2022 MG ZS EV First Drive Review

By Karan Singh | on March 31, 2022

We’ve been hearing about it for a while now that the number of SUVs on the road is increasingly getting higher. And while there are all kinds of SUVs, the most popular of them all is the mid-size SUV, like the Hyundai Creta and MG Astor. But you know what else is getting higher? No, not Snoop Dogg (although he probably is). It’s the fuel prices. So, if you are in the market for a mid-size SUV and you don’t want to empty your savings at the fuel pump every week, MG has a proposition for you – the new ZS EV.

Wait, new?

Okay, this ZS EV isn’t all new; it’s more of a facelift, but there are enough changes under the skin to justify the ‘new’ tag. Before we get to those, let’s look at what’s new on the surface. Up front, the ZS EV’s headlights are slimmer and identical to those of the Astor – its ICE counterpart. The taillights are also borrowed from the Astor, though the ZS EV gets slightly different bumpers, both front and back, with chrome detailing and new 17-inch rims, which are profiled for better aerodynamics.

MG ZS EV Front Side Tracking

Inside, the ZS EV gets a new 10.1-inch infotainment screen, instead of the old eight-inch unit, which works well. For the most part. It is fairly responsive and quite bright, though the colour calibration seemed slightly off – lighter colours looked washed out. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – wired, not wireless. There is a new seven-inch digital instrument cluster too, which replaces the analogue dials of the outgoing ZS EV. The instrument cluster isn’t very configurable though, with dedicated speed and power percentage readouts on either side and trip and odometer readouts on the lower half. The configurable area is in the centre, but it can only show either the voltage, rpm and current of the motor, or whether the battery is powering the wheels or if the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is sending energy back. Oh, and there is a panoramic sunroof too.

MG ZS EV Rear Static

The feature list now includes a 360-degree camera system, which is well calibrated and throws up the right angles at the right times, but the cameras are very low-res. MG has also added Rear Drive Assist, which includes a blind-spot monitor, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. Of these, the blind-spot monitor is the most helpful, especially when changing lanes on the highway. Okay, it doesn’t get the full ADAS suite of the Astor but there is a lot that is new here, and we haven’t even talked about the biggest change yet.

MG ZS EV Infotainment Screen

Bigger battery!

Nestled into the floor of the ZS EV lies a larger 50.3kWh battery, which boosts the range of the car to 461km as per the ICAT certification – 42km more than the outgoing ZS EV. The overall power has also gone up to 174bhp, while torque is down to 280Nm versus 353Nm of the outgoing ZS EV. How does all this translate onto the road? Well, I have two words, very well. While the outgoing ZS EV never felt out of breath unless you were on the loony end of triple-digit speeds, the added power makes the new one feel even more sprightly at the top. MG claims a 0 – 100km/h sprint time of 8.5 seconds and while that’s brisk, the low-end shove is even more surprising before it starts to taper off close to the 90km/h mark. Most overtakes don’t require more than half throttle and you can use the three KERS settings to change how aggressively the system regenerates energy when you release the throttle. In its highest setting, you can drive without touching the brakes for the most part. You can also change the throttle sensitivity with the drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport, with Eco not only dulling down the throttle response but also managing the air con for maximum range. Normal is ideal for most driving conditions largely because of how sharp the throttle response is in Sport.

MG ZS EV Instrument Cluster

In terms of real-world range, we can’t give you a definitive figure for now, since we only had the car for half a day, but you can expect a range of 330 – 340km from a fully charged battery in regular driving conditions, which should be more than enough to handle your daily commute. And, if that commute involves bad roads, the ZS EV can handle those very well too. The ride quality is great, it soaks up bumps and imperfections very well. 

MG ZS EV Front Tracking

But what if you want to get a bit adventurous? A road trip, perhaps? Can the ZS EV be your weapon of choice? Well, yes and no. Yes, if the road trip is close to 300km and there’s a way to plug in at your destination. No, if your road trip is longer than that, and there are no chargers on the way either. If you happen to find a 50kW DC fast charger, which MG has also installed at most of its showrooms, you can juice up to 80% in about an hour. MG will also install an AC charger at your home or office free of cost, which takes about nine hours for a full charge and is perfect for overnight charging. For emergencies, there is a portable charger bundled in, which takes about 19 hours for a full charge, and it can be plugged into any regular 15A socket. 

MG ZS EV Charge Port

Verdict

So, should you buy one? The short answer is yes. Okay, the infrastructure isn’t there yet for the ZS EV to be your only car. But if you have another car for road trips, or you don’t mind renting one for the occasional holiday, the ZS EV is as practical, as comfortable and as feature-packed as the best ICE-powered mid-size SUVs. And the truth is that fuel prices are only going to get higher. Emission norms are only going to get stricter. So, at Rs 25.88 lakh for this top-spec Exclusive variant, you get an SUV that won’t break the bank or Greta Thunberg’s heart. That’s a win-win if you ask me. 

  • MG ZS EV Exclusive

Motor: Permanent Magnet Synchronous

Battery: 50.3kWh Li-ion (IP69K)

Peak Power: 130kW / 174bhp

Peak Torque: 280Nm

Charging Time: 0-80%: 1 hour (50kW DC fast charger)

Price: ₹25.88 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: A mid-size SUV with a guilt-free powertrain that can go toe-to-toe with the best.

Pros           
• Practical
• Comfortable
• Adequate range

Cons
• No TC-off button!

Also read:

MG Astor Review: Road Test

MG aims to install 1,000 chargers in the next three years

Tags: MG ZS EV ZS EV MG

Write your Comment

MG ZS EV Model Image
Starts at ₹ 25.88 Lakh Ex-showroom, New Delhi

Please tell us your city. This allows us to provide relevant content for you.