MG Motors are back, and they want you to know it. Boasting exponential growth and a triumphant return to the motor racing circuit in the last four years, the English / Chinese company has made a very targeted and concerted effort to win back old fans, but also create some new ones. The latest release of their entry-level SUV, the MG ZS, is yet another reason they’ve become a serious contender in their field.
The first thing people generally consider when buying a new car from a reasonably new manufacturer (yes, they’ve been around since the ’20s, but have been essentially absent in Australia since MG Rover’s collapse in 2005) is whether or not it will be reliable. MG have two aces in their sleeve here. One: it’s made in China. Instead of British production, where beautifully made cars are considered even better if they start every time, they’ve been produced in the company’s Shanghai facility. This is good – long gone are the days where a “Made in China” label was an omen – the country now famously produces some of the most well-built and advanced technologies in the world.
The second ace is MG’s 7 year warranty for private purchasers, including unlimited kms AND roadside assistance. That’s huge – most marques in this price bracket think they’re generous with anything over 3, but 7? This is a company that want it known they’re not going anywhere.
The MG ZS has a lot going for it, too. Starting at $20,990, it’s well appointed with things that others would charge extra for, such as Apple CarPlay, Blutooth hands-free and central locking. There’s also a reverse camera and rear sensors, ABS and traction control, active yaw control, electronic brakeforce distribution, hydraulic brake booster, brake disc wiping, hill hold control and vehicle dynamics control.
Then there’s the sunroof. The crowning jewel of this car is the Stargazer Panoramic Opening Roof. It’s such a simple addition, but a great one. Taking up 90 per cent of the roof, this is something that makes the compact SUV experience instantly more fun and luxurious.
With a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated engine under the hood in the Soul model and a 1 lire turbo engine in the Essence model, there’s not a lot of power to the wheels, and not a lot of difference between the two to be completely honest, though the Essence is certainly more fuel efficient. Let’s be honest though, you’re not buying this car to hoon around corners – you’re buying it because you have kids and live in the city.
The interior is plenty comfortable and very stylish – minimalism done well. Leather options complete the look of a European design, but with a seriously competitive pricetag. Even the Essence is only $3,000 more than its younger sibling, and comes with far more options and advantages.
It’s clear that MG have been hard at work these past few years – it’s no X60, but for a third of the price, this is something you should seriously take for a test drive if you’re in the market for something practical, stylish and reliable.