It may carry an iconic British badge but these days MG is owned by Chinese car maker SAIC, and made in China too. Gone are the days of sporty two seaters in favour of more populist SUVs, a very smart hatchback, and what by today’s standards are bargain prices.
A little while back I considered buying one of the early Chinese-made MGs as a secondhand runabout. Even examples with relatively low mileage and obvious careful owners showed the effects of bargain priced materials.
The latest MG ZS is a different matter though. Style is subjective but most who saw my test model mentioned words like smart, stylish and quite a few admired the optional Batter sea Blue paintwork. Inside the good vibes continue with decent leg room, a quality feel and premium look. The top of the range Exclusive model tested here has an extensive standard equipment tally and puts rival manufacturers to shame at the price
Two engines are on offer, both petrol units, a 1.0-litre turbo charged three cylinder and a more conventional 1.5-litre four cylinder. They are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and a five-speed manual respectively. Prices for the range start from €16,913(£15,495) with my top of the range Exclusive model driving in at €22,749 (£20,840), with the 1.0-litre power unit, automatic gears and optional Battersea Blue paint finish.
Standard fare includes pretty much everything you would need including sat nav, cruise control, keyless entry and start, auto lights and wipers, heated front seats, leather upholstery, air conditioning, heated and powered door mirrors, 360 degree cameras, 10-inch touch screen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, electric seat adjustment and six speaker sound system.
On the road the ZS is a smooth and comfortable ride. On twisting roads there is minimal body roll and thanks to decent steering it handles especially well for an SUV. The 6-speed
automatic gearbox works fine at lower and cruising speed but it’s a different matter when you need to make rapid progress. The engine sounds quite busy and the acceleration errs on the lethargic side. That said in most situations the ZS performs well and is quiet and refined with particularly comfortable seating.
MG’s new car profile is still quite low, but with vehicles like the XS it’s a brand that deserves more attention. After a bargain basement start the MG range now has quality, style and price on its side.
Facts at a GlanceModel:
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