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Mirror Motoring's Colin Goodwin says that MG’s first EV, the ZS crossover, is one bright spark - because at £26,995, the car offers fantastic value for money

3 out of 5

We all know how popular crossovers are these days, and that electric cars are also coming onto more people’s motoring shopping list.

Good timing then for MG to come out with its first all-electric model.

It’s called the ZS EV and like all of the Chinese company’s cars, it’s seriously good value.

There are only two versions available – the entry level Excite and the top spec Exclusive.

We’ve got the latter and its on-the-road price of £26,995 (inc government grant) and the £3,500 discount on offer means you’ll only pay £23,495.

That is terrific value. The only caveat is that the offer finishes at the end of this month.

The first thing that needs discussing with any EV is battery size, range and charging.

The 44.5kWh battery here provides a range of 163 miles and we got pretty close to that.

Both the MG’s nearest rivals – the Hyundai Kona EV and Kia E-Niro – have greater ranges but they’re both a lot more expensive.

For charging you have the option of an AC wall box at home or 7kW public charger, both of which will recharge your ZS in about six and a half hours.

Alternatively, you can use a 50kW CCS charger when on a journey for a charge to 80% capacity in about 40 minutes.

Personally, I can’t own an EV because, like a lot of Londoners and other city and town dwellers, I don’t have off-street parking.

Test cars are delivered fully charged and I can go to Waitrose and use their charger.

Apart from a pair of even less convenient lamppost chargers, it’s the only option.

The interior of the ZS contains rather hard and unattractive trim but then you have to remember the price (same story with the conventional ZS models which are also excellent value).

Also, the ZS is impressively spacious with plenty of rear legroom and an exceptionally large boot that isn’t compromised by the battery pack’s location.

Again, cheap plastics abound on the parcel shelf, but so what?

From the outside the ZS looks a bit awkward on wheels that appear small on quite a long car with generous overhangs front and back.

It’s by no means ugly though.

I’d go for a rather more interesting colour than our car’s white, however.

The Exclusive brings with it Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as leather upholstery.

The former is included in the Excite trim, too, and I think I’d rather have the cloth trim of that version.

There’s loads of other kit including cruise control which is a must in an EV, and an easy-to-use infotainment system.

Down behind the rotary control via which you select drive, reverse and park is a row of switches.

One changes driving mode between eco, normal and sport.

Selecting the latter does terrible things to the car’s range and I only tried it once in the interests of professional testing.

In normal mode the ZS does 0-62mph in 8.5sec which is plenty quick enough for a front-wheel-drive crossover.

Sport gives a faster response but it’s an unnecessary drain on the battery.

Trying to drive the ZS like a sports car will also put you in need of a charging facility sooner, so the fact the car is not exactly thrilling to drive on an interesting road isn’t an issue.

The low-down centre of gravity, due to the batteries, gives the MG a secure feel and the ride quality is better than in many crossovers.

Lack of engine noise is relaxing and there’s little tyre and wind noise either.

MG has already taken well over 1,000 orders for its first all-electric car.

Those buyers are unlikely to be disappointed, especially those who are migrating across from an MG with a conventional powertrain because they’ll already have signed up to the company’s strong value proposition, so scratchy plastics won’t bother them.

And they’ll love the electric car’s quiet progress.

Price: £26,995 (After PiCG)

Engine: Single electric motor, 143bhp

0-62 mph: 8.5 sec

Range: 163 miles

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