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martes, septiembre 19, 2023
HomeSports-Cars2023 MG ZS EV Long Range review

2023 MG ZS EV Long Range review

There’s new battery technology and an improved driving range for one of Australia’s cheapest electric options. But does the increase in asking price make sense?


What we love
  • Longer range helps on the long haul
  • Good electric bang for your buck
  • Strong levels of standard equipment…

What we don’t
  • Ergonomically flawed
  • Economy suffers greatly on the highway
  • …but floor mats are optional?

The MG ZS EV, right now Australia’s cheapest ticket into fully electric motoring, gets a more expensive long-range model for punters to ponder.

Mostly, it’s the same car overall. A small SUV – which is still available with petrol power at much lower price points – that hails from China and has been fully electrified.

A different ‘LNMC’ battery (Lithium nickel manganese cobalt chemistry, instead of the more common lithium ion) is the main difference here, adding an extra 20 kilowatt-hours worth of battery into the equation for some extra driving range.

Compared to a WLTP claim of 320km for the regular MG ZS EV, we’ve got 440km. That’s 120km extra, which is nearly 20 times around Mount Panorama – it does cost you a fair chunk of money, however.

How much does the MG ZS EV cost in Australia?

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In comparison to an advertised drive-away price in NSW of $49,709 for the regular-range MG ZS EV in its higher Essence spec level, we’ve got an $8000 increase in this case to $57,709 drive-away. That’s $66.60 per kilometre of additional range over the standard model, which will make sense for some that have longer-range trips in their usage plans.

Unlike the Excite and Essence spec levels available with the lower-range battery, we’ve got only one spec level in this Long Range model. It’s the same as the more expensive Essence but picks up rear privacy glass as a unique addition.

That comes atop of things like a 10.1-inch infotainment display with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six-speaker sound system, faux leather seats with electric driver adjustment, wireless charging, a panoramic glass sunroof, heated front seats and rain-sensing wipers.

Key details 2023 MG ZS EV Long Range
Price $55,990 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Dover White
Options None
Price as tested $55,990 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $57,709 (NSW)
Rivals BYD Atto 3 | Cupra Born | Hyundai Kona Electric

How much space does the MG ZS EV have inside?

As I alluded to earlier, the main differences and changes for this long-range model boil down to the battery pack underneath your feet. Which means there aren’t really any changes to cover in this part of the review, but the MG ZS EV is a decent, if middling, experience from the cabin.

The main negative for me here would be the lack of available adjustment for the driver. No reach adjustment through the steering column (a hint as to the age of the bones of this platform), and only basic adjustment available through the electric driver’s seat, means you can tune your position only to a point. It’s okay, but it’s also not as good as others in the segment, be they electric vehicles or otherwise.

Otherwise, the cabin is a solid and traditional take on the small SUV. There are no major standouts here in terms of highlights or downfalls for the packaging, and build quality appears to be good. There are two cupholders in between front occupants, and the centre console is a reasonable size. The rotary dial for gear selection works well from a day-to-day point of view, and there is a pleasing mix of materials, colours and details to pore over: shiny round air vents, fake carbon infills and red stitching.

You can fit bottles in the door cards, and power outlets sit underneath the infotainment display: 12V, USB-A, USB-C and a wireless charging pad.

The second row of the ZS EV is – once again – decent without feeling like a standout. There’s enough room for adults to get comfortable in here, but larger humans might start to feel the pinch somewhat. Although we’ve got a good-sized sunroof here, headroom is good. There are also air vents and power outlets, with USB-A and USB-C points.

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It’s also worth noting that despite coming from an internal-combustion platform, this electric ZS doesn’t have a big transmission tunnel to contend with.

The boot of the ZS EV measures in at 359L, which is the same as the petrol-powered counterpart. However, underneath this model you’ll only find a tyre repair kit instead of any kind of spare wheel.

2023 MG ZS EV Long Range
Seats Five
Boot volume 359L seats up
1187L seats folded
Length 4323mm
Width 1809mm
Height 1649mm
Wheelbase 2585mm

Does the MG ZS EV have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

A 10.1-inch infotainment display is standard fit across the entire MG ZS EV range, which has the all-important inclusions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, both via a plug-in connection. There’s also native navigation, and digital and FM radio, but the user experience of the operating system isn’t much chop. Things don’t feel very intuitive or well laid out.

There’s also no AM radio available in the MG ZS EV. There are some useful features, however, mostly around the world of charging and energy consumption of this electric car.

The MG ZS EV can also be connected up to your smartphone via the MG app, which allows for remote controls and status updates, as well as location tracking.

Is the MG ZS EV a safe car?

Whereas the old MG ZS EV got a five-star ANCAP safety rating back in 2019, that rating does not extend to this facelifted model we have here.

So while this model is effectively untested, the pre-facelifted MG ZS EV did enjoy decent numbers: 90 per cent for adult occupants and 84 per cent for child occupants. Vulnerable road users (pedestrians) get a relatively low score at 64 per cent, while the safety assistance systems get 71 per cent.

2023 MG ZS EV Long Range
ANCAP rating Untested
Safety report Link to ANCAP report (for pre-2023 models)

What safety technology does the MG ZS EV have?

The MG ZS EV gets the full complement of the brand’s active safety equipment. This includes autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assistance and lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system and automatic LED headlights with auto high-beam.

I turned off the lane-keep assistance system after a short drive, because I found it infuriating and inaccurate at speeds higher than 70km/h around Sydney.

Adaptive cruise control includes traffic jam assist and intelligent speed limit assistance, which is more of a convenience feature than outright safety. And while the bird’s-eye view camera system is helpful, it’s not a very good quality system.

The MG ZS EV also has six airbags in the cabin, with twin front, side, and curtain airbags.

How much does the MG ZS EV cost to maintain?

Some electric cars can be outrageously cheap to maintain, simply because they are, mechanically speaking, much simpler than an internal combustion vehicle.

This MG ZS EV gets longer service intervals of two years or 40,000km, which certainly adds a level of convenience to the equation. However, servicing costs seem relatively high for an EV. Servicing costs $333.50 per year on average because every second visit works out to be quite expensive. For comparison’s sake, there are some larger internal combustion options that work out cheaper than this EV.

At a glance 2023 MG ZS EV Long Range
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 24 months or 40,000km
Servicing costs $1334 (4 years)
$2668 (8 years)

Is the MG ZS EV energy-efficient?

The MG ZS EV has a relatively high claimed consumption of 17.7kWh per hundred kilometres, but it is at least easily achievable during everyday driving. I say this because I saw periods of time of around 16kWh/100km while driving around town, but some stints of 110km/h highway driving saw the average balloon out quite quickly.

Over 21kWh/100km is achievable on the highway, especially if you’re travelling up some steep hills, holding the limit and using things like air-conditioning. So don’t be surprised to see your estimated range start dropping down rapidly on the highway.

However, even with my average of 17.2kWh/100km and running the battery down to one per cent, I wasn’t able to crack 400km of range – 392km was as good as I could do.

Another consideration here is the LNMC battery. MG suggests running the car between 20 and 80 per cent as often as possible in order to maintain the health of the battery over the long term. So if you do like I did (running it from absolute top to rock-bottom) often, expect the batteries to degenerate in terms of overall capacity.

This is less of an issue on the more commonly found (but less energy dense) lithium ion batteries.

Energy Efficiency Energy Stats
Energy cons. (claimed) 17.7kWh/100km
Energy cons. (on test) 17.2kWh/100km
Battery size 72.6kWh
Driving range claim (WLTP) 440km
Charge time (11kW) 7h 22min
Charge time (50kW) 1h 40min
Charge time (60kW max rate) 56min (claimed 10–80%)

What is the MG ZS EV like to drive?

Although the long-range ZS EV does drop a few kilowatts of engine output in comparison to the regular ZS EV, it doesn’t make a drastic difference to the driving experience. The 280Nm of torque is the important number here, allowing the ZS EV to get off the line with an ease and responsiveness that is typical of fully electric vehicles these days.

And although we’ve got a chunk of extra battery capacity in this long-range model, the different chemistry means the kerb weight has only gone up 10kg.

There’s a zippy feeling to the car, allowing it to feel well suited to city and suburban driving. The regenerative braking can be adjusted through three different levels, with the highest number allowing for a near one-pedal driving mode of the time –until you come to a complete stop, or you need to stop suddenly.

The highway performance of the ZS EV Long Range is good as well, with enough power in reserve for overtaking when you’re cruising at the speed limit.

General road noises are mostly kept to a minimum, although there is a little bit of wind noise to experience on the highway.

Overall, the driving experience of the ZS EV left me feeling, well, not much at all. The characteristics of the ride quality, steering, braking and general refinement are all fine and inoffensive, but none of them feel like a particular standout either.

For those that simply want a car for tootling about without any real sense of engagement or reward, this MG ZS EV will be fine. However, there are some other options out there (and the competitive set is constantly growing) that offer a little more for the interested driver. The BYD Atto 3 is the main competitor to tick off the list, while the Hyundai Kona Electric Standard Range is available at a similar price point, but without the same kind of driving range on offer.

And for those that have a few extra dollars in reserve, options like the Cupra Born and Tesla Model 3 are not a whole lot further up the ladder.

Key details 2023 MG ZS EV Long Range
Engine Single electric motor
Power 115kW
Torque 280Nm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission Single-speed
Power-to-weight ratio 70.9kW/t
Weight (kerb) 1620kg
Spare tyre type Tyre repair kit
Tow rating 500kg braked
500kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.2m

Should I buy an MG ZS EV?

If you want maximum bang-for-buck and kilowatt-hours per dollar, then the MG ZS EV should be right among your consideration set. The packaging makes sense, and up to 400km of available range between recharges should put most of your range anxiety to bed.

The real question is, do you want to pay the extra eight thousand dollars for the range? Some will need it, sure. But others might be better off saving their dollars and sticking with the standard range ZS EV Essence.

The real technocrats will want to think about (and research) the difference between this nickel metal cobalt battery chemistry in this long-range model, and seeing if that might suit their own long-term ownership and usage goals.

In any case, the MG ZS EV is a solid if not stellar choice. While it might not top the class in any real discipline beyond value and pricing, it also doesn’t really put a big foot wrong anywhere.

Ratings Breakdown

2023 MG ZS EV Long Range Wagon

7.0/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel driving and camping since 2013, and obsessed with anything that goes brum-brum longer than he can remember. Sam joined the team at CarAdvice/Drive as the off-road Editor in 2018, after cutting his teeth at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.

Read more about Sam PurcellLinkIcon

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