The MG ZS was released in 2001 and surprised critics who were expecting a dull, slightly tweaked version of the Rover 45. Production continued right up until Rover MG went bust in 2005. The original range consisted of a choice of two body styles, four door saloon or five door hatchback. Two engines were available, a 115 bhp four cylinder unit in the ZS120 and a 175 bhp 2.5 litre V6 in the ZS180. An improved '+' trim level was available with the ZS120 which added a few extra features. Later in 2001 Rover added a 100 bhp ZS CDTi model. 2002 saw Rover make LPG conversions by authorised dealers available for the ZR120 model.
In 2004 the range underwent a major facelift involving some small changes to the interior and a major restyling of the car's front end. The grille design was revised and twin lens headlights added. There was also an integrated splitter added to the front bumper and the boot lip was reshaped to form a spoiler.
Bang for your buck
The used MG ZS is based on the Rover 45 but has been considerably lowered and given a sporty makeover. The suspension and brakes were upgraded considerably making the second hand MG ZS a much better drive than its predecessor. The spoilers, bibs and skirts do their job and keep the car well grounded and improve its aerodynamics.
Inside, the seat, pedals, gear stick and steering wheel all work beautifully but the overall feel of the cabin is a bit dated, especially the dashboard.
What you'll pay
The biggest seller in the used MG ZS range by far was the ZS120 and a good example from 2001 with a Y plate should set you back around £4500. If the + trim was taken up by the original buyer then you should expect to pay around £200 more and saloons tend to fetch about £600 more than the hatchback versions. Probably the most desirable model is the saloon version of the ZS180 which will cost about £5100 for a 2001 example.
Diesel versions come to market disappointingly rarely. Insurance groups vary with the ZS120 being in group 12 whereas the ZS180 finds itself in group 16.
What to check
The MG ZS for sale is based on the reliable Rover 45 platform and has no known recurrent faults. A used MG ZS may well have been driven hard so make sure you take it on a lengthy test drive and check that the brakes and clutch are still up to scratch. Be sure to check that any second hand ZS has been serviced regularly and check carefully for accident damage.
Replacement parts are reasonably priced and fairly easy to source. A full clutch assembly will set you back around £95 and a starter motor £160. A new headlamp is about £85 and a replacement radiator approximately £135. Front brake pads are around £55 and rears are £50.
These prices are based on the ZS120 model but prices are broadly similar across the range.
How it drives
The used MG ZS120 is a respectable performer and will do nought to sixty in around 9 seconds and go on to reach 122 mph. Even the ZS TD is quite pokey and will also give an impressive 52 miles per gallon.
The ZS180 is the real star of the range reaching sixty in just over 7 seconds with a maximum speed of 139 miles per hour.
The ZS is a good drive, surprisingly so given the car's humble origins as a tweedy Rover 45. The weighting of the steering is perfectly set up for twisty chicanes and its suspension is solid but just gives enough to make the ZS a really fun ride.
The ZS180's V6 engine packs plenty of punch and is a good deal better than most of the ZS's direct rivals. The gear box is slick and sweet and the brakes are extremely impressive.
Overall, the used MG ZS for sale represents good value for money with around £5000 bagging you a proper driver's car. The interior is a bit stuck in the eighties but the exterior is fairly striking and looks good in a rear view mirror, especially the later, restyled model. The ZS's drive is great, especially considering the very low budget given over to creating the ZS range.