The bargain of the year is the MG ZS, but is this Chinese SUV a good buy? We tested it!

Another car of 40,000 euros that is not available to the average public. This is the most common comment on our networks in recent months. How many years have we not seen a compact, well-equipped SUV with a good trunk that hardly goes below 30,000 euros? Today I present to you the MG ZS, a car that meets these requirements, but part of only 12,950 euros. we might think that this has some kind of trapbut it is its final price on offer for the access version, 2,000 euros cheaper than the version we are testing today.

What is the origin of the new MG?

Where does MG come from? MG is the acronym for Morris Garages. It was a historic British brand founded in 1924, and for decades it was in the orbit of British Leyland, to later become controlled by Rover. Its history was convulsive, and although it enjoyed good popularity at the end of the 20th century, it went bankrupt in 2005 together with Rover, its parent company. In 2007, MG Motor was refounded with Chinese capital.specifically from the giant SAIC Motor, a consortium that currently has joint ventures with manufacturers such as Volkswagen or General Motors.

In Europe, MG retains a modest presence: a design center and technical departments.

SAIC is the largest car manufacturer in China, and after relaunching the brand in its domestic market, it wants to reconquer Europe with an affordable and great value for money proposition. All MGs currently sold in Europe are developed and produced in China.

An inconspicuous design car

The MG ZS measures 4.32 m, and although we could almost consider it a compact SUV, it is, by philosophy, a B-segment car. Its design is nothing to write home about. It is a car where the radiator grille is the main point of aesthetic personality, with a large logo in the central position. Beyond this detail, we find a vehicle with a friendly appearance, with smooth lines and without an ornate design. Nothing particularly stands out in its design and it is almost as if MG had wanted not to polarize the opinion of its potential clients.

On the one hand, it is not going to win our hearts and it is not going to win any design award, but on the other hand, it is difficult for its design to dislike or not fit. And this is a car that wants to reach as wide an audience as possible. By positioning and dimensions, the MG ZS is a rival to cars like the Dacia Duster, Renault Captur or Peugeot 2008, staying far from C-segment cars like the SEAT Ateca or the Hyundai Tucson.

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This is the interior of the MG ZS

Upon entering the driving position of the MG ZS we find a very logical looking dashboard, where nothing is out of place. Everything has a logical layout and input, the perceived quality is remarkable. No hard plastics in highly visible areas and the upper part of both the dashboard and the doors are upholstered in a fairly convincing imitation leather. Even the center console is covered in leatherette. The aerators do not creak and everything feels solid. This is very good news for such a cheap car.

The visual packaging and perceived quality are above any car of its price.

The seats are upholstered in imitation leather and are electrically adjustable – in a car of less than 15,000 euros, yes – but they have been small, as if they were designed for someone of more compact stature. I have to put a but: its upholstery is very hoteven at very normal outside temperatures, and upholstery feels somewhat “plasticy” or cheapLike the steering wheel cover. The steering wheel, by the way, is adjustable in height and not in depth. In my case it hasn’t bothered me, but someone shorter might.

The instrumentation is partially digital in this Luxury version. Its color screen is still an on-board computer with some additional function: it has few customization possibilities and does not allow us to display navigation information. The infotainment system screen is 10.1 inches. It is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although not wireless. Its main menu is structured in configurable widgets and its operation is intuitive. It does not have too many functions or complex menus.

The instrumentation is simpler in the Comfort access versions, but the infotainment system is identical.

The only downside that we can put is that its fluidity is modest and the browser loads very slowly, revealing that its processing power is not cutting edge. However, since there is integration with a standard smartphone, we should not worry in the least. The rear seats have surprised me for good. Although they are only suitable for two adults, they do not have armrests and there is a marked central tunnel, the side seats are surprisingly spacious in all their dimensions. It almost seems that we are riding in a car of a higher segment.

One point in favor of MG: the quality of the rear doors is identical to that of the front doors. As for the trunk, the MG ZS has a trunk of 448 liters. It is a trunk in the middle of the segment in volume and regular shapes, but conditioned by a relatively high loading mouth and not completely lined in plastic. The cargo floor has a double bottom, under which additional space and the anti-puncture kit are hidden. To establish a comparison, the Peugeot 2008 has 435 liters of trunk and the Dacia Duster, 475 liters.

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At the wheel of the MG ZS 1.5 VTI

The version of the MG ZS we are testing It mounts a 1.5 atmospheric engine. A four-cylinder engine with 106 hp, associated with a five-speed manual gearbox. The first thing I have to tell you is that I expected an unrefined, crude and noisy engine. But in truth, it’s a silky smooth, vibration-free engine. Of course, its benefits are scarce: if we want there to be a noticeable response, we will have to take it above 4,000 rpm. Or maybe opt for the 1.0 turbo with 111 hp, with similar performance but more thrust at low speeds.

The 1.5 VTI engine is of SAIC origin. It is not a propellant developed by another manufacturer.

A priori this engine should be reliable and solid, even if it is not too exciting. Of course, lacking hybridization or electrification, logically we will have to settle for a C label from the DGT. The behavior of the car is not to shoot rockets, but nobody pretends that it is: the steering tells us absolutely nothing but it is very comfortable, the feel of the change is precise and soft but very artificial, and the suspension has an openly comfortable setting – it will only become dry when the asphalt is really very broken or bumpy.

The insulation of the car is more than satisfactory and, moreover, its consumption can be contained if we are careful with the accelerator: in this test we have achieved a consumption of about 6.5 l/100 km in mixed use. It is not a car whose dynamics are going to excite us, but it is comfortable, allows long trips without any problem – as long as we do not intend to overtake in a hurry in secondary schools – and it will take us to and from work. There are better alternatives if we value the dynamism of a car, but to go from A to B, this MG ZS more than meets.

Is it a good idea to buy a Chinese car?

It is a doubt that many potential clients may have. As for reliability, at Diariomotor we test new cars, and therefore, we cannot pass judgment on it. Of course, its engine is an atmospheric gasoline and its change is manual, therefore, we are talking about a simple car with little troublesome maintenance. Every car sold in Europe must pass European type approval and offer a minimum three-year warranty. MG offers a seven-year warranty on its ZS or 150,000 km (whichever comes first).

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In addition, every brand is obliged to guarantee a supply of spare parts and spare parts for 10 years. MG’s commercial network currently covers around 30 dealers in Spain, and will soon expand to areas where it has less coverage, such as the northwest of the peninsula. For next year, they want to reach 100 points of sale in Spain. Periodic checks and maintenance should therefore not be a problem.


MG is postulated as one of the brands with the greatest potential for future growth. In a scenario of widespread price increases, Chinese brands are positioning themselves not only as an alternative to traditional brands, but also as alternative to low-cost like Dacia. The MG ZS starts at 12,950 euros in its access version, with almost as complete equipment as the one you have seen, in which only expendable elements are missing such as electric leatherette seats or the 360-degree reversing camera, in addition to GPS navigation or rain sensor.

The price of the ZS is comparable or lower than that of a Dacia Sandero or a Kia Picanto access, much smaller cars and in which we would still have to equip extras such as touch infotainment systems or air conditioning, standard in the MG ZS. The MG ZS has shown us that it is a correct car. Without great pretensions, with fair benefits and modest finishes, but spacious, comfortable and with the necessary equipment for day to day. For those who want to buy a car to go from A to B, it is a car that complies.

But its key, without a doubt, is that absolutely no one offers more for less. Whether we like it or not MG is in the right place at the right time to break into the European marketoffering a product that other brands cannot, or perhaps are not interested in offering.

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