MG launches bargain new ZS SUV

British brand MG has launched its fourth new model since returning to the UK under Chinese ownership. The ZS represents MG's entry into the massive-selling compact crossover sector, and aims to compete on space and value – undercutting ostensible rivals such as the Nissan Juke by as much as £3,000.

Prices for the new ZS start from £12,945, but despite these bargain origins MG offers zero-per cent finance and an impressive seven-year, 80,000-mile warranty. It's clear, then, that MG is aiming the ZS more at the likes of the Dacia Duster than upmarket rivals such as the Mazda CX-3.

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Not that you'd think it from the styling, as MG seems to have drawn inspiration from several of its competitors. The front grille and headlights are pure Mazda CX-3, as are elements of the interior. Meanwhile, the rear has shades of Kia Sportage, while the side profile is very similar to the Seat Arona.

Under the skin though, the ZS is all MG, with a choice of two engines. The entry-level is a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated unit, mated exclusively to a five-speed manual 'box and producing 105bhp. It will do 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds and return a claimed 49.6mpg.

The other engine is a more modern 1.0-litre, fitted with a turbocharger and coupled to a six-speed automatic. It produces 109bhp. It's slower than the 1.5-litre – possibly because of the automatic gearbox - with 0-60mph taking 12.1 seconds, while claimed fuel economy is 44.9mpg.

The ZS range is made up of three trim levels, named Explore, Excite and Exclusive. As standard, all cars come with LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth and cruise control, while top-spec cars gain sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and 'leather-style upholstery'.

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