Apart from the TF, production of which finished in 2011, all of these models have been practical hatchbacks and crossovers rather than sports models, though all have a mildly sporting flavour. More striking has been their keen pricing, and in several cases a low-rent interior finish to go with it. All of which has meant pretty modest sales for a nominally British brand in its home market, and if sales have steadily climbed, the fact that awareness of this revived and reoriented marque is low confirms its limited impact here.
With its new ZS crossover, an alternative to the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Mazda CX-3 and Ford Ecosport, MG hopes to add real impetus to its sales. In its favour is the fact that the ZS enters one of the fastest growing segments, that it’s at least £2,000 cheaper than its rivals and well-equipped besides, and comes with a seven year, 80,000-mile manufacturer (rather than insurance backed) warranty. MG also claims that it’s built to a higher standard than its previous models.
The ZS is offered with two engines, both petrol, consisting of a reworked version of MG’s existing 104bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder, and a new General Motors-made109bhp three-cylinder turbo also found in various small Vauxhalls. This engine comes only with a six-speed automatic transmission, and provides a broader band of torque, and more of it, than the 1.5. There are three trim levels, the entry level Explore – including Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, air conditioning, a trip computer, three steering power assistance modes and LED lighting all round – Excite (8in touchscreen, DAB radio, alloys wheels, seat height adjustment, climate control and Apple Carplay) and the range-topping Exclusive which adds reversing camera, in-built navigation with traffic and faux leather seats. Absent are lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition and several other electronic safety features, but these will arrive next year, says MG.