February 4, 2023

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MG ZS test drive: it starts with overwhelming sales

MG ZS test drive: it starts with overwhelming sales

– We’ll take you back to the airport. But maybe you want to drive yourself?

– Yes, of course I want!

I’m in Belgium in late September 2019, for the first MG ZS presentation. It’s on its way to Norway, but MG’s first European office invited a small number of Norwegian journalists to a first meeting with the car.

The presentation was taking longer than planned and I was beginning to realize that I wasn’t going to make it to my planned test drive. Then comes the offer to return to the airport. Now the driver takes his place in the passenger seat – and I’m driving us to the airport.

First meeting: Here we met the MG ZS for the first time in 2019.

It was a first drive in a car that I was really excited about beforehand. The first Chinese electric car is on its way to Norway. At the same time, there was a kind of resurgence of the MG model, which joined the drag race when Rover went bankrupt in 2005.

The rest is – as the saying goes – history. After some debate over who would be responsible for importing into Norway, the ZS came to the country in 2020 – and it’s off to a flying start.

It was introduced early and had a very high price tag, from NOK 229,000. And so thousands of Norwegians bought the newcomer. Towards the end of last year, the sales figure exceeded 6,000 vehicles.

Then it became quieter around the ZS. This is naturally related to the fact that many new cars have entered the market, many of them from China. The ZS also received a major upgrade with, among other things, a much larger battery pack and longer range. Then the price also increased, and now it starts at NOK 308,090.

Note: This is a short test. Click here to read our first test of the MG ZS:

Anonymous: From the side, this design is rather Anonymous Affairs.

Anonymous: From the side, this design is rather Anonymous Affairs.

what’s new:

The car we drove in Belgium had a 44.5 kWh battery and an official range of 263 kilometres. We now find a 70-kilowatt battery pack under the MG floor, and the range has increased to 440 kilometres.

This would make the car relevant to a lot more people. But at the same time we are talking about a significant increase in prices. The development in sales figures indicates that the lower price was important to many buyers. Now the ZS is in a price range where it has quite a few competitors in roughly the same range.

Externally, there are subtle changes front and rear – with new lights front and rear. The traditional grill is gone, it looks more “electric car”.

Inside, there is even bigger news. The dashboard has been changed and a new infotainment system with a larger screen has been placed. Analog machines have also been replaced by digital ones.

Read more about our first meeting with the MG ZS here:

More modern: The ZS has been updated on the inside, but on the infotainment front there's definitely room for improvement.

More modern: The ZS has been updated on the inside, but on the infotainment front there’s definitely room for improvement.

How it works?

To take the range first: 440 kilometers seems quite realistic, at least before the cold temperatures hit. Official power consumption is set at 17.8 kWh/100 km. We end up at almost exactly 18 when tested under various conditions.

The ZS participated in NAF’s wide range testing this summer. It was performed in temperatures that not only taste like summer, from 7 to 15 degrees, and also with plenty of rain. Here the ZS barely manages to go beyond the official range, more specifically a total of 443 kilometers. It should also be noted that it did an “extra” 7 km after the range meter read zero.

If you drive lightly, you should manage the official number in the summer. Now that it’s winter and cold, there will naturally be less.

We don’t expect a race car, and we won’t get one either. But the ZS is definitely smart, especially at first. We think 0-100 acceleration in 8.6 seconds is plenty for most buyers.

The ZS’s interior needed updating, but you still have absolutely no doubt you’re sitting in a cheap car. This is reflected in the material choices, they look a bit simple and cheap.

The seating position is strangely high and we struggle to adjust the seat exactly as we want it.

Then there is the infotainment system. Thus, the screen has become larger, which is a positive thing. But this is really similar to yesterday’s solution (and maybe the day before that too). Ease of use is low and there is a lot of fiddling to use the various functions. It is also very slow. We know MG can if they want to, the system we find in Marvel R’s big brother is something completely different. In ZS, they clearly adopted a cost-effective solution.

Some small details are a bit disappointing. Like the temperature sometimes varies a lot, without adjusting anything. 20 degrees suddenly becomes very hot. But when we lower it to 19, it gets colder. There is something here that is not quite stable.

Back Seat: No space orgy, but two adults sit comfortably here.

Back Seat: No space orgy, but two adults sit comfortably here.

In terms of space, MG’s got a lot out of the compact at 4.23m long. It’s roomy up front, just-right space for two adults in the back seat and the trunk impresses us: 488 liters. Here, the ZS takes the inside swing at several of the larger competition’s electric vehicles. Space conditions mean it should hold up as a family car for many, and here the increased range is naturally a positive as well.

Finally, a little about design: MG has also made great strides in this area in recent years. The new Marvel R and MG4 look nicer and more modern. When they first rode hard on the MG brand (which certainly resonates with some buyers), they were bound to come up with something even more powerful than this.

MG4 can get you a good meal in Norway

Impressions: the trunk is a solid 488 liters.

Impressions: the trunk is a solid 488 liters.

.. And what is the conclusion?

We are among those who were surprised by the huge sales of the ZS at the start. But there were several things that clicked at the same time: early release, very low price – and, moreover, a dealer network (many of whom sold Subaru) which had long been completely bereft of news.

It was a little gold line for MG.

Now it is much more difficult and there is nothing that can change that. When the luxury version costs NOK 338,090, it suddenly competes with cars that look more modern and more luxurious.

If you come from an 8-10 year old Japanese or Korean car, you may not pay much attention to the saving solutions. But for most others, it becomes pretty obvious. Thus, we can probably say that the time of big sales is definitely over.

– That’s why Rover went bankrupt

the car lo?

You want a simple and affordable electric car.

Isn’t the car yours then?

You are interested in technology and interested in design.

Early on: MG ZS was the first Chinese electric car in Norway, and now many are following suit

Early on: MG ZS was the first Chinese electric car in Norway, and now many are following suit

What does the angel think?

23 MG ZS owners have entered an appraisal of their car. Most of them are completely satisfied, but there are also some obvious exceptions. Click here to read what they think:

You can also enter a rating that only takes a few minutes. click here

The classic car has been in storage for 41 years

MG ZS EV LUXURY LONG RANGE

Engine: electric

Power: 156 hp / 280 Nm

Acceleration from zero to 100 km / h: 8.6 seconds

Maximum speed: 175 km / h

Battery charging:

Battery pack: 70 kWh

Electric range (WLTP): up to 440 kilometers

Consumption (WLTP): 17.8 kWh / 100 km

Fast charging: 92 kW

Internal charger: 10.5 kW

Measurements, weight and volume:

Length x Width x Height: 4.32 – 1.80 – 1.64 metres

Trunk: 488 / 1,166 liters

Weight: 1,620 kilos

Trailer weight: 500 kg

Roof load: 75 kg

Price: NOK 338,090

Watch the new MG4 video below:

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