Car specialists have been warning us for several years: if we don’t watch out, the Chinese car industry will crowd out their Western counterparts; especially in the field of electric cars. In the meantime, the Chinese have developed such expertise that ‘Chinese’ is no longer synonymous with ‘lesser quality’. The former, iconic British car brand MG – now part of the largest Chinese car manufacturer SAIC – has recently become available again in our country and introduces an electric SUV that even enraptures us with the MG ZS EV.
Text Anja Van Der Borght
MG ZS: 1rst Chinese electric car in Belgium is truly surprising!
The MG ZS EV may have an iconic name, but under the hood it has nothing to do with the sporty ZS of yesteryear. It has a fully electric powertrain and an electric motor of 143 hp. The MG ZS EV also surprises with its maximum safety score of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests – which was previously rather different with Chinese cars – and with its low price. In exchange for a price that makes pale the competition, you get a generously equipped and comfortable SUV that offers ample cabin space inside for four adults and on top of this 470-liter luggage volume. This brings it to one of the best in its class. The Chinese saved space by neatly installing the 44.5 kWh lithium-ion battery in the floor. This way they also managed to keep the center of gravity low, which in turn benefits the driving experience. The MG ZS EV behaves excellently both in the straight line and on winding roads, where the body only leans slightly. The drive modes can be selected smoothly via the large rotary knob on the center console. You can select between ‘normal’, ‘eco’ or ‘sport’ driving styles via a push button. Frankly, the sports setting was hardly necessary for us. The 143 hp all-electric drivetrain and electric motor scored already beautifully in the ‘normal’ position. In addition, we could choose from three regeneration modes via the button labeled ‘KERS’. In the lowest position, the MG hardly regenerated, but even the highest position did not generate enough deceleration to allow safe one-pedal driving. The 263 kilometers driving range (WLTP) is not impressive but more than sufficient for the usual commute to work. On a fast charger you can charge the MG up to 80 percent in 40 minutes. At home it takes 7.5 hours to fully charge from an empty battery. You also get an 8-year (or 150,000 km) warranty on that battery, meaning that the Chinese are quite confident about its quality. We are too, because even the plastics and artificial leather in the interior convinced us. The safety systems, such as lane departure, proved overly sensitive, especially the traffic-sign recognition, and this gave us a roller coaster feeling at times, but in the meantime that problem has apparently been remedied via a software update.
The ZS EV is available as Comfort (from € 30,985) or as Luxury (€ 32,985) and can already be called very complete in the Comfort basic equipment, as it includes already adaptive cruise control, alloy wheels, parking sensors,… More information via the MG Brand stores, via the pop-up store this summer in Hasselt or Knokke, or via their site www.mgmotor.be.