Sporty, stylish and speedy: test driving the new MG ZS EV


MG have taken their beloved ZS compact SUV and extended the range to include a fully-electric MG ZS in two types, the MG ZS EV Excite and MG ZS EV Essence. It’s so exciting to see more electric vehicles (EVs) coming to Australian roads and we got to test drive the gorgeous car. Here’s an honest review about what you need to know about going full electric and how the MG ZS EV Essence performs. 

I want to preface everything here by saying I am not a car person. The benefits of this are that this will be a very accessible read, because it will all be explained in simple terms as that’s how a newcomer like me (and perhaps you) wants to learn about new things. 


ICYMI, petrol prices are through the roof and have been for some time. With rising interest rates and post-covid problems still affecting global imports, not to mention the environmental impact, petrol is best reserved for smaller items like your lawn mower right now. It’s fantastic that we’re seeing so many electric vehicle options come onto the market so people can make the swap to the car that suits them. 

In a nutshell, petrol cars use an internal combustion engine that turns petrol into force that drives your car, but this torque requires a processing of sorts of that petrol which happens when you hit the accelerator. An electric car on the other hand is kind of always “running”, and the motor provides torque immediately through electrical power. The MG ZS EV has a maximum torque of 280Nm, compared to an average petrol compact SUV with 350-400Nm. Higher end torques matter more for off-road driving or pulling large loads, the MG ZS EV and many other electric cars aren’t designed with this in mind (yet!) so are best suited to city and highway driving. A hybrid vehicle has elements of both petrol and electric, usually a limited electric component of 50kms, before the petrol side will kick in. 

Another difference between petrol and electric vehicles is the moving parts. EVs don’t have radiators, starter motors, exhaust and fuel injection systems. They have a battery and electric motor, meaning they require a lot less servicing and tend to be cheaper in the long run between this and the petrol costs. 

One of the first driving differences between a petrol and electric car, you will notice is the sound, because there isn’t really one in electric cars. They are QUIET. While it makes for a pleasant driving experience, it will take some getting used to.

You’ll also notice compared to petrol cars, EVs have a quick 0-100kph time. The MG ZS EV can do it in 6.9 seconds, much quicker than a petrol car (not that we encourage hooning at all). The simple reason is the same as above, it simply doesn’t have to convert petrol to energy and the electric motor works more like flicking a light switch on. 

We could spend all day talking about the differences between petrol and electric cars, but let’s dive more into how the MG ZS EV drives!

MG ZS EV charging


The MG ZS EV is a VERY safe car. Again, not to harp on about it but it truly is perfect for families. It has a load of safety features including (but not limited to), 6 airbags, 360 View Camera and blind spot detection, traffic jam assist, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, security warnings when you leave the car unlocked or the key in the vehicle and speed assistance (AKA go slower you naughty thing mode).

In addition to being safe, there’s all the cool techy smart features you’d expect in an EV that just make life more comfortable like i-SMART connectivity, a 10.1″ Multi-function colour touch screen Apple CarPlay & Android AUTO, a 6 way adjustable drivers seat, satellite navigation and in the Essence model, an automatic charging pad for your phone!

Beyond all that cool and safe stuff, the MG ZS EV has three driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport), and three matching regenerative braking modes, a full electric liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery, a push button to start and LED daytime running light (all the lights can be made auto too which is amazing!).

MG ZS EV Steering wheel and centre console


Now for the big question. How long does an EV car range last? The MG ZS EV (both Excite and Essence) have a fully charged range of 320km. With the three driving modes, eco, normal and sports mode, you can tailor the experience to the roads you’re driving on. We personally used eco the most during city driving and found this extended got us the most out of the charge. If 320km doesn’t sound long enough to you, fair, there are EVs on the market that have much longer ranges and it’s good to keep in mind who each vehicle is aimed at. The Excited and Essence are best suited to families who live in the city or urban areas and aren’t doing longer trips or commuting to work every day. However, MG have announced they will be revealing their new ZS EV long range with 440km of range at a car show, Fully Charged LIVE Australia very soon, so watch this space!

But back on our test drive, sadly we didn’t get to test the range properly as we didn’t have the right chargers to do a long trip. Like most EVs, it came with the standard wall plug charger (this is called trickle charging and will charge at a much slower rate of 7kW per hour), not the Type 2 that allows you to plug into the network of chargers being swiftly built across Australia which offer higher charging amounts of 50kW- 250kW (although this top end is currently only available to Tesla superchargers). So yes, charge time is a strong consideration with an EV and if you’re going somewhere more remote, you will need to plan ahead. We did plan a trip to the Southern Highlands and checked the chargers along the way and decided not to take the EV in the end due to the charging network available and the long distances we would have had to drive that wouldn’t have been supported by trickle charging through a wall plug. 

I don’t say this to scare anyone off, I’m a firm believer that EVs are the future, but to be aware that there are still limitations as Australia catches up with the rest of the world in getting the infrastructure in. 



Yes, BUT! The MG ZS EV range is fantastic if you have a family and want to enter the EV market without having to sacrifice space. This is a very comfortable compact SUV that drives like a dream (without the costs of petrol and servicing), but it is best suited to city or urban driving. Until Australia’s networks are better you won’t be making any long range road trips just yet! 

Want to know more? Head into your nearest MG dealership or head online to chat to an agent about a test drive.