First impression: Australian MG ZS EV Essence 2023 Long Range (Compact SUV)

    As I reported recently on the 12th of May the SAIC owned car carrier Viking Emerald docked at Port Kembla, south of Sydney and there were quite a few MG ZS EV Essence Long Range vehicles on board.

    I’ve had one of these fresh off the car carrier on loan for review since last week so below you’ll find my first impression of the MG ZS EV Essence Long Range ($57709 driveaway NSW price, currently EOFY sale at $3000 less than that).

    From the exterior it’s hard to tell this ZS EV Essence 440km WLTP long range version is any different from the ZS EV Essence 2022 320 km WLTP range version.

    That’s because the only big obvious exterior difference is the long range version has privacy glass for the rear window.

    The only other external difference I noticed was the 17″ Maxxis M3 tires. From memory the MG ZS EV Excite standard range base model I drove from Sydney to Melbourne and back last Christmas had 17″ Michelin Primacy 3ST tires.

    So far during my dry weather drives of the new long range model the change in tires hasn’t resulted in any deterioration in the driving experience.

    Interestingly the specs show that this long range Essence version (1620kg) with a 72.6kW battery is almost the same weight as the standard range Essence (1610kg) and Excite (1570kg) which have a 51.1kW battery.

    That’s because the long range Essence version has an energy dense Lithium NMC battery whereas the standard range Essence and Excite have less dense Lithium LFP batteries.

    Speaking of the MG ZS EV Excite, that’s well worth considering as a mid 40K EV that’s perfect as a city runabout and for short family road trips eg Sydney to Canberra.

    The improvements from the base model Excite to the more luxury Essence (standard range and long range) variants of the MG ZS EV are:

    • Front seat heating – driver and passenger
    • Panoramic Glass Sunroof with Sunshade and Anti-Trap
    • Electrically folding, heated, body colour door mirrors
    • Rain sensing wipers
    • 6 speaker audio with 3D sound effect
    • Blind spot detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
    • Roof Rails
    • Wireless phone charger
    • Synthetic Leather Seats
    • Driver 6 way electrically adjustable seat

    Looking at the interior the boot has the same 359L capacity as the other ZS EV versions or 1187L with the back seats down. Sorry there’s no front trunk for storage space under the hood.

    The interior colour scheme is quite dark and a bit boring but that’s balanced by the panoramic sunroof during winter and autumn months. Personally I’d choose this boring colour scheme over the gym inspired interior of the rival BYD Atto 3.

    In the interior of all three ZS EV versions you get a flat floor footwell for the passenger seats which is useful for storing shopping bags.

    However all 3 versions also show the heritage of the ZS EV built on an ICE car body design because the centre console is chunky and offers no storage space below it.

    Just behind the drive mode selector you’ll see some toggles that let you switch between 3 levels of regen braking as well as between Eco, Normal and Sport modes.

    Like it’s competitor the Atto 3 the ZS EV doesn’t have strong regen when driving down slopes so you won’t get one pedal driving.

    The software on the 10.1″ centre touch screen is not as refined or modern as a Telsa, Hyundai or Kia but it covers all the basics you need eg: there’s built-in Sat Nav or you can use Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.

    Flicking through the different menu options I’d like to highlight:

    • the 360 cameras which are not super high res but did the job very well helping me get into tight parking spots and parallel park with ease
    • the Essence spec level includes Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert which I highly recommend for improved safety
    • Screen buttons across the board are a bit small eg to control the AC

    I haven’t topped up the car at a DC fast charger yet but the handy front located charger port tops up at about 10-10.5kW rate using an AC 3 phase charger. This compares to the Atto 3 which has a real life AC Charging speed of about 7kW.

    While the ZS EV supports V2L (charging/running electrical devices from the car) via the front charging port, that accessory is an optional extra from MG dealers.

    The software allows for Battery Heating to be turned on which is handy for buyers who live in cold parts of Australia and want to improve fast DC charging speed during Winter/Autumn.

    Overall the MG ZS EV Long Range is not the most exciting EV but it is very practical, has a long range battery that removes range anxiety during long journeys and a generous 7 year warranty.

    There’s also a long list of inclusions such as intelligent LED headlights, rain sensing wipers, roof rails, iSmart app for remote control, V2L, 360 camera, Sat Nav, Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

    If sold for the standard $57709 driveaway NSW price, I’d say you should consider the MG ZS EV Essence 2023 Long Range, however at the current EOFY sale $54709 driveaway NSW price I’d say it’s definitely worth buying and very good value for anyone in the market for a small EV SUV.

    Neerav Bhatt
    Neerav Bhatt
    Thanks to his broad general knowledge, research skills and ability to explain complex issues Neerav Bhatt has appeared in the online, print, radio and TV media including: ABC (Online, TV, Radio), SBS (Online, Radio), BBC World Service (Radio), 10 News TV, Sky News TV, Australian IT, Technology Spectator, Ausdroid, iTnews, APCMAG, IDG CSO and a variety of other publications. In 2023 he joined the techAU team and represents them at Sydney events.

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