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A Grand Monday: MG ZS 120+

Published 15 May 2017

If our suggestion via Future Classic Friday that the MG ZS is an up and coming classic has piqued your interest, then here's an opportunity to get hold of one that has a hell of a lot going for it, and all at a bargain basement price.

Yours for just £695, this example is a ZS 120+. Okay, so it's not the screaming V6-engined 180, but on the flipside of that, it's a far easier car to own. And anyone who has owned a K-series engined ZS will tell you that not only is it fairly quick anyway, but it's both an absolute delight to drive, and easy enough to tune. 

The four-cylinder models are also far cheaper. V6s are already attracting reasonably good money (I rue the day I swapped mine for a semi-broken Citroen XM), but four-pots are still in the banger doldrums. Yet they have exactly the same thrilling suspension set-up and razor-sharp steering that made the ZS180 such a hit.

Being a plus model, this one also benefits from a good level of standard kit. Monaco sports seats, as found in the V6s, air-con and a bigger body kit. Fit some 17-inch 'straights' alloys in lieu of the existing 16-inch 'hairpins' and it's impossible to tell the 120 apart. Indeed, 'straights' were an option back in the day, so it won't even affect the car's originality.

MG ZS (5)

Further plus points? It's metallic black (how cool is that?), it has had just one owner from new and it has a full service history, with the big bill including cambelt change at 83,000 - just 5000 miles ago. That service set the owner back a four figure sum and included a head gasket replacement - the famous K-series bugbear - so the car should be fit to give years of faithful service.

Furthermore, there's absolutely nothing alarming in the MoT history, although the current MoT expires next month so it may be worth either negotiating a new ticket as part of the deal, or alternatively using it as a bargaining point.

If you go for the latter, then the only thing you really need to look for is corrosion - ZSs (and their Rover cousins) hold up very well to age on the outside, but they're not immune to corrosion forming around the lower bulkhead, front floorpans and front jacking points, where the underseal gets chipped away by road debris.  

If it's solid here, then the only other common MoT fail points are CV joints (they all do that, sir...) and consumable parts such as brakes, tyres, bushes and dampers. There are no corrosion advisories in the MoT history, so chances are it's a good 'un. 

MG ZS (2) (1)

At £695, we don't reckon this will hang around for long. And you're unlikely to lose a dime when you come to resell it.


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