2021 MG ZS EV Essence (car review)

FOR those looking for a more eco-friendly mode of transport, that won’t see you selling your soul just to afford it, the 2021 MG ZS EV Essence SUV delivers, and all for just $44,990 drive away.

We obviously don’t need to repeat ourselves and tell you that the MG brand has been around since 1924, and was once very British and famous for building small sports cars that proudly clogged up racetracks and twisty roads each weekend.

Since then, lots has changed, and MG is now a powerhouse Chinese owned brand building SUVs and hatchbacks for the more price conscious. Now while this ZS EV is one of the most expensive vehicles MG makes, it blows the competition out of the water on pricing.

- Advertisement -
Suzuki Priceless Adventures

But with a low price, comes consequences, and limited range is one of them. The MG ZS EV offers a total distance of 260km on a full charge, according to the brochure. Fire up a bunch of electronics and put a few devices on charge and that changes.

You can expect that max distance to drop to around 220km in reality. Keeping close enough to home or knowing your quick charge station locations is going to become your most thought about thing when jumping behind the wheel.

Run it near dry in the juice stakes and if you don’t have access to a rapid charger, or a wall charger at home, and you’ve got to go old school and plug it into a 240v power point, and you’ll still be tapping your fingers waiting after nine hours.

That shouldn’t act as a deterrent though, as if you actually bought one, you’d use the rapid chargers and have some sort of wall charger at home. In reality, the 2021 MG ZS EV Essence (the only spec it comes in), would make a great second car.

It’s also perfect for those who don’t have to travel long distances, and save for the trip between Sydney and Newcastle, this reviewer found that the car fitted in well doing school runs, shopping, going to and from work, and various smaller trips.

Setting the EV functionality aside, the MG presents very well, with a stylish appearance inside and out. The outside sports a cheese grater inspired grille and some very unique looking 17-inch rims.

The latter are a bit hard to look at on first glance, but you slowly start to appreciate their uniqueness as one of the main styling differences from the standard MG ZS.

Inside you’ll find a leather interior with an easy to use 8.0-inch infotainment unit, with most controls at your figure tips, including the gears, on the centre console. It looks good, especially for the money.

If we had one complaint though, it’s the fact the infotainment system is quite slow, even though it’s not complicated to operate. Passenger space in the front and rear will have you thinking your driving a larger SUV, at least until you have to put anything in the boot.

Just 359-litres is on offer with the seats up, but drop them and that balloons to a pretty decent 1,187-litres.

Driving the 2021 MG ZS EV Essence is an experience that secretly pays homage to the brand’s sporting past, with handling, braking and power delivery scoring high across our testing. Its 44kWh battery offers 105kW of power and 353Nm of torque.

Throwing it into a bend, braking hard and punching out of corners can be done with ease, if needed. Accidentally mess up and the safety suite known as MG Pilot kicks in to help reset you, and the car.

You’re obviously unlikely to need to drive like that, but it’s nice to now it’s not only capable, but that the safety package has your back, even for the least experienced drivers who might get behind the wheel.

MG Pilot includes intelligent speed limit assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, active emergency braking, blind spot detection, and intelligent headlamp control.

In normal driving conditions, using any of the three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport), you’ll find it comfortable, no matter the road surface. We do have to call out the impact regenerative braking has here though.

By default, the MG ZS EV operates at regen level three, the harshest option, which will have you feeling your body lift off the seat as it brakes heavily via the electric motor. Switch to level one though, and this car is a proper joy to drive.

Sure you won’t recharge the battery as fast, and you might suffer a little range anxiety as a result, but it’s zippy and has far less impact each time you lift off the accelerator.

Our only other beef with the MG is the location of the cruise control switch. Stashed behind the steering wheel, it’s complicated to use for the uninitiated. That aside, this car is well worth considering should your heart and wallet feel the need to own an EV.

The 2021 MG ZS EV Essence comes with a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 7-year unlimited kilometre battery warranty. It’s available in five colours, including Clipper Blue (as tested), Dover White, Diamond Red, Regal Blue and Pebble Black.

Our test vehicle was supplied by MG Motor Australia. To find out more about the 2021 MG ZS EV Essence, contact your local MG dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - good looking SUV; well priced; driveability.
' Cons - range; slow infotainment system; poor cruise control setup.
Cody Mckay
Cody Mckay
If it has wheels and an engine, Cody has most likely driven it. A mechanic by trade (he owns Radical Mechanical) and a race driver in Aussie Racing Cars, Cody brings his life time of experiences in the motor trade to the Exhaust Notes Australia team.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Social Media

- Advertisment -
Himalayan 450

Hottest Reviews

- Advertisment -
DriRider Apex

Trending Now

- Advertisment -
BMW S 1000 RR Launch


Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest car and motorbike news and reviews, in your inbox, every week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

- Advertisment -
Honda CB750 Hornet
- Advertisment -
Shotgun 650
<strong>Pros -</strong> good looking SUV; well priced; driveability.<br>' <strong>Cons -</strong> range; slow infotainment system; poor cruise control setup.2021 MG ZS EV Essence (car review)