Compiling our first-drive impressions of the new MG ZS EV
Words: Neeraj Padmakumar Photography: Amal Ramdas
The 2022 ZS EV has been launched in India, and much as was the case before, we get to have it almost unchanged from the global car, in terms of specifications. The most vital difference from the global car would be in the battery pack. The global markets have the ZS facelift available with two different batteries- 72 kWh and 50.3 kWh, of which just the latter has made its way to India. The exterior design and cabin have also been overhauled. Let’s talk about these in detail…
When the ZS EV facelift first made its global debut in October 2021, it was instantly noted for the styling reworks onboard. The new ZS EV embodies MG’s latest global design cues. It looks futuristic and ‘unmistakably EV’. The conventional grille of the previous car now gets replaced by a closed EV-spec grille finished in body color. An evident EV-bit, this grille might render faint ‘Tesla’ shades to the front fascia. The charging port now sits to the right of the grille, instead of the previous central placement.
A stronger visual connect could be drawn with the Ford Mustang Mach E, especially considering the headlamp, hood, and grille designs. The LED Hawkeye headlamps are almost identical to those of the Astor, and the tail lamps also host LEDs in them. The front and rear bumpers get Black accents that look handsome on the car. The new ZS rides on a set of new 17-inch alloy wheels.
2022 ZS electric has four colors in its palette: Ferris White, Currant Red, Ashen Silver, and the Sable Black that we drove today.
Interior And Features
The cabin feels more or less like that of the Astor’s. (Remember us calling it the petrol counterpart of ZS EV in our first-drive review?) The cabin has a dark theme to it and looks plush. There is Red contrast stitching at various places inside. The dashboard seems neat and well laid out (in fact, it gets the same layout as the Astor’s except for ditching the fancy AI assistant) The central tunnel gets an EV-spec design with the circular shifter replacing the Astor’s lever. There are also additional storage spaces nearby.
The new MG electric ZS gets a large 10.1 inch HD touchscreen infotainment system, featuring AI and internet-enabled features. The overall audio quality is decent. The touchscreen offers great display quality and decent responses, but the rearview camera feed feels sub-par to the rest. This is something that we had seen on the Astor as well. Also to our surprise, we had a couple of instances of the interface stalling midway, calling for resets.
The new ZS also gets a new 7-inch all-digital instrument cluster, unlike the analog unit of its predecessor. This screen seems to have come straight from the Astor, with comparable display quality. It, however, offers a lot of EV-spec information to the driver. There are also other features offered like a large panoramic sunroof, wireless charger, 5 USB ports including 2 type Cs, 360-degree camera (whose quality could have been a lot better though!), Bluetooth enabled key, air purifier with PM 2.5 filter etc. The seats receive a major upgrade and feel quite nice for most body sizes.
The new ZS EV gets major reworks in its mechanicals. The battery has grown significantly in size. The previous car used to come with a 44.5 kWh battery pack, which has now made way for a much larger 50.3 kWh unit. This essentially calls for a significant hike in range figures. With IP69K and ASILD ratings, the new battery is more reliable and abuse-tolerant. Additionally, the electric motor now delivers a higher output of 174 hp. With a 0-100 time of 8.5 seconds, the updated powertrain delivers a claimed max range of 461 kilometers, apparently 42 kilometers higher than the previous car.
First Drive Impressions
The overall performance seems to have improved from the previous car. With the few additional bhps on offer, the new ZS electric feels quicker to get to speeds. 0-100 kph is claimed by the manufacturer to be achieved in just 8.5 seconds and our test results wouldn’t let us disagree.
There are 3 different drive modes on offer- Eco, Normal, and Sport, which apparently tweaks the battery management system to optimize performance and range for various driving scenarios. In addition to this, there is a 3-level adjustment to the regen mechanism- ‘KERS’ as well. The regen on this car can be set aggressively to the extent of it being able to bring the car to a complete halt without engaging the brakes at all! Having selectable regeneration levels does have its own advantages in real-life driving. Also, this is something we’ve been missing terribly on the Tata Nexon EV, which by the way, is consistently topping the EV sales charts here.
The battery management system seems to have improved with the debut of the larger battery pack. The rate of battery depletion with throttle ramps seems to have come down, meaning you might get more range even with an aggressive driver behavior than what would’ve been possible on the previous car.
The ZS EV has always won applause for the way it handles. This crossover has always had mature road manners. The ZS EV 2022 is underpinned by the facelifted ZS platform, the same that underpins the Astor. This seems to have made things better on the handling front. You can push this EV into corners with confidence and come out fast. The powertrain also favors enthusiastic driver behavior (at the expense of range of course).
Range could be the key talking point of the new EV. The ARAI certified figure is an epic 461 kilometers per charge. This evidently, is hard to believe and in many a case not to be believed at all! But the real-world range figures are never bad either. If driven in an efficient way, the new ZS would return ranges of 340-350 kilometers. (On a full charge, the indicated range on our car was 400 kilometers). Expect much less if you are to drive around continuously in sport with an aggressive throttle, milking out every drop of juice of this powertrain.
Price And Variants
The new ZS EV is available in two variants- Excite and Exclusive, the prices and details of which have been discussed in a previous story. What we can tell you is that the price premium would buy you less or no range anxieties on your next EV ownership!
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