In an increasingly crowded class, what makes this plucky newcomer stand out? Well, its low pricing and seven-year, 80,000-mile standard warranty both definitely help. And if space and cost are your primary concerns, few small SUVs offer so much for so little.
The ZS does little to stir interest elsewhere, though. Its interior is one of the least appealing in the segment, while to drive, the handling is average and the ride is poor. The 1.5 engine we've tried is also behind the competition in terms of both performance and emissions.
In addition, the ZS's resale values are unlikely to be as strong as rivals'. Given most small SUV buyers pay via finance, it's therefore likely the MG's monthly payments will be pretty close to those of its more talented contemporaries.
What Car? says...
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
MG ZS 1.5 DOHC VTI-tech Excite
Price £13,995 Engine 4cyl, 1498cc, petrol Power 105bhp @ 6000rpm Torque 104lb ft @ 4500rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual 0-62mph 10.9sec Top speed 109mph Official economy 49.6mpg CO2, tax band 129g/km, 24%
Top 10 best small SUVs 2017:
The MG ZS may not be a great choice, but there are plenty of brilliant small SUVs on sale today. Below we count down the top 10 and point out the ones you should avoid.
10. Kia Soul
The Soul is more of a jacked-up hatchback than a fully fledged SUV. However, it still offers many of the benefits buyers in this market are looking for – it's competitively priced and its interior is roomy and well equippped. All of the Soul's engines could be more efficient and quiet, though, and there's plenty of wind noise at motorway speeds. There's a fully electric version to consider if you'll mainly be driving in town.
Our pick: 1.6 GDi 2
9. Audi Q3
While high-end versions are pricey, the Q3 is a desirable choice in this market, with a high quality interior. It's also good to drive and relatively inexpensive to run, with engines that are mostly smooth and strong.
Our pick: 2.0 TDI 150 SE
Compact on the outside but spacious inside, the Vitara is an easy car to live with. There's lots of standard kit on offer and it's relatively practical. It's just a pity that its petrol engines' CO2 emissions are unusually high for this class.
Our pick: 1.6 SZ4