Just like the Korean invasion more than a decade ago, Chinese (and Chinese-owned) brands are now entering the market with offerings that aim to beat the established Japanese in terms of equipment, price, and quality.
MG, short for Morris Garages, is a British brand owned by Chinese automaker SAIC Motor. The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI) has been handling the brand here since 2019.
The ZS is the brand's best-selling cars as it represented half of TCCCI's total 2019 sales of 5,085 units. Thanks to this achievement, MG joined the top 10 best-selling brands in the country that year.
That also showed the consumers' demand for subcompact crossovers, cars that mix the assuring ride height of a full-fledged SUV with compact dimensions (and an affordable price tag).
Surely, the MG ZS has more going for it than the usual crossover formula. Let's dive in to the pros and cons of the ZS.
1. Value for money
Prices for the ZS can be described as reasonable given its equipment.
There are three trim levels of the ZS, namely the MT Style, AT Style, and AT Alpha, and are priced at P819,000, P869,000, and P999,000, respectively.
All ZS cars are powered by a 1.5-liter mill that creates 115hp and 150Nm of torque, which are sent to the front wheels with a four-speed auto for the AT Style and Alpha, and a five-speed manual in the MT Style.
By the way, the ZS in base trim is among the few crossovers in the market that offers three pedals, a "pro" to those seeking a manual for maximum driving pleasure and fuel economy.
Highlights in the ZS AT Alpha include a panoramic sunroof called the Stargazer, push button start, a eight-inch infotainment with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, and leather-style seats.
The same car is also fitted with curtain and side airbags, a reversing camera (also available in AT Style), and tire pressure monitoring.
Other variants in the ZS range offer all the essentials. The AT Style has a 6.4-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto with Bluetooth, while the MT Style features a radio also with Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity.
All ZS cars come with Isofix child seat mounting in the rear seats, which also looks family-friendly given the amount of space back there.
2. Purposeful looks
With the "London Eye" headlights that blend into the shiny "Stardust" grille, and its "Polaris" tail lights, the ZS does stand out from its competitors. With its body cladding, upright stance, and roof rails, the ZS also looks like a real SUV.
3. Good after-sales service
MG promises attractive after-sales service with every MG car, along with a five-year/100,000km warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Customers will also get to use the My MG App, which can allow them to monitor their MG's service intervals and maintenance history, schedule casa appointments, among others. MG added that maintenance work will take only one hour.
The customer can also have the ZS serviced at their address with the Mobile Garage service.
1. Unproven reliability?
It's probably a good thing MG offers the aforementioned services. That's because just like the Korean cars from a generation ago, MG cars (and even the new Chinese cars in the market) still have to shake off the public's suspicion that they aren't as reliable as Japanese models.
The ZS will be a decent choice to those who want to be an early adopter of a new brand. The MG badge will also standout in a sea of commonplace emblems. And who knows, maybe this crossover will prove to be tough in the long run.
Those who prefer to play safe would be better off with similarly-priced, or if their budget permits, shell out more for alternatives from Japan and Korea.
Photos from MG