MG Motors and Hyundai are set to battle in a new segment with their respective electric SUVs in the Indian market. This is a segment where the country has taken a long time to focus on, but finally we’re seeing some action and hoping it appeals to the buyers.
Now that MG Motors has revealed the pricing of the ZS EV, it’s time to take a closer look at both the electric offerings from MG and Hyundai and tell you which of these offers better value for money in this nascent market.
The MG ZS EV looks every bit like a conventional compact SUV. It’s larger than the Hyundai Kona and is about the size of a Jeep Compass. It seems slightly Mazda inspired in its overall design. The headlamps have semicircular daytime running lamps that the company claims is inspired by the London Eye. The 17-inch alloys from windmills and the LED-taillamps from the constellation Sirius.
The charging port is hidden behind the trellis-work grille in front. It has a large panoramic sun-roof that makes the interiors quite airy. The interiors itself are done up in leather and soft-touch materials.
MG’s SUV is much larger than the Hyundai Kona and it has a 448-litre boot that’s enough for a short weekend trip.
When it comes to the Kona, Hyundai has taken a safe design approach with this electric SUV, and compared to its flash rival, the Kona gets a sedate look and feel and might appeal to some of you. It gets a 332-litre boot space, which should be adequate enough for a long journey.
However, it is quite small. In terms of size it's smaller than the Hyundai Creta, but has a price tag that's a little more than the Hyundai Tucson as well as the MG ZS EV for that matter.
Power - It’s All Electric
The Hyundai Kona is powered by a 100kW motor that puts out 136PS of power and 395 Nm or torque. There’s a 12-volt battery here that only runs the auxillary systems. The 39.2 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack that powers the vehicle is under the floor of the Kona.
The Kona features three stages of regenerative braking, which can be adjusted with the paddles behind the steering. This actually makes you use the foot brakes a lot less.
The MG ZS EV is an all-electric SUV. It is powered by a permanent magnet asynchronous motor driving the front wheels. It has a 44.5 kWh battery that is good for 340 Km on a full charge. It puts out 143 PS of power and 353 Nm of torque.
These figures will probably tell you that electric SUVs in this price range are meant to be quick, and trust us, the instant torque on offer the moment to accelerate is nothing like what you get with traditional engine-based cars.
How Does it Drive?
Three things that stand out when we drove the MG ZS EV are the torque surge, the ride comfort and the silence in the cabin. It comes with three levels of regenerative braking that you can set using the KERS button on the console. It puts charge back into the battery while you decelerate. This can be seen on the gauge on the instrument panel.
The handling is quite sorted with minimal body roll thanks to the weight being centered lowdown in the SUV because the battery pack is under the floor. The pick up is what is addictive. MG claims it can go from 0-100 kmph in 8.5 seconds and it did feel quite quick, pushing you back in the seat when you accelerate hard.
The Hyundai Kona features three stages of regenerative braking, which can be adjusted with the paddles behind the steering. This actually makes you use the foot brakes a lot less.
Pick up is instant and because of the low-rolling resistance tyres you get some tyre screech, reined in by traction control. It can go from 0-100 kmph in 9.7 seconds and hits a top speed of 160 kmph (which we managed on the back straight of the Buddh Circuit).
With the weight of the Kona (1.6 tonnes approx) being centred low down, body roll is fairly controlled. The steering feels decently weighted, but not sporty as such. It’s more of an everyday commuter.
MG Motors ZS EV comes with multiple charging options. There’s a standard 15-amp household plug capable of topping up some charge.
There’s the 7.4 kW AC fast-charger that the company will set up at buyer’s houses which can charge the MG ZS EV in about 7 hours from flat to full. And then there are the 50 kW DC fast-chargers at dealerships right now which can charge it from zero to 80 percent in about 50 minutes.
We drove the MG ZS EV for over a 100 odd Km, started the journey with 95 percent charge that showed a range of about 297 Km. Once we were done driving it had about 53 percent battery left with a range of about 161 Km remaining.
There are three types of chargers that Hyundai is offering with the Kona. One is a regular 15 amp plug where you can charge the car anywhere. You will get about 50 Km in three hours. For a full charge with your household sockets it takes 19 hours.
Then you have the fast charging system that Hyundai will set up at your house. This can charge your car from 0 to 100 percent in 6 hours 10 minutes. Besides that, if you go to an IOCL petrol pump, you have the DC 50 KW fast charging system.
That can juice up your car to 80 percent battery in about 57 minutes. Don’t use that too often as it will reduce the life of the battery which is otherwise about 2,000 charging cycles.
In terms of comfort, safety, and convenience features, the MG ZS EV has a decent list. A 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple Car Play also shows vehicle information.
It gets powered & heated mirrors, cruise control, six airbags, keyless go, sunroof, powered driver’s seat, automatic lights among others. Surprisingly, it comes with manual air-conditioning not auto-climate control.
The Kona is also loaded with features such as a sunroof, cruise control, powered seats and an infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The AC has a power saving feature where you can turn on driver only mode if needed.
It’s got cooled seats. It also gets Drive Modes – Eco, Sport and Comfort. The infotainment system also shows you an EV menu that has the driving range, battery levels and your driving score.
Which One is a Better Buy?
The Hyundai Kona is finally an SUV that won’t induce as much range anxiety as other electric vehicles currently in India do. With over 300 km on a charge, it makes it fairly practical even for some inter-city drive
The MG ZS EV can also be a daily driver especially if you want an SUV to commute to work and back while doing your bit for the environment. The only thing you need to ensure is that you have a dedicated parking slot where your charger can be set up.
But here’s the thing, in comparison to the Hyundai Kona, you can pick up the MG ZS EV for Rs 20.88 lakh. And in terms of value for money, you can say the top model for the MG electric SUV is available at a range, from where the Kona’s pricing starts.
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