What is it?
The MG ZS might just be the most crucial car MG has made in years. Following the larger GS SUV, the ZS is the car most likely to crack the UK market, where MG’s sales have been sluggish since it was reborn under China’s SAIC Motor Corporation.
The ZS is aimed directly at the Ford Ecosport – which probably makes its life a little easier given that many would argue the Ecosport is Ford’s weakest product – and will almost certainly be priced to undercut its rival which currently starts at £15,400.
We won’t know how much the ZS will cost in Britain for sure until it is launched this November, but for now, we can gauge what sort of impact it might have on the market with an early drive of a Chinese spec ZS model.
The car we’re driving at SAIC’s Guangde Proving Ground in Anhui, China is a 1.0T LUX. This model’s three-pot will make it to Britain with the same 123bhp and 125lb ft of torque, sitting above a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that outputs 118bhp and 111lb ft.
Our Chinese-spec car uses a six-speed torque converter transmission, but UK automatic cars will almost certainly get a dual-clutch ‘box. The standard transmission will, however, be a six-speed manual.