AN SUV is the model to have on your drive at the moment and MG is bringing it home.
Sales of the multi-purpose and family friendly models have soared by 60 per cent in five years around the world and MG has come in on the crest of a wave of everyone wanting one.
It has seen sales soar last year and despite the uncertainties of Brexit, interest rates and supply issues, the brand to beat is MG.
Designed and developed in the UK with a chassis tuned for our roads by local technicians, the Chinese-made MG ZS is more British than many rivals in this sector.
The larger MG GS has been joined by the more compact ZS and it's what most want to match urban use with country life and leisure.
MG's Chinese owners have carefully matched the ZS in price to its closes rival, the Nissan Juke, but it's actually about the size of the larger Nissan Qashqai or Kia Sportage and to underline its confidence comes with a seven-years or 80,000 miles warranty.
We tried the MG ZS with a normally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder variable valve timing 106bhp petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox and two-wheel-drive (2WD).This is available with Excite specification and Exclusive trims.
The 1.5-litre power output is adequate but not remarkable and it becomes more obvious with as its loading increases with passengers or items in the boot and it has to be worked harder with an effect on its economy. The gearchange is direct and clutch progressive.
I liked the steering with its dynamic, normal and urban settings, and braking performance, its responsiveness, handling and grip, even when loaded. Economy was reasonable overall but it fell away when pushed harder through the gears.
Good seats and a compliant suspension soaked up the UK roads with little complaint most of the time, access was excellent and the boot very easy to load or empty. Bad bumps did ruffle cabin composure.
Room inside was good for passengers and quickly changed to accommodate loading requirements.
The secondary controls and instruments were close to hand and usually immediately in sight but could have been better calibrated while the eight-inches infotainment display included a very clear reversing camera image.
I liked the simple heating and ventilation, its output, directional control and temperature range with separate controls not hidden behind the touch-screen and backed up by powered windows throughout.
Visibility was generally good all round but it did not have close proximity overtaking alerts in the mirrors, lane keeping and brake assist, which is a annoying and now becoming commonplace on rivals. Headlights were good, not exceptional, and the wipers were on the slow slide even on fastest setting.
Noise levels were low until the engine was pushed hard through the gears and the road noise was not too bad. Other mechanical and wind noises were low.