2021 MG ZST
Contents

Back in 2019, we touted the MG ZS as one of the best crossovers you could buy in the market. However, it did lack one thing and it was in terms of power. While the 1.5-liter it had was well balanced and was enough to power the crossover, it was quickly outgunned by its newer rivals which are pushing well above 120 horsepower. 

To answer this problem, MG Philippines launched the 2021 MG ZST to improve upon what the ZS built. It features a new design, a new set of features, most importantly, it comes with more power to help keep it on par with the rest of its rivals. With that said, onto our review of the MG ZST to find out if this crossover should be the one for you and if it is a great improvement over its ZS brother.

4.1 / 5
2021 MG ZST Review
Performance
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling
4.0/5
Design
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics
4.0/5
Ride Comfort
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation
4.0/5
Safety and Technology
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features
4.0/5
Value for Money
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency
4.5/5
What You Will Like
  • The new 1.3-liter turbocharged engine
  • Comes with Apple Carplay
  • Has a 360-degree camera
  • Improved safety features
What You Won't Like
  • The head unit can be a bit laggy
  • The digital display can be a bit confusing initially
  • Steering feel can be lacking in certain modes
How We Do Our Reviews

When it comes to the exterior of the MG ZST, it's a case of a bit of the familiar and a bit of the new. Since the crossover is effectively the facelifted version of the ZS, there are still a few similarities in their design. In this case, the overall shape of the two vehicles remains the same with the ZST getting a much sleeker face, a new bumper, and a much larger grille leading to a sportier design. 

The crossover comes with LED headlights which are a great improvement over the halogens found in the ZS model. They have a great throw and a good cut-off as well. They are bright enough to show you the road and are positioned in such a way that they won’t blind any incoming traffic. 

Moving on to the side of the ZST, it is a familiar sight. Not too much is going on aside from clean lines across the side of the vehicle. You do get a new set of 17-inch alloy wheels that come in a new “tomahawk design”. Aside from this it is the usual fan fair of roof rails and LED repeaters on the side mirrors.

At the back, the MG ZST still retains a familiar rear, its tailgate design is still the same and opens in the same way as its ZS brethren. The exterior lines, however, have been cleaned up leading to a sleeker look. The new-look is also further complimented by a new set of LED taillights that are paired with a new bumper design as well. All in all these new additions to the crossover make it look sleek, sporty, and premium. These are characteristics that many will probably like about the crossover.

The interior of the ZST greets you with a familiar sight. The dashboard is very much similar to its ZS counterpart, but with a revised bottom layout. There are now faux carbon fiber accents found in key areas of the cabin such as on the door cards, the gear shifter, and on the middle section of the dashboard. Aside from this, there are red accents found throughout the cabin along with red stitching. This gives the crossover a much sportier appearance which could cater well to a younger audience.

Something to note is that for this specific test unit, the seat came with a red accent on them, while the black review unit that we also got had no red accents on the seats. This can be a point of contention for some as we found the all-black seats to be a little bit more pleasing to the eye. If you prefer it with the red accents, then it doesn’t take away anything from the interior and how it looks and feels. Just like before a panoramic sunroof is available with the crossover giving you better natural lighting. Don’t worry about the heat as there is an automatic shade provided with the vehicle and the air conditioning has been stepped up as the rear passengers do get access to air vents. 

As this is essentially a facelifted model, the cargo space of the MG ZST remains the same over its ZS brother. It's still very much usable space and loading cargo in and out of the vehicle is still an easy task to accomplish. While its interior is a familiar sight, the improvements done to it are still noticeable and very much appreciated. It gives the ZST a much brighter cabin and at the same time makes it look a little more youthful. As previously mentioned there is a model available that does not have the red accents on the seat if that's more of your preference.

MG ZST Ride comfort

The ride of the MG ZST is a step above what it used to be on the ZS. Comfort is still great thanks to a balanced set of seats that are soft and at the same time hold you in place very well. The suspension is still a bit on the soft side as it aids in giving you the best ride comfort possible. A few bumps will occasionally make their way into the cabin of the vehicle, but we can just chalk it up to the uneven roads of the country.

As for its NVH, it's better compared to ZS. Only a bit of road and wind noise will enter the cabin with the noise seeping in at higher speeds between 90km/h to 100km/h. The engine noise and vibration are also kept to a minimum which is great considering that the ZST is powered by a 1.3-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged engine. The six-speed automatic transmission also aids in ride comfort as its shifts are smooth and keep the engine revolutions low at higher speeds.

MG ZST 10-inch infotainment system

It's another case of the familiar when it comes to the tech found inside the MG ZST. Unlike its ZS counterpart which comes with an 8-inch head unit, the ZST comes with a 10-inch infotainment system that has Apple CarPlay. It also retains the six-speaker sound system of its naturally aspirated brother along with other features such as its 360-degree camera with its 3D effect. 

Where the two vehicles differ slightly is when it comes to climate controls. The ZS had buttons and knobs to help you keep the car cool, while the ZST comes with switches. It does take some time to adjust to but everything works well. There is, however, a bit of a delay when it comes to adjusting the air or the thermostat. This is because the head unit can be a bit laggy in displaying the changes you have made. 

Another thing to take note of is the new digital display of the MG ZST. While it looks really good and the images are crisp, there is a bit of a delay especially when it comes to the tachometer. The layout can also be a bit confusing initially, once you get used to it, however, it becomes second nature and you will quickly find what you are looking for on the display. As for its other features, there are still plenty of USB charging points inside the cabin, which is great especially if you have passengers that need to charge their phones.

MG ZST safety

In terms of safety, the MG ZST comes with pretty standard equipment for its segment in the market. It comes with dual front, side, and curtain airbags, seatbelt reminders, ABS with EBD, cornering brake control, an electronic stability program, hill hold control, traction control, vehicle dynamic control, brake disc wiping, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Aside from this the crossover also gets a blind spot information system, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic assist, rear driving assist, a battery charge meter, a reverse camera, rear parking sensors, and of course its 360-degree camera. The newly added features improve upon what the MG ZS started and make the vehicle not only easier to drive and safer as well.

MG ZST driving and handling

The addition of the 1.3-liter turbocharged engine gives the ZST a night and day difference over its ZS counterpart. While the ZS had a slightly hesitant engine, the ZST has an engine that just wants to go. Power delivery is balanced and the way of torque from the turbo comes in quite early. It's enough to push you back into your seat but not in a violent manner. It's guaranteed to give you a smile on your face which is something that we all enjoyed about the car.

With the four-speed automatic transmission not present in the ZST, the six-speed takes over and delivers a comfortable driving experience. It is quick enough to respond to what you want it to do in manual mode, but it responds to you best when in Drive.

Handling is also notably different as the ZST feels more agile, there is body roll present when tackling corners at speed but it's in no way alarming. The vehicle stability program does well to keep this in check and the cornering brake control also helps rotate the vehicle when you want it. Overall ZST delivers on a sporty drive that many will surely appreciate.

MG ZST enginebay philippiens

The MG ZST is powered by a new 1.3-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine. It produces 160hp and 230 Nm of torque which puts it right in with its competitors which also come with power figures in that range. Even with its newfound power, the MG crossover is still fairly frugal. During our testing, we were able to get 10.5km/L in the city and 16.5km/L on the highway. Overall standard numbers but not bad from a turbo 1.3-liter engine. 

MG ZST verdict and price comparison

The MG ZST presents itself as a sporty yet premium-looking crossover. Its new exterior design gives it a sleeker look that many will appreciate especially in its highly competitive. The set of features that it carries is still familiar, however,  it has greatly improved in terms of the safety features that it now carries. The 1.3-liter engine is punchy enough for the crossover yet is still able to push out good fuel economy figures. Thanks to its added safety features, the ZST comes with a more dynamic driving experience over its ZS counterpart, which is all-around a great thing.

These improvements, however, do put it in contention with a few favorites in the segment such as the Geely Coolray and the Ford Territory. With the tech and power that its two rivals offer, the ZST is thrust into the middle ground. The Coolray is the more expensive vehicle with a P40,000 price difference but it comes with similar features to the MG crossover, however, it does produce more power. In the case of the Ford Territory, the ZST comes out as the more affordable vehicle, however, it loses out in terms of technology.

With all things considered, the MG ZST presents itself as the perfect option if you are looking for a balanced crossover with a balanced set of features. It may not have the most powerful engine in its category but it is still enough to rocket the crossover to highway speeds fairly quickly. It may not have the newest technology available, but its set of features is great for a driver who doesn’t want to be overwhelmed by tech. All in all the MG ZST has done well to improve upon what its ZS brother has started. Its set of features still makes it a great buy in the competitive crossover market, as a balanced option.


Specifications

Engine

1.3 L

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Performance

160 hp @ 5,600 rpm

Transmission

Automatic

Summary

Name MG ZST 1.3 Trophy
Body Type Crossover
Price ₱1,158,888
Transmission Type Automatic

Engine

Performance

Economy & Environment

Dimensions

Safety & Security

Features

Technology


Colors

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