Car companies continue to make strides in the electrification of their vehicles. One
manufacturer to step up its power play is MG Motors (for Morris Garages), the Chinese
owned former British auto industry mainstay.

Already the fully electric compact sports utility vehicle has made its presence felt on the
EV world with the Excite and Essence models, the latter chipping in with a claimed
maximum range of 320 kilometres.

Now this has been stretched to 440 kilometres with a new variant, loosely tagged Long
Range, with the added plus over the Essence of a privacy rear window helping to
maximise climate control, hence the comfort of occupants.

The 440 km driving range comes from the switch to a 72.6 kWh battery, as opposed to the
320 km courtesy of the lithium-ion 51.1 kWh battery.

The entry-level Excite has a comprehensive collection of features, including a range of
drive modes, three regen braking modes, 360 degree camera i-Smart connectivity, satellite
navigation, plus MG Pilot driver safety technology.

Upshift to the Essence brings to the table panoramic glass sunroof and roof rails, wireless
phone charging and blind spot and rear-cross traffic alert.

A shopping list of accessories includes fabric boot mat and liner, boot lip protector and skid
plate, chrome boot trim strip, dash mat, fabric or rubber floor mats, weather to four doors,
printed bonnet protector, clear bonnet protector, LED scuff Plates and two door sills,
towbar, roof racks, 7 kW Go Cable 22 kW rapid charge cable.

The Chinese sourced small SUV made a name as the cheapest electric vehicle on the
market. Now, along comes a ZS with more milage to offer – at a price ($11k to be precise).
Introduction to the new ZS electric vehicles comes with the entry-level Excite selling for
$46,195, plus on-road costs, the mid-range Essence follows for a further $3000, while the
Essence Long Range tops off the trio for $55,990.

The ZS Essence Long Range, the test vehicle, carries a seven-year unlimited kilometre
warranty, as does the battery. MG’s so-called Precise Price Servicing also applies.

No-cost paint colours are Dover White or Pebble Black, while the Brighton Blue Essence
Long Range on test would set back a buyer an extra $700. All the MG EVs maintain the
general shape of the petrol models with the upper radiator grille replaced by a solid
surface incorporating a flap offering easy access to the charging point.

Headlamps and LED daytime running lights flank the front directly under the bonnet edge.
Propeller-style alloy wheel aero covers give the wheels a unique character.

Leatherette seats, driver and front passenger positions heated, with crafted red stitching,
lead the way for a premium interior feel, topped off (literally) with a truly panoramic sunroof
flooding the interior with natural light.

In the rear, the 60/40 split reclining seats are surprisingly generous with leg room and give
access to 359 litres of luggage space, while an under-boot cubby is reserved to take tyre
repair kit and battery rapid charging tackle.

The ZS EV features a 10.1-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
access, allowing for integration with personal tech. However, the somewhat higgledy-
piggledy layout of the info makes management fiddly, especially on the move.

Presentation of real-time vehicle performance comes with an upgraded 7-inch digital
instrument cluster in direct driver field of vision. Keyless entry, wireless phone charger and
six-speaker audio add to the in-cabin experience.

A signature addition to the new ZS EV is the iSMART app, allowing you to monitor and
control vehicle functions remotely. For example, locate the vehicle, lock or unlock it,
monitor vehicle status such as range and charge remaining.

With 440 km driving range from a 72.6 kWh battery, the new MG ZS Long Range leaves
its predecessor (320km of range from the lithium-ion 51.1 kWh battery) behind. That’s not

In an MG first, powering external devices can be done using the ZS EV vehicle-to-load
(V2L) function. Electronics can be operated on the go, or appliances such as camping
gear powered using electricity stored in the lithium ion battery of an MG ZS EV.

The former MG ZS EV was awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2019. The hallmark
MG Pilot package has added adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic
emergency braking, lane keep assist with departure warning, traffic jam assist, intelligent
cruise assist, intelligent headlamp control, speed assistance system, blind spot detection,
rear cross traffic alert.

Powered by a liquid-cooled, lithium battery, with up to 72.6 kWh, delivering 280 Nm of
instant torque and up to 130 kW of power, the maker claims the ZS Essence Long Range
can go from zero to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds. All this with nothing but a gentle whirring of
the motor.

Maximum combined energy consumption on test touched 18 kWh per 100 kilometres. Fill
her up? I topped up the ‘tank’ on a public fast charger from 60 to 80 per cent in 40 minutes
at a cost of $6.83.

Designed to achieve optimum handling and chassis feel, the ZS EV’s powertrain has been
packaged to achieve a low centre of gravity. Housed underneath the passenger
compartment as part of the ZS EV’s flat-floor architecture, and an added bonus for
occupant leg comfort, the balanced distribution of weight keeps the ZS EV planted through
the corners.

The suspension appears a little firm. Braking response is good, although regenerative
braking is not like some EVs with ‘single pedal’ driving. This one slows the vehicle only to a
crawl, not to a halt.

With the MG Pilot willing to assist safe driving to a high level, the lane keep assist with
departure warning tended to intrude too quickly and forcefully. Driving is a human activity,
after all.

MG has pushed out the kilometres for its small SUV EV, but is it enough for the market?
Meanwhile, the journey is set to continue even further – longer range, more technology, for
fewer dollars, with MG4 rear-wheel drive hatch, which is due to arrive in the second half of
this year.

Looks: 7/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 5/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 5/10
Comfort: 6/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 5/10


MG ZS Excite EV: $46,195
MG ZS Essence EV $49,195
MG ZS Essence Long Range EV: $55,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local MG dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (MG ZS Essence Long Range EV, automatic, FWD)

Single synchronous electric motor, 72.6 kWh lithium-ion battery
Combined energy consumption: Claimed 17.7 kWh / 100 km
Maximum Power: 115 kW
Maximum Torque: 280 Nm
Charging: 11 kW in 8 hours; 50 kW (to 80pc) 63 min

DRIVELINE: Single motor, front-wheel drive

Length: 4323 mm
Wheelbase: 2585 mm
Width: 1809 mm
Height: 1649 mm (including roof rails)
Turning Circle: N/A
Kerb mass: 1620 kg
Range: 440 km

Front: Disc
Rear: Disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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