MG ZS EV long-term test review: report 5

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 1390 List price £30,995 (before £3000 government grant) Target Price £30,995 (before £3000 government grant) Price as tested £31,540 Test range 140 miles Official range 163 miles

26 June 2020 – Breathing easy 

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, I’ve been climbing into my ZS fairly regularly and driving down to the Surrey Hills to go walking. Although I’d probably feel guilty about doing this in a regular petrol or diesel-powered car, knowing that it was pumping harmful substances into the atmosphere, that isn’t the case with the electric ZS. Zero-emissions motoring is a benefit of electric cars that more and more people are clearly coming to appreciate, having seen (and smelt) how much cleaner the air is in cities such as London when you clear the roads of many of the forms of transport responsible for generating pollution.

MG ZS EV long term

While I wouldn’t describe the ZS as fun to drive, it handles and steers in a perfectly competent way. And I get an odd sense of satisfaction from the way the ZS (as with most electric cars) flows along twisty country roads, with its speed controlled almost entirely by the accelerator, especially when the regenerative braking (which recovers energy that would otherwise be lost under deceleration and puts it back into the battery) is set at its strongest level. 

MG ZS EV long term

With its high-torque electric motor, the ZS powers effortlessly up hills, and on downhill sections, when most other drivers are having to dab the brakes every few seconds to control their speed, all I have to do is ease off the accelerator slightly and the car slows itself down perfectly. As is the case in town, this ability to drive using just one pedal most of the time makes for gratifyingly smooth progress.

I’ve taken to using Sport driving mode more often than expected on these jaunts into the countryside, because it makes the car feel especially perky and responsive to the accelerator and adds weight to the steering, but not excessively so. 

MG ZS EV long term

However, I’m not a fan of the row of three quite similar switches on the centre console that are used to change the driving mode and level of regen and reveal the car’s remaining range. Even with familiarity, I have to think twice about which switch to prod and which way I need to push it to achieve what I want. Inevitably, I get it wrong half the time. And having a switch dedicated to flashing up the range figure in the instrument panel for a second or two (when it ought to be shown prominently all the time) seems bizarre to me.

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