Donna Kelly has over 12 years of experience in the motoring industry, writing, test driving and tweeting about cars. Her weekends are spent trackside, covering racing events.
If you're looking for an affordable, small electric SUV that's easy to drive and cheap to run, look no further than the MG ZS EV.
Based on the existing petrol-powered ZS SUV, the ZS EV has genuine appeal over rivals such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro, Peugeot e-2008 and Kia Soul EV, combining five-door practicality with value for money.
Our MG ZS EV review covers:
From the outside, the ZS EV looks almost identical to the standard ZS on which it's based, with its squinting headlights and aggressive grille. Look closely, however, and you'll notice subtle changes, including a new alloy wheel design, a chrome-highlighted grille (which houses the electric charging port) and a new paint colour – Pimlico Blue – which helps give the ZS EV some individuality.
Inside, the ZS EV's boxy style helps with cabin space, making it ideal for growing families or those with dogs. At the front, there is plenty of head and legroom for the driver and passenger, while at the back, there's more space than you'll find in the Kia e-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric for even the tallest of adults to get comfy.
Unlike other EVs on the market, MG offers a decent amount of boot space in the ZS EV, despite its big battery. The 470-litre boot provides more space than its petrol counterpart (at 448 litres) and can carry more than its rival, the Kia e-Niro. Fold the two-way (60:40) split rear seats down, and boot space grows to 1,375 litres. Its wide boot opening and dual height floor also make for effortless loading of bulky items, and there's enough storage below the false floor for charging cables neatly.
Like its exterior, the MG ZS EV features a similar interior to the standard car, with soft-touch plastics on its dashboard, solid-feeling buttons and an eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Interior quality is decent, although the overall design feels a little dated compared to the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric.
There are two trim levels in the range, including the Excite and Exclusive, both of which come well equipped.
The entry-level Excite model comes with DAB radio, LED daytime running lights, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, rear parking sensors and 17-inch alloy wheels as standard.
The range-topping Exclusive trim adds an opening panoramic glass roof, heated front seats, a rear parking camera, roof rails, automatic wipers and six speakers.
Under the bonnet, all ZS EV models come with a single electric motor and a 44.5kWh battery to produce 141bhp. The result is a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds that puts the MG on par with the Peugeot e-2008 but slightly behind the Kia Soul EV and Hyundai Kona Electric.
The ZS EV has a claimed range of 163 miles, which is a match for the entry-level Nissan LEAF and smaller Honda e and MINI Electric but isn't as good as the e-Niro at 282 miles and the Renault Zoe at 186 miles.
Using a 50kW public fast charger, the MG ZS EV can go from empty to 80% in 40 minutes or in seven hours using a 7kW wall-mounted home EV charger.
Behind the wheel, the MG ZS EV is easy to drive, especially around town, thanks to its immediate availability of torque. The steering is light but isn't as good as on a Nissan LEAF. You'll also feel bumps in the road more keenly than in the petrol-powered ZS.
That said, the ZS EV comes with a toggle switch in the centre console, which adjusts the amount of regenerative braking applied. Four settings can be used, from no regeneration to "near one-pedal driving", which slows the car quickly when the accelerator is released, making for a more responsive drive.
Prices for the new MG ZS EV start from £30,093.50 OTR* or to lease from £236.90 per month.
Fancy yourself behind the wheel of the new MG ZS EV? Car leasing offers many benefits over buying outright with a bank loan or dealer finance. With car leasing, you can take advantage of fixed monthly rentals, a lower initial outlay, flexible contract and mileage terms and the option to change your vehicle every two, three or four years.
Lease with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, and you'll also get road tax, breakdown cover, the full manufacturer's warranty and free mainland GB delivery, direct to your door, all included in the price. View our latest MG ZS EV lease deals and get an instant online quotation based on your preferred contract, mileage and initial rental needs.
*'On the road' price correct at time of publication and includes one year's road fund license, DVLA first registration fee and number plate fee. Prices are subject to change. Always check with your nearest retailer.