MG ZS EV long-term test review: report 3

MG's first electric vehicle is a family SUV with a highly competitive price but a modest range. We're finding out how it stacks up against both other electric cars and conventional rivals...

MG ZS EV long term

The car MG ZS EV Run by Allan Muir, managing editor

Why we’re running it To find out whether it’s worth buying an electric SUV primarily because it’s affordable, or whether there are too many compromises

Needs to Be practical, comfortable, decent to drive and cheap to run while fitting into everyday life without too much drama

Mileage 585 List price £30,995 (before £3000 government grant) Target Price £30,995 (before £3000 government grant) Price as tested £31,540 Test range 110 miles Official range 163 miles

14 May 2020 – Not before chime 

Given that I’m running an electric vehicle, one of the first things I want to do when I climb aboard and fire it up is check how much range is left in the battery. But in the ZS EV, this isn’t something that can be done at a glance before setting off. 

That’s because the car goes through a tortuous systems check that occupies the info screen between the instrument dials (where the range figure is displayed) for so long that I can be well down the road before it becomes usable. The chimes that accompany some of the checklist messages (to tell you, for instance, that lane-keeping assistance is or isn’t available) are startlingly loud, too.

MG ZS EV long term

Getting out of the car can be an equally noisy affair, because the ZS seems to have trouble detecting the location of the keyfob and sometimes gives a double toot of the horn to warn me that I might have left the keys inside, even though I always keep them in my trouser pocket. Given that I’m usually in the process of opening a rear door to retrieve my backpack or bags of groceries at the time, rather than locking the doors immediately, this blast of the horn never fails to make me jump. 

MG ZS EV long term

Such things can be irritating, but in other ways I’m quite impressed with the ZS. I like the fact that it feels compact, so it’s a doddle to manoeuvre around tight car parks and slot into parking bays (especially when it comes with a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors), yet interior space is decent, although the ZS isn’t in the same league for practicality as the conventionally powered Skoda Karoq, for example. 

MG ZS EV long term

The boot is a little on the small side, but it comes with a handy height-adjustable boot floor that, in its high position, leaves an almost flat extended load area when the rear seatbacks are folded down, although there’s still a small load lip to negotiate at the boot entrance. The biggest boot-related issue for me is the fact that the tailgate doesn’t open very high; it’s at around forehead height for me (at 6ft 1in tall), so I have to make a conscious effort to duck when I’m accessing the boot to avoid cracking my head on it. 

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