Australia’s cheapest battery-electric SUV is receiving a major update, with an all-new upsized battery, fresh looks, and new tech.
The facelifted MG ZS EV is now split in two trim levels, starting from $44,990 to $48,990 drive-away nationwide (or $43,990 and $47,990 before on-road costs respectively).
That's $2000 cheaper than when it was available for pre-order since March.
The all-electric small SUV features up to 320km of claimed range, mobile app connectivity, an easier-to-access charging port, and more. Read five things you need to know about the 2022 MG ZS EV here.
It’s worth noting that some features previously standard in its standalone pre-facelift model are now reserved for the top-spec Essence variant, including blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, a panoramic sunroof, and artificial leather seats.
Despite boasting the same starting price, the Shanghai-made crossover is now $3000 more expensive than the outgoing model (like-for-like with the Essence). All refreshed MG ZS EVs are eligible for EV state incentives.
It goes head-to-head with the BYD Atto 3 newcomer, with a similar price tag that's just a cut above the MG from $44,381 before on-roads. However, as the BYD electric car only comes in one high-spec model, it is comparable to the pricier top-spec MG ZS EV Essence trim.
Size and design
Based on the petrol-powered MG ZST small SUV, the facelifted ZS EV receives a revised exterior design with a grille-free face, sleeker LED head- and tail lights, and new propeller 17-inch alloy wheel aero covers.
Meanwhile, the interior gains new materials, a carbon fibre-look dashboard, and red contrast stitching. The base Excite features 'Houndstooth' patterned fabric seats, while the Essence has PU/PVC artificial leather pews.
The all-electric crossover has a 359-litre boot capacity when all seats are in place. The rear seats split fold in a 60/40 configuration and there are two ISOFIX child seat anchor points.
Range and powertrain
The zero tailpipe small crossover is only be offered with one standard range battery size at launch, even though a larger long range pack is available overseas.
The new larger 50.3kWh battery moves to the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) chemistry, which can be regularly charged to 100 per cent without degradation concerns.
The ZS EV is good for 320km of claimed driving range on the stricter WLTP testing standard, with a single front-wheel drive electric motor able to accelerate the electric car from 0-100km/h in a claimed 8.2 seconds.
Compared to its predecessor, it boasts 57km more driving range and 25kW more power, but 73Nm less torque.
The updated MG ZS EV now has a claimed towing capacity of 500kg on a braked and unbraked trailer. Previously, towing was not recommended at all.
The refreshed ZS EV is now capable of fast charging at up to 80kW DC or 11kW AC using the standard 400-volt class charging architecture.
The Chinese automaker says a full charge cycle from 0 to 100 per cent takes eight-hours on a 7kW single-phase AC wallbox. That time is cut to five-hours on an 11kW AC charger.
On public chargers, 0 to 80 per cent takes 54 minutes 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.
Additionally, all variants are capable of vehicle-to-load (V2L) to power and charge other devices on the outside.
However, owners need to purchase the required V2L connector accessory adapter separately. The company recommends avoiding the use of V2L in poor weather conditions like the rain or snow.
The facelifted MG ZS EV small SUV no longer features a strong one pedal driving mode. Instead, it offers three 'KERS' regenerative braking intensities.
Safety and technology
The MG ZS EV has achieved a five-star safety rating by 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 auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane-keep assist, and speed assistance system. New for the facelift is a 360-degree view camera 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 ZS EV gains a larger 10.1-inch infotainment system with reduced reflection rates, a 170-degree viewing angle, and a new software user interface. Like before, it boasts built-in satellite navigation, and wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto.
Meanwhile, the central driver’s instrument display has enlarged to 7-inches with an overhauled interface design, and is flanked by two LED dot matrix gauges on each side.
The new ZS EV also debuts its 'iSmart' telematics and connected smartphone app to monitor and control vehicle functions remotely like locking/unlocking the doors, checking the remaining range and charging status, precondition the climate control, locate the vehicle, and more.
It is powered by the ubiquitous Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers, where it also enables the touchscreen to display live weather updates, Amazon Music streaming, and peform over-the-air software updates.
Price and models
ZS EV Excite – $44,990 drive-away
The base Excite comes with as standard:
- 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels (215/55)
- MG Pilot safety assistance suite (details above)
- 360-degree surround view 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
- i-Smart mobile app connectivity
- Four-speaker audio system
- Fabric seats
- Six-way manually adjustable driver's seat
- Four-way manually adjustable front passenger's seat
- Leather trimmed steering wheel with contrast stitching and perforations
- LED headlights (21-module), daytime running lights, and tail lights (eight-module)
- Auto high beam headlights
- Rotary gear selector with electric park brake and ‘KERS’ regenerative braking modes
- Push button start
ZS EV Essence – $48,990 drive-away
The flagship Essence adds:
- Blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert (details above)
- Qi wireless charging pad
- Six-speaker sound system with 3D sound effect
- Faux leather seats
- Heated front seats
- Six-way power adjustable driver's seat
- Panoramic sunroof with sunshade
- Roof rails
- Electrically folding, heated side mirrors
- Rain sensing wipers
- Front sunglass box
- Front seat back map pockets
- Standard paint – no cost extra: York White or Pebble Black
- Metallic paint – $700: Brighton Blue Metallic, Diamond Red Metallic, Sloane Silver Metallic
- V2L connector accessory – Price TBC
Warranty and servicing
The MG ZS EV is covered by a seven-year, unlimited kilometre vehicle warranty, battery warranty, roadside assistance, and capped price servicing scheme.
For commercial buyers, the warranty is limited to seven-years/160,000km (whichever comes first).
The Chinese automaker emphasises there are no hidden warranty exclusions, unlike the BYD Atto 3, though the 12-volt auxiliary battery is backed by a two-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Servicing intervals are every 24 months/20,000km, costing $345 on average for the first seven visits.
It can be serviced at more than 80 MG dealer and service locations across Australia, where accessories like the V2L connector, MG ChargeHub AC wallbox charger, tow bar, and more are sold.
Does it cost more to own than the petrol MG ZST?
While the MG ZS EV costs around $10,000 more than its petrol equivalent, this additional cost will be recouped from the lower operating costs.
We estimate based on an average of 13,000 km per year (37 km/day), this will be recovered in about five years. If you drive more than the average, it will be likely be less than five years.
Figures by Danny Thai
UPDATE 13/9/22: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated servicing intervals. This has now been corrected to 24 months/20,000km.
UPDATE 7/9/22: MG has launched the new ZS EV locally and released more details, with a $2000 price cut across the range. The story has been updated accordingly and with local images.
UPDATE 3/6/22: MG Motor Australia has published more details on its website, including confirmation of mobile app connectivity.
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