2024 MG ZST Review: Still the best Cheap Small SUV?

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MG ZST Review

Today I’ll unpack whether you can fit your family and how it competes against other small SUV rivals like the GWM Havel Jolien and the Cherry Omoto 5.

Pricing and features

There are four variants for the ZST, and test the top spec Essence which will cost you $33,990 drive away.

That positions it right in the middle of its rivals, and you get some great features for the price tag.

Features like a panoramic sunroof, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, an electric driver’s seat, as well as wide Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, just to name a few.


Being the newer and shinier version of the ZS, the ZST presents as a nice little package with its full suite of LED lights, chrome accents, and well-proportioned body.

The front is different from the original ZS design news because it’s been redesigned to feature a darkened grill with new LED lights and air intake vents.

Other design highlights include the 17-inch alloy two-tone wheels with their red calipers.

MG ZST Review

The inside is pleasant with the massive sunroof creating a light-filled cabin space.

It also creates the illusion that the cabin is a lot larger than what it actually is.

The synthetic leather upholstery and trim seem robust, which is perfect for families, but do feel quite plasticky underhand.

I do love the red the bossing of the badge on the headrest, though. It’s very cool. The dashboard is well-proportioned and is headlined by a 10.1-inch touch screen multimedia system.

The gear shifter is a little bit too skinny and tall for the general esthetic, but I really like how cool the circular air vents are. They just add a bit of personality in here.


The front row enjoys plenty of head and leg room, and the front seats are comfortable and well padded but do lack lumbar support, which you will feel on a longer journey.

The individual storage is not bad up front with a small middle console and glove box, two cup holders and two drink bottle holders.

I also really appreciate cute little pocket, which was perfect for wallet this week.

USB Port

The options up front for charging are okay with two USB A ports and a 12 volt port.

At this price point, those options aren’t surprising, but you do miss out on faster or wireless charging options in this.

I really like that you get an extra USB A port up here to support a dash cam if you need to install one.


The multimedia system looks great but can be slow to respond to touch and just to load the apps. I do like, though, that has built-in satellite navigation.

The digital instrument cluster looks good, and I like how driver-orientated the cockpit feels with how easy it is to access the screens and the buttons.

Rear Seat

The back seat is spatial This is for my 168 centimeter height, and the seats themselves are quite comfortable.

But with the width of the seats, I do feel like two adults will fit best. The seat material can feel a bit slippery when you hit corners as well.

MG ZST Review

The amenities and storage are quite basic. You get two mat pockets as well as a storage bin in each door and two USB A ports.

There are Isofix child seat amounts on the outboard seats plus three top tethers.

Two seats are definitely going to fit best, but there is plenty of room for front passengers when a zero to four rearward facing child seat is installed to.

Boot Space

The boot is a really good size at 359 liters, and I like that you can reposition the floor and it creates a really deep well in there for larger items.

You get a temporary spare wheel underneath that floor, as well as two little side pockets that are nested.

It has a 60/40 split on the rear seats, but no power tailgate in this model.

About Engine

It has a 1.3-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a maximum power output of 115 kilowatts and 230 newton-metres of torque.

It’s a It’s a small drive and features a six-speed auto transmission.

It has enough power that you can keep up with traffic on the open road, but you do have to be firm with the accelerator to keep your speed consistent.

Road Experience

For a small car, the ZST essence has a decent amount of power, but it might start to feel a bit gutless when loaded down with people and luggage.

The steering is responsive, and this is quite an easy car to maneuver in tight city streets or a car park. I also like how good the visibility is despite chunkier pillars.

The suspension is fairly forgiving, and you get a decent ride comfort in this, but you still notice all of the bumps.

MG ZST Review

The cabin does get quite noisy at high speeds with wind and road noise. This is just totally a personal preference, but the break and accelerator pedals are quite skinny and more centrally positioned than what I actually prefer.

You do get used to it, though. This is an easy car to park. You get rear parking sensors, but you do miss out on ones at the front.

You also get a 360-degre view camera system, which is really good. But the image quality can be a bit grainy.


The official combined fuel cycle is 7.3 liters per 100 kilometers, and my real-world usage came out at 7.7 liters.

I did a really good mix of open road and urban driving this week, so I’m happy with that usage.

Based on the official combined cycle and the small 45 liter fuel tank, expect a driving range of around 616 kilometers on average.


The ZST comes with a good host of safety features that now come standard, like the blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

But it only has 6 airbags, while many of its rivals sport seven, including the new front center airbag.

The ZST variant is covered by the ZS four-star NCAP safety rating that was achieved in 2017.

It’s important to note, though, that the tested ZS model didn’t have AEB or lane support systems at the time of testing.

Those items were introduced on model year 2020 onwards, and this model, the ZST, has those items as well.


The Mg ZST comes with a seven-year unlimited kilometer warranty, which is on par with what some of its rivals are currently offering.

You can get a seven-year or up to 70,000 kilometer servicing program, and services average $334, which is very competitive.

Servicing intervals are at every 12 months or 10,000 kilometers, whichever occurs first, which could get annoying if you travel a lot.

Final Word

Will the Mg ZST Essence fit your family? Absolutely. All but the middle seat passengers will find relative comfort.

There are some areas it can improve upon, like its laggy tech, safety features, and even adding some amenities in that back row.

But it still gets a seven out of 10 from me because it offers a host of features in an attractive package for a reasonable price tag.

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