Badge snobbery is fine, but if you’re on a budget, value for money and comfort of mind are the most important considerations. The New MG ZS exclusive is a fantastic way to get behind the wheel of a new SUV that is inexpensive, stylish, and spacious, and comes with one of the best warranties on the market. The famous octagonal symbol may now feature on vehicles that bear no resemblance to the legendary sports cars of the past, but MG is still going strong, and the ZS is leading the way. MG Motor UK was the fastest-growing vehicle manufacturer in the UK in 2018, with sales up 104 per cent over 2017. The MG3 supermini led the way with the most registrations.
The ZS has been the best-selling MG so far this year, and with a fully electric version on the way later this year, it’s on a roll. It’s a Nissan Qashqai-sized crossover for the price of a smaller Juke, starting at £12,495 for the entry-level Explore trim. It’s a value, rising from the Excite trim (£14,045) to the top-of-the-range Exclusive (£15,795), so it’s little surprise the ZS has been such a popular. You have a winning mix when you combine outstanding aesthetics with a big trademark grille and a substantial seven-year, 80,000-mile warranty backed by the manufacturer.
Moreover, the New MG ZS Excite car performs admirably, particularly if you choose the three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo engine with 109bhp that we tested. A four-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine with 105bhp is also available. It accelerates to 60 mph in 10.4 seconds, with a fuel efficiency of 47.1mpg, and CO2 emissions of 140g/km. The 1.0-litre is a touch slower at 12.1 seconds, but it feels faster, and it gets 45.4mpg and emits 145g/km of CO2.
Its six-speed automatic transmission provides the optimum balance of performance and efficiency over a wide range of driving conditions, and we believe it is the superior all-rounder. It’s eager and surprisingly smooth, with a peak speed of 112 mph, and as long as you don’t attempt to drive it like a hot hatch, you’ll be quite happy. However, because it is a large car with a little engine, you will have to work it a little more, especially if you have a full complement of passengers.
The driving is accurate and direct, the ride is comfortable and the gearbox shifts quickly, even if the suspension isn’t the most sophisticated.
Body roll is controlled, and progress is leisurely rather than athletic. Three power-assisted steering modes are available on the Excite and Exclusive models: Urban, Normal, and Dynamic. Normal keeps things light and airy, so I didn’t see the need in changing the setting. And, in case you’re wondering, MG ZS for sale isn’t making any claims about the ZS’s off-road ability. Apart from the high ride height, small overhangs, and commanding driving stance, it’s no serious off-roader, and four-wheel drive isn’t even an option.
The cabin is more appealing and spacious than you may expect. Up top, there are soft-touch plastics, and below, they get a little scratchy, but what do you expect for the money? Adults can sit comfortably in the back with plenty of head and legroom, and the baggage capacity in the boot is a class-leading 448 litres – increasing to a massive 1,375 litres when the 60:40 rear seats are folded flat.
So far, so good, but when it comes to safety equipment, the ZS falls short. When the ZS was tested in 2017, it only received three stars out of a possible five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing. It didn’t help that it didn’t have automated emergency braking (AEB) or lane departure warnings.
The MGZS, on the other hand, seems firmly anchored on the road, and substantial equipment levels help sweeten the deal. LED daytime running lights, cruise control, an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, sat nav, reverse camera, and parking are among the optional features.
If you’re searching for a low-cost SUV for the family, the New MG ZS exclusive is a revelation and well worth considering. It’s a lot of car for your money, with a nice driving experience and plenty of room. For more info, visit Nathaniel Cars!