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Tuesday 28th March
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What’s the best electric vehicle for cheap range?

Want to go as far as you can for the smallest RRP? Then the glamorous MG ZS EV is just for you

Published: 08 Sep 2022

We love a good sports car at Top Gear, of course we do, but even we sometimes have to admit the allure of a good basic car that does the job well. Similarly with electric cars, you can get ones that are fancy and fast, but they’ll cost you to get them on your drive. What if you just wanted a decent family electric SUV that will do a load of miles without costing too much? 

Realistically – and slightly horrifyingly for a car journalist to consider – that’s about as much thought as many buyers will put into their new car. As if to prove the notion, the most recent new car sales figures from UK industry body the SMMT showed that MG has outsold some auspicious brands in the year to August – Renault, Skoda, Seat, Honda, Fiat, Dacia and Citroen. Not altogether, obviously. Things aren’t that bad. 

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And so the MG ZS SUV makes a case for itself as a vaguely decent electric car for a vaguely decent price. No sniggering at the back there. You can connect your phone and there’s a steering wheel, what more could you want from a car? It’ll seat five people inside, though it might not do wonders for their self-esteem. 

It’s not all bad, it must be admitted – the electric version of the ZS EV now comes with a funky blanked off grille and you can spec the car in funky colours like blue, red or grey. But the blue is especially nice, the vibrant hue of escaped electricity. If you go for the top spec Trophy Long Range car you get heated ‘leather style’ seats, wireless phone charging and a 360-degree parking camera. 

If you’re used to some of the more sophisticated touches in modern electric life then perhaps you’ll come away disappointed – hit the brakes, for instance, and you’re just using the brakes. If you’re an internal combustion enthusiast it probably seems strange to mention such a thing, but the ZS EV doesn’t offer regen from the slower pedal, instead you’ll have to turn on the regen. A hardship, we know. 

If you’re used to some of the more sophisticated touches in modern cars generally, then you might come away disappointed. Things like ride quality, for instance, which devolves into bouncing and heaving if you attempt to take a B-road in an ambitiously spirited fashion. Still, look on the bright side and the MG encourages you to slow down a bit and maximise the range capability. 

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Ah, but the range – does any electric car offer such an exciting distance to cash ratio? We’ve not covered the whole of the EV market, but let us take the following example. The MG ZS EV SE Long Range model will get you 273 miles for £32,540, which is £119 per mile, while the Mercedes EQS450+ AMG Line offers you 453 miles of WLTP range for £105,610, which is £233 per mile. Over £100 cheaper for every mile of range. 

A meaningless, but ultimately very important figure that clearly demonstrates that an MG is a better bet than a Mercedes.

Best EV for cheap range – MG ZS EV SE Long Range
Range: Up to 273 miles
Engine: 154bhp e-motor
Battery: 73kWh
Top speed: 108mph
0–62mph: 8.2secs
Boot space: 470 litres 

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