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10,000 km with my ZS EV: Why I feel it's the best EV under 30L

Overall, my entire household is happy with our decision to opt for an EV.

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It has been an eventful end of June / first week of July - 1). Completed 1 year with my 2023 MG ZS EV Exclusive, 2). Crossed the 10K km milestone and 3). Had the 1 year / 3rd free service carried out; all of this in a span of a week!

So far, life with the ZS EV has been smooth and pleasant. Just wanted to summarize my likes & dislikes, along with a few things I hope MG work to improve in the face-lift / next generation model.

Likes

  • Silent Drive : Never having owned an EV before, the feeling of soundless driving is something I have grown to love. It was a bit unnerving initially, but we got used to it quickly.
  • Acceleration : Planting the accelerator to the floor in sport mode can be addictive (does not do any favors to battery consumption though), especially being able to fly away from the rest of the traffic when the lights change to green!
  • Re-gen Braking : Love the feeling of driving with one pedal. I tend to keep the re-gen set to level 3 all the time. Works great in Kolkata’s bumper to bumper traffic.
  • Running Costs : Much more economical to run than an ICE vehicle. My cost per km works out to roughly INR 2.00 – 2.40 / km, based on my calculations. Not able to comment on service expenses as the first 5 services are free.
  • Practicality : The ZS works well as our city run-about. Enough boot space for daily use and even airport runs if only one of us is travelling. Rear seats are also spacious enough for us. Adequate storage space in the cabin as well. Compact dimensions also help make parking very easy in tight spaces.
  • Build Quality : The ZS feels well put together and the quality of materials used in the interiors feels premium.
  • Connected Tech : The 'My MG' & 'MG iSMART' apps are well designed and work as intended. Both are useful in keeping track of important details relating to the car.
  • Sunroof : The panoramic sunroof completely changes the interior's vibe! The natural light pouring in gives the cabin a very airy / spacious feel. The non-sunroof variant does feel more cocooned / claustrophobic. However, we rarely drive with the glass pane open due to the pollution & dust.

Neutral

  • Handling : Is stable and composed for the most part, but coming from a sedan-only family, it does not feel as planted as a sedan. However, it is very relaxing and nice to drive in congested city conditions.
  • Service : Still a bit of an unknown as I have only had three free services so far. My salesman was great to deal with during the buying process. The service department has been average based on the experience from my first three free services. Getting a slot for service is a bit harder sometimes, due to lack of availability. They seem to return the car in a good condition, but sometimes seem to forget jobs (they forgot to fix my seatbelt issue in the last service). I suppose I have been spoilt by the treatment my local Toyota dealer gives me!
  • Range : My usage is limited 100% to city driving and hence the start-stop nature of driving does affect the range. I tend to get about 4.47 km/Kwh (per charge cycle, as high as 5.81 km/Kwh to as low as 3.12 km/Kwh).
  • Audio Sound Quality : I am no audiophile, but the speakers in the ZS are not the best. I would rate them average at most. The missing sub does not help matters too.
  • Software Glitches : Occasional software bugs do appear sometimes, but thankfully not frequently. Usually switching off and switching on the car solves the problem. For example, I got a ‘radar failure warning’ when reversing. Another time, the infotainment system did not start when I started the car. In both instances, restarting the car fixed the issue. Being overloaded with software is one of the downsides of modern cars, IMHO.
  • Resale Value : Too early to be thinking about this, but judging by the trends seen in global markets, I expect to take a huge hit whenever I intend to sell. However, I do plan on retaining my ZS for the entire 8 year period that is covered by the battery warranty, so not overly bothered about it. It also helps that my car also comes with the 5 year factory warranty (now reduced to 3 years for new buyers).
  • Infotainment : The interface is generally well designed and easy to navigate. However, a few minor issues do exist. For example, if I go to the climate control screen to adjust the AC, while using Apple CarPlay, I will have to navigate back to the home screen and then tap on the CarPlay button to go back to using it. This can get a bit annoying while on the move, as one will have to take their attention off the road to fiddle with the screen. However, MG has updated their infotainment system with newer cars. Not sure how good the update is, but apparently it is not possible to add to my 2023 model.

Dislikes

  • Ride Quality : Given how bad and uneven Kolkata roads are, the high recommended tyre pressures and stiff suspension make the ZS feel very bouncy (especially for those seated in the rear). The car is great on smooth roads though. Sudden bumps at high speed seem to unsettle the rear of the car. This improves slightly if one maintains lower tyre pressures, but also comes along with the risk of constant low pressure warnings.
  • Missing Features : While the ZS is decently equipped, it does miss out on certain basic features that should be essential at this price point. For example – no auto-dimming IRVM, no fog lamps, no reading / cabin lights in the rear, no reach (only tilt) adjustment for the steering wheel, etc. I really hope MG considers adding some of these whenever they update the ZS or when the new generation is launched.
  • Camera Quality : Disappointing that MG have offered such poor cameras for the 360 degree / radar system. While I have gotten used to it and don’t have much difficulty, but one does expect to get better quality hardware at this price point.
  • Automatic Wipers : The auto wiper function is utterly useless. The system seems to do exactly the opposite of what it should do. I have stuck to using the single wipe function whenever driving in a drizzle
  • Parts Policy : My driver managed to damage the RHS ORVM indicator lens. It should usually cost INR 1,000 – 2,000 at most to replace. However, MG does not seem to sell the indicator lens as a child part. They have asked me to replace the entire ORVM! Forget about the cost; it seems like such an unnecessary waste of an otherwise perfectly functioning part!

Overall, my entire household is happy with our decision to opt for an EV. This has also led to a significant reduction in the running of the other cars in our garage (since everyone wants to use the EV at any opportunity).

We had considered the Tata Nexon EV when car hunting, but the response / attitude of the Tata dealers made me run in the opposite direction. All things considered, the ZS EV is simply the best EV option under the 30 Lakh bracket (IMHO). With our EV experience so far, I can safely say that I will choose to stick with an EV for our city cars, if more options become available in the INR 20 - 35 Lakh segment.

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