The newly refreshed MG ZS EV was formally presented to automotive media in Sydney on Wednesday, along with news that it has dropped its pricing by $2,000 to match its new Chinese competitor in the nascent Australian EV market.
MG lost its title of “Australia’s most affordable new EV” when the BYD Atto came onto the market in February, starting at $44,900 driveway, and it has now brought its upgraded compact electric SUV back to the market and matched the BYD price (well, almost).
The MG ZS EV Excite trim is now priced at $44,990 driveway (MSRP is $1,000 cheaper) in all states. The top-range Essence trim is now priced at $48,990 driveaway.
The MG is currently available with just one 50.2kWh standard-range battery. It’s an upgrade from the previous generation’s 45kWh battery and several design changes to improve aerodynamics and energy efficiency means consumption is down to 173Wh/km and the driving range up to 320km (WLTP) – a big upgrade from the previous 262km.
“In practical examples, the average daily commute is 28 kilometres,” said technical manager Cameron Morgan. “A trip from Sydney to Newcastle. Melbourne to the Dandenong ranges, no problem.”
This takes it out of the realm of a mainly city driver’s car to that one capable of the odd day trip without the need to stop to recharge too frequently.
But there is good news on the cards for those wanting the long-range ZS EV: MG Australia boss Peter Ciao says the 72kWh option with 440km driving range is again being considered for Australia.
In the meantime, the 2023 standard-range ZS EV promises good value for drivers wanting to make the switch to electric.
Key 2023 MG ZS EV upgrades
The MG has a bucketful of upgrades, taking what was a good value but fairly ordinary vehicle when it was introduced in 2021 to a respectably tech-savvy EV.
For the first time, MG is introducing iSmart, that allows the driver to control certain aspects of the vehicle from their smartphone. This includes the ability to lock and unlock the vehicle door avoiding fumbling of keys, and remote climate control to cool the interior down before getting in.
Of course, there is also the ability to view and control charging status from the app.
There is also vehicle-to-load capability, accessible externally via an adapter and offering up to 2.5kW power. Camping trip to Terrigal, anyone?
A huge improvement is also the 10.1″ touchscreen and improved driver interface, which gives much better access to the vehicle’s controls compared to the previous generation’s tiny hand-sized screen.
The instrument cluster is also an upgrade, with 7 inches of display behind the steering wheel. It’s a simple design which is refreshingly easy to scan and digest, which is a good thing since a heads-up display isn’t on the cards according to MG’s team.
MG Pilot and passive safety features are also on offer in the 2023 Z EV. This includes everything from adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, AEB, lane keep assist with departure warning, traffic jam assist, intelligent cruise assist, blind spot detection, rear-cross traffic alert, speed assistance and an intelligent headlamp.
A 360 degree camera with external, side, rear and front view options is more than welcome.
MG ZS EV noise and efficiency upgrades
While visually the closed grille of the 2023 ZS EV is perhaps the most noticeable change at first glance, it is just one element MG has taken to task to improve aerodynamics and energy consumption.
21 LED lights in the front lamps that are 144% brighter improve safety as well as using less energy. These are complemented by 8 LED lights in the rear lamps. With a 50,000 hour lifespan this is also better for long-term maintenance of the vehicle.
The new black scratch-resistant sports kit also improves airflow, as do the new wheels. These are also quieter, says MG.
Other introductions designed to make the ride quieter are fender inners, a bottom plate and noise-reducing pad in the firewall.
In a quick introductory drive from Sydney’s Circular Quay to La Perouse I found these additions to be pretty effective.
MG ZS EV interior and storage
Inside the upholstery and accents have a much more quality feel than the previous ZS EV also. Red contrast stitching, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and the ability to heat the front row make for an entry-level “premium” experience.
There is just one smallish storage area in the centre console for storage which is a disappointment, but this is offset by generous bottle storage in the doors – and of course coffee holders in the front and back.
As with the previous generation, there is no need for a cardan tunnel as the vehicle is front-wheel-drive which mans more space for those in the back. Sadly there is no “frunk” are under the bonnet despite there clearly being enough room to place some sort of storage moulding, but there is a removable floor in the back area to create more height when there are large items to stow.
One thing that drivers will no doubt consider a big incentive to choose the MG ZS EV is the seven-year unlimited warranty that MG says covers all aspects of the vehicle from drivetrain to battery to bumper to bumper (some limited terms apply.) Caution, commercial operators will get a 160,000km limit on the battery warranty.
Other additional costs include metallic paint – and if missing out on the first 500 free Chargehub offer, a wall charger (although to be honest this is a nice-to-have addition rather than a must-have.) Costs for this is $1990 plus fitment for a 7kW charger and $2,090 for an 11kW charger.
Standard paint colours:
– Pebble Black (Standard / no additional cost)
– Dover White (Standard / no additional cost)
Metallic paint colours ($700):
– Brighton Blue (Metallic)
– Sloane Silver (Metallic)
– Diamond Red (Metallic)
|5 door SUV|||||
|PERFORMANCE & TRANSMISSION|
|Front Suspension||Macpherson type|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion beam|
|Electric Motor Type||Synchronous Motor|
|Battery Capacity, kWh||50.3|
|Maximum Power (kW)||130|
|Maximum Torque (Nm)||280|
|Charger Connection Type||Combined Type 2 and CCS|
|Estimated 7kW Charge Time (full charge) / hours||8|
|Estimated 11kW Charge Time (full charge) / hours||5|
|Estimated 50kW CCS Charge Time (to 80%) / mins||54|
|Driving Range: WLTP Combined Cycle (km)||320|
|Driving Efficiency: WLTP Combined (kWh/100km)||17.1|
1649 (1625 excluding roof rails)
|Front Wheel Track||1526|
|Rear Wheel Track||1539|
|Boot Volume with Seats in Place (L)||359|
|Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)||2060||2060|
|Maximum unbraked trailer towing weight (kg)||500||500|
|Maximum braked trailer towing weight (kg)||500||500|
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.