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2022 MG ZS Essence remains Australia's cheapest SUV but 1.0-litre ZS Excite and Essence disappear from showrooms

The original MG ZS is down to just one petrol model grade, the 1.5 Excite.

Stock for the outgoing version of the popular MG ZS SUV has all but dried up, with the exception of the base ZS 1.5 Excite which will continue on sale for at least the next year.

The ZST – the facelifted version of the ZS – is now the main ZS variant and continues on in Core, Vibe, Excite and Essence model grades.

MG Motor Australia dropped the 1.0-litre ZS Excite and Essence a few months back, but CarsGuide understands that there are just a handful of examples of those model grades left in dealers across the country.

That leaves the base ZS 1.5 Excite and the ZS EV as the only versions of the ZS left with the SUV’s old design. As reported, the facelifted version of the ZS EV will hit showrooms in quarter two, 2022. The ZS 1.5 Excite will also be phased out eventually, but that’s not expected to be until later next year at the earliest.

Priced from $21,990 drive-away, the ZS Excite is the cheapest small SUV available in Australia. The ZST Core is the next cheapest variant in the range at $25,490 drive-away.

The only other rivals that come close to the ZS Excite’s pricing are the Mitsubishi ASX ES manual from $23,990 before on-road costs, the Suzuki Vitara 2WD manual at $25,490 BOCs and the Haval Jolion Premium 2WD auto at $25,490 drive-away.

Pricing for the rest of the ZST range is $26,990 for the Vibe, $29,990 for the Excite and $32,990 for the Essence.

The ZS EV at $44,990 driveway was the most affordable non-commercial electric vehicle available in Australia until recently. It has just been usurped by another Chinese challenger, the BYD e6 which is priced at $39,990 before on-road costs.

The MG ZS is the most popular SUV by sales in Australia so far this year. The MG ZS is the most popular SUV by sales in Australia so far this year.

The MG ZS is the best-selling small SUV in Australia by some margin. With 13,740 sales to the end of September, the MG is up by a whopping 388 per cent compared with the first nine months of 2020.

It is now well ahead of the Mitsubishi ASX (10,623), Mazda CX-30 (10,425) and Hyundai Kona (10,150) and will almost certainly end the year as Australia’s top-selling small SUV.

In terms of sales split, the base ZS Excite makes up the bulk of ZS sales at more than 40 per cent, followed by the ZST Essence on just under 20 per cent.

The ZS Essence is powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine offering 84 kW of power and 150Nm of torque. It is front wheel drive and matched with a four-speed automatic transmission.

The ZST Core and Vibe use the same engine but paired with a continuously variable transmission, while the ZST Excite and Essence are powered by a 1.3-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine good for 115kW and 230Nm. These two grades drive the front wheels via a six-speed auto.

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