The Nissan Juke-sized SUV is prime news fodder. They’re all at it - most manufacturers either have one already or will in less than 18 months.
Chinese-owned MG having a go too, with what will be – in the Chinese market at least – called the ZS. Official design renders were released by MG’s Chinese headquarters, and they show the car to be sleek and handsome from most angles, and recent official images and spy shots of the same car confirm this.
Unfortunately, though, there’s a lot of other cars in the design. Strong comparisons were drawn between the ZS and the Jaguar XE when MG’s parent company SAIC revealed its first design sketch of the car.
These latest official renders still show that, but also bear a striking resemblance to Mazda’s SUVs, the CX-3 and CX-5. It's not enough to prompt Chinese copycat headlines, but in a market that's home to some properly characterful cars - think Juke, CX-3, Renegade - the rather samey ZS is a little underwhelming.
It’s disheartening to say the least, with the Icon concept of 2012 drawing so heavily from MG’s heritage, incorporating MG B styling cues in a chunky SUV body style to create something which, like the Juke, would genuinely have stood out on the road for all the right reasons. As the Juke nears replacement, a production MG Icon would have filled its shoes perfectly ahead of the new car. Even the larger MG SUV, the GS, adopts some of MG’s familiar styling, more so than the ZS.
Calling an MG B-styled SUV the ‘Icon’ clearly shows MG’s recognition of its past, but it seems that despite the brand’s promises of an innate ‘MG-ness’ to its cars, it’d rather follow the crowd with these SUVs than tread the path of its innovative, interesting and iconic namesake.
Don't think of this as a cheap shot against a small, bargain-priced car company, but frustration at such a golden opportunity missed. With any luck, the styling will change for the UK market - after all, it doesn't even have a name here yet - but I won’t hold my breath. Let's hope it's hiding its true talents inside.