MG will split its sales strategy for its popular small ZS SUV, bringing in an updated, higher-spec, more expensive variant to run alongside a cheaper version of the current car.
Known as the ZST, the two new variants mark a sizable upgrade for the smallest of the company’s SUVs… on its side of the showroom, at least.
Packing an all-alloy 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet, the 115kW/230Nm ZST boasts a 40 percent power increase over the naturally aspirated 1.5-litre engine in the ZS.
It's backed by a six-speed traditional automatic, which sends drive to the front wheels.
The ZST wears new bumpers and LED lighting front and rear, while the chassis itself has been upgraded compared to the ZS.
The small SUV also picks up a full suite of driver safety aids in a bundle known as MG Pilot.
Already featured on the company's larger HS, it includes lane departure warning, AEB, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, blind-spot detection, auto-dimming headlights and speed sign recognition that can automatically regulate the ZS’s speed.
MG claims that the ZST is the only small SUV to offer this much in the way of electronic safety.
Inside, there’s a large 10.1-inch touchscreen that eschews buttons, running Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Leatherette seating, five USB ports – two in the rear, two on the centre console and one up near the rearview mirror for dashcams – auto lights and wipers, keyless entry, stepped boot floor, 17-inch alloy wheels and more passenger and cargo room (thanks to more body length and height) are all standard.
Cargo space has jumped 23 litres to 293 litres with the seats up and 1187L with the seats down. Rear seat room is genuinely impressive, particularly in the Excite model. There are two ISOFIX baby seat mounts in the rear, as well.
MORE Mazda CX-3 vs MG ZS
The new flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel helps to lift the cabin, but there’s no reach adjustment on the steering column to fine-tune the driving position.
Two grades of ZST are available, with the entry-level Excite offering analogue dash instruments and a regular metal roof for $28,490 plus on-road costs, while the Essence adds a huge panoramic glass roof, with a translucent cover, a digital dash, 360-degree surround parking camera, powered driver’s seat and heating for driver and passenger seats for $3000 more.
The pricing includes seven years warranty with unlimited kilometres, along with roadside assistance support.
“It’s all about the one percenters,” said MG Australia’s director of marketing and products, Danny Lenartic. “‘We’re not mucking around. A car in this segment with this level of tech is unparalleled.”
MG ZST Australian pricing
- MG ZST Excite - $28,490 before ORC
- MG ZST Essence - $31,490 before ORC