MG’s new ZS EV is a family-friendly electric car, designed to appeal to motorists who want the advantages of a zero emissions vehicle in a practical and affordable package.

A drawback with electric cars, especially SUVs, is that - despite being cheep to run - they’re often very pricey to buy in the first place.

The fact the ZS is the most affordable vehicle in its class underlines MG’s noble aim of bringing high-tech electric vehicles to the masses.

After a week in its company, I can see how this vehicle could work on a practical level.

Officially, 163 miles is possible from a single charge, meaning the range is nothing special by modern standards. That’s not ideal if you’re looking to eat up motorway miles.

However, most commutes in West Yorkshire are fairly short, with my 23-mile journey from south Kirklees to Bradford perhaps fairly typical. For such a distance, the ZS is a realistic companion.

Returning home from Bradford, I used around 20 per cent of the charge, but was able to replenish 10 per cent of that for free while shopping at my local Aldi.

The fact that I didn’t need to queue to park in one of the five charging bays (not one other person used them in the time I was there) seemed to show that West Yorkshire isn’t yet fully onboard with the concept.

But that’s not to say there isn’t interest. Indeed, my charging exploits were a curiosity, with two people approaching to ask questions about electrified motoring.

Both fancied giving it a go, but were suspicious of the technology and spoke of ‘range anxiety’.

We did, however, all agree that, one by one, the barriers to owning an electric car are being removed, as charging infrastructure becomes more widely available, ownership costs reduce and the vehicles themselves become more aligned with conventional cars. Significantly, The ZS EV is also compatible with 50kW rapid charging, which means 80 per cent of the battery capacity to be replenished in 40 minutes.

On realising I would be testing an EV, I’d resigned myself to a week with very little driving pleasure. Not so.

Such is the immediacy of the electric motor’s response when you press the accelerator that it’s actually quite engaging to drive.

The sprint from 0-62mph takes under nine seconds, which is perfectly respectable for a vehicle in this class.

With a 44.5kWh water-cooled lithium ion battery powering a single electric motor, it feels to have plenty of zip as it produces 141bhp and 353Nm of torque.

The top speed may only be 87mph, but that’s comfortably enough to keep pace with legal motorway traffic.

The handling and steering are trustworthy and consistent, but won’t offer any driving thrills, with a noticeable lack of ‘feel’ in the steering.

There are three modes to choose from - eco, normal and sport. I favoured the former, partly due to the aforementioned range anxiety considerations, but it was noticeable how sport mode tightened up the steering and made the acceleration more eager.

Once inside, the quality of the interior is decent considering the car’s price tag, with soft-touch plastics on the dash and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with clear graphics.

One of the car’s biggest assets is the amount of interior space. Front and rear seat occupants have bags of head and leg room, while the sizeable boot measures up well against class rivals.

Like its conventionally-powered stablemates, the ZS EV is a smart-looking vehicle, with a dominant front grille and bold lines. Electric propulsion doesn't detract from the vehicle’s appearance, with the charging port being subtly hidden behind the MG sign on the grille.

In conclusion, the ZS is an appealing all-round package. It’s aggressively-priced, has lots of equipment as standard, and offers oceans of interior space.


PRICE: £22,495 (after plug-in grant and MG customer saving)

ENGINE: 44.5 kWh electric

POWER: 141bhp and 353Nm of torque

ACCELERATION: 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds

MAX SPEED: 87mph