Feature article

Best MG Car Models in NZ: Buying Guide

MG has a range of just four models, but there are multiple variants of each, giving buyers plenty of choice.

14 March 2024

It hasn’t taken MG cars long to build a decent foothold in the New Zealand new car market. In a few short years, it is now entrenched in the top ten sellers list, ahead of brands like Nissan, Honda and Mazda. MG has a modest range of vehicles, just four models, but there are multiple variants of each, giving buyers plenty of choice. 

Key to MG’s success is a strong value proposition; they are affordable and well specified when compared against liked-sized models from the Japanese and Korean manufacturers. MG also offers New Zealand buyers a range of options in terms of pure electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional engines. These vehicles are all backed by one of New Zealand’s best warranties too, giving peace of mind motoring for seven years with no limit on the kilometres travelled. 

MG’s range kicks off with the MG3, often touted as NZ’s cheapest new car, starting at just $20,490 plus on road costs. This model however is due for replacement imminently, and it’s not MG’s best work. Thankfully, the likes of the all electric MG4, ZS compact SUV and the larger HS SUV are worthy of consideration for the budget conscious shopper looking for value in their new car purchase. 

MG4, the best electric MG

MG’s best car is its newest, the all-electric MG4. This is a sharp looking five-door hatch, and it’s also great to drive thanks to its rear-drive layout. With the motor on the back axle, it has plenty of traction, it doesn’t suffer from torque steer, and has a great turning circle. While the interior has a bit too much black plastic about, that’s not enough to write this vehicle off; it’s well specified, even the entry level model. And there’s a five star safety rating thanks to the raft of active driver aids that come standard. 

Within the MG4 line-up, there are four variants to choose from, starting with the Excite 51. At $46,990, it is one of New Zealand's cheapest electric vehicles. It’s the best value when it comes to battery size per dollar spent. This model gives you a range of 350km, which is more than enough for most Kiwis. 

Features include LED lights, a seven-inch digital cluster, a 10-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and keyless entry. There’s a good reverse camera and the MG Pilot system has nine safety features. Given the price and the spec, this is our pick of the MG4s.

From there it’s up to the Excite 64 which has a bigger battery giving an extra 100km of range and costing $51,990.

Next is the Essence 64 at $54,990 which adds additional specification including online services, seat heating, wireless phone charger,a 360-degree camera and more safety features. And if you want to rid yourself of any ‘range anxiety’ there's the Long Range 77 with 530km of potential travel, costing $63,990.

Read the MG4 Essence review 

MG's best performer

That would be the XPower, which is the dual motor version of the MG4 with a crazy 320kW and 600Nm of torque. This can hit 100km/h in 3.8 seconds, fast enough to embarrass all but the quickest Porsche 911 models. The speedster has launch control, helping you get the best standing start acceleration while Track Mode can keep tabs of your lap times, power distribution and the G-forces generated in the corners.

At $69,990 it's expensive for an MG but you'll be paying a lot more to get a similar amount of performance from other hot hatches from the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Read the MG4 Xpower review

Which is the best MG ZS?

MG’s small SUV starts at $24,990, which is an honest entry-level model that's better than the MG3 for sure. But with features like a 1.5-litre engine and a four-speed automatic, there are better models to choose from.

The ZST Excite or Essence models are the better options, starting from $32,990. These come with everything the range has to offer including a 360-degree camera, the MG Pilot driver safety suite, electric seat adjustment and heating, a digital instrument cluster and a panoramic sunroof. The best bit is the 1.3-litre turbocharged triple, with a healthier amount of torque than the 1.5 models, and it gets a proper six-speed auto.

You can also get the ZS as an EV starting from $50,990 with a range of up to 320km and this too is a well specified vehicle. There's also the long-range model for $59,990 which gets up to 440km on a charge. Buy the ZS EV if you really have to have an SUV, but the MG4 is by far the better electric choice.

Read the MG ZS EV long range review

What about the MG plug-in hybrid?

That would be the MG HS, which is a more family-friendly sized SUV. With its plug-in hybrid powertrain, you can get up to 60km of electric, emissions free travel thanks to a 16kWh battery.

But there's also a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine that allows you to travel far and wide without any range constraints.

While the fuel consumption is rated at 1.7L/100km, expect this to be much higher if you don't recharge regularly, as in every night, to maximise your electric driving.

A plug-in hybrid is a good option for those that do most of their miles in the city and only the occasional long distance trip. There's a premium to pay however; the plug-in starts at $50,990 whereas the conventional HS ranges in price from $34,000 to $39,990.

Read the MG ZS plug-in hybrid review

Read the MG ZS review


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.