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Sold my VW Vento TSI AT & bought a 2022 MG ZS EV: Initial impressions

I get a range of around 300 to 350 km with my daily usage.

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It has been three weeks since we took delivery of our white MG ZS EV. It has run 1900 Kms, and is going for its first service today.

We already have an official review and also Speedmiester's excellent ownership review, so I will not go very in depth in my review.

I wanted the quickest car below 25 lakhs on road, and nothing compared to the MG ZS EV. Range is not an issue for me as we have a petrol Hyundai Venue for road trips to remote places. So I had no problems deciding on which car we wanted to buy.

Dealership experience

I booked the 2021 MG ZS EV Excite version in October of 2021. In January 2022 they told me to change my booking to the Exclusive version because no car was in sight but I refused as I did not want leather seats or the sun roof. The website continued to promise release of the Excite version in July 2022, but they were just lying.

At the beginning of August 2022 my 2016 Vento TSI started becoming unreliable with a breakdown on the highway occurring and I couldn't wait any more. So I relented and reluctantly changed my booking to the Exclusive version. My salesman spoke to the general manager of the dealership and I was put at the top of the list. When asked about my colour choice, I asked for anything other than black. You might notice a theme here, I dislike being hot in the car. Black cars with leather seats and sunroofs make the inside of the car hot, and living in Chennai makes this quite uncomfortable.

I got a call at the end of August telling me a white car had been allotted to me and I needed to make the full payment including the insurance amount. We did as he asked and within a week the car was ready for delivery.

The delivery experience was good with no issues in the car and also no delays.

The dealer asked if I wanted any accessories besides the essentials and I declined

Opinions

  • Silent as a ninja - It creeps up on people who least expect it. I find myself honking more than I did in the past, especially in small streets with pedestrians on the road. It makes a cool spaceship-like sound when it accelerates.
  • Powerful - This car is really fast. I have owned some exciting cars in the past like the Mustang, Palio GTX, Getz CRDi, Cruze and lastly the Vento TSI. None of them even come close to this car. I think it is because of the instant torque. It makes driving this car a real pleasure.
  • Adjustable regen is really great. I find myself driving on the highest regen setting all the time. It feels like engine braking without straining the transmission which I love. I never use the other two modes. I lived for 6 years with the DSG in my Vento TSI and past 70,000 KMs I was scared to do engine braking because the DSG might die.
  • Like the Nexon when the SOC is more than 96% there is almost no regen and once you get used to the "engine braking" and it doesn't happen then a moment of panic sets in. In either case it is apparently not a good idea to charge fully so I charge to 80% and stop.
  • The driving modes make a huge difference. The Eco mode is almost unusable if you want the air conditioner to function normally, however the motor's response feels like the Vento TSI's sports mode.
  • The normal mode is what the car reverts to everytime it starts and it is perfect. Brilliant acceleration and I've never needed more power even on my highway runs.
  • Sports mode is just mental. It is almost impossible to use this mode in the city. Even on the highway when I tested it out it is just scary since I have come from ICE cars. I use it just to impress my friends but otherwise never.
  • Handling - While this car is not as good as the Palio was, for an urban SUV it isn't too bad. Perhaps the lower center of gravity helps. We also own the Hyundai Venue and the MG is superior in handling. I've chucked the car around on empty roads and it handled quite well, almost sedan like. The car came with 40 psi tire pressure and it made the ride a little bouncy, but I've gotten used to it and it hardly bothers me now.
  • Ground clearance is really good for a guy who previously owned a sedan, no scrapes yet.
  • We purchased a portable tyre inflator so we never have to visit a petrol bunk again.
  • Exteriors - I am not the right person to comment on exterior looks because I don't really care what the car looks like on the outside. However it does make heads turn, especially the closed grill. I did request the dealer to remove the "Electric" and "Internet Inside" stickers which he did.
  • It doesn't feel like a big car to drive around in. Boot space is really great too. The boot has a nifty niche for storing the portable charger which also comes in a nice case.
  • Interiors - This is the biggest car we have owned in terms of interior space. We are a family of 4 and our mother in law also lives with us. It seats all of us fairly comfortably. There have been no complaints about the thigh support in the rear. The front seats are very comfortable with good back support. The electric adjustments for the seats are really cool too. I didn't miss the lack of reach adjustment on the steering wheel as I found a comfortable spot quite easily.
  • Steering - Very nice and the leather wrap, contours and flat bottom makes it really nice to hold. In the Vento I used to use mostly the right hand and rest my left hand on its armrest. However, in this car I find myself using both hands on the steering wheel.
  • Tech and Gizmos - Auto wipers and auto headlamps are great. I do miss the auto dimming IRVM which I had on the Vento but it's not a big deal. The sound quality could have been better but it is adequate. We always use Android Auto when we are in the car so a lot of the features are wasted on us, especially the 3 free years of Saavn and Map my India. The ICE has physical buttons which have a nice click to it. Most of these functions can be done using the voice assistant which understands my Tamil Nadu English accent really well.
  • Auto hold is a god send. I love it when the car comes to a complete halt, like at a signal, we can now take our foot off the accelerator. In stop and go traffic I found that if the brake is pressed 99% then auto hold doesn't engage, so it is very helpful if we want to inch forward in bumper to bumper traffic.
  • The MG iSmart app is surprisingly good. I get to track the car's movements, use geo fence, check how it is being charged and how much range is left, get details as to how I drove the car like heavy braking and hard acceleration and overspeed details. It even allows me to turn the AC on and lock / unlock the car remotely. My lowest ever driver score was 55.
  • Charging - we decided to install the 7 kW charger at my work place in Ranipet and snail charge it at home. I have made three round trips to Ranipet in the last three weeks which is 124 Kms from home and it is really convenient. The car can quite easily do the round trip without having to charge but it is nice to be able to top up when at work if required and can get rid of any range anxiety. The reason we did not install it at home was because we didn't want to fork out the extra cash to enhance our EB load. Team-BHP also helped us make this decision as most of us rarely need to use the 7 kW charger regularly. I have not used a fast charger yet and don't plan to until we do road trips.
  • Efficiency - I have never been a guy who drives efficiently, I have never purchased a car because it gives good mileage. I find it hard to drive efficiently. However when fuel prices started skyrocketing last year I found it difficult to justify my driving style. Luckily for me EVs pollute a lot less and cost a lot less to drive too.
  • The efficiency I get is between 6 and 7 km per kWh. I regularly accelerate hard and also brake hard on the highway, to tell you the truth that is the main reason I bought this car, for its acceleration. I never cross 120 kmh, but love getting to 100 km/h as quickly as I can.
  • The lowest SOC the car has been was 9% just to see how low we can take it. We regularly charge when the car hits about 20% and take it to 80%
  • I get a range of around 300 to 350 kms.
  • Safety - It is by far the safest car we have owned. It even does a warning chime if rear passengers aren't wearing their seatbelts which I love. Another real stand out is a full seatbelt for the rear middle passenger. Kudos to MG for not scrimping on safety.

Quirks and dislikes

This list may seem long but some of these are just nitpicks and a few are more serious issues.

  • In my seating position the cruise control stalk goes to the on position when I shift my left knee, which is really annoying.

 

  • The steering wheel has an SOS button which is a real bone headed move. It is next to the voice assistant button. I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to place it there, it doesn't even have a different colour. I have pressed it inadvertently a few times and every time I need to explain to the call center person that it was a mistake. There is an SOS button near the sunroof controls which make a lot more sense.Even as I write this review I got a call from MG because the driver who picked up my car for service has inadvertently pressed the button.
  • The Vento has a sunglasses holder in the glove compartment but unfortunately none in the MG. I ended up buying a sunglass holder to solve this issue.
  • The Vento had a simple service reminder pop up, but the MG decided not to provide one in a far more sophisticated system. They instead rely on people from the service center to call you.
  • The car always starts in radio mode even if the phone is connected in Android Auto mode. The problem with this is that there is a huge volume difference between both these sources. So you often start the car with the radio blaring until either you hit the mute button or Android Auto starts a few seconds later.
  • The mute button on the steering wheel doesn't pause your track and just mutes the volume. The vento used to pause the track which is a lot more intuitive.
  • When the camera comes on when we move to reverse "gear" the steering buttons become unresponsive. The way the camera works is that even after we shift to drive mode, it switches to the front camera and stays on until you hit 15 kmph. I think this is supposed to be for safety reasons, but I hate it.
  • This is my biggest gripe with this car. When we receive or make calls over Android Auto or bluetooth sometimes the call volume is incredibly low and almost inaudible. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens completely randomly to some calls. I searched on the internet and it isn't just me. I'm hoping a software update fixes this.
  • When you are in Android Auto and you want to change the temperature, you use the physical button to do it. However the screen changes to the climate control screen and the Google maps disappear. This is really bad especially when you rely on maps to navigate and you have to take your eye on the road to change back to Android Auto which defeats the purpose of having physical buttons. I get around this by using MG's voice assistant to change the temperature.
  • I love black interiors but black leather makes the car hot and sticky. The sunroof doesn't get a hard cover like in the Venue instead it is a fabric cover which doesn't fully stop sunlight coming in and I think it doesn't insulate sound as well as a hard cover would.
  • The display above the steering wheel has one very informative screen with the ride details like average speed, KMs, time etc. The next screen is the TMPS screen which is also good. The third screen is a brightness adjustment screen which seems stupid, this could have easily been put on the settings page. The media currently playing screen could have been included instead like in the Nexon.
  • There is a physical button near the regen and driving mode buttons which says battery which brings up battery info on the display. This is completely useless and a waste of space.
  • I once forgot to close the lid of the charging cover and drove a few kms before someone on the road pointed out my mistake. It would have been nice to get a warning if it is open like a seatbelt warning.
  • My dad lives in an independent house. When I visited him I had to get out of the car to open the gate. Once I got back in the car refused to move unless I put my seatbelt on, so I had to put my seatbelt on for the few feet it took to park the car. Are they being too safe?

To sum up.

This car is awesome! I love it and my wife has completely stopped driving her Venue now. Since I work from home most of the time, the ZS gets used for everything. Driving the Venue now feels like using a button phone in the age of smartphones.

If you are on the fence, I recommend you buy this car.

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