MG ZS EV vs Nissan Leaf

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As extra producers discover electrical tech, the trickle-down continues to penetrate the decrease automotive courses, democratising zero-emissions motoring for a lot of.

The newest inexpensive EV mannequin to emerge comes from MG. The Chinese language-owned, reborn British model is providing fairly a robust proposition with its ZS EV SUV, as a easy have a look at the numbers reveals: £26,995 for the top-spec Unique mannequin and a claimed WLTP vary of 163 miles.

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This implies the MG faces a key rival the Nissan Leaf, a automotive that pioneered inexpensive electrical motoring. At this value it’s the top-spec MG versus the entry-level Nissan – however with regards to energy, vary and charging, the 2 are shut.

Head-to-head

Mannequin: MG ZS EV Unique Nissan Leaf 40kWh Acenta
Worth:  £26,995 £27,995
Engine:  1x electrical motor, 44.5kWh Li-ion battery 1x electrical motor, 40kWh Li-ion battery
Energy:  141bhp 148bhp
Transmission:  Single-speed automated, front-wheel drive Single-speed automated, front-wheel drive 
Zero-60mph: 7.four seconds 7.eight seconds
High pace: 87mph 90mph
Check effectivity:  three.6 miles/kWh three.6 miles/kWh
CO2/tax:  0g/km/£Zero 0g/km/£Zero
Choices:  Metallic paint (£545) None

MG ZS EV

For: Vary and affordability, stronger, extra versatile recharging functionality, respectable practicality and equipment.
Towards: Journey and dealing with might be extra managed, infotainment lacks EV-specific performance.

Key to any EV is its battery. This determines the usable vary on supply, in addition to the automotive’s efficiency, and within the ZS EV the engineering and tech are fairly good given the value. The 44.5kWh battery whole means round 40kWh of usable capability, and MG claims 163 miles on a full cost.

The battery provides a 141bhp electrical motor that drives the entrance wheels. That is 7bhp down on the Leaf, however then the MG is 41kg lighter. The ZS EV’s efficiency on check was greater than sufficient, with the 353Nm of torque (33Nm greater than the Leaf) delivered immediately for sturdy and easy acceleration.

It sprinted from Zero-60mph in 7.four seconds, Zero.four seconds sooner than the Leaf, however by 60mph the MG’s urgency tails off (its high pace is just 87mph). Acceleration from decrease speeds is extra essential to extra individuals, and on this occasion, the ZS managed 30-50mph in 2.7 seconds, in comparison with 2.eight seconds within the Leaf, so there’s little to separate them. This acceleration is what makes smaller EVs like these straightforward and enjoyable to drive in city areas.

They’re helped by single-speed transmissions. With no gearchanges, you simply squeeze the throttle and go. There are three driving modes within the ZS: Eco, Regular and Sport. Eco and Regular are the nicest, as a result of the throttle response ramps up in every setting, and it’s just a little too aggressive in Sport.

There’s a little bit of motor whine as you elevate off, however in any other case refinement is fairly good – and this extends, principally, to the trip. The ZS feels pretty delicate, bouncing a good bit with free physique management, however at the least the chassis offers with softer undulations within the street easily; larger, harsher bumps trigger the wheels to rebound relatively aggressively, with an affordable, barely crude really feel to the way in which the dampers take care of controlling the wheels.

The Leaf isn’t immune from this both, however it’s higher than within the MG. The ZS’s steering is gentle and imprecise, however acceptable, and makes it straightforward to navigate round city. It’s no driver’s automotive although.

High-spec Unique trim options air-con, keyless operation, adaptive cruise, an eight-inch touchscreen set-up with sat-nav and smartphone connectivity, a panoramic roof, heated seats and a few nice security tech for the cash as a part of MG’s Pilot system.

Inevitably, given this equipment tally and the strong engineering beneath, it’s the extent of high quality of the remainder of the automotive that is available in for questioning. The inside plastics are exhausting and, though they really feel sturdy, they don’t really feel notably excessive in high quality. However then this does preserve the value down, which is essential at this stage of the market.

Testers’ notes

  • • High quality: Total match and end nonetheless come up brief within the MG, with extra exhausting plastics and fundamental trim than you’ll discover within the Leaf.
  • • Gear: Heated leather-based seats are a part of an in depth equipment record that the Leaf can’t match.
  • • Tech: There’s a superb touchscreen, however you don’t get a hi-tech digital dashboard.

Nissan Leaf

For: Journey and refinement higher than the MG’s, extra EV-orientated options, honest stage of equipment even in base trim.
Towards: Vary isn’t nearly as good, efficiency and practicality restricted in contrast with MG’s, pricier.

The second-generation Leaf is a closely up to date model of the unique with regards to the structure on which it’s based mostly. The massive modifications come courtesy of a much bigger 40kWh battery (of which round 36kWh is usable) supplying a extra highly effective 148bhp electrical motor.

Not like the MG although, the Leaf’s battery doesn’t function extra superior liquid cooling to manage the cells’ temperature in use and when charging. Keep in mind that over a protracted time frame this might doubtlessly have an effect on the battery’s efficiency.

Because it stands, the Leaf’s efficiency is sound, taking 7.eight seconds to speed up from Zero-60mph – a lot sooner than an equal combustion-engined automotive would take. Just like the MG, it’s really easy to do as effectively. With a single-speed transmission there are not any modifications, so acceleration is easy.

Additionally just like the MG, the Leaf isn’t the best to drive. The connection between driver and steering is obscure, compounded by the very fact the steering wheel doesn’t supply a large sufficient vary of adjustment; there’s solely the choice to alter rake, not attain.

Neither are the physique management or trip something to jot down house about. The Leaf has much less variance between its greatest and worst, smothering harsh bumps far more adeptly than the sometimes crashy MG, however it doesn’t really feel fairly as delicate and forgiving because the ZS at its greatest. Nevertheless, the Leaf is far more constant and composed, partly as a result of its trip peak is decrease, so it doesn’t roll round as a lot.

The motor is smoother and its response is silkier, so it’s simpler to get the measure of, even when the Leaf’s efficiency lagged behind the ZS’s in our checks. Together with the Zero-60mph evaluation, the Nissan trailed the MG by Zero.1 and Zero.2 seconds between 30-50mph and 50-70mph, at 2.eight and four.6 seconds.

That is barely noticeable on the street although. Nevertheless, the ZS’s liquid cooling means the MG’s efficiency and recharging charge ought to be extra constant than the Nissan’s, whereas the battery itself ought to have an extended life.

Just like the MG, high quality is common at greatest, with the Leaf’s cabin clothed in exhausting plastics, whereas there’s loads of gear included even in base Acenta spec. You get a way more versatile seven-inch display screen subsequent to the speedo, which reveals extra EV-specific data than the MG’s small display screen. The Nissan’s infotainment reveals charging stations, too, whereas the MG reveals petrol stations – it’s apparent it’s been carried over from the usual ZS.

The Leaf additionally comes with nice security tech, a rear-view digital camera, 16-inch alloys, adaptive cruise, local weather management and auto headlights.

Testers’ notes

  • • Inside: Go for a Leaf Acenta, and also you don’t get as a lot equipment because the equally priced MG. The automotive in our photos is in well-specced Tekna trim.
  • • Switches: Stubby drive selector sits subsequent to e-Pedal button for one-pedal driving.
  • • High quality: Leaf feels just like the better-built product, however isn’t as far forward as you would possibly anticipate. 

Verdict

First place: MG ZS EV

It’s removed from an ideal EV, however the MG presents extra vary, higher charging, stronger efficiency and equal effectivity to the Leaf, whereas it will get as a lot equipment for much less money. On this foundation the MG simply edges the Nissan – it’s a superb first EV effort from the Chinese language-owned British model.

Second place: Nissan Leaf

Nissan’s EV expertise reveals right here, as a result of the Leaf is an efficient EV. Nevertheless, vary and recharging are nonetheless vital and the Leaf simply isn’t as versatile because the ZS on this respect. The newer MG’s added capability demonstrates how rapidly electrical automotive growth is transferring.