Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • ZS EV is most powerful and quickest car in MG’s range
  • Good performance, plenty of zip around town
  • Not the best motorway companion

The standard MG ZS is offered with a pair of fairly unremarkable petrol engines that offer poor fuel economy and substandard performance. The electric powertrain, in contrast, is zippy, responsive and costs pennies to run. What’s not to like?

>> We rate the best electric SUVs for 2020

The electric motor produces 143hp and gets the ZS EV from rest to 62mph in 8.5 seconds – pretty good figures for a car this price. That’s only half the story, though – acceleration up to 30mph is really impressive. That’s all down to the way electric cars produce their power – it’s all available instantly from rest, tailing off as your speed increases.

This makes the ZS EV a really good town car. You can even surprise some performance cars off the lights, and there’s certainly enough power that if you put your foot down the tyres will chirp. Drive more sedately, and the instant takeup is still very appealing.

The ZS EV offers three levels of regenerative braking – operated by a switch marked ‘KERS’. Just like a Formula 1 car… by name. It means that lifting off the accelerator will have a braking effect, as the electric motor becomes a generator and reclaims some of that energy that might otherwise be lost in braking.

This means that for the most part you can drive the ZS EV without touching the brakes at all, though it’s worth noting that it won’t come to a complete stop by itself, unlike the Nissan Leaf with its e-Pedal mode.

Heading out onto faster roads isn’t likely to be as relaxing in the ZS as it would be in some rivals. The car’s top speed is just 87mph, so cruising at 70mph won’t leave too much in reserve. It’ll be fine for short jaunts, but those looking to do regular long journeys would be better served by a Tesla Model 3.

The ZS EV’s official combined range is 163 miles. MG claims that in town driving this rockets to more than 200 miles due to the energy recovery, however drive regularly on faster roads and motorways and you should expect to see the figure drop significantly.

Ride and handling

  • Tuned for comfort, not handling
  • Front tyres can struggle to cope with power
  • More than acceptable in city environment

We’ve yet to drive the ZS EV outside of the confines of central London, so we can’t comment on how the car handles itself above 30mph. We found that it’s a decent enough city companion, aided of course by the instant response of the electric motor.

The ZS’s steering is reasonably accurate though it’s a little slow to make nipping through traffic really satisfying. It’s also reasonably comfortable and deals with bumps well, though the unrefined suspension can feel like it’s struggling to keep the car’s body in check on potholed roads or over speed bumps.

Generally speaking, though, the ZS EV feels pretty unremarkable to drive – in a good way. Electric cars need to be accessible to all for widespread adoption.