I for one, love cold, foggy winter mornings! I love breathing in the fresh air, feel the mist on my face and enjoy the chill, rather than being curled up inside my blanket. And one of the ways where we can keep fog from turning into smog is by going easy on planet Earth. Well, the not-so-subtle message here is that with air pollution levels hitting the roof, I am beginning to think that electric vehicles make more and more sense! This is where MG Motor enters the fray with the ZS electric SUV! It will be second model to be launched from MG after the Hector, it is a compact SUV and it is fully electric! We spent some time with the new MG ZS EV and here's what we thought of it.
Watch Our MG ZS Electric SUV Review Here
MG Motor tasted success with the Hector and the best way, perhaps, to build upon that was to introduce yet another SUV in the SUV crazy nation of ours. And the ZS too, there is nothing about it that betrays the fact that it is an electric SUV, except maybe the 'electric' badging on the sides and the hum of the electric whine of the motor. But more on that later! It employs a typical crossover stance. The design is understated and the front end, it looks good with that wide grille with chrome surround and hidden underneath is the charging point as well. Adding to the looks are the 'London Eye' inspired daytime running lights and the very cool looking windmill inspired alloy wheels. Plus, the lines on the profile break the monotony and add a sense of relief, again, making the car look good.
The rear end though is a little too generic. In fact, it does remind you of a certain best-selling compact SUV from Hyundai (the Creta) but nothing that stands out as a sore thumb. Overall, it is a neat-looking car and the use of chrome all around, be it the grille, the door handles, the window line and even the badging at the rear, is subtle and not overbearing.
Also Read: MG ZS EV Variants Explained
The interior too employs a clean, uncluttered design and we quite like the subtle, understated layout of the dashboard. Again, MG has smartly used chrome inside as well adding to the premium look and it is further reinforced by the flat-bottomed steering wheel and the leather soft-touch bits on the dashboard and door panels. The all-black theme does eat into the sense of space but as far as space is concerned, it can fit in four adults comfortably, five will be a squeeze. The seats are well-bolstered and you sit in snugly. At the rear, there is enough knee-room for a 6-foot tall person with the driver seat adjusted to my height. And the support for your back and shoulders is aplenty too.
Also Read: MG ZS EV Pre-Bookings Begin
MG will offer two variants of the ZS EV which are 'Excite' and 'Exclusive'. We had the top-spec Exclusive model for test with us. MG understands the fact that car buyers in the Indian market love a feature loaded car and the ZS EV caters to that to the 'T'. Starting off, it is a connected SUV and gets an embedded eSIM along with in-built Wifi and more or less gets all connectivity features that the Hector gets. In addition, there will be Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on offer soon. Then, you have a full panoramic sunroof along with PM 2.5 filter as well. Yes, that is a standard fitment on the top model and much needed, if you are driving around in Indian metro cities.
Coming to safety features, the MG ZS EV gets 6 airbags as standard along with ABS and electronic stability control. There is hill descent control and hill start assist and rear parking sensors, ISOFIX child seat mounts and tyre pressure monitoring system as well. So yes, in terms of features, the ZS EV is quite well-loaded. Oh! And the MG ZS electric SUV scored five stars in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests too!
The MG ZS electric SUV features a three phase permanent synchronous electric magnet motor which makes power equivalent of 140.7 bhp at 3,500 rpm and has a peak torque output of 353 Nm at 5,000 rpm. There is a single speed reduction gear which helps deliver the power instantly but more on that later. The power comes from a 44.5 kWh battery which is IP67 rated which means it is resistant to dust and waterproof up to a depth of 1 metre. We don't think anyone would ever want to try that out on a ZS EV.
The first thing that strikes you while driving the ZS is the instant acceleration! It is something else and it comes as soon as you tap the pedal, it doesn't even require mashing the throttle. The motor, paired with the single speed reduction gear doesn't need to choose the gear or approach the rev band. The pull and the torque, almost all of it is yours for the taking right from the word go! You spot a gap in the traffic ahead of you, lightly press the pedal and you are already there! I mean, it should be reason enough for city dwellers to switch to electric cars from IC engine cars. I mean it!
The other plus was the balanced suspension. It made light work of speed breakers and potholes and with the battery pack placed on the floor the car feels stable around corners as well. It sticks to its line with turn-ins being rather fun. If we were to nit-pick, the steering robs you of the fun that the motor is capable of. It feels lifeless. But in case you want some more weight, all you need to do is select the 'sport' mode from the toggle switch near the rotary transmission knob.
There are three drive modes on offer which are Sport, Normal and Eco. Apart from the drive modes, the MG ZS electric SUV also has three levels of Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) which are 'Moderate', 'Light' and 'Heavy'. In an instance where you are using brakes regularly, it is advisable to opt for the Heavy mode so as to put in more charge in the battery. The brakes on the ZS EV are good and have decent progression, although we would have liked a bit more bite from them.
The MG ZS EV takes about 6-8 hours to be charged fully with an AC home-charger, which MG will install at your place free of cost. MG gives a portable charger with every unit which can be plugged in at any regular socket. But that of course, will take a long time to charge. The fastest charging option is the 50 kW DC fast- charger which can charge the car up to 80 per cent in less than an hour. MG says that its dealerships in metro cities will have one unit each of the 50 kW fast-chargers, in partnership with Fortum. Plus, MG will also offer road side assistance and get a mobile charging van to you in case you are stranded.
If this is how electric cars feel (the MG ZS EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric), I am ready to be converted to an 'electric-head' from a petrol-head. The MG ZS has the right proportions to be a city car, has enough range to do a 50 kilometre commute every day for 5 days, is cleaner than a diesel or a petrol car, is loaded with features and offers solid performance too. The only thing that remains to be seen is the prices. We expect it to be priced at around ₹ 25 lakh keeping it in contention with its only rival, the Hyundai Kona electric. Trust us, take a test drive of the MG ZS and you will be surprised by what it has to offer, pleasantly of course.
Photography: Azam Siddiqui