THE MG brand is finally making progress in the UK more than a decade after its return under the ownership of its Chinese owners.
Sales figures are still very modest but they are growing year on year and the compact ZS SUV launched last year is partly responsible.
Designed and engineered at Longbridge, Birmingham for the British and European market, the ZS may not bring anything new to the party but its value for money approach coupled with a seven-year 80,000 mile warranty means that it is attracting attention from buyers.
The ZS is by some distance MG's best offering to date and its starting price of £12,495 is at least more than two grand cheaper than any of the opposition.
It is not a bad looking car with clean sharp lines and a large mesh front grille dominated by a substantial MG badge which is also a feature on the rump and doubles as the tailgate opener.
The interior of the ZS is also a considerable improvement over its siblings and although there is still a fair amount of scratchy plastics the Exclusive model I sampled also had its fair share of soft-touch surfaces.
An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment unit features across the range and it is simple and easy to use. The three trim levels start with the Explore, while the mid-range Excite car gets the addition of a DAB radio and a couple of other features.
The flagship Exclusive came with Apple CarPlay, sat nav, a reversing camera, cruise control, air conditioning and comfortable faux leather seats.
The ZS offers a surprising amount of space for both front and rear passengers and boot space is substantial with 448-litres on offer increasing to 1.375 if you collapse the 60/40 split rear seats.
Two petrol engines are available, a 1.5-litre and a three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged plant which strangely is the more expensive of the duo.
The 1.5 is linked to a five-speed manual transmission while the smaller engine comes with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Good for a top speed of 112mph, the ZS takes a leisurely 12.4 seconds to reach 62mph but does it quietly and without fuss. The handling and suspension provide a comfortable rather than sporty drive and that will suit the vast majority of buyers.
Urban, Normal and Dynamic drive modes are standard across the range but to be honest I could not really detect much difference between them so I just left it in the Normal setting.
MG claim their car is capable of over 44mpg on the combined cycle but I reckon you will do well to get around 40mpg in normal driving conditions.
I have to say that after reading early and not too favourable reports on the ZS I found it to be a decent car for the money.