What is it like on the inside?
The ZS is nowhere near as copycat inside as its bodywork might have you fear. In fact, the spacious cabin and its logical layout might well be the car’s strongest hand. There’s a new steering wheel that no longer feels cheaper to hold than a Fisher-Price PlayStation accessory, and the buttons have been copied from old VW products so you needn’t have the dexterity of a concert pianist to switch the volume up a little.
The clocks, with the Audi-esque fonts, are readable. There’s a good slug of soft-touch material on the dash, which is jolly nice, but rather undone by the baffling decision to make Apple CarPlay a standard feature on mid and high-spec models, then not rubberise the cubby holes where your phone might live. So, as soon as it’s plugged in and you set off, your gadgets are going to get scratched, and rattle. D’oh.
The touchscreen itself is a minor triumph. The home screen is a colourful and responsive affair, though this gives way to very fiddly sub menus. Sat-nav mapping is clear, and the Apple CarPlay functionality is a boon few rivals have can match in 2017, but will inevitably catch up with.
What they’ll struggle to do is match the ZS’s space. Behind comfortable front seats lives a rear bench that can genuinely accommodate three adults, almost in comfort save for the fact the rear headrests don’t sprout high enough, so they’ll dig into your back painfully. Headroom and legroom is beyond reproach however, the doors have wide apertures, and visibility is a brighter vista than some overdesigned rivals from the likes of Vauxhall (Mokka), Ford (EcoSport) and Nissan (Juke).
Meanwhile, behind the boot door with the release now neatly engineered into the MG badge, lives a 448-litre boot – thank the torsion bar rear axle for liberating space that more sophisticated rivals do without. Rear seats down, this is a 1,375-litre van, both of which are class-leading figures, says MG. Hmm. Given this car straddles about three classes, that’s your call. Either way, you will not want for space in the ZS, which makes its case as a growing family’s sole runabout a stronger one.