When the British-based, Chinese-manufactured MG ZS electric vehicle first hit the market, consumers were curious to know how the car would turn out. After all, they had become used to higher end electric vehicle offerings from marque producers, with the entry-level EV scene still building up its reputation in Singapore.
Going up directly against cars like the Kia Niro EV, the MG ZS EV is a subcompact crossover, that sports a 44.5kWh battery pack that drives its front wheels through a single electric motor in the front, and is well-equipped, with driving mode selection, multifunction steering wheel, Android Auto, and Apple Carplay fitted as standard — impressive for an entry-level EV in Singapore. However, the more pertinent questions about the car lie in the way the car drives.
Here’s what we think about the MG ZS Electric.
From the exterior, the ZS does a fantastic job at masking its electric vehicle underpinnings. To the uninitiated, it looks like a regular petrol-powered car, until the charging port cover at the front pops open to reveal its charging port. The charging panel is extremely well-integrated into the front fascia of the car, and in our opinion, is one of the most unique and well-hidden charging port designs on the market today.
The rest of the car looks handsome and carries itself well, managing to look tall and reasonably imposing, although it is not a large car by any means, measuring just 4.3m in length, 1.8m across, and 1.6m in height. This frame lends itself well to Singapore’s urban driving environment, and allows for fuss-free city driving and urban parking. The size is good enough for a family outing, but not so large that navigating car park ramps will become a chore.
All in all, the car presents well, and its understated styling does make the ZS look a tad bit continental.
The cabin of the MG ZS is an extremely presentable one. At first glance, it feels more premium than its price point would suggest — largely thanks to the visual appeal that the 8-inch infotainment unit and the modern-looking multifunction steering wheel design offers.
Although there are hard plastics found around the cabin, they appear in the more uncommon touchpoints. Specifically, the use of gunmetal plastic across the dashboard and around the partial digital driver’s display does a great job at elevating the aesthetics of the cabin. Material choice and use within the car’s cabin is therefore discerning, which translates to a cabin that looks consistent, feels modern, and exceeds expectations for its segment.
Down towards the centre console, climate control buttons are clear, easy to use, and do not feel overly utilitarian. Further down, the toggle selectors controlling the drive mode, regenerative braking settings, and round dial digital gear selector combine well to give the car a futuristic look, moving away from the usual gear shifters you’ll often find in other cars.
In the rear, the ZS’ almost 2.6m wheelbase offers rear passengers a reasonable amount of legroom, where anyone below 175m will feel comfortable even on longer journeys. As a crossover, the headroom is spacious — consequently, the car feels airy and open to sit in, with the full-length glass roof enhancing this openness even further.
The ZS offers a competitive 445L of boot space, with knockdown rear seats that enable the carrying of larger and bulkier items. As a crossover, the loading height and boot aperture is great. Despite a slight load lip, it should not pose much issue as a plastic scuff plate is included so you may slide heavier items over the boot aperture.
Tech in the ZS meets expectations and covers all the points of parity you would expect in an entry-level crossover. The infotainment unit supports both Apple Carplay and Android Auto, which means that you’ll be able to connect your favourite Spotify playlist on the go during your travels. We would have preferred to see a full digital driver’s display rather than just the partial one in the ZS, but aside from aesthetics, functionality is not compromised in any way.
As an EV, the ZS comes with 3 regenerative braking settings, which essentially recover electric power when you take your foot off the pedal. You can choose to turn this off if you dislike it, but the ZS also offers two levels of braking strength which in turn facilitate one-pedal drive.
If you haven’t tried an electric vehicle with one-pedal drive before, it might take some getting used to. However, once you get the hang of it, it makes for a rather relaxing driving experience as you almost never have to use your brake pedal anymore.
Covering 0-100km/h in 8.2s, the ZS wasn’t built to break any land speed records—but as an electric vehicle, it offers a spirited 353 Nm of torque. Around town and in city driving conditions, this torque is delivered in the smoothest and quietest fashion, and the car just seems to zip around streets in a manner that is effortless and unheard of in entry-level internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
The electric setup also means that you do not have to deal with droning transmissions that are a common characteristic of cars in this segment—which is, in our opinion, a major plus point. Steering is light and easy to operate, with good all-round visibility from your elevated vantage point.
When driving at higher speeds, the ride quality is commendable, and a softer suspension setup makes for a well-cushioned and comfortable ride. Combined with the quiet of the electric drivetrain, the ZS is quite pleasant to drive over longer distances.
Despite the high torque figures, the ZS is a car that does its best work when treated nicely. All in all, the ZS will make light work of daily commutes in a zippy and breezy manner, as long as you don’t expect it to behave like a sports car.
The main draw of an entry-level electric vehicle like the ZS is that it will outperform any entry-level ICE vehicle in its segment. It’s more powerful, more zippy, more fun to drive, much quieter — and as a result, much more refined.
From a driving perspective, the ZS will make light work of journeys that other entry-level ICE cars may struggle to accomplish. In our opinion, its styling is also mature and classy for its segment, and the car delivers a modern cabin feel with discerning material choice and use.
Overall, the MG ZS Electric is a well-rounded offering that will be extremely useful to small families and young couples who enjoy a spring in their drive.
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