General

What is the best electric car for a cheap range?

What is the best electric car for a cheap range?
Top Gear Advice

Want to go as far as you can for the smallest suggested retail price? Then the glamorous MG ZS EV is for you

At Top Gear we love a good sports car, of course, but sometimes we too have to admit the allure of a good basic car that does the job well. Similarly, with electric cars, you can get luxury and fast cars, but it will cost you to get them on your drive. What if you just wanted a decent electric family SUV that can cover a lot of miles without costing too much?

Realistic – and somewhat chilling for a motoring journalist to consider – is that about as much attention as many buyers will put into their new car. As if to prove the idea, the latest new car sales figures from the British trade association SMMT showed that MG sold a number of promising brands in the year to August – Renault, Skoda, Seat, Honda, Fiat, Dacia and Citroen. Not quite, that’s clear. Things are not that bad.

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And so the MG ZS SUV pleads for itself as a vaguely decent electric car at a vaguely decent price. No chuckling behind that. You can plug in your phone and there is a steering wheel, what more could you want from a car? It can hold five people, although it may not do wonders for their self-esteem.

It’s not all bad, it has to be admitted – the electric version of the ZS EV now comes with a funky blind grille and you can outfit the car in funky colors like blue, red or gray. But the blue is especially beautiful, the vibrant hue of escaped electricity. If you go for the top-of-the-line 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 refined details in modern electric life, you might come away disappointed – for example, hit the brakes and you just use the brakes. If you’re an internal combustion enthusiast it probably seems odd to call it such a thing, but the ZS EV doesn’t offer rain from the slower pedal, instead you have to turn the rain on. A difficulty, we know.

If you’re used to some of the more refined details in modern cars in general, you might come away disappointed. Things like ride quality, for example, which turns into bouncing and swaying as you try to take a B-road in an ambitious, snappy way. But look on the bright side and the MG encourages you to slow down a bit and maximize range.

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Ah, but the range – does an electric car offer such an exciting distance-to-money ratio? We haven’t covered the entire EV market, but let’s 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 will give you 453 miles of WLTP range for £105,610 which is £233 per mile. More than €100 cheaper for every kilometer of range.

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

Best EV for Cheap Range – MG ZS EV SE Long Range
Price:
£32,540
Range: Up to 273 miles
Engine: 154 hp electric motor
Battery: 73kWh
Top speed: 108mph
0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Storage space: 470 liters

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