When the opportunity to test the latest from MG comes up you may not automatically assume it’s going to be an SUV. Collecting the keys to the MG ZS you walk towards a Mazda CX-3 sized SUV which has a very recognisable badge on the front. It looks rather good from the outside with 17inch two toned alloy wheels, a lovely white paint and a handy ride height allowing easy entry.

Slipping inside the MG ZS onto the faux leather seats you’re presented with a really neat cockpit. The view from the drivers seat is rather European. The steering wheel has very handy and accessible controls for music and menus, tilting your head to the left you’ll notice the eight inch touch screen infotainment system that through USB connections will allow Apple CarPlay. Looking up and the controls for your very large panoramic sunroof reveal themselves and light will fill the cabin.

The cabin in the MG ZS is really deceiving from the outside, it’s actually huge. The boot itself is 359L of space compared to the CX-3 264L. From a seating perspective we had five adults in the MG ZS for an hour long trip and not one of them complained about the space or ride of the MG.

Under the hood of the MG ZS is an engine that sounds like it shouldn’t be able to move an SUV. A 1.0L three-cylinder turbo engine powers a six speed automatic transmission which drives the front wheels. It is not a race car and won’t thrust passengers into the backs of their seats but it will deliver good fuel economy. During our time with the MG ZS we had a mix of city, “spirited” and highway driving and we pulled an average of 7L/100km which for a vehicle weighing 1245kg is rather good.

The backseat critics on the drive asked enough questions to start to make the MG ZS obvious where there are downfalls. No radar cruise control or automatic emergency breaking, no fancy climate control or  heated seats, it really is a wound back SUV. It doesn’t have all the mod cons and for many that won’t matter. The speed of the power windows were a little concerning, we almost wanted to help them out. The ride was not inspiring or enthusiastic but for many that won’t matter either.

The biggest surprise for my passengers were two fold; the MG ZS is made in China and the car can be owned for less than $25,000. One made sense of the other but it certainly kept the criticisms to a minimum. If you factor in the seven year unlimited kilometre warranty with road-side assistance you’re starting to get a little more comfortable with it all. It might be a gamble on quality but for the price and assurance you have a rather challenging proposition on your hands.

For a couple looking to start a family who needs the extra space without breaking the bank, the MG ZS offers some of the big features like a panoramic sunroof and boot space at a low price and use of fuel. If MG has achieved anything by providing us with this test vehicle it is that it is completely okay that MG now makes an SUV, we would like to see more…