It’s been a turbulent few decades for the MG brand. Known and loved by so many in Britain, cars like the Midget captured our attention and hearts! But fast forward a few years, and MG are no longer known for turning out fiery little cars like that. They’re now Chinese owned and are supplying some markets with sensible EVs with good space and excellent range. Who’d have predicted that?!
But, let’s get some potential confusion out of the way early on, because MG are doing refreshes at a frightening rate for different markets these days. So if you like the look of what you see today, jump on to MG’s website for your region and see what’s available.
Let’s dive into Performance. And this part is good, because you might be surprised! We’ve become accustomed, in terms of sensible family Estate cars or crossover SUVs to not be particularly fast. So an electric version, you know, one of those milk floats…they’re going to be seriously slow, right?
Well, let’s look at the numbers. The MG5 Long Range has a 115kW motor that turns out 156PS and 260Nm of torque. So, you’re looking at the 0-62mph sprint in 7.7 seconds. How does the ZS EV compare? Well, you got a 115kW motor in that also with the same horsepower and torque as the MG5, but it’s not as fast, at 8.4 seconds. Top speed is limited to just under 110mph, about 5 or 6 slower than the MG5. But let’s face it, if you even approach those numbers, you’re losing your licence!
So neither car is going to be setting lap records at the Nurburgring. But, it is nice being the sleeper car at those traffic lights, or having that effortless acceleration to merge lanes on the motorway!
Design & Styling
In terms of design and styling, neither of these cars are going to set the world alight. MG aren’t trying to do that either. So the aesthetics on the exterior are… unremarkable. The MG5 sits on 16” rims that look a little undersized. There is a character line that runs the length of the car joining the front and rear light clusters. Inside, there hasn’t been much development compared to the smaller battery version. There’s a good bit of scratchy plastic, and it does lack the premium feel of some of competition…but then again, at this price maybe there isn’t much competition!
On the other hand, the ZS EV has had a more effective refresh. The grill at the front is gone, in favour of this Kona-esque nose. You get 17” alloys which are more fitting. But the bigger difference is inside, where MG have upgraded the screen, the software and introduced some nice digital dials. The materials are more luxurious than the MG5, and aesthetically more appealing thanks to some nice stitching and the feel of the fabrics.
We’ve already mentioned these cars and their practicality, so let’s focus on that for a moment. Because there’s a lot of young families and taxi drivers going to be interested in these.
The ZS EV packs a good punch for its size, as it’s only 4.3 metres long. That’s in comparison to the MG5 which is 4.5 metres. So do you get much more space inside? Well, the MG5 fairs pretty well here. 464 litres of space, and 578 litres to the roof if you’re not using the parcel shelf. Fold the back seats down and that expands out to a whopping 1,456 litres!
The ZS EV has 470 litres, but only 1,100 if you fold the back seats down. So the winner in terms of practicality is the MG5 here. Although the original MG5 only had a roof racks for decoration, they’re now rated thankfully. The ZS EV, as well as roof racks for 75kg can also tow up to 500kgs.
Battery & Range & Charging
Now onto the good stuff…batteries, range and charging. So considering the relatively cheap price, this is where these cars start to sing! Sure, the Model 3 and Y will charge faster, accelerate faster and can have more range, but they’re also in a completely different price bracket.
Battery capacity in the MG5 was upgraded recently from just over 50kWh to an impressive 61.1kWh. So what does this mean for range? The estate has a WLTP combined cycle range of 403km or 250 miles. But a lot of the driving for a car like this will be in the city where the MG5 will be capable of over 500km in good conditions. Pretty impressive! But let’s look at the ZS EV now and see how it compares. The first thing to note is the increased battery pack of 72.6kWh, 68.3 usable. Although you will be able to get a smaller pack around 50kWh. That’s pretty good if you ask me!
On the WLTP combined cycle, that will take you 440km or 273 miles. Around the city, you may well get upwards of 350 miles in mild conditions! Despite the low price, both these packs are liquid cooled.
So with ranges like that, you won’t be plugging in that often at all! But what if you do, or what if you’re on a longer road trip and want to do some fast charging? Let’s look at the numbers and try to understand what they mean. On AC, the MG5 on a domestic 7 to 7.5kW charger will do a full 0-100% charge in about 9 hours. The ZS EV has a bigger battery so will take in the region of 11 hours. On DC, both cars will push past 70kW. So it’s a little slower than the likes of the e-208, Mokka e or iD.4…but it’s still pretty reasonable.
This is a good time to note that the MG ZS EV has an ace up its sleeve, because it has V2L capability! That’s Vehicle to Load, and it can put out up to 2.2kW. So you can plug domestic appliances into your ZS EV and run them off the battery in the car! Although it’s less than the Kia EV6 and IONIQ5, it’s still one of only a handful of cars that can do V2L.
Technology & Software
Technology and software in the MGs are surprisingly good. Now don’t be expecting Tesla or Polestar standards here. It’s a bit laggy in the MG5, and not nearly as clean as some of the competition. But when you get down to the bones of it, there’s a lot to like. But the ZS EV comes out ahead here.
MG have what they’re calling their MG Pilot software, which is essentially a Driver Assist Package. You get Adaptive Cruise Control, collision warning, automatic braking and lane keep assist. But there’s also a pretty snazzy new app. And you get a host of features like Android Auto, Car Play, Navigation.
So which is the one to go for? Well, if you have a lot of money, there’s a good chance you’ll take neither. You’ll go for a Model 3 Long Range, or maybe even an Audi Q4 etron or Skoda Enyaq or something like that. But for those that want a reliable family run-around, or a taxi… on a budget, then the MGs really offer something. Personally, I love an estate. So the range and space in the MG for the price is the winner.
But on the other, for the sake of an extra £2,000 or so I get the extra range and V2L functionality of the ZS EV. Oh, I don’t know…what do you guys think? What would you go for?
So, let us know what you think in the comments below. We love to hear from people all over the world.
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