MG ZS – Turning heads

Ian Lamming assesses the merits of the new-look MG ZS.

HOW the time flies – three years already since MG launched the ZS offering the world one of the best value for money SUVs on the road.

It was amazing to see the warm reception it received and how its smart looks turn heads a plenty, particularly those people who had fond memories of the octagonal badge.

But time moves on and so does an avaricious market hungry for the latest designs. Time for a  new ZS, then, and it can’t fail to win people over as a good looking car becomes better still.

A familiar front, perhaps, but it is also brand new. A subtle evolution sees a handsome hexagonal grille perfectly frame the famous iconic MG badge. Full LED headlamps sweep back towards the wings making ZS look sportier and even more striking. An aluminium-effect lower grille and fog-lights on the top-of-the-range Exclusive version add greater presence.

From the side, new MG ZS receives newly-designed five spoke 17” Tomahawk alloy wheels and at the rear, more extensive use of colour coding adds a sense of sophistication, as do refreshed taillights and a new aluminium-style trim.

New MG ZS is available in six exterior colours including a brand new metallic colour Battersea Blue. Three other metallic paints are available; Black Pearl, Cosmic Silver and Spiced Orange. Dynamic Red, a tri-coat finish which was developed especially for MG ZS, presents a striking option for discerning buyers. Arctic White is the clean and crisp solid colour option.

Inside, new MG ZS features a stylish new dashboard design with more soft touch materials than before, finished with detail stitching on swathes of leather. The central 10.1” floating colour touchscreen dominates the centre, featuring DAB radio, Bluetooth telephone and music streaming, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, excellent satnav and 360 degree reversing camera.

A series of piano key buttons are arranged beneath offering easy access to the air conditioning and other comfort controls. Virtual clocks feature great graphics displaying a host of information that is easy to assimilate. Overall, the feeling is of high quality and the fact ZS comes with a seven year warranty shows it’s much more than gloss and fluff, there is true depth to the build quality.

Engineered in the Britain and built in China, the ZS is perfect for the UK. All versions come with three power assisted steering modes – urban, normal and dynamic – offering the perfect feel whatever the driving conditions.

Under the bonnet is a 1.0 petrol turbo, coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox, that is surprisingly brisk, rapid in fact, particularly from a standing start or low speed. It lacks a bit of mid-range for overtaking but cruises nicely at motorway speeds. Economy seems to vary wildly from knocking on 50mpg’s door to low in the 30s. I guess that averages out to low 40s in normal mixed driving conditions, which is just about ok.

Occupants really do enjoy a spacious  cabin with generous shoulder, leg and headroom and a good-sized double-decker boot, much bigger than the competition, and a plethora of useful storage.

I’ve been fan of ZS since it was launched and it has been a design that has dated well. The revamp has improved an excellent car in every way and it will be a great vehicle in which to while away a bit more time.

Fact File

Engine: MG ZS 1.0T-GDi Exclusive Auto

Power: 111PS

0-60mph: 12.1secs

Top speed: 112mph

Combined MPG: 45.6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

CO2 g/km: 145

Price: £17,795.00 

Categories MG