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I was last behind the wheel of the much improved MG ZS EV in late September while attending the New Zealand launch, and it’s fair to say that my first impressions of the revamped all-electric SUV were excellent. But how would it hold up to more thorough scrutiny? MG New Zealand felt I should find out.  

There are two new ZS EV models available, the entry level Excite ($49.990) and top spec Essence ($53,990), I was given the latter and in their stand out (hero colour) Brighton Blue.

2023 MG ZS EV review NZ

To recap, in terms of design, the grille is now ‘closed’ and there are less traditional vents down low, giving the nose a more modern EV look. The nose also sports the new MG logo and a discrete flap that allows ‘charging’ access to its larger 50.3kWh liquid-cooled, Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery that when fully charged produces 320km of range (WLTP) (an improvement of almost +60km over the previous ZS EV model). 

The new MG ZS EV can be rapid charged to 80% in just 54 minutes from a DC rapid charging point or overnight at home on a 7kW fixed wall charger, taking an estimated 8 hours to fully charge.

2023 MG ZS EV review NZ

Not only does this more efficient and more powerful battery feed the EV SUV’s  8-Layer Hair-Pin PMS-Motor (280Nm/130kW) but it also offers V2L (Vehicle to Load) so you can now use your SUV to power whatever device you have on board (up to 2.5kW) when out ‘exploring’.

The revised EV SUV sits on new 17-inch EV alloy wheels that are diamond cut and present a two-tone spoke design, but more importantly they are optimised for wind resistance and come shod in Michelin Primacy 3ST rubber, offering better wear resistance and noise suppression for a more comfortable and quieter ride.

2023 MG ZS EV review NZ

When it comes to the ride itself, the NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) improvements are noticeable (or is that NOT noticeable). It’s a much smoother, quieter ride regardless of the tarmac below. The new MG EV’s handling feels pretty neutral in corners, aided by MG strategically packing the battery weight underneath the passenger compartment as part of the ZS EV’s flat-floor architecture and therefore creating a well-balanced and low centre of gravity. 

For those that have driven the previous model, you will feel that it lacks a little in off the mark oomph, but for those new to the model and marginally downgraded powertrain, you’ll be impressed with how quickly it gets up to 100km/h. 

2023 MG ZS EV review NZ

Visibility all round is good, even the C-pillars have a small amount of glass in them, and the ‘class-leading’ sized panoramic sunroof really adds to both the light inside the cabin (obviously during the day) and the view outside.

The cabin is pretty spacious for such a compact-sized SUV, with ample room for four adults and one child plus 470L of luggage space (all seats up) should you all decide to go shopping too. And of those up front, the seats have been extra bolstered and supportive, with an eye on improved head and shoulder room. However, my biggest gripe about the MG’s driver comfort is that the steering wheel tilts but does not slide, so you (I) ended up having to move the seat to compensate – surely this is a simple fix MG?

2023 MG ZS EV review NZ

The fit and finish is good, actually great when you consider what’s included in the price tag, and the clever designers have obviously thought about the most used touch points and given them extra attention (making them more tactile). And of course the tech has been improved, but not to the point of becoming difficult to use or find. 

2023 MG ZS EV review NZ

The 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen and 7-inch instrumentation cluster combination complement each other well and offer up a myriad of driver and safety aids, in fact, the MG Pilot system offers up 10 Active Driver Safety features, however, one of them (lane keep assist) I suggest you use with care as it’s rather forthright in its voracity (or is that ferocity).

As it turned out, I spent a shade over a week in possession of the ZS EV and took it to as many places as I could in order to monitor its battery life. From short commutes into town, to longer adventures north of the bridge and (with correct use of the driving modes and KERS – 3 levels) I only spent two half hour visits to the 50KW free charger – not bad for the 600+ k’s I clocked up.

2023 MG ZS EV review NZ

The new MG ZS EV is better than the previous model in virtually every way (just a little less aggressive off the mark and that terrifying Lane Keep Assist) and is therefore EVEN better value. It sits nicely on the road and offers plenty of range for those out of town treks – what’s more, thanks to V2L, you can even stop and make your own coffee along the way.

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