2022 MG ZS EV Review

The MG ZS EV gets more performance and updated styling for 2022. Should you be picking this over a traditional SUV?
The 2022 MG ZS EV comes in two variants now
The 2022 MG ZS EV comes in two variants nowShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe

The MG ZS EV has been around for a while, but it has finally received an update. You might be tempted to call it a facelift, and it is for the most part. You get fresh styling and revamped interiors. But this update to the ZS EV also brings with it a bigger battery, more range and more power. These are updates that elevate it beyond the mere tag of ‘facelift’ and confer upon it the tag of a proper update. There has been plenty of buzz around the ZS EV — not only on social media, but plenty of people in my circle asking me about it. Have the updates made the ZS an even more tempting buy than it was before?

2022 MG ZS EV styling

What’s going on here is obvious — the ZS EV has inherited the styling of the facelifted Astor that was launched not too long ago. You can tell with the shape of the headlamps that are identical to the Astor’s, and the way the face is styled. The real difference here is the fact that the grille has been deleted and replaced with a dimpled plastic panel. The previous MG ZS EV’s face had a faux black grille but this one doesn’t — and it is great to see MG embracing the EV future with this car’s styling.

Move over to the side and things remain similar to the Astor, though the wheels are different. You’ve got 17-inch wheels with aero-covers on them to improve efficiency and they look very cool. That massive ‘electric’ badge on the flanks remains and I honestly don’t understand why. This car looks like a proper EV, there’s really no need to clarify that fact. From the rear, the familiarity with the Astor continues with the taillights and overall design. The ZS EV is a good looking car, in my opinion. It is unabashedly an EV, and all the better for it.

2022 MG ZS EV interiors

The interiors have, like the exteriors, been revamped. The ZS EV feels much more techy with larger digital real estate than before, and a logically laid out dash. The highlight is the 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display on the centre console, though the 7-inch digital instrument cluster is well executed as well. Earlier, I found the icons indicating the mode and the regen settings too small on the cluster, but they are more visible with this update. The rotary dial to select drive and reverse remains, as do the three buttons that switch mode, KERS settings and throw up battery information on the screen. Worth talking about is the quality of materials — the ZS EV gets soft touch materials pretty much all over the dash and this lends it a very premium feel. It comes packing a fair bit of features too — there’s an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, 360-degree camera, panoramic sunroof and a wireless phone charger. To be fair, these are expectations at this price point and the ZS delivers. There are also radar-enabled safety features — blind spot monitor, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. Ventilated seats would have been a nice addition though. All in all, it is very similar to the Astor though the little talking bot is missing from the dash. Which honestly, I’m not too fussed about.
The rear is fairly comfortable. You’ve got good knee room and adequate headroom (the sunroof eats in to a little bit here), but the seats are comfortable. Three abreast may be a squeeze as it isn’t very wide — a Nexon EV is wider — but two in the back will be fine. You’ve got an armrest with cupholders, a separate headrest for the centre passenger and a completely flat floor — all great for comfort. If I do have one criticism here, it is that the floor feels too high and thus my knees point upwards when I’m sat on the seat. It isn’t the most comfortable position to be in, and I suspect this is due to the fact that the battery is in the floor.

2022 MG ZS EV drivetrain and performance

Things have gone up performance-wise and range-wise as well
Things have gone up performance-wise and range-wise as wellShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe

This is where things get interesting. The ZS EV now gets a bigger batter — 50.3kWh, up by 5.8kWh from the 44.5kWh that it was earlier. Along with this comes an increase in power — 174bhp, up from 141bhp. Let’s talk range first, because that’s directly related to the larger battery. MG now claims a range of 461km, but this is in test conditions. In the real world, you should see anything from between 320-330km of range in the Normal drive mode. This is up by about 30km from before. Not a lot, but 30km could go a long way in getting you to the next charging station. It also goes a long way in assuaging range anxiety. An indicator saying 80km range versus 110km range is a big difference in the head. I like the fact that MG has opted for a bigger battery — range truly is one of the big reasons why people don’t opt for EVs and this is a step in the right direction.

The other improvement is on the performance front. The ZS EV feels properly quick! Off the line, you don’t get the shove you’d expect from an EV but give it a moment, and it arrives hard and fast. This car can really pick up speed enthusiastically. More impressive was the acceleration when you’re rolling. Floor it at 40-60kmph and it shoots ahead, deploying maximum torque in the process. The three drive modes change up the performance (and consequently the range) — Eco dulls it down, Normal is adequate for 99 per cent of your driving, while Sport mode is a real laugh. In the real world, this performance is handy as making overtakes at speeds becomes a breeze. It also feels effortless — there’s no engine screaming, instead just silence as the speeds pick up. I was very impressed.

2022 MG ZS EV ride and handling

Another highlight of the MG ZS EV is the ride quality. Despite being a heavy car, body control is impressive and it deals with Indian roads very well. It rides impressively over potholes and bad patches — not allowing too much suspension noise in to the cabin (very important in an EV that has no drivetrain to drown out the noises), while soaking up the imperfections well. At no point does this feel like a small car that has been jacked up, but feels like a properly robust SUV that was designed to take on imperfect roads.

The ride quality of the 2022 MG ZS EV is impressive
The ride quality of the 2022 MG ZS EV is impressiveShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe

Meanwhile, handling is not too shabby either. It feels predictable, the steering feels direct and you can get the car to turn the way you want it to. There is some roll though, and understeer sets in early — a likely effect of the sheer weight of the car. Accelerating out of corners is not too easy either, as a rather intrusive traction control cuts back the otherwise enthusiastic power delivery so you don’t bonfire the tyres. All in all, the ZS isn’t a car that you want to drive particularly enthusiastically in the hills. It enjoys being driven at 7-10ths, and not more than that. Take it easy, and save some range in the process.

2022 MG ZS EV price and verdict

The more affordable Excite variant will be on sale later this year
The more affordable Excite variant will be on sale later this yearShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe

The MG ZS EV is available in two variants. The more affordable one is the Excite variant, costing Rs 21.99 lakh that will be on sale in July 2022. Meanwhile, what we are driving here is the Exclusive, that costs Rs 25.88 lakh. This doesn’t make the MG ZS EV particularly affordable, but it is still a very strong package. The Exclusive comes kitted out with all the bells and whistles, but the Excite does seem very tempting at its price point. It misses out on a few features but it retains the drivetrain package including the large battery and improved performance. The ZS EV goes head to head with the Hyundai Kona EV and is certainly the more polished product. The Nexon EV sits in the fray too, but the Tata is a segment down in terms of price, size and even range. The ZS EV was always a solid product and these updates make it even more enticing than before. Easily the best EV under Rs 30 lakh at the moment!

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