Last updated on November 24th, 2021 at 09:49 pm
- Most range for under £30k
- Improved infotainment and safety tech
- Good spec even at entry level
- Average driving experience
- Rear seats not for very tall people
- Less boot space than the MG5 EV
Range (WLTP): 273 miles Top Speed: 108 mph 0 to 62: 8.4 sec Cost/Mile (@14p/kWh): 3.7p
When we first reviewed the original MG ZS EV, we were blown away by the value it offered at £22,495. It was an incredible price for an EV that size. However, things have moved on and the 163-mile range, which was already a bit meagre even at the MG ZS EV’s launch at the end of 2019, is now looking even more limited. But MG hasn’t been sitting on its laurels. Now there is a Long Range version of the MG ZS EV. It will go over 100 miles further and comes with a host of other upgrades that make it a much more complete vehicle.
Price and Options
The biggest change is under the bonnet, or more accurately, the floor. The battery is now 72.6kWh in capacity where the original had a much smaller 44.5kWh. This is accompanied by a slightly more powerful 156PS motor, which MG claims is a smoother second-generation unit as well.
The other major addition is the iSmart app, which enables charging control and the ability to check other aspects of vehicle status, including whether the alarm has been triggered. The trim names have been changed as well. Instead of Excite and Exclusive, there is now SE, Trophy and Trophy Connect. The Trophy is £2,500 more than the SE, and the Trophy Connect an additional £500 on the top.
All cars now have MG Pilot, the package of driver assistances we first saw with the MG5 EV Long Range. There is a larger 10.1in infotainment screen with a completely new software design, which also brings access to the new iSmart app. There's a 360-degree parking camera, too.
The Trophy trim adds wireless phone charging, heated leather-style seats, and a panoramic sunroof. There are rain-sensing wipers too, and roof rails. The Trophy Connect, as you can guess from the name, adds live services to the iSmart system.
The basic colour is white, but black, blue, grey and red are available, ranging in price from £545 for most paint shades to £695 for the red. The blue is a new colour that wasn’t available with the original MG ZS EV, and that was the colour of the car we drove.
The original MG ZS EV was the biggest electric bargain when it was launched in 2019, and the new Long Range is also incredibly good value, but it is quite a bit more expensive thanks mostly to that larger battery. The basic SE starts at £28,495, but the Trophy is a fiver below £30,995. The Trophy Connect is £31,495. Putting that in perspective, the Kia e-Niro 2 Long Range and Hyundai Kona 64kWh Premium are just £500 more than this for more range, but you get more kit from MG for the money.
The profile and shape of the MG ZS EV hasn't changed. This is still a small SUV. But the fake front grille has been replaced by a textured, solid panel. The front lights are LEDs with daylight running. The rear bumper design has been tweaked, and the charge port has been moved over so that it is no longer underneath the MG logo on the front.
Overall, it’s not the most exciting-looking car, although the design adjustments do modernise the appearance. The silver roof rails on the Trophy provide a more functional look. The 17in diamond cut alloys, which are the same for all trim levels, are a new design for the Long Range and look decent. Except they're not actually diamond cut alloys, but plastic aero covers over more dull alloys. Still, they look very good. There’s a modest plastic rim to the wheel arches to provide a more rugged look, although this car is front-wheel-drive, not four-wheel-drive, so it’s not an off-road car.
The interior doesn't look hugely different with the Long Range compared to the original version. There is some subtle neatening up of some of the buttons and trim, with the air conditioning controls in particular looking more modern.
The SE uses houndstooth patterned fabric seats, but the Trophy cars use a leather-like finish instead with contrasted stitching, which also adds heating for both front seats. The driver’s seat is six-way mechanically adjustable in the SE, but there is an electric system on the Trophy cars. The passenger side is only four-way adjustable and is mechanical on all cars.
The closeness of the seats to the centre console makes the front feel a bit enclosed, but they're comfortable enough and you get more headroom than the MG5. The central console incorporates a couple of cupholders under a sliding cover, and behind that under the armrest is reasonably sized cubby. Further forward is a wireless charging station for a single phone – something sorely missing in other MG cars we have reviewed, including the MG5 EV Long Range.
Above this is a comprehensive selection of power connections, including USB Type A, Type C, and a traditional cigarette lighter-style port. The glove compartment is not huge but larger than some. There is another USB Type A port right next to the rear-view mirror at the top of the windscreen, which will be ideal for installing a dashcam without needing to route cables around the windscreen.
The rear seats feel more spacious than the front, benefitting from a decent level of head room, although the knee room will make anyone over six foot feel cramped. The outer seats are quite comfortable, but the middle seat is rather narrow – really only good for a child or occasional short distance adult usage. The rear outer seats have ISOfix points. If you’re not using the middle seat, you can pull the back down to reveal an armrest with two cupholders, although these are hidden beneath a slightly pointless door.
The central console provides two air vents for the rear-seat passengers, plus USB Type A and Type C ports. All trim levels offer this, too. Rear seat passengers also benefit from the full-length panoramic roof, included as standard with the Trophy cars. This has an electronically operated blind, and the glass can be retracted too. It’s great to see this feature on a car at this price.
Storage and Load Carrying
The MG ZS EV is quite a small SUV, but it still offers a decent basic boot space. With the rear seats up this amounts to 470 litres. There is a bit of space under the boot floor, which would be enough for a spacesaver spare tyre, but instead has a polystyrene fitting for the tyre inflator, granny charger, Type 2 cable in a carry bag, and a hazard sign.
If you drop the rear seats forward, with the typical 60/40 split, you get 1,100 litres, which is actually fewer than a Nissan Leaf, and 356 litres fewer than the MG5 EV. The boot floor is relatively flat, with no obvious ledge, which the Leaf does have, but does have an angle. The roof rails enable items up to 75kg to be strapped on top, and this car now has a towing rating. It’s only 500kg braked or unbraked, which would be enough for a luggage trailer but not a caravan.
Some aspects of the MG ZS EV Long Range controls are identical to the original version, and some have received welcome tweaks. The steering wheel is the same, with media and phone control buttons on the left, and menu controls on the right. There are conventional stalks for windscreen wipers on the right and lights on the left. Also on the left is a stalk for the adaptive cruise control, which is included on all cars.
The steering wheel may be the same, but the dashboard display is a welcome update. The physical analog dials on previous MG cars were a feature that contributed to the sense of the company’s cars being old-fashioned, but the MG ZS EV Long Range no longer uses these. Their arrangement is replicated by a fully digital display, which results in a much more seamless appearance. You still get speed on the left, with power/regeneration on the right. The centre is taken up by ADAS information, with small numbers for range and other trip data below.
Starting the system up uses the same discrete button as the original car, and the drive modes still use a rotating knob for selection – including drive, reverse and neutral. Regeneration level is selected with a switch marked KERS, to the left of which is another button for choosing between Eco, Normal and Sport power levels. The battery switch on the right displays the charging interface on the infotainment screen.
The functional but old-fashioned knobs and buttons of the air conditioning system in the original MG ZS EV and other MGs have been replaced by more modern-looking switches. There are further controls in the infotainment screen, but you can still operate the main climate functions just with the buttons, making this easy to control when driving.
Speaking of that infotainment screen, this is an area where the MG ZS EV Long Range shows notable improvements over all previous MGs we have reviewed. The screen is now 10.1in instead of 8in, and has a redesigned interface, although the general layout is similar. Best of all, the processor appears to have been beefed up because the touch functions are much more responsive.
All cars get a sat-nav plus support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although this only functions through a wired connection, not wirelessly. The map screen of this sat-nav is sleeker in appearance. There’s a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity for media playing from your phone. The settings for functions are easy to get to with a tabbed system for moving through pages in each category, although these pages don’t have a lot in each of them – often just one setting. Still, the overall impression is much slicker and more high-tech than earlier cars.
With the Trophy Connect, you get live features including weather, live traffic, and Amazon Music. For the latter, you can either use the free ad-supported service or sign in with your own Amazon account to listen ad-free. The other connected feature, which you don’t need the Trophy Connect to use, is iSmart. This brings over-the-air software updates. You can check battery charge level, see other aspects of vehicle status, and see if the alarm has gone off. You can also set the air conditioning remotely, unlock the car, and demist the windscreen. Sure, other cars have had these abilities for a while, but it is a relief that MG has finally plugged this former weakness.
Performance and Driving
The Long Range battery is 58% larger than the original MG ZS EV, which adds over 100kg to the weight. However, this is offset by the fact that the motor is a bit more powerful too – 156PS versus 143PS. So official performance is identical, with 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds. However, the top speed has gone up from 87mph to 108mph, although that's not very important in a country where the speed limit is 70mph.
Acceleration is not as fast as the MG5 EV estate car, which takes around a second less to reach 60mph. But it's on par with more powerful SUVs from the Volkswagen Group. For example, the Skoda Enyaq iV 60 takes around the same, and the 80 is only a little quicker. The Volkswagen iD.4 also offers similar acceleration, as does the Audi Q4 e-tron 40, so the MG ZS EV Long Range is up with premium competition in this respect.
The ride is relatively soft, which is good for city driving, although no SUV is perfect for narrow British urban streets. The MG ZS EV also sits comfortably at motorway speeds, and with its much-expanded range, makes a lot more sense than the original car for longer journeys. It’s not a particularly engaging car to drive, but certainly feels smoother than the first MG ZS EV, thanks to that upgraded motor.
Range and Charging
Range is the big news with this car, and that has gone up by a lot. The original car had 163 miles of WLTP range, but this new car now has a very competitive 273 miles – even more than the Long Range version of the MG5 EV. That's only 9 miles less the Kia e-Niro 2 Long Range, and the MG is £4,000 cheaper. So this is the best range of any car for the price.
On a 7kW AC home charger, this car takes 10.5 hours to go from empty to 100%. With 50kW DC charging, the MG ZS EV Long Range takes just over an hour to charge to 80%. However, the maximum DC charging has been upgraded to 76kW, which means on a supply capable of this or above, the Long Range can reach 80% in 42 minutes, which is only seven minutes more than the original car, with its much smaller battery.
Surprisingly, like the IONIQ 5, the MG ZS EV Long Range also offers vehicle-to-load (V2L) ability. We didn’t have the adapter to test this, but the car can deliver power out of its Type 2 port up to a total of 2,200W. This will be enough for most appliances, although is below 10A. So it will be great for things like running the compressor on a bouncy castle, inflating your camp beds, or running the projector for an outdoor cinema.
Efficiency ranges from 3.5 miles per kWh combined to 4.8 miles per kWh in city driving. This equates to 3.7p per mile on a 14p per kWh supply (which we use for backwards compatibility with previous reviews). This is decent but not outstanding and means the MG ZS EV Long Range is not as cheap to run as the MG5 EV Long Range.
MG warranties are now vying with the Koreans, though. The basic guarantee is for 7 years or 80,000 miles, which is on par with Kia and longer than Hyundai. This includes the battery, although MG doesn't state a percentage capacity. The original MG ZS EV was in a frugal group 21 for insurance, and the groups for the Long Range hadn't been announced at the time of our video review. Since then, it has been revealed that all cars are in group 28A, which is notably higher than the non-Long Range, and also higher than the entry-level Kia e-Niro trims and the Hyundai Kona Electric.
MG has improved its safety technology with its latest cars, mostly revolving around MG Pilot, which is included on all ZS EV Long Range trim levels. This includes active emergency braking with pedestrian and bicycle detection, as well as Lane Departure Warning and Keep Assist. The MG ZS EV already had adaptive cruise control with stop-start in traffic. There is also intelligent high beam assistance. The 360-degree reversing camera is available on all cars, although that’s not part of MG Pilot.
You get a couple of extra MG Pilot features with the Trophy cars. These include blind spot detection and lane change assistance, plus rear cross traffic alert, which is useful if you're backing onto a busy road. As with the MG5 EV Long Range, it's great to see MG has upgraded its safety tech with the MG ZS EV Long Range too. This was an area where MG was behind, and it's now catching up with the competition. The original MG ZS EV already had a five-star Euro NCAP rating, though, which presumably will carry forward to the Long Range version.
|Price:||SE – £28,495; Trophy – £30,995; Trophy Connect – £31,495|
|Range (WLTP):||273 miles|
|Charge time (7.4kW):||10.5 hours|
|Charge time (50kW, 80%):
||1 hour 3 minutes|
|Charge time (100kW, 80%):||42 minutes|
|On Board Charger:||7kW|
|Cost per mile*:||3.7p|
|Cargo:||470 litres / 1,100 litres with rear seats down|
*based on electricity costs of 14p per kWh