MG ZS Review 2023

MG ZS At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The MG ZS is a budget-priced small SUV with a long warranty and spacious, practical interior. Quality feels low inside the car, however, and the driving experience is underwhelming.

+Very affordable for a new SUV. Long standard warranty. Excellent boot space.

-Neither engine choice is particularly powerful or economical. Slow-witted automatic gearbox. Three-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

New prices start from £15,495, brokers can source from £25,495
Insurance Groups are between 10–11
On average it achieves 85% of the official MPG figure

The MG ZS was updated in 2020, but the pace of change in the small SUV class is demonstrated by how rapidly it now feels left behind in most key areas by newer, better rivals and even models from within MG’s own line-up, such as the MG ZS EV. The MG ZS offers cheap family transport, but faces plenty of competition from rivals such as the Suzuki Vitara, popular Dacia Duster and South Korea’s SsangYong Tivoli. Read on for our MG ZS review.

First launched in 2017, the MG ZS landed right in the heart of the affordable SUV sector. With prices starting from less than £18,000, it is one of a growing army of cheap SUVs.

In terms of price versus interior space, it looks a bargain, with a roomy cabin and plenty of boot capacity. There is also a lot of standard equipment, with every version gaining LED headlights, air-conditioning, cruise control and rear parking sensors.

Following a facelift in 2020, a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity was made standard across the range.

The facelift also improved cabin quality, but it still lags behind most mainstream rivals. There is lots of shiny black plastic to remind you of the budget price tag.

On the road, the driving experience also reflects the budget price, with vague steering and plenty of body roll. Many newer MG models are engaging to drive, but the MG ZS is not one of them.

The engine range has been kept simple for the MG ZS, with just two petrol options available to choose. The 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine has been used in previous MG models, while the 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit is more modern.

When first launched, the latter engine could only be combined with a six-speed automatic gearbox, but a six-speed manual is now available as well.

Neither engine is particularly quick, or that economical, with official figures showing a combined average of up to 42.7mpg with the 1.0-litre T-GDI.

There is, of course, a separate, all-electric MG ZS EV, which solves many of the issues found in the regular MG ZS. As one of the cheapest electric cars around it is worthy of your attention, with a competitive battery range and no real loss of boot capacity. It also comes with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

The MG ZS is a demonstration of how rapidly the MG brand has developed in only a short space of time. New models such as the electric MG4, and indeed the larger MG HS, have made the MG ZS look behind the times.

There is certainly value for money to be had with the MG ZS, but the Dacia Duster does the budget SUV role much better if you want a new car. For those considering used options, the Kia Stonic and stablemate the Hyundai Kona both offer a strong warranty.

Unless you are considering the electric MG ZS EV, which has many more redeeming features, the MG ZS is now too outdated in this ultra-competitive market to recommend.

Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar’s MG ZS review.

Ask Honest John

What should we replace our Kia Venga with?

"We want to replace our Kia Venga as the warranty has expired. It's a great car but now too expensive for us to stay with Kia. Our budget is limited, we don't want PCP and do want a long warranty. My husband and son are both 6 foot 3 inches and I'm 5ft 10. Size wise - what could you recommend we look at please? Is the MG ZS or a Dacia Duster worth looking at and which is better size wise? "
I would personally go for the Duster which starts from £2,000 less than the MG and has stronger residuals. One area the MG ZS wins out on is warranty - it is covered for seven years/80,000 miles versus the Dacia's three-year/60,000mile cover. That said, you would be able to extend the Dacia's warranty and still spend less than if you bought the MG. Choosing a car is a very personal thing, but I prefer the rugged appearance of the Duster and its more comfortable ride. I'm 6ft 2" and have loads of room inside. That said, the Duster's boot is smaller than the MG's but only by 3 litres. Here are our reviews of the cars: Dacia: MG:
Answered by Russell Campbell

What do you think of the MG 3?

"My daughter commutes from South Wales to Bristol every day. She has a 10 year old, high mileage Peugeot 207 and is thinking of buying a new MG - either 3 or ZS as there seems to be good deals available. New car must be petrol as Bristol is banning diesels next year. Is this a good idea and is the scrappage scheme worth considering? Many thanks."
MG offers good value for money. The 3 and the ZS won't win any prizes for refinement, but they are well-equipped and backed by a seven-year/80,000 mile warranty. As a long distance commuting car, I think they are a decent choice. MG's scrappage deal will give your daughter £2000 trade-in value, which is only worth considering if it exceeds the market value of your daughter's current car.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a MG ZS cost?

Buy new from £25,495(list price from £32,995)