If you're new to the car market and have not been keeping tabs, you might be surprised to know that the once-British, now Chinese-owned manufacturer, MG, is one of the fastest growing brands in the country, constantly sitting in the top 10 for sales. That's very much a result of producing great vehicles at very reasonable prices with fantastic warranty periods. A trio combination that has proved very popular with Australian car buyers.
The MG ZS T variant we have at the experience centre is the Essence, priced at $32,490 drive-away.
The ZST packs a 1.3-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with 115kW of power and 230Nm of torque, sent to the front wheels through a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission sourced from Aisin.
It stacks up well against front-drive rivals such as the Mazda CX-30 G20 (114kW/200Nm), Mazda CX-3 (110kW/195Nm), Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona 2.0 (110kW/180Nm), and even the Mitsubishi ASX when equipped with the larger 2.4-litre four (123kW/222Nm).
MG says the ZST will use 7.1L/100km, which is rather high in this segment, but with a 45L fuel tank, it will do over 600km on a tank.
The ZST measures 1653mm in height, 4323mm in length, 1809mm n width with a 2580mm wheelbase that brings about a total of 1295kg of unladen weight. It has a 173mm ground clearance with a 500kg braked towing capacity.
Standard across the ZST range is a giant 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring satellite navigation and wired Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. Keyless entry and start, automatic LED headlights, leatherette upholstery, a six-speaker sound system, rain-sensing wipers, and 17-inch alloy wheels are also standard.
The Essence in our experience centre adds a huge panoramic sunroof and a digital instrument cluster, as well as heated front seats and power adjustment for the driver’s seat. Unfortunately, DAB radio isn’t available.
There is also the MG Pilot suite. This comprises autonomous emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera, and adaptive cruise control with stop/go.
Nonetheless, the ANCAP safety rating is four stars, based on testing conducted in 2017.
The ZS (not the ZST seen here) was the MG that was tested and it received ratings of Good and Acceptable for whiplash and pedestrian protection respectively, plus a frontal offset score of 10.46 out of 16.
In addition to its suite of active safety technology, the ZST also features front, front-side and curtain airbags for a total of six.
The autonomous emergency braking works at speeds of between 4 and 85km/h for stationary vehicles, 4 and 150km/h for moving vehicles, and 4 and 64km/h for pedestrians.
The ZST is covered by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with seven years of roadside assist.
Servicing is required every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. MG is rolling out a capped-price servicing scheme and provided indicative costs at the ZST’s launch earlier this year. The first five services will cost $241, $283, $291, $448 and $241.