Is MG’s first electric car a convincing challenger? We compare the new ZS EV to the big-selling Nissan Leaf
As more manufacturers explore electric tech, the trickle-down continues to penetrate the lower car classes, democratising zero-emissions motoring for many.
The latest affordable EV model to emerge comes from MG. The Chinese-owned, reborn British brand is offering quite a strong proposition with its ZS EV SUV, as a simple look at the numbers shows: £26,995 for the top-spec Exclusive model and a claimed WLTP range of 163 miles.
This means the MG faces a key rival the Nissan Leaf, a car that pioneered affordable electric motoring. At this price it’s the top-spec MG versus the entry-level Nissan – but when it comes to power, range and charging, the two are close.
MG ZS EV
For: Range and affordability, stronger, more flexible recharging capability, decent practicality and kit.
Against: Ride and handling could be more controlled, infotainment lacks EV-specific functionality.
Key to any EV is its battery. This determines the usable range on offer, as well as the car’s performance, and in the ZS EV the engineering and tech are pretty good given the price. The 44.5kWh battery total means around 40kWh of usable capacity, and MG claims 163 miles on a full charge.
The battery supplies a 141bhp electric motor that drives the front wheels. This is 7bhp down on the Leaf, but then the MG is 41kg lighter. The ZS EV’s performance on test was more than adequate, with the 353Nm of torque (33Nm more than the Leaf) delivered instantly for strong and smooth acceleration.
It sprinted from 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds, 0.4 seconds faster than the Leaf, but by 60mph the MG’s urgency tails off (its top speed is only 87mph). Acceleration from lower speeds is more important to more people, and in this instance, the ZS managed 30-50mph in 2.7 seconds, compared to 2.8 seconds in the Leaf, so there’s little to split them. This acceleration is what makes smaller EVs like these easy and fun to drive in urban areas.
Read more: Auto Express