MG makes EV easy

by Petrol Mum
MG ZS EV launch Mimi Elashiry

MG have launched the new ZS EV in Australia and it remains the best value electric vehicle available on the Australian market. The new 2022 ZS EV features an exterior makeover, complemented by new battery technology that delivers a superior driving range of up to 320km measured on the WLTP cycle, up from 263km of the 2021 model.

New on-board charging capabilities means up to 80% charging time in as little as 54 minutes, based on a 50kW combined charging system (CCS) with a front-mounted charging port making charging cable connection more convenient.

The new ZS EV will also offer owners its own app-based software architecture, known as iSmart, which is backed by Amazon’s AWS cloud-based system. This will allow owners to perform over-the-air updates, remote AC control and door locking, real-time navigation, ‘find my car’ parking lot search, live weather updates and stream audio from Amazon Music.

Both the ‘Excite’ and ‘Essence’ models come in a range of five striking colours to suit all styles and personalities: Brighton Blue Metallic; York White; Pebble Black; Sloane Silver Metallic and Diamond Red Metallic. The entry level ‘Excite’ model priced at $44,990 drive away price ($43,990 manufacturer’s suggested retail price), while the premium ‘Essence’ model is packed with features and priced at a competitive $48,990 drive away price ($47,990 manufacturer’s suggested retail price).

The MG HS Plus EV Excite.

To get a feel for the MG brand before the launch of the new ZS, I spent some time in the MG HS Plus EV Excite, a plug-in hybrid SUV priced at $47,690 drive away. The plug-in hybrid allows drivers the benefit of EV driving for short trips around town combined with a petrol engine for when you forget to charge the battery or are taking a longer trip.

Powered by a combination of a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine, a permanent magnet synchronous motor and a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, the HS Plus EV produces 189kW and 370Nm. Driven through the front wheels via a 10-Speed automatic transmission, the HS Plus EV Excite can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 190km/h. The ride in the Excite is acceptable, but it did not feel as refined as other medium sized SUVs I have driven.

The 16.6kWh battery offers an EV range of up to 63km from a single charge and charging can be done easily overnight, via a home 7kW fixed wall charger, taking approximately 5 hours to fully charge the battery. The Type 2 charging port is located on the driver’s side of the car at the rear and when you plug the cord in there is a locking sound and charging is indicated on the cord power source and via a graphic on the dash. The official combined fuel consumption is 1.7L/100km, and for my week I used 7.5L/100km driving in Auto-EV mode.

There is plenty of technology on offer in the HS Plus EV Excite controlled through the 10.1” colour touchscreen, which has cool graphics but is a bit slow to operate and on one occasion my phone did not connect automatically via Bluetooth. You get wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with two USB ports and one 12V outlet under the folding lid at the front of the centre console plus Satellite Navigation and the driver gets a large 12.3” virtual instrument cluster.

Both the HS Excite and Essence both come with the MG Pilot active safety features that includes Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Jam Assist, Intelligent Cruise Assist, Blind Spot Detection (indicated by a small light on the front door), Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Adaptive Cruise Control. The cruise control is set via a stalk on the steering column and I found it a little difficult to operate while I was driving.

The MG HS Plus EV range has six airbags including dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags as standard. Petrol variants come with a 5-star ANCAP (2019) safety rating, but the PHEV models have not been assessed and are unrated. The Excite has a standard rear-view camera with rear sensors, auto headlights and auto wipers.   

Some of the practical features I liked in the Excite were the hard plastic cubbies in the front doors that would fit a large drink bottle, the basic cooling in the cubby under the arm rest, the removable rubber mat in the base of the two cup holders and dual zone climate control. You do get phone control on the steering wheel, but this is only for picking up calls and not making calls and even though the Excite had a voice control button on the steering wheel designated via an androgynous silhouette, the functionality was not operational.

The seats in the Excite are covered with PU artificial leather and PVC and both front seats are heated. The driver’s seat has power adjustment for recline, forward/back and seat height, but with no memory positions and the passenger seat has manual adjustment for recline and forward/back only.

The rear seats have enough head and leg room for two adults to comfortably fit and the seats have 2-way manual recline adjustment. The centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two flip up cup holders at the front and a shallow storage cubby at the rear of the arm rest. There is also good-sized drink bottle storage in the rear door cubbies.

For younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats due to the overall width of the rear seat. My children were happy that there were two central air vents with manual direction and on/off control and below these are two USB ports. The shallow transmission tunnel does not have a mat over it, so this carpet may get worn over time.

The tailgate is power assisted to help you open it and the boot size is large enough for a weekly shop or a pram and a small shop or if more space is required the rear seats have a 40:60 split fold mechanism. There is a tyre repair kit under the boot floor and storage for the battery charging cord.  

The MG HS Plus EV comes with a 7 -year, unlimited-kilometre battery warranty (Private buyers only. Battery warranty for commercial use is 7 years/160,000km) to complement MG’s 7-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. The service interval is every 10,000km or 12 months, whichever occurs first and the cost of the first seven standard scheduled services is covered by the Precise Price Service Pricing and using the MG Australia website I calculated this to be $2,822.

MG Australia offers Australian consumers affordable EV options, whether that is for the pure EV ZS or the plug-in hybrid HS Plus EV. Visit your preferred MG dealer for more information.

The infotainment system graphicsThe infotainment system was a bit slow to operate
Practical cabin storage featuresRide is not as refined as similar medium-sized SUVs
Many active safety features come as standardThe HS Plus EV range has no ANCAP rating

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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