MG ZS EV Trophy Connect review: A brilliant value all-electric SUV - MrLiambi's blog


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Saturday, 27 August 2022

MG ZS EV Trophy Connect review: A brilliant value all-electric SUV

If you're looking to purchase an all-electric SUV then it will not have escaped your attention they're not cheap. Some of the more premium automotive brands offer plenty of choice on the SUV front but, even if you're buying one via a finance plan, you'll pay dearly for the privilege of driving one. With a faltering economy and uncertain times ahead, the thought of committing to an expensive model might seem like a bridge too far. What to do then if you crave an electric SUV?

Fear not. MG can come to your rescue thanks to the MG ZS EV Trophy. It's a budget-level SUV that is not only fully electric but, in the case of the example we've been driving, comes with all the trimmings. There's space inside, lots of range thanks to a 72.6kWh battery and decent looks that are, admittedly, sober rather than sensational. On face value then the MG ZS EV Trophy looks like a bit of a bargain for £35,040 for this very car.

Perfectly cute design

Our test MG ZS EV Trophy Connect arrived resplendent in a fetching metallic Battersea Blue, which was complimented by 17-inch 'Propellor' diamond cut alloys. The combination worked a treat and, while this EV isn't one of the most striking you'll see on the roads, it is easy on the eyes. There are some neat touches that help accentuate the upright, SUV style of the car too, like the silver roof rails. However, badge snobs might feel a little underwhelmed by the overall look and feel of the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect. In the right colour it is distinctive, but it's not a head-turner. Then again, it costs a fraction of those showy, premium-grade, all-electric SUVs.

Even more impressive is the way that you get lots of space from the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect, in direct contrast to similarly priced EVs that can't even come close. At over 4.3 metres long, and more than 2 metres wide the MG feels cavernous inside. That's helped by the 1.6-metre or so roof height. With a wheelbase of over 2.5 metres the whole car feels sizeable while still being manageable. And, because of those dimensions, it is tailor-made for cash-conscious families looking for their first EV.

There's a decent 745 litres of storage space in the boot, but this can be boosted substantially by playing around with the 60/40 split rear seats. The other really good thing about the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect is it is so easy to get in and out of, no matter if you're using the front or rear doors. Anyone with children and all that comes with it should find little to complain about. All we could gripe about in that department was the way the rear doors don't seem to close very well and require a hefty whump to get them shut. Watch those fingers, kids.

A refreshing interior

As it turns out, the interior of the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect is a very nice surprise. Admittedly, it's not the most inspiring of designs, but the look and feel of everything if reasonably pleasing. A great example of this are the seats, which come covered in a sort of squidgy vinyl finish posing as leather that looks and feels very durable. The support in all of the seats is similarly squidgy too, but that's actually a good thing in the case of the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect. It's really rather comfortable and the front seats are heated to boot.

If you just get in and go there's a high up driving position and this loftiness can be tweaked using the electric seat adjusters. You can also lift the steering column up and down, but it's not possible to move it in or out. Thankfully, the flexibility of the seat positioning means the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect can accommodate most drivers without too much in the way of fuss.

collection: interior

Elsewhere, everything seems quite well put together but there is a surfeit of plastic, some of which looks a little too cheap and cheerful. The round air vents at each end of the dash work well enough, but they don't look like they're going to age well. There are some cool interior touches though, like the full-length glass sunroof, which has an electric retractable sunscreen that really helps to make the interior feel light and airy. We also liked the contrasting stitching colour, which gave the interior a slightly more sophisticated feel than we were expecting.

A practical technology story

The MG designers have done a very decent job with the latest incarnation of the 10.1-inch infotainment system, which is noticeably better than that found in earlier versions of the car. It certainly seems more responsive when you tap it, though we did experience the odd buggy moment when the radio would just freeze and stop working for no apparent reason. Another bonus with the design of the interior is that there are still physical buttons underneath the screen. These let you change core functions, such as radio volume and, more importantly, air-con settings without the need to fiddle with the screen itself.

We've also been impressed with the standard of safety and driver assistance technology under the guise of the MG Pilot system. This includes Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Bicycle Detection, Traffic Jam Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Lange Change Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, all of which work very well in everyday scenarios. We also liked the Intelligent High Beam Assist function for after dark, which is smarter than some we've tried on higher-priced cars.

There's Rear Cross Traffic Alert and this, along with Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist come into their own on a regular basis. This is especially so seeing as the view out of the back and around the car's nether regions isn't as great as it is out the front. It is better than some comparable cars, however. The as-standard reversing camera is another tool in your arsenal in this respect, which works well too.

You also get the option of using the MG iSmart app, which offers up live services such as traffic and weather but, if you're a fan of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you're probably going to want to explore those in the MG instead. In addition, our car came with wireless phone charging and the usual complement of charging ports. Elsewhere, there's a digital display in front of the steering wheel but there's not a whole lot going on, save for indicating your speed and power usage.

Driving, range and charging

One of the first things you notice about the all-electric, fully automatic MG ZS EV Trophy Connect as you head off down the road for the first time is just how spongy it feels, especially if you turn a sharp corner at any kind of speed. In a straight line that's not a big deal, but the wallowy handling can be a little disconcerting if you're taking on any kind of unpredictable road surfaces with unexpected curves thrown in for good measure.

Once you get used to it though and factor it into your driving style, you'll find that the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect delivers decent enough performance if you've got it in 'Normal' mode. It's a little bit slow on the uptake when you put your foot on the accelerator though, but select 'Sport' mode and the car takes on a whole new edge. For anyone who wants a little more zestiness during their driving it's probably best to plump for this drive mode from the off. Conversely, 'Eco' mode offers a sedate experience that is designed to save battery, which it does well enough.

A real bonus with the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect is its range though. Any EV that is into the 200-mile and over zone is always going to be easier to live with and the MG is no exception. The official WLTP figure is 273 miles and, naturally, real world use and driving style can and does affect this, especially if you're permanently engaging that zingy Sport mode. Nevertheless, we spent the bulk of our week with the car pootling around locally, and the car proved very efficient. There's a 51kWh battery model too, that's cheaper but still delivers up to 198-miles on a charge.

We got to try it on a couple of long runs too, which turned out to be pretty impressive all things considered. Take it easy on the driving front and you'll certainly get well into 200-mile territory, which is more than enough for many of us travelling on longer runs in the UK. Charging the MG ZS EV Trophy Connect is effortless too, with the CCS charger port being hidden behind a blank part of the front grille. Cables for any plug-in needs are stored under the boot floor.

The location of the charger port is actually very handy, especially compared to some all-electric SUVs that have the port on the back of the front wing forcing you to drape cables over the paintwork to reach it. Find a 100kW charger and you can get up to 80% in around 42 minutes, with the more common 50kW CCS charger able to do the same in a little over an hour. Charge on a domestic 7kW source and you're looking at 10.5 hours, which is no great shakes if you're at home or in a hotel for the night.

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