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2022 MG ZS EV: Price and specs detailed for Australia, from $46,990 drive-away

Australia’s best selling battery-electric SUV is receiving a major update, with an all-new upsized battery, fresh looks and new tech, though its price has slightly gone up.

Due from July, the 2022 MG ZS EV is now split in two trim levels. Starting from $46,990 drive-away nationwide, with up to 320km of range, a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen, and an easier-to-access front charging port.

It comes as fledgling rival Build Your Dreams (BYD) prepares to release its first mass-market electric vehicle via distributor EVDirect, the BYD Atto 3 SUV, with a similar price tag from $44,381 before on-road costs from (conveniently) July.

The MG also faces other rivals like the venerable Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric, and long-awaited forthcoming Tesla Model Y.

UPDATE 3/6/22: MG Motor Australia has published more details on its website, including confirmation of mobile app connectivity. The story has been updated accordingly.

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Size and design

Now based on the petrol-powered MG ZST small SUV, the facelifted ZS EV receives a revised exterior design with a grille-free face, sleeker ‘Silverstone’ LED head- and tail lights, and new ‘leaping stance’ 17-inch alloys.

Meanwhile, the interior gains new materials, carbon fibre look dashboard, and red stitching across the dashboard, centre console, perforated leather steering wheel, and seats for a sportier appearance.

MG says the back-row floor is flat, with 60/40 split folding rear seats and two ISOFIX child seat anchor points, though there’s no frunk storage space.

The company hasn’t disclosed the ZS EV's drag coefficient aerodynamic efficiency.

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Range and powertrain

The zero tailpipe small crossover will only be offered with one Standard Range battery size at launch, even though a larger Long Range pack is available overseas.

The new larger 49kWh (usable) battery also moves to the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) chemistry, which can be regularly charged to 100 per cent without excessive degradation concerns.

The ZS EV is good for 320km of claimed driving range on the strider WLTP testing standard, while its single electric motor produces 130kW of power and 280Nm of torque sent exclusively to the front wheels.

That’s up 57km of range and 25kW more power, but 73Nm less torque than its predecessor model.

The 2022 MG ZS EV now has a claimed towing capacity of 500kg; previously, towing was not recommended at all.

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Charging

The refreshed ZS EV is now capable of fast charging at up to 75kW DC or 6.6kW AC using the standard 400-volt class charging architecture.

The Chinese brand claims a complete charge cycle from 0 to 100 per cent takes eight-hours on a 7kW single-phase AC wallbox. On public chargers from 0 to 80 per cent, it needs 54 minutes to fill-up on a 50kW charger or 36 minutes on a 100kW fast charging station.

MG has now improved the accessibility of the standard Type2/CCS2 charging plug thanks to the facelift. The charging cap is now offset to the right, with a new side-mounted hinge design that pops open with a press – instead of an ungainly lift up as per its predecessor.

Overseas, the electric crossover is also capable of powering other devices using vehicle-to-load (V2L), but the local arm hasn’t confirmed whether it’ll enable it for Australian examples.

The facelifted MG ZS EV small SUV doesn’t offer battery preconditioning, but does feature one-pedal driving when set on the strongest ‘KERS’ regenerative braking setting.

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Overseas model pictured

Safety and technology

The affordable electric crossover achieved a five-star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) under the 2019 testing criteria. Interestingly, its combustion-powered twin, the MG ZST, only scored a four-star ANCAP rating from 2017.

The entire ZS EV range comes with an updated suite of safety assistance systems as standard, dubbed ‘MG Pilot’. This includes AEB, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane-keep assist, and speed assistance system to keep driver’s on the legal road speed. New for the facelift is a 360-degree surround view camera standard on all models.

But, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are now reserved for the top-spec Essence model only.

Additionally, the 2022 MG ZS EV gains an updated, larger 10.1-inch infotainment system with a new user interface and a display that has reduced reflection rates and a claimed 170-degree viewing angle. Like before, it boasts built-in satellite navigation, and wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto.

Meanwhile, the central LCD driver’s instrument screen has enlarged to 7-inches with an overhauled interface design, and is flanked by two LED gauges on each side.

MG has also confirmed the new ZS EV will debut its ‘iSmart’ smartphone connected app for remote functionality like monitoring the charge status, preconditioning the cabin’s climate control, locating the vehicle and more.

It's unclear whether this will also enable over-the-air (OTA) software updates for the infotainment system like in Europe.

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Price and models

Made at MG’s parent company’s SAIC Motor Zhengzhou plant in China, the facelifted MG ZS EV is now offered in two variants, Excite and Essence, from $46,990 to $49,990 drive-away before state incentives respectively.

That's $5000 more expensive than the outgoing model (like-for-like with the Essence), though all refreshed ZS EV’s are eligible for EV state incentives.

It’s also worth noting that some features previously standard in its standalone predecessor model are now reserved for the top-spec Essence, including blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, a panoramic sunroof, and artificial leather seats.

Although it’s still one of the most affordable EVs in Australia, in some states including Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania, the drive-away price of its BYD Atto 3 rival dethrones the facelifted MG ZS EV as the cheapest pure-electric car currently on the market.

The reservation books are now open via its nationwide 80-odd MG dealership network for deliveries from July this year, though supply has been constrained due to the recent Shanghai lockdowns.

The brand is offering a $500 discount on its MG ChargeHub AC charging wallbox (normally $1990 or $2090 for the 7kW one-phase or 11kW three-phase models respectively) for the first 500 customers who put down a $500 deposit on the new ZS EV.

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ZS EV Excite – $46,990 drive-away

The base Excite model comes with as standard:

  • 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels (215/55)
  • ‘MG Pilot’ safety assistance suite (details above)
  • 360-degree surround view camera, reversing camera and rear parking sensors
  • 10.1-inch infotainment system with built-in navigation, wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto
  • 7-inch digital driver’s instrument screen
  • Fabric seats with six-way manually adjustable driver's seat
  • Leather trimmed steering wheel with contrast stitching and perforations
  • LED headlights (21-module), daytime running lights, and tail lights (eight-module)
  • Automatic high beam headlights
  • Rotary gear selector with electric park brake and ‘KERS’ regenerative braking modes
  • i-SMART mobile app connectivity
  • Push button start
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Overseas model pictured

ZS EV Essence – $49,990 drive-away

The flagship Essence adds:

  • Blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Qi wireless charging pad
  • Faux leather seats
  • Heated front seats and driver six-way power adjustable seat
  • Panoramic sunroof with sunshade
  • Roof rails
  • Six-speaker sound system with 3D sound effect
  • Power-folding, heated side mirrors
  • Rain sensing wipers

Options

  • Standard paint – no cost extra: York White or Pebble Black
  • Metallic paint – $700: Brighton Blue Metallic, Diamond Red Metallic, Sloane Silver Metallic
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Warranty and servicing

The MG ZS EV is covered by a seven-year, unlimited kilometre vehicle warranty, high-voltage battery warranty, roadside assistance, and capped price servicing scheme.

While the brand hasn’t disclosed capped servicing costs for the new ZS EV yet, its predecessor model required visits every two-years/20,000km.

There are currently more than 80 MG service locations across Australia.

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How does it compare to the BYD Atto 3?

Below is a comparison between the updated MG ZS EV and its closest competitor, the BYD Atto 3. They are similar in size, though the Atto 3 is slightly larger with a 139mm longer wheelbase for a more spacious interior.

In order to align the MG ZS EV with a similarly specced BYD Atto 3, you'll need to buy the Essence grade which comes at a $3000 premium over the base Excite. This brings the updated MG ZS EV's pricing in line with the Atto 3 Extended Range.

Does it cost more to own than a petrol equivalent?

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