MG ZS (2001 – 2005) Review

MG ZS (2001 – 2005) At A Glance


+Enjoyable handling. Good pace from the 180 version.

-Four-cylinder K series engines are prone to overheating and head gasket failure.

In 2001, the Rover 45 was re-engineered to become an MG saloon. The suspension settings were tweaked to improve ride and handling, while designer Peter Stevens did what he could to give the car a more aggressive look with new bumpers and the addition of side skirts.

Top of the range was the 2.5-litre KV6, complete with Subaru Impreza-influenced rear spoiler but the range also included an L-series diesel version, which reflected the progress Volkswagen was making at the time with its range of high-pressure, more powerful diesel engines (although the L-series failed to deliver in this respect).

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Ask Honest John

Is a catalytic converter covered under warranty?

"Does a new car warranty cover the cat? I have an MG ZS which is 18 months old and has done 3,000 miles. It was bought new. I have been told by the MG agent the cat needs replacing at a cost to me of £1,200! They said it's a consumable like tyres or an oil filter."
The answer to this question will very much depend on the cause of the failure. If the catalytic converter has clogged up because the car has been used for lots of short journeys that have prevented it from reaching the required operating temperature then I would say no, it's not a warranty issue. The same would be true if the unit has been damaged in some way by road debris or a kerb. However, if the catalytic converter has failed due to a manufacturing defect (either with the unit or elsewhere in the car) then I would expect the warranty to cover the repair. A faulty oxygen sensor, for example, could result in the fuel being too rich or lean - both have the potential to wreck a cat converter.
Answered by Dan Powell

Should we buy an electric vehicle outright?

"We're looking at the MG ZS EV to replace our 2014 Nissan X-Trail. We're not keen on paying interest on a lease when we could afford to buy outright and are happy to keep a vehicle for more than 3 years, as we have done with the X-Trail. I'm not sure if that's sensible with an EV though. What happens with the battery life over time?"
The battery warranty on the MG ZS EV is seven years/80,000 miles. After this time, MG says the battery must have 70 per cent of its original capacity. Based on older electric vehicles, we're finding that batteries aren't degrading as quickly as you might expect. They should be good for at least 10 years, if not more. It's rare for them to suddenly fail, either - they simply lose capacity over time. This suggests that buying an MG ZS EV could be a sound purchase. The only thing to consider is if you have any desire to have 'the latest thing' - electric vehicles are developing rapidly and you might find, after three years, you want to upgrade to the latest model.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What is your advice on the used electric car market?

"Could you give me your thoughts on the second-hand EV car market please as dealers are making a huge mark up? I enquired about a two year old e-Golf that had 31,000 miles on the clock and they wanted £30 more on monthly payments than if I brought a brand new one from MG. My own five year car only has 37,000 miles and they wanted to give me peanuts! There was no negotiation on both the sale, part exchange and deposits so I walked away. I will not be ripped off trying the second-hand option to buy an EV. Your thoughts welcome. "
Your current car sounds like desirable stock for many used car dealers. We'd recommend selling it privately or perhaps via a service like Then you'll be in a strong position to negotiate on its replacement. A new MG represents excellent value for money, although – like any new car at the moment – you could face a long wait for delivery. If it's the MG ZS EV you're considering, it'll be worth waiting for the latest updated model rather than settling on a nearly-new pre-facelift example. Not only does it have a bigger battery and a longer range, but the infotainment system is much better and it should hold more of its value (reducing the monthly payments on a PCP).
Answered by Andrew Brady

What is the smallest MG SUV?

"Does MG make a small SUV? If so, can you tell me what it is?"
Yes, the MG ZS:
Answered by Andrew Brady
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