows, which makes it bright and spacious feeling. The rear will seat three, though most comfortable for two and the rear footwells are a decent size for this class of vehicle. The feeling of space makes it simply family friendly, and there are plenty of storage places in the cabin also. Buyers will also find a good boot of 448 litres. The split folding rear seats enable you to expand this to 1,116 litres. Charging cables can be stored neatly under the boot floor leaving the boot clear of any apparel for charging so you can get on with your life!

The new MG ZS electric retails from €28,995 in Ireland
The new MG ZS electric retails from €28,995 in Ireland

Standard equipment (Excite trim) includes air conditioning, keyless entry with push button start, adaptive cruise control,  electric windows, 8″ colour touchscreen, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, traffic jam assist, high beam assist, rear parking sensors and 17″ alloy wheels.

The Exclusive model (from €31,995) adds equipment such as rear parking camera, silver roof rails, panoramic opening glass roof, rain sensing wipers, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and leather style upholstery.

Powering the MG ZS EV

The MG ZS EV is powered by a strong 143 hp (105 kW) electric motor and combined with the 44.5 kWh lithium-ion-battery gives a WLTP range of 263 km. Maximum torque is 353 Nm, so the MG feels nifty once you hit the accelerator, with 0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds.

Real life driving range is very realistic with over 200 km possible and my Dublin-Wexford drive done with range to spare. Charging is super easy using the fast charge network for example to pick up 80% charge in 40 minutes using the CCS charge port that lives behind a panel in the front grille. Charging at home takes about 6.5 hours using a 7kW wallbox charger.

Charge the MG ZS EV at home or on the public charging network
Charge the MG ZS EV at home or on the public charging network

On the road, the MG ZS EV makes good progress moving effortlessly from town to motorway. There are no large drops in range out on the motorway and losses in range are accurately reported to the driver. Regenerative, 3-level braking is also included and the automatic transmission can be set to Eco, Normal or Sport mode.

Steering and controls are light, while the automatic transmission makes it simple to drive too. It’s easy to drive around town and compact enough to be simple to park. It’s not quite as cohesive a drive as some rival electric crossovers like the Peugeot e-2008 and the Opel Mokka-e, but the higher SUV stance of the MG goes some way to explain this more languid feeling behind the wheel.

Did you like it?

The MG ZS follows the rules of a classic B-segment compact SUV – raised ride height, chunky styling, big windows and some attitude. But with a twist. The fully electric powertrain and very nice range of over 200 km is likely to get the attention of many buyers.

So is the starting price. On closer inspection, the MG ZS EV can do a fine job of carrying people and their things in comfort. Perceived quality is also good, though it’s not the most sophisticated drive or cabin in this segment.

The MG brand makes an electrified return to the Irish market. We expect the brand will hit its stride quickly with its range of new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The MG ZS could quickly become the star of the range with its delicate entry into the electric SUV market and attention grabbing starting price.

A great start for MG in Ireland once again!

The MG ZS EV gets the MG brand off to a great start in Ireland
The 2021 MG ZS EV gets the MG brand off to a great start in Ireland

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: MG ZS EV Exclusive
Battery: 44.5 kWh
143 hp
Torque: 353 Nm
8.2 seconds
Top speed: 140 km/h
Range (WLTP): 263 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
Motor Tax:  €120 per year