MG ZS EV First Drive Review: The First Pure-Electric Internet SUV In India

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When Morris Garages (MG) decided to enter the Indian market, they said they wanted to do things differently. While the first product launched was a conventional fossil-fuel-powered SUV — Hector, their second product is somewhat different; an all-electric SUV. The Chinese-owned British brand will be introducing the ZS EV as its next product in India.

The MG ZS EV will be the brand's first all-electric product in the Indian market. The car as tagged by MG will be 'India's first Pure-Electric Internet Car'. The MG ZS EV is expected to go on sale in the Indian market sometime in January 2020. It will be launched in a phase-wise manner, available only in five cities initially: Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

We got a chance to put the electric car through its paces recently. The car comes packed with features, intelligent connectivity and offers a wide range of options as well, but how is it to drive and does it make sense to buy an electric SUV in the Indian market right now?

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Design & Style

Before we get into how the car performs and drives, let's first look at certain other details offered on the MG ZS EV. Starting off with the design, the electric SUV comes with a clean and simple styling with good proportions all-around. At first glance, the ZS EV can easily pass off like any other conventional fossil-fuel-powered C-segment SUV.

The SUV comes with the brand's signature omega-shaped LED DRLs, around the front projector headlamps, which also integrates the turn indicators as well. MG says that the LED headlamps are inspired by the London Eye; staying true to its British genes.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Between the headlamps at either end is a large chrome-studded concave grille, featuring the brand logo at the centre. The central part of the grille along with the logo slides up to reveal the neatly integrated charging port underneath.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The entire front grille is also surrounded by a thin chrome strip all-around which merges with the headlamps; providing a premium appeal to the front fascia of the SUV. There are also silver elements around the air intake on the front bumper, along with the presence of a scuff plate as well.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Moving to the side, the MG ZS EV features a clean design with minimalist styling. The side is characterised by a strong shoulder line, running across the length of the SUV, starting from the headlamps and merging with the rear taillights. The subtle kink in the character line near the rear wheel arches, adds to a muscular look of the SUV.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Talking about the wheel arches, the MG ZS EV houses 17-inch machined alloy wheels. The design of the wheels are unique, inspired by the Dutch Classic windmills; which adds to the premium-ness of the SUV as well.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The rear design on the MG ZS EV also carries forward the clean and minimalist styling. The LED taillights are said to be the ‘BIG DIPPER'; inspired by the seven brightest stars from the Ursa Major constellation.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Apart from the bright taillights, the rear profile also features a small boot-mounted spoiler, reflectors on either end of the rear bumper and a silver scuff plate as well. The boot-lid features the MG logo at the centre, with the ‘Internet Inside' and ‘ZS EV' badging lower below.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Interiors & Practicality

Stepping into the cabin of the MG ZS EV, the SUV continues to offer a clean and simple layout here as well. The dashboard comes with a blacked-out theme, with silver highlights adding a bit of contrast.

The dashboard is simple and well laid-out. MG has offered the ZS EV with soft-touch premium materials all around as well. The dashboard has also been positioned slightly lower, which along with the large windows gives great visibility of the outside.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The dashboard also comes with circular AC vents at either end, finished in gloss black while the vents at the centre are rectangular, which integrate well with the central console.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Further behind the steering wheel is a pair of analogue instrument cluster with a centrally-placed MID. The instrument cluster has a speedometer at one end and another dial indicating the percentage of electric power being used (replacing the rev counter).

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The central console is slightly tilted towards the driver, giving him complete and easy access to all the features and controls. The steering wheel comes wrapped in perforated leather and has a flat-bottom, adding a sense of sportiness inside. The three-spoke steering wheel also comes with mounted controls for the audio and other functionalities.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The central console also houses a large eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The infotainment screen also comes built-in with MG's i-Smart 2.0 — an improved version of the smart connectivity feature first seen on the Hector.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Below the main infotainment system are the AC settings consisting of buttons and rotary dials. There is also a rotary knob to control the drive modes further down below, all of which get a premium knurled finish.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The seats on the MG ZS EV come with black leatherette upholstery, which offers a premium feel. They offer a comfortable driving position, with good levels of back, side and thigh support for the front driver and passenger. The driver's seat is electrically adjustable as well. The front driver and passenger also get a central armrest, which also houses a storage compartment below.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Moving to the rear seats on the electric SUV, it continues to offer a good comfortable seating position. The MG ZS EV comes with a flat floor, which adds to the legroom, allowing three passengers to be comfortably seated. There is plenty of headroom and legroom at the back as well.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The cabin on the MG ZS EV feels airy and open. This is mainly due to the large windows on all sides, along with a massive panoramic sunroof. However, the sunroof does take away a bit of headroom at the rear, especially for tall passengers. The rear seats do miss out on a central armrest as well, which will be noticeably missing, especially on long journeys.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Practicality-wise, the MG ZS EV offers good comfortable seating position, both at the front and rear. Other practicality aspect includes the boot. MG Motor India offers the ZS EV with a decent 448-litres of boot space, which can be extended further with the available 60:40 split of the rear seats.

Dimension Overview

Length (mm) 4314
Width (mm) 1809
Height (mm) 1644
Wheelbase (mm) 2585
Ground Clearance (mm) 161
Boot Space (litres) 448
MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Variants, Key Features & Safety

The MG ZS EV is offered in two variants: Excite and Exclusive. Both trims on the ZS EV come with a host of features and safety equipment as standard. Here are some of the key features on the MG ZS EV:

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details
  • Breathable Glow Logo
  • Eight-Inch Touchscreen Infotainment System
  • I-Smart 2.0, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 5G-Ready M2M Embedded Sim & More
  • Push-Button Start-Stop
  • PM 2.5 Air Filter
  • Dual-Pane Panoramic Sunroof
  • Rain-Sensing Front Wiper
  • 3-Level KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System)
  • Tilt Steering
  • 3 Driving Modes: Eco, Normal & Sport
  • Auto Headlamps With Follow-Me-Home Function
  • Electrically Adjustable & Foldable ORVMs
  • 6 Speakers (On Exclusive Variant Only)
  • Bluetooth & USB Connection Ports
MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Safety Features On The MG ZS EV:

  • Six Airbags
  • ABS With EBD
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Front & Rear Seat-Belt Reminder
  • Rear Parking Camera With Dynamic Guidelines
  • Disc Brakes On All Four Ends
  • Speed Sensing Door Lock
  • Impact-Sensing Door Unlock
  • ISOFIX Child Seat Mounts
  • Electric Parking Brake

Driving Impressions, Performance & Range

The MG ZS EV features a 3-phase permanent magnet synchronous motor under the bonnet. This is mated to a 44.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack, positioned under the floor of the SUV. The combination of the electric motor with the battery packs produces a maximum power output of 141bhp at 3500rpm and 353Nm of torque at 5000rpm. The powertrain is mated to an automatic transmission unit.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

MG Motor claims that the ZS EV can sprint from a 0 - 100km/h in just 8.3 seconds. The batteries are also said to offer a maximum range of 340km on a single charge (ARAI-Certified).

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Driving the MG ZS EV, the SUV immediately feels responsive with the torque from the motors kicking in almost instantly. There is a good amount of power to push the SUV forward with little to no hesitation. The availability of the three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport further assist in extracting the maximum power from the SUVs electric powertrain.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The MG ZS EV comes with its battery packs positioned below the cabin floor, this aids handling. The SUV feels sure-footed both at high-speed straights and while cornering. Due to the low centre of gravity, there is very little body roll from the SUV, further allowing you to push the car in corners.

The steering on the MG ZS is light, offering a good amount of control in city traffic conditions. Move onto the highway and the steering weighs up well, offering good feedback and ensuring a confident drive in almost every condition.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The suspension on the MG ZS EV is suited for the Indian driving conditions. The setup is soft, allowing the SUV to glide over potholes and bumps with ease. Braking, on the other hand, could have been a tad bit better. The car's braking is progressive with a lot of pedal travel required to bring the car to a complete stop.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

However, MG does offer three-levels of regenerative braking, which varies the braking response accordingly. Having said this, the highest setting on the regenerative braking does feel a bit intrusive.

NVH levels on the MG ZS EV is decent, to say the least. The cabin is quiet for most parts, however, a little bit of road noise still manages to creep in at higher speeds, or when pushed hard. There is also the whining noise from the electric motor which can be distinctly heard at all speeds.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Specification Overview

Electric Motor
3-Phase Permanent Magnet
Battery 44.5kWh Lithium-ion
Power (bhp)
141 @ 3500rpm
Torque (Nm)
353 @ 5000rpm
Transmission Automatic
Range (km)
340
0-100km/h
8.3 seconds (Claimed)
MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Pricing, Colour Options & Availability

Prices for the MG ZS EV are yet to be revealed, which will be announced at the time of launch. The electric SUV from MG Motor India is scheduled to go on sale in the Indian market in January-2020. Initially, the MG ZS EV will be available in just five cities in India: Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Delhi & Mumbai.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Bookings for the MG ZS EV has already started in the five cities. The electric SUV can be booked either online or through select dealers in the cities for an amount of Rs 50,000. Once launched in India, the MG ZS EV will be offered in a range of three colour options: Ferris White, Copenhagen Blue and Currant Red.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Warranty & Charging Facilities

MG Motor India along with the launch of the ZS EV in the Indian market will also be introducing its ‘eShield' warranty package. The new MG eShield will be offered for all private buyers, which includes five-years/unlimited kilometres warranty. Along with this, the ZS EV will also get five-years of RSA (Road-Side Assistance), Labour-Free Services and access to Charging Infrastructure.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

The company has also set up a number of charging stations in the five cities where the ZS EV will be available for purchase. Select dealerships across each of the five cities will come with super-fast 50kW charging stations available for customers 24x7. Customers of the MG ZS EV will also get an AC fast charger along with the SUV, which can be installed either at their home or office.

Below is a list of city-wise charging facilities set-up by MG Motor India:

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Delhi

  • MG Gurgaon Flagship (32 Milestone, Experion Center, Sector 15, NH-8, Gurugram)
  • MG Lajpat Nagar (EC,A-14, Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar- IV, New Delhi)
  • MG Delhi West Shivaji Marg (Plot No. 31, Shivaji Marg)
  • MG Noida (D-2, Sector 8, Noida)

Bangalore

  • MG Bengaluru Electronic City (195/6/2, Ward No. 192, Bharatena Agrahara, Lava Kusha Nagar, Hosur Road, Bengaluru)
  • MG Bengaluru ORR (Shree Bhuvaneswari Vokkaligara Sangha, Survey No. 102-1, B Narayanapura, ORR, Bengaluru)

Mumbai

  • MG Mumbai West (JVLR, Jogeshwari Caves Road, Gupha Tekdi, Jogeshwari East, Mumbai)
  • MG Thane (Shop No. 16A, Dosti Imperia, Ghodbunder Road, Thane West, Thane)

Ahmedabad

  • MG Ahmedabad SG Highway (Plot No. 2, Ground Floor, Ahmedabad SG Highway, Makarba, Ahmedabad, Gujarat)

Hyderabad

  • MG Hyderabad Banjara Hills (Road No. 2 Showroom, Road No. 12, Opposite Traffic Police Station, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana)
MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Competition & Fact Check

The MG ZS EV once launched in India will go up directly against the recently introduced Hyundai Kona EV. Currently, the Kona EV is the only rival to the ZS EV in the Indian market, however, in the future, it could go up against the Tata Nexon EV as well.

MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

Fact Check!

Model/Specifications MG ZS EV Hyundai Kona EV
Electric Motor 3-Phase Permanent Magnet Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
Battery 44.5kWh Li-ion 39.2kWh Li-ion
Power (bhp) 141 134
Torque (Nm) 353 395
Price NA* Rs 23.71 Lakh
MG ZS EV Review: First Drive Impressions, Performance, Range, Features, Charging, Specs & More Details

DriveSpark Thinks!

The MG ZS EV is a pretty impressive vehicle. It offers a simple, clean and no-nonsense driving experience. The conventional SUV (or rather a crossover) design, simple-yet-premium interior layout mixed with a good performing powertrain makes the ZS EV a good overall package for the Indian market. It is perfectly suited for the Indian roads and the daily city runs.

However, with the infrastructure for electric vehicles in India yet to grow, MG is taking a gamble launching the ZS EV. Having said that, we feel it is the right move from the relatively new brand and if priced competitively could stir the EV segment, not only for its current rivals but for the future ones as well.

What We Liked

  • Interior cabin space
  • Sharp acceleration and good steering response
  • Panoramic Sunroof

What We Didn't Like

  • Brakes could have been better
  • Hard Plastics around the lower part of the cabin

Writing by Rahul Nagaraj; Inputs & Photography by Punith Bharadwaj

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Read more on: #review #mg motor
Article Published On: Tuesday, December 24, 2019, 12:00 [IST]
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