2022 MG ZS EV First Drive Review

Published On Mar 30, 2022 By Tushar for MG ZS EV

The updated MG ZS EV brings with it slight design changes, more features and more range as well. We’re not in the mood for some suspense so let’s cut straight to the chase - if you want a premium long-range electric car, this needs to be on your consideration list!

Ex-Showroom Prices:

Excite: Rs 22 lakh (Available July 2022 onwards)

Exclusive (version tested): Rs 25.88 lakh

Looks

At first glance, you’d immediately link the new MG ZS EV to the MG Astor and with good reason. They’re the same car running different powertrains, so you could call this an Astor EV too. Like before, the design here is understated and European, unlike the other cars in MG India’s range, which are a tad flashier and more in-your-face. 

Also Read: Renault Kwid E-Tech Spied!

With the facelift, MG has changed one major element to make it look more ‘obviously’ electric - the front grille. There isn’t one anymore, instead, being replaced by a textured plastic panel. Additionally, the charging ports have been moved to the side of the MG logo as opposed to being integrated behind it.

MG has also redesigned the bumpers to sport a diffuser-like design - a small touch that genuinely does help the car look a good deal sharper. The LED taillights are new and, like the Astor, get a more distinctive lighting signature, while a new set of LED projector headlights make their way up front.

Interestingly, there’s a new set of 17-inch alloy wheels too, but chances are you won’t catch a glimpse of the actual wheels, since they get aero-covers to reduce drag/wind resistance and improve the car’s range.

Interior and Technology

MG’s attention to detail shines through with the ZS EV’s interior. The cabin layout is clean and clutter free, the dashboard generously employs soft-touch trim and MG has draped the crash pad, door armrests and centre console in a leatherette padding. These elements come together to uplift the in-cabin experience to a new level and it’s these little things that make a big difference in the long-term ownership experience.

Unlike the Astor, you don’t get multiple interior colour choices, just black. You also won’t spot the AI assistant robot atop the dashboard. Given this is a facelift, the space and practicality factor stays untouched. Four tall users can fit into this cabin comfortably but it’s not as palatial in space as the cheaper but larger MG Hector.

Appreciably, MG has corrected a few misses from the previous version. The ZS EV now gets auto AC with rear AC vents, rear seat occupants now get an armrest with cupholders and also available to them are charging ports (1 x USB Type A + 1 x USB Type C).

Other Features

Cruise Control

Auto-Down Power Windows + Auto-Up For Driver

Panoramic Sunroof

Leatherette Upholstery

Connected Car Tech

Auto Headlights & Rain-Sensing Wipers

PM 2.5 Air Filter

Smart-Key With Push-Button Start

Powered Driver’s Seat

Power-adjustable and foldable mirrors with auto-fold

Feature Highlights

New 10.1 inch Touchscreen

  • Similar, easy to use interface as before but with a larger display (earlier 8-inch)

  • Certain sub-menus don’t have a back option, so you have to go back to the homepage and repeat steps at times

Android Auto/Apple CarPlay

  • No wireless support although there is a wireless phone charger

  • The centre console houses type-A and type-C ports. Only the type-A port can be used for CarPlay/Auto connectivity

 

360-Degree Camera

  • Doubles up as a lane-watch camera, showing you the mirror camera feed on the touchscreen when you use either one of the indicators    

  • While it is a welcome feature addition, the camera resolution of even the rear camera needs to be much better

Digital Instrument Cluster

  • A clean display that shows you all the vital information

  • This could’ve been put to more use and made more interactive. The displays for drive modes or the brake regen modes, for example, are comically small and need some time to spot

  • At the moment, there’s nothing this screen is doing exceptionally that an analogue instrument cluster with a digital MID couldn’t

Storage And Practicality

  • All the door pockets can hold a 2-litre bottle, plus some other small items

  • The centre console has two cup holders and a storage underneath the front armrest for wallets/keys etc

  • While there isn’t an exact boot space figure, it’s as accommodating as the Astor - with the parcel tray in place, it’ll fit one full-sized suitcase or a few trolley bags and duffle bags. There are recesses to the side, one of which can be used for the on board portable car charger case.

  • The parcel tray can be removed for added storage space and the seats are 60:40 split folding as well.

  • There is a full-sized spare tyre underneath the boot floor

Performance, Ride And Handling

Unlike the MG Astor, the ZS EV does not come with ADAS, but it does get new driver assistance technologies. Namely, blind spot assist and rear cross traffic alert. While MG does mention lane-keeping assistance, it is essentially a function of blind-spot monitor and not a lane-departure warning, nor is there any automated steering assistance. These features did prove very useful during our two-day-long test and improved active drive safety effectively. Like before, the safety features suite is extensive.

Safety Features

ABS with EBD

Electronic Stability Control & Traction Control (cannot be deactivated)

6 Airbags

Hill-Hold Assist

Hill-Descent Control

ISOFIX Child Seat Mounts

Tyre Pressure Monitoring (TPMS)

All-Wheel Disc Brakes

Another change is the upsized battery pack. The ZS EV now gets a 50.3kWh battery, bumping up the claimed driving range to 461km.

Version

2022 ZS EV

Pre-Update ZS EV

Battery Pack Size

50.3kWh

44.5kWh

Claimed Range

461km

419km

Fast Charge Time (0-80 percent)

1 hour

50 minutes

Claimed data aside, our test car was put through two days of our shoot cycle and realistically speaking, you can extract 350km on a full charge (city/highway combined) without the car expecting a big change in your driving style.

Finally, the SUV’s output figures have changed. While the ZS EV is notably more powerful, it also sees a significant dip in torque.

Version

2022 ZS EV

Pre-Update ZS EV

Power

177PS

143PS

Torque

280Nm

353Nm

On paper data aside, what matters is the experience, and the MG ZS EV still delivers a great balance of usability and excitement. Like before, you get three drive modes - Eco, Normal and Sport. While Eco is decidedly aimed to best suit city use, the car doesn’t feel underpowered or sluggish in it, meaning you can use it on the highway at speeds of 60-80kmph as well, overtakes included.

In Sport mode, the car turns into a different animal altogether. The Michelin Primacy 3ST tyres offer strong grip but even they can be sent screeching at 50kmph if you pin the happy pedal. Such is the urgency in performance in Sport mode that it’ll put a wide smile on your face every time. Let’s just say, if you’re stuck behind a truck on the highway, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your view of the truck goes from windshield to wing mirror!

FYI: The displayed range changes with the drive mode selected to give you a real-time idea of how the battery will be affected. For example, going from Sport - Normal - Eco, gave us displayed range figures of 306km - 340km - 357km, respectively

While you still don’t get paddle-shifter style controls for the brake energy regeneration modes (KERS - Kinetic Energy Recovery System, as MG calls it), the ZS EV does offer three levels of it. Level 3 is the strongest but the speed-sensitivity is on point. So while it will be very strong in low-speed city traffic, it isn’t as intense at 80-100kmph on the highway. 

We stuck to max regen throughout our shoot days and found that it doesn’t feel intrusive once you get the hang of it and can help recover a great deal of range. Tackle a downhill section like the one from Mahabaleshwar down to NH4 and you can find yourself with 3-4 percent more charge than when your trip started! Prudent to note that the brake lights will engage when regenerative braking is activated, so drivers behind you will know you’re slowing down.

As for ride comfort, the ZS EV’s suspension setup is decidedly tilted towards bump absorption. This makes the low-speed ride quality good but it also is a touch bouncy after exiting a pothole or clearing a speed breaker. With a bit more firmness dialed in, we feel the car’s driving dynamics would improve without compromising overall ride comfort.

Verdict

As stated before, the MG ZS EV should be on your consideration list if you want a premium long-range electric car. Even if you leave the EV benefits out, it’s a premium, well-loaded and comfortable family car.

In fact, if you’re looking to buy the top-spec versions of popular compact SUVs like the Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, VW Taigun, Skoda Kushaq, MG Astor or models like the Hyundai Tucson, Citroen C5 Aircross and Jeep Compass, it is worth taking a look at the ZS EV, especially if your usage in primarily in city or inter-cities.

Check It Out: Electric Cars In India

MG ZS EV

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
Excite (Electric)Rs.22.00 Lakh*
Exclusive (Electric)Rs.25.88 Lakh*

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