In-depth reviews

MG ZS review - Engines, performance and drive

It’s not the most refined or thrilling drive, but the MG ZS is reasonably comfortable and quiet

Unlike MG models of old, the current crop don’t make too much of a pretense of being fun to drive. The ZS is reasonably comfortable on the road, but there’s a lack of sophistication evident even though the suspension effectively soaks up the bumps and potholes that pockmark British roads. It feels more wallowy and less compliant and supple than the Citroen C3 Aircross, for example, and things get markedly worse if you try and make faster progress.

Push the car harder into a bend and excessive body roll becomes apparent fairly early, deterring the driver from pressing on. There’s also too much fore and aft pitching and diving, especially under braking, but for a driver who takes things gently this is unlikely to be too much of an issue

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The steering is relatively heavy in normal mode, but you can select Dynamic or Urban settings. The former adds weight but no more feel or responsiveness, while Urban usefully lightens the helm for town duty and is a worthwhile addition.

Engine noise is decently muted, but again the Chinese made MG’s lack of sophistication is revealed by wind and road noise – it’s not too terrible, just not as good as rivals. 

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

There are two petrol engine options only, and the entry-level is the 1.5-litre four-cylinder model. This engine is only available with a five-speed manual gearbox, and it drives the front wheels as the ZS has no 4x4 option. It’s a fairly old-school combination, and performance is pretty stodgy although the quoted 0-60mph time of 10.9 seconds isn’t too bad.

The pricier option is a three-cylinder direct injection turbocharged 1.0-litre developed in conjunction with General Motors. It comes with a six-speed automatic gearbox and is actually slower in the sprint to 60mph at 12.4 seconds, although it’s peppier in the 50-70mph zone which should aid overtaking.

The MG ZS EV is quicker than the petrol alternatives, taking 8.5 seconds to reach 62mph from standstill.

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