MG ZS Electric Model Review
With a choice of more and more Electric Vehicles coming on to the market the two current MG ZS Electric models heralds more economic electric motoring for all.
Courtesy of our local MG Dealer - Vic Young MG in South Shields - they provided us with the 'Exclusive' model to put through its paces for a few weeks.
Firstly - some figures:
If you are an employer who offers a salary sacrifice scheme or an employee who can take advantage of one, the 'Excite' model can be had on an annual mileage of 8,000, with all servicing, maintenance, unlimited tyres, breakdown and fully comp. insurance, AND NO DEPOSIT - for just under £300* per month! (40% taxpayer/Public Sector terms). The top spec 'Exclusive' comes in at a measly £325* per month (same terms as above)
(*after tax and NI savings based on a 40% taxpayer)
Employers who provide this vehicle as via their salary sacrifice scheme would save £829 per annum in Employer's Class 1 NI contributions on this car in 2020/21 due to the reduction in salary they are paying their employee. There is no counter payment of Class 1A contributions because the vehicle is Pure Electric and attracts a 0% BIK liability in this financial year. (and only 1% next year). Hence a big saving on electric vehicles for employers as well!
The car has a 163 mile range on a single charge so more than enough for most driving patterns and commutes. Charging is easy via the front grille charging socket - handily placed for all charge points. It will only take about 40 minutes to charge to 80% using a Rapid Charger and about 6.5 hours overnight on a 7.5kW Charger. One problem though, you will need to physically start the charging process yourself if you want to take advantage of any low cost overnight electricity tariff from your provider. There is no scheduling of charging times possible unlike most EV offerings these days which will automatically start the charging process when programmed to do so. So - if you want to start charging at midnight, best set the alarm clock!
Being pure electric you also get the £3000 Government grant which reduces the 'Excite' model to just under £25,500 (list price) with no added extras. The Exclusive is only just below £28,000 for which you get a Panoramic Sunroof (liked that)/Blind Spot Detection/Rear Park Camera amongst other additions.
Is the ZS Electric any good?
Here's what I thought:
The ZS Electric is a great choice as a budget EV for families. It's spacious inside and can easily fit 5 adults comfortably. It drives and handles well - I tested it on country roads and motorway/dual carriageway and it performed admirably. Great acceleration as is the norm with electrically powered cars. It has the 3 modes for driving - Eco/Normal/Sport - depending on how much fun you want to have with it. Switching up to the Sport mode you can certainly feel the car respond to what you might be asking it to do however it is always at the expense of using up more of the charge in your battery. Eco mode is the order of the day if wanting to conserve battery power and switching between the two gives you about 15 extra miles on your range. It also has the Formula 1 inspired KERS system - another little button on the centre console which allows you to choose from 3 levels of recharge back to the battery when the vehicle is slowing down. Level 3 will slow the car down rapidly the moment you take your foot off the accelerator and will put charge back in to the battery to a greater extent than the other levels and increases the mileage range.
The interior is very comfortable with an electrically adjustable driver seat on the model tested. Leather 'style' upholstery adorns this model. Cabin layout is good with everything you need in pretty much the right places.
What is the ZS Electric like to drive?
As is the fashion with vehicles these days the car features a tablet sized info screen, centre stage on the dash. This incorporates the controls for the Radio/Music, the Nav system and the Smartphone connections. As you can see there is the facility to connect your Android Auto or Apple CarPlay phone to the system so you can utilise their functions through the vehicle. The system features Bluetooth connection for your phone as you would expect.
Here's where I do have some minor negatives - the EV driving information that all electric vehicles provide in order to be able to monitor how the vehicle is performing is only available in a small display between the two main dials immediately above the steering wheel as shown below:
I can get the fact that this is probably to ensure the driver's eye line is kept straight ahead in order to maintain attention however I personally found it rather small and a bit difficult to read. Could be an age thing with the peepers though! Other EV's I have driven all have these displays on the main screen. Only a small gripe...
There also seems to be no outside temperature gauge - a strange omission unless I have completely missed something on the dashboard.
The essential information is all there though - the mileage range left in the battery, the energy flow when accelerating and braking, tyre pressures, trip computer etc so no complaints with the info provided. The display can all be controlled by the steering wheel controls which took a bit of getting used to if I'm honest but once you got used to them, all good.
The Panoramic Sky Roof is a great addition if you can push the boat out to the Exclusive model. It goes back a long way when fully open and you can choose how far it opens as there are small sections you can opt for depending on the gap you want. A real boon on a sunny day like the one I chose to put it through its paces.
ZS Electric Review
Has to be a great value motor.
Here at TCH Leasing we have already taken a number of enquiries for the car, especially through our Employee Car Salary Sacrifice scheme, TCH Salsa, (the best way to finance an electric car) where the income tax and NI savings are huge due to the negligible company car tax - only an average of £9.48 per month over a 3 year contract (40% taxpayer) and half that for a 20% taxpayer! Being classed as a ULEV, it avoids the income tax saving restrictions of petrol and diesel vehicles so a 40% taxpayer gets the full 42% saving on their monthly deductions and a 20% taxpayer gets 32% (after NI is taken in to account).
Most Electric SUV type vehicles currently available are either in the executive sector and bigger and much more more expensive or they are on really long delivery times. It is a well equipped car even in the entry model Excite and the Exclusive takes the equipment to another level. Where MG will also benefit is the fact that there seems to be good availability of vehicles at the moment unlike Electric & Hybrid offerings from other manufacturers. It comes with a 7 year warranty so the company is obviously happy to back up the build quality with this level of cover.
Certainly a vehicle to consider if you are on the market for a good sized SUV with very low running costs.
Duncan Howell - TCH Salsa T 07768 792866 Duncan.Howell@tchleasing.co.uk
Vic Young (South Shields) Ltd - MG
Peter Snow - 07739 761618 Peter.Snow@vicyoung.co.uk