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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - MG ZS 120+

OK people...who's got one of these and what are they like?

Reliable?

Performance?

Practical (for a family)?

Any comments much appreciated.
Dave

Theses questions were asked & discussed over the past two years Dave & I don't know if anyone will have much more to say.Overall,the responses were pretty favourable,although I think 120HP is now common on too many "ordinary" cars.
Don R

OK Dave Manchester... here goes:

I have a Trophy blue MG ZS 120+. Bought new, nearly nine months old now. As ordinary cars go, and lets face it, most cars are ordinary, it's simply superb. Handles the way I like a car to do, economical to run (my wife gets 40+ mpg!), positive, responsive lively performance for a 1.8 and quite an eyecatcher with the 17" alloys, Monaco blue leather inserts and leather steering wheel. Best feature? ... superb brakes!! Second best feature... very nice gear change lever action ... smotth ... 3rd best ...no part exchange so over 20% discount ooverall on new and that means even LESS VAT too!!

Non car enthusiasts appear to like the car .... if you know what I mean. My wife drives it mainly and she really likes the car. Me, I continue to creep about in my Montego and Rover Turbos ...:o)

One minor fault to date (although I never had trouble with it ... no names no pack drill.... lol...) was a stiff ignition key lock. I thought being new, it would loosen up with time but, my wife found it difficult to use sometimes so all the locks on the car were changed. The locks had to come over from France according to my local MG-R dealership so we had to wait for the whole set to arrive. When they did, they were speedily fitted.

Nice car..... recommended.

John
John McFeely

What about seat comfort on a long journey John?
Is the seat squab deep enough to support your buttocks as on the Rover?
Don R

Funny you should mention that. Yes, I was concerned about the seats at first because of what I had read elsewhere - mainly due to a certain Scouse-Mike who used to frequent this site frequently ...;-)

When I first tried mine on a longish journey, I did not like them when compared to those I've been used to on my MGs for the past twenty years. Those early 'Herringbone' MG Montego and even the Metro versions suited me and were never tiring on long journeys. Those on later MG saloons were not so good for me. I even prefer those early MG Montego seats to the RECAROS fitted to the R800 Turbo Vitesse which I also had.

However, now the ZS has about 5,000 miles on the clock I find the drivers seat much nicer. I dont think its simply a case of getting used to it - it simply is much better now than when new.... dunno why. More importantly, my wife who has back trouble, recently spent no less than eight hours in it on an exceptional 120 mile journey during those blizzard conditions a few weeks back. The seat and the car performed perfectly in those white out blizzard conditions (She lost her bearings at one stage because all the signs were snowed out! The journey usually takes her less than three hours - I was worried sick with no news for all that time - she felt that if she stooped to use her mobile she'd never get going again - hundreds of cars were stranded or abandonned - the ZS came through - what a releif!) and her back was fine.....

So, those seats cant be that bad can they!!! In fact, I feel (literally) they're quite good!

JMcF.
John McFeely

BTW, two of my colleagues told me about their ZS 120+ at work - one has a long commute each day - both well pleased with their cars, particularly the economy which I've already remarked on. The cars are no slouches. I consulted them before I got mine. It is better to get this kind of info. 'straight from the horse's mouth' than rely on the reports in Motoring media. Media types often have different values, rarely buy a car themselves not to mention advertising revenue to maintain .... nuff sed......;-)

JMcF
John McFeely

Seats are such a personal thing. We had a Rover 200 once. On the test drive it was fine, but after owning it for two weeks I found that the driving position was rotten. The same with an MG Metro. But another day I can drive the Metro and convince myself that is is comfortable - wierd!

It is a matter of taste and body shape. I have always found Fords comfortable - we did 500 miles around Ireland in a 1992 Fiesta which I swear had the best driving position ever. My 2002 Saab is brilliant, but forces your knee to the right.

The only way to find out is drive an MG all day in mixed situatons and see - the one thing the dealer is usually loathe to offer. My local dealer expected me to make a decision on a ZR after a half mile spin around the block. Strangely, I find the cloth matrix seats more comfortable than the half leather, although they are probably the same shape! A ZR 105 felt fine, a ZR160 gave me backache and I was very aware of the offset pedals. I didn't find the driving position in a ZS courtesy car very good either, but others swear by it.

Oh that I could have a ZR/ZS for a weekend and really find out!

Steve
Steve

I just measured the seat squab, front to back on my old Rover at 22 inches & think you need at least 20 to have a good support of your buttocks on a long journey.
What measurement will you have on the ZS John?
Don R

Hi

I have had my ZS120+ Since May last year, and I still love driving it. I often go for a raz just for the hell of it. The engine is very pokey and puts most other cars in it's class to shame. I have a K&N filter in mine too - gives the engine an extra growl.

Does not seem to like the wet too much though so you have to go easy by taking roundabouts at normal speed instead of adding 20 or so MPH (depending on th RB of course). Otherwise RB's turn into slightly curved straights. The handling in the dry is fantastic, you leave most cars well behind at RB's and twisty roads. Very firm ride and does not feel good when taking it slightly off road up pot-holed tracks (i do this slowly - I am a hunter and have to get to my shoots somehow - am aiming to get a Land Rover as a 2nd motor (poor ZS)).

Steering is so responsive it is like having it wired directly into your brain.

My kids friends say the car is FAT (which means great).

Someone tripped down a kerb while watching me go past one day - hehehehe i had to laugh.

You have to go easy when trying to accelerate hard from a stand still - the wheels will spin forever if you don't. esy to get used to with a bit of throttle control. I have gotten used to the smell of hot rubber.

A right bugger to park. I still have not got used to the parking and find myself 3 ft away from walls at the front and rear of the car. The car does not have a turning circle - more like a "turning straight-line".

The seats are well comfortable, and firm. and the driving position is great (if my short ar*ed wife left the seat alone). Not masses of leg room in the rear for the size of the car.

Massive boot.

Watch out for high services charges. Rover/MG are in top 15 for high service costs.

Great stereo - I have the Kenny CD upgrade. handles big bass nicely.

I feel the side lights are a bit too dim.

I have had both badges stolen. very cheap to replace (under
Demon

I have the 180 version, but some of the comments are relevant:

Had it just over a year, put 11K miles on her and she hasn't missed a beat.

Faults, gearknob jept coming off in my hand, and side cills started to pop off - both sorted under warrantee. Really very minor i suppose, certainly nothing to worry about. Also had an A/C hose come off in the passenger footwell, resulting in wet carpets from dripping condensate - again warrantee'd without any fuss, this i suppose the most serious thing to happen - overall i'd give is 9/10 in this area.

Demon wrote:
>> Does not seem to like the wet too much though so you have to go easy by taking roundabouts at normal speed instead of adding 20 or so MPH (depending on th RB of course). Otherwise RB's turn into slightly curved straights. The handling in the dry is fantastic, you leave most cars well behind at RB's and twisty roads. <<

Couldn't agree more, handling and steering is first rate. In my case the KV6 won me over during the test drive, but you get used to the power and the delivery. What continues to impress me most is the handling - it really is a hoot to drive. Best thing about this is the 120 model has the same set up - a real grin inducer! Full marks here 10/10

Demon wrote:
>> You have to go easy when trying to accelerate hard from a stand still - the wheels will spin forever if you don't. esy to get used to with a bit of throttle control. I have gotten used to the smell of hot rubber. <<

180 is worse in this regard, if the road is even slightly damp i find it hard to pull away without a little wheel slip. All that torque is fantastic for 'giving it some', but it's a double edged sword for day-to-day driving and tyre life. 120 model should be much better, so it is interesting to note Demon's comments here. What i will say is that i found myself helplessly wheelspinning in 3rd gear during the recent snow, double edged sword again.

Demon also wrote:
>> A right bugger to park. I still have not got used to the parking and find myself 3 ft away from walls at the front and rear of the car. The car does not have a turning circle - more like a "turning straight-line". <<

LOL, too true! Have you got the saloon with the big spoiler? I bet you have!

Seats are some of the most comfortable i have ever had the pleasure of sitting in in a car - supportive, well proportioned and above all comfortable. Driving position is also 100% spot on for me. This is no mean feat, i went out to buy a ZR and ended up with a ZS, purely because of the driving position. Interior has been criticised for being past it, whilst it may not be state of the art, everything is positioned perfectly - the car and dash layout is logical and a joy to use. Who cars what it looks like? Rating - 9/10

Overall, it's one of the best cars i have ever owned - highly recommended. :-)

SF
Scarlet Fever

I also have a 180, but mine is the hatchback. I've had mine for 16 months now and have driven over 50K miles. Like Andy I've also had problems with the gearknob coming off in my hand when reversing...

>A right bugger to park. I still have not got used to the parking and find myself 3 ft away from walls at the front and rear of the car.
Glad its not just me! I also have no idea where the rear of the car is - many's the time that I left over 3ft behind the car when reversing into a space.

Wheel spin? Hmm, I've left some rubber behind at the Dartford crossing toll booths on more than one occassion!


Ralph
Ralph

I've had my ZS 120 since Oct 2001, done 24k miles and still enjoy getting in the thing.

IMHO the 120 has got to be one of the best grin per pound bargains out there.
JLD

my 180 hatch is 1 year old next week, 24k and I too had the gear knob fall off. I rammed it on so hard in anger that it hasn't budged since! Apart from that I echo most comments, the first set of front tyres went at 13k, the replacement Pirellis are lasting much better. I don't seem to have any problems with parking or reversing but then I've done a lot of autotests and hitching of trailers over the years :-)
Does anyone else get boing (said Zebedee) from the front suspension?
David S

This thread was discussed between 03/03/2004 and 06/03/2004

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical index

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