I drove one of the cheapest new SUVs in Poland.  I wish I had looked at the data first

Of course, you have to look at the price, but do not be fooled by it. The very low price of the MG ZS may mean that the standard equipment is poor. But that is not the case. So you look at what you get without the extra charge, and again that can confuse you. Because if the standard is high and the price is low, perhaps at the expense of driving comfort or quality of finish? It's time to check it out. Don't look at the data or even the car name beforehand.

Because it's also confusing. There has been an MG ZS before. This badge was placed on a compact sedan produced between 2001 and 2005. At the same time, today's MG ZS is not just a different body type, but even a different segment. The MG ZS, introduced in 2017, is the first small SUV in the history of the brand, which this year celebrates its centenary.

MG ZS: prices and equipment

Well, let's start with money. The basic MG ZS costs PLN 79,000. PLN 800 The standard includes, among others:


  • 7-year warranty (max. 150,000 km)

  • 17-inch aluminum wheels;

  • adaptation;

  • Rear parking sensors

  • Electric adjustment, heating and folding of side mirrors.

  • Electric adjustment of the four side windows

  • 10.1-inch touchscreen on the center console;

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity;

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel.

At the time of writing this test, only three new SUVs are cheaper than the MG ZS in Poland: the Suzuki Ignis, which is one and a half smaller (from PLN 73,900), and the Hyundai Bayon City (at least PLN 74,600) and longer than the ZS-a by 2 mm Beijing 3 (minimum PLN 78,900).

Compared to the cheaper model, the MG ZS Concept has more standard features:


  • automatic transmission;

  • Rear camera with 360-degree parking camera system;

  • Electrically adjustable driver's seat (in six directions);

  • Front seat heating

  • keyless entry;

  • navigation;

  • Instrument cluster screen

And all this does not even cost a hundred. The price stopped at PLN 3,700, earlier at PLN 96,000. 300 Polish zloty.

Now that we've identified the financial issues, it's time to check if the MG ZS has any other arguments. Or maybe there is nothing interesting to say apart from the price and equipment?

MG ZS: quality, interior, trunk

Photo: Krzysztof Wojciechovich / Otto Swiat

MGZS

The first cognitive dissonance appears after sitting inside the MG ZS. Please don't look at the wheelbase – it won't tell you anything. In the technical data it is 258 cm long, but when I sit at the back, I have the impression that it is much larger.

With my height of 188 cm, the 258 cm wheelbase gives me a lot of freedom, much more than I expected after reading the data. I also have plenty of room for my head.

The build quality of the British-Chinese SUV is also impressive. The seats and most of the dashboard of the MG ZS are covered in leather-like materials: very pleasant to the touch and decorated with red stitching. The MG logo is embroidered on the front headrests with the same thread – a precision befitting luxury clothing.

MGZSPhoto: Krzysztof Wojciechovich / Otto Swiat

MGZS

The rest of the materials are slightly above average for an SUV of this size. Even the central tunnel – where less complex plastics are usually used – is finished in gloss black, i.e. the still popular “piano black”. The assembly of the individual cockpit elements is very precise. The only strange thing was the driver's door. Sometimes you had to hit them harder, otherwise the instrument cluster reported that it was not closed.

However, visibility out the MG ZS's rear window is great, and the steering wheel feels great in your hands. The multimedia menu is modern, clear and legible, although it sometimes lags – for example, when you need to go from the main screen to the air conditioning menu.

MGZSPhoto: Krzysztof Wojciechovich / Otto Swiat

MGZS

However, its operation can be a model for those manufacturers for whom huge displays overshadow ergonomic problems. Yes, in the MG ZS with air conditioning, everything can be done through the 10.1-inch display, but the main parameters – including temperature and air flow – can also be adjusted using classic keys, which, together with five other keys, form a horizontal line Classy elegant.

Overall, the MG ZS cockpit design exudes elegance, elegant moderation and timeless style. If we add comfortable seats (with very decent lateral support) and a very large trunk (448-1375 litres), the interior comes out without any major drawbacks. Does this beautiful picture continue after starting the engine? Well, here comes another cognitive dissonance.

MS ZS: driving experience, fuel consumption and comfort

Well, if you look at the data, it's a disaster. The 111 hp 1.0 turbo engine of the test version needs up to 12.4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Drama and not much else.

But this is further proof that you should not read the data before driving. Because the MG ZS autonomously accelerates much more quickly. From the technical description, it seems that the dynamics are somewhat lacking, but in reality – for a small SUV – they are really good. What's worse is that during vigorous acceleration, the normally quiet engine emits infrequent sounds.

MGZSPhoto: Krzysztof Wojciechovich / Otto Swiat

MGZS

The sounds in the MG ZS are strange, because each of them – the engine, the rolling tires and the air flowing around the body – are not noise in themselves, but combined at more than 100 km/h they form a sound pitch that can be heard more discreetly..

My second reservation is the suspension – hard, but fortunately not too noisy. Some competitors handle inequality better. This is surprising because the larger MG HS has one of the most comfortable suspension systems in its very crowded segment.

Because if MG wanted to give the ZS a sporty character with a strong suspension, it made a mistake with the steering system, which turned out to be quite “soft” and rather precise.

Fortunately, fuel consumption is not sporty. During a 26km drive on Route 801 and the Warsaw South Bypass before 10am, the computer showed 5.9L/100km. So the MG ZS is cheap not only in terms of price.

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