Both models get LED headlights • Only one engine offered • On sale now
The MG ZS has been given a midlife update with new styling and extra kit. Despite being bigger than many of its rivals, including the SEAT Arona, Nissan Juke and Hyundai Kona, the ZS is one of the cheapest SUVs on sale, even now that the entry-level model has been discontinued. The updated ZS is available to order with prices starting from £15,495.
2020 MG ZS styling
The ZS ushered in MG’s new family face when it launched in the UK in late 2017, and it still looks smart – if slightly bland. Facelifted models get a reshaped grille that’s bigger than before, with a stylish black surround on top-spec Exclusive. The new headlights are more angular and could almost be mistaken for those fitted to a Mercedes A-Class. There’s also a new lower grille and a rugged-looking skid plate.
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At the rear, the tail-lights are much more intricate than before, and are LED as standard. A reworked rear bumper now includes two fake exhaust pipes.
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Inside, a new 10.1-inch touchscreen, borrowed from the larger MG HS, is fitted in the ZS. It now sticks out of the dashboard slightly, as is the current trend, and looks to be much better integrated than before – the screen in the outgoing model looks a little like an aftermarket product. There are a row of slim buttons below the screen but you’ll need to use the screen to change the temperature. It’s often much easier to adjust this using physical buttons but the ZS’ buttons did feel rather cheap.
Both facelifted MG ZS SUV models are launched with the carried-over 1.5-litre petrol engine from the MG 3 hatchback, although it has been tweaked to improve acceleration and economy. MG quotes a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds (about a second quicker than before) and 41.4mpg, while CO2 emissions of 155g/km mean it’s in one of the top tax bands for company-car drivers. The engine lacks a turbocharger so often needs to be worked hard to make progress, while the five-speed gearbox is unconvincing and the lack of a sixth gear makes it a little unrefined on the motorway.
A turbocharged 1.0-litre engine mated to an automatic gearbox was previously available, and it was a much more modern-feeling powertrain. We’ll have to see whether MG will re-introduce this at a later date. The electric MG ZS EV SUV improves the driving experience considerably, and is good value compared to other electric SUVs.
Prices and specifications
With the entry-level Explore model dropped, the Excite now kicks off the range but it’s £1,000 more expensive than before. There’s a few more bits of extra kit, including standard-fit LED headlights, Android Auto and folding door mirrors, and Excite looks to be the best-value spec. Top-spec Exclusive starts from £17,795 (£1,500 more than the pre-facelift car) and the kit list includes sat nav, heated front seats, a 360-degree parking camera, blind-spot monitoring, auto wipers and a digital instrument cluster.
What does it mean for car buyers?
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The new MG ZS looks smarter and more European than before, while the facelift also seems to have improved the feel of the interior. Extra standard equipment is welcome, and the ZS is still good value despite a price rise. Our initial impression is that the updates make the ZS a more attractive family SUV, and not just a car you’d buy for its low price. We just hope the turbocharged engine returns, as the 1.5-litre engine is the weakest part of the package.