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MG ZS EV: Test drive in an electric SUV from China

This car should be taken seriously: the Chinese MG ZS EV is now also available in Germany. An electric SUV with a traditional name at a list price of 31,990 euros and a range of 260 kilometers. Test drive, dates, price.

  • The brand name MG is used by the Chinese SAIC group

  • Compact SUV with a length of 4.31 meters and good space

  • Only average: 44.5 kWh battery for a range of 260 km

Computers and smartphones have become Chinese brands how Lenovo, Huawai and Xiaomi have long made a name in Germany. And through quality instead of cheap technology.

So far, the Chinese have not been able to score with cars. The vehicles were too immature for that (crash test debacle at Brilliance and Suda), the difficulties in sales too great or the financial background too shaky (Borgward, Byton).

This could change now. MG is entering the German market and is currently offering two models: the plug-in hybrid MG EHS and the electric SUV called ZS EV presented here.

The only thing the brand has in common with the former British manufacturer is its name. After its bankruptcy in 2005, the brand rights were bought by the Chinese car group SAIC (Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation), which also sells Roewe ("Rover"), maintains partnerships with Volkswagen and already sells seven million vehicles a year. Only in Europe is SAIC largely a blank slate.

MG ZS with a surprising amount of space

The MG ZS looks good. A bit like Mazda, but that's basically no harm. With a length of 4.31 meters, the SUV is only a few centimeters longer than a VW Golf and is positioned exactly in the gap between small car SUV (Mazda CX-3, Ford Puma, VW T-Cross) and compact SUV (Mazda CX- 30, Ford Kuga, VW Tiguan). Despite the park-friendly dimensions, this is not the case Space available in the ZS surprisingly generous out. In the rear, even tall passengers sit very comfortably thanks to the good legroom, only the headroom is limiting because of the standard panoramic roof. It gets tighter when three people squeeze into the back seat, but that is not recommended anyway: MG has saved the middle headrest.

The back seat cannot be moved like in the VW T-Coss, for example, but the backrests can be divided into two parts, so that it is in itself with 448 liters of generous trunk can be expanded to 1116 liters. There is a stable floor and a high-quality felt - none of it seems cheap.

Good mix of touchscreen and real buttons

Just like the interior: handsome imitation wood behind the round one Automatic dial to turn like Jaguar, shiny chrome frames around the ventilation nozzles and soft surfaces on the inside of the door and in the upper part of the dashboard - you won't even find that on a VW T-Cross. The disappointment only comes in the lower half of the dashboard, where a lot of hard plastic was built in.

What the service As for: The mix of buttons and touchscreen is a success, and the functions in simply structured touchscreen menus open up after just a few minutes - that is, significantly faster than with some overloaded systems of European origin. Only the computer in the background is not the fastest, which is noticeable in delayed reactions. Good: Via Android Auto and Apple Car Play (Series), smartphones can easily be linked to the on-board screen.

Great comfort, good performance

And how does the MG drive? Very pleasant: Nothing rattles, the steering is very smooth, the seats are comfortable and the noise level is typically low. The chassis, which is more comfortable than sporty, digests bumps quite well. Like most e-cars, the MG ZS starts moving immediately and completely seamlessly when you step on the accelerator, accelerates spirited and as if pulled by a rubber band. 105 kW / 143 PS you take the electric motor off in any case, you never miss more power.

The Chinese sprints to 100 km / h in 8.2 seconds, the top is governed at 140 km / h (according to speedometer 155). That doesn't seem very lavish on German autobahns, but for an electric car it does not represent a completely pointless limitation: Consumption would rise sharply at higher speeds and reduce the range.

A manageable range with a 44.5 kWh battery

The range is not record-breaking anyway. With a 44.5 kWh battery In the belly, the MG is not one of the top vehicles in the segment: Kia and Hyundai are significantly ahead with their electric cars Niro and Kona Elektro with 64 kWh and PSA with Opel Mokka, Corsa-e, Peugeot 2008 and DS3 Crossback e-tense with 50 kWh slightly about it. In the WLTP cycle there is such a thing with the MG Range of 263 kilometersWhich does not seem unrealistic with the appropriate driving profile on the other side of the autobahn and in summer and, according to MG, can even rise to more than 400 kilometers at a constant 60 km / h. If you only drive in the city, you rarely have to recharge. In winter and on country roads, however, it should be well below 200 kilometers.

Three different Recuperation levels, selectable via a button, feed different amounts of energy back into the battery. The strongest brakes the SUV noticeably when the accelerator is released, but not quite as strongly as with a BMW i3.

Save electricity in eco mode

On our first test drives with a mixed driving style, we are on one Average consumption of a good 19 kWh come, which leads to a range of around 230 kilometers. Anyone who seldom travels long distances can certainly cope with it, commercial agents in a hurry probably not. But the ZS EV is not supposed to be a long-distance vehicle either, MG sees it as a "city SUV".

You can save electricity with the "Energy" mode, in which the power is not reduced, but "only" the accelerator pedal characteristic is changed. That means: You have to press the accelerator much harder than in the other modes - or hold back. The difference to the "normal" mode can be clearly felt, but you don't feel slowed down.

The third "Sport" driving mode feels as if the SUV has still activated a turbocharger somewhere: It's moving very quickly - clearly the setting with the most fun factor. One likes to try it out for a moment, but the electric car driver's common sense wins out relatively quickly and one returns to a different driving mode. Who wants to voluntarily limit the range further?

Fast charging technology as standard

Because the MG with CCS socket as standard is delivered and with it fast charging is, intermediate charging on the motorway with a very decent maximum charging power of up to 85 kW direct current is kept within tolerable limits: the empty battery should reach 80 percent in 40 minutes. With “normal” AC charging stations, you need significantly more patience. The MG only charges in one phase with a maximum of 7 kW - therefore more than seven hours pass before the battery is full. The MG is in bad company: Fast AC charging with alternating current is neglected by most electric car manufacturers.

Plugging in the charging cable is a fiddly affair: A flap at the bow swings up and releases the connections, but because it's always somehow in the way, you get annoyed about it every time. You also have to know that the MG only charges electricity when it is locked. Unfortunately, the MG does not show how much current it is actually drawing from the column and how long it takes for the battery to be fully charged, instead it only shows the current fill level of the battery in percent and the current range. This is not a good way to plan.

MG ZS EV: Technical data

Technical data (manufacturer information)

MG ZS EV

Motor / drive

Electric motor, 105 kW / 143 PS, 353 Nm torque, front-wheel drive

Performance

8.2 s to 100 km / h, 140 km / h top

Battery capacity

44.5 kWh

max. charging power AC / DC

7/85 kW

Consumption (WLTP)

approx. 17 kWh / 100 km, 0 g CO₂ / km

Dimensions

L 4.31 / W 1.81 / H 1.64 m

Trunk

448 - 1116 l

Empty weight

1518 kg

Trailer load (unbraked / braked)

Vehicle / drive battery guarantee

5 years (150,000 km) / 8 years (150,000 km)

price

from € 31,990

Very good standard equipment

In the Furnishing The Chinese strive for completeness and offer a lot as standard, which other manufacturers usually cost extra. Even the basic version rolls with keyless go, air conditioning, navigation system, rear parking beeper, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six airbags, light sensor and one Armada of assistance systems off the assembly line and, among other things, there is no weakness in terms of safety equipment with distance cruise control, collision warning, emergency braking and traffic jam assistant, reverse traffic detection and a well-functioning speed limit detection.

Just that Lane keeping system, which is on board from the second and therefore best equipment level, works a little rough. The "Luxury" also has electrically adjustable artificial leather seats, a panoramic sliding roof and a reversing camera on board.

The MG ZS gets five stars in the crash test

The days when Chinese cars crumbled in a crash like the Brilliance B6 once did seem to be over. The MG ZS picks up five stars in the EuroNCAP crash test (here the detailed results at EuroNCAP *) and is thus on a level with the established competition. The usual eight-year guarantee on the drive battery, but also five on the vehicle, should also create trust. With this, MG outperforms most established manufacturers - with the exception of Kia (seven years) and Hyundai (five years).

Good value for money

With the exception of the not-too-generous range, the MG ZS has no glaring weaknesses. It is available from around 32,000 euros. That is minus the current environmental bonus of 9,000 euros 23,000 euros - an almost unbeatable value for money.

You can see very clearly on this well-made vehicle: The Chinese manufacturers have done their homework. In Europe, the brand with the traditional name is already available in some countries, e.g. in the Netherlands and Norway. From 2025 MG aims to sell 100,000 units in Europe. Then a plug-in hybrid should also be available. So the Chinese mean business.

Remains that questionwhether German car buyers can actually make friends with a Chinese model. The dealer network is currently being established, MG is already available from several multi-brand dealers * in Germany. The Chinese competition from Aiways is currently using a completely different distribution channel: The slightly larger Aiways U5 can be obtained from an electronics retailer from around 35,000 euros - like a notebook from Lenovo or a smartphone from Huawai.

* The link leads to an external page for which the respective website operator is responsible

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