2023 MG ZS Trophy Sport 51kWh (facelift) Review : The people's power
Singapore - MG has given their small attainable-ish ZS EV (click this blue text for the previous review) an important makeover. When the ZS first arrived, it presented itself as an affordable bang-for-buck EV. For those who then decided to try electric, it really was transport which would not break the bank (too much). But that was in 2020, where COEs were less insane, which also then meant that you could go electric for under $130k.
Now, there are more players in our tiny car space, which would mean that a car which simply disappears into the crowd would simply not cut it. This is why MG's update of the ZS is a timely and important one. The small EV’s most noticeable change to the exterior is its friendly “Squirtle” looking front-end… Well, that and also a new rim design.
For the most part, interior elements have been retained, and like in the previous car overall quality is decent. What is new though, is the larger 10.1-inch “floating” touchscreen, which supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The air-conditioning controls have been tidied-up, and there is some improvement in its physical button logic. The new widget-rich infotainment interface is an improvement over the previous one, but I still find that its reaction time is too sluggish. There is a wireless charging pad, located below the screen, which is accompanied by two USB ports, and a 12V socket.
For the driver, there is a new digital 7-inch instrument display, which provides more driver-crucial information at a glance. This also boasts a digitised view of vehicles ahead as you drive, as interpreted by the car’s MG Pilot suite.
So, there is a small but forgettable feature which I feel that MG had put some thought into - that is a USB port, cleverly located behind the rearview mirror, which is clearly intended for the dashcam.
Overall, the ZS’s interior is decent for its class, though I would wish that some elements could have been better presented.
On the road, the facelifted ZS offers more kick. The front-mounted motor produces 174hp and 280Nm; previously, this was at 143hp and 353Nm. Acceleration as expected is smooth, and you have at your disposal, the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), which allows you three levels of your lift-off-and-lurch, which you can adjust to your liking.
If you are a keen driver, you might not like that the steering lacks feel, and keeping the car going in a straight line, can at times be more of a suggestion. I did wish though that the brakes could be better, especially when the KERS is dialled down.
You will experience some wind noise once you bring the B Segment SUV to speed, but this is far from a deal breaker. The suspension can come across as being on the stiff side, but this is to no surprise, because the ZS, like most EVs, needs that stiffness to counteract the weight of the battery.
Speaking of batteries, there is more range thanks to a larger 51kWh battery. Maximum range has been upped to a more practical 320km (WLTP), 50km more than the pre-facelifted ZS. MG says that charging the battery with a 100kW charger to 80%, takes just 40 minutes, while a 7kW trickle charger will fully charge it in 7.5 hours. Pretty decent numbers if you ask me. Power consumption is also very decent, at an official 17.3kWh; as for me, I managed something closer to 17.8kWh, but that was with a heavier right foot.
Times have become tougher for buyers in general, as skyrocketing COE prices are not doing the industry any justice. The facelifted MG ZS does the job considerably better than the previous iteration, but now with more power, it has again become a category B COE car. This would be the last thing it needs, especially with our small car space, as the ZS would already go up against the outgoing Hyundai Kona EV, KIA Niro EV, Peugeot e-2008 and Opel Mokka-e.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
2023 MG ZS Trophy Sport 51kWh (facelift)
Electric Motor 174hp/280Nm
Electric Range up to 320km (WLTP)
Top Speed 175km/h
Dimensions 4314/1809/1644mm (LxBxH)