Car exterior.
On the road

0-100 review: MG ZS EV

Chinese cars remain a curiosity for many Australians, but this affordable and impressive electric SUV could help propel them into the mainstream.

For motoring enthusiasts of a certain vintage, the MG nameplate is synonymous with a line of classic British sportscars built between the 1920s and 1970s. The brand has had a long – sometimes chequered – history and was in receivership in 2005 when purchased by China’s Nanjing Automobile Group, which subsequently merged into the SAIC Motor Corporation.

MG has prospered under SAIC ownership, including in Australia, where the company markets three distinct models, among them the medium-SUV MG ZS and MG ZS T. The ‘T’ refers to the latest version of the MG ZS, with the new and old models selling alongside each other.

Across the ZS and ZST line-up, there’s a choice of three internal combustion engines, plus the battery electric powertrain reviewed here.

The latter is fitted exclusively to the MG ZS EV which, at $43,990 drive away, is currently Australia’s most affordable electric vehicle (EV).

The 44.5kWh battery is charged via a plug point hidden behind the MG logo on its grille, with charging cables stored in a sub-floor of the 359-litre boot space. Charging times vary according to the charge point type, from seven to 20 hours on a household socket, to 45 minutes on a DC fast charger (from 0 to 80%). When fully charged, the MG ZS EV has a combined cycle range of 263km, which compares favourably with the Nissan Leaf.

The electric motor delivers outputs of 105kW and 353Nm, which translates to a brisk 8.2-second 0-100km/h sprint. Put your foot down from rest or at road speeds and the MG surges forward with instant, linear acceleration.

Classy interior
View of front space and infotainment
Cables kept in sub-floor of boot
Stylish exterior
Back seat comfort

With good levels of cornering grip and ride quality absorbent enough for most road conditions, the MG ES EV also boasts a roomy and attractively styled interior that accommodates four adults. A comprehensive array of active and passive safety features ensures an ANCAP five-star rating.

With a five-year unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty, five-year roadside assistance package and eight-year 160,000-kilometre battery warranty, the MG ZS EV presents Australians with a compelling and reasonably affordable entrée to the world of electric motoring.

The specs

Pricing: Driveaway $43,990

Safety: ANCAP5-star (2019 Euro NCAP)

Engine type: Synchronous electric motor, 44.5kWh liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery

Max. torque:  353Nm

Max. power: 105kW

Transmission: Reduction-gear single speed

Drive type: Front-wheel drive

Driving efficiency: (WLTP combined); 18.6kWh/100km

0-100km/h: 8.2 seconds