The 2021 MG ZST has been launched in Australia priced from $28,490 plus on-road costs. A drastic mid-life update for the company’s small SUV, the ZST finally ushers in safety tech such as auto emergency braking (AEB), as well as a new look, new tech and a new 1.3-litre turbo engine. 

Launching into local dealerships in mid-September, the ZST range will be offered in two specs in Australia: the $28,490 Excite and $31,490 Essence. For at least a year, the ZS (not to be confused with the ZST) will be sold alongside the ZST, and is priced from $21,990 drive away – this makes it Australia’s cheapest SUV. 

Blue 2021 MG ZST

The ZST will compete with other small SUVs such as the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos and Nissan Qashqai. DiscoverAuto attended the local reveal of the ZST in Sydney.

A new look with new attitude:

Fitting better into the new MG family look pioneered by the larger HS, the 2021 MG ZST features a new look to bring it further into the 21st century. With new standard kit such as LED front and rear lighting, gloss black trim inserts and redesigned 17-inch wheels, the ZST looks more modern than the ZS it partially replaces.

The headlights are sleeker and more aggressive than before, while the tailights are much cleaner too. Because of the facelift, the ZST is actually 9mm longer and taller than the ZS at 4,323mm long and 1,653mm high. The boot capacity is listed as 359-litres with the rear seats up and 1,187L with them folded – unlike the ZS, there is now a dual-level boot floor.

A lot more tech as well:

Unlike the ZS and MG3, the ZST features the company’s ‘MG Pilot’ active safety tech. Much like Toyota’s ‘Safety Sense’, MG Pilot includes active safety features such as forward collision warning, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beam, a 360-degree parking camera, rear parking sensors and for those with not many points on their licences left, a system called speed assist, which monitors speed signs and stops the car exceeding the speed limit. 

Centre of the cabin is a new 10.1-inch touchscreen with inbuilt satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, a 360-degree parking camera with 3D functionality and a six-speaker sound system. The ZST Essence also includes the company’s new digital driving display, which replaces the traditional dials on the ZST Excite. 

Under the bonnet:

The 2021 MG ZST debuts the company’s new 1.3-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, which produces 115kW of power and 230Nm of torque – a healthy boost on the lacklustre 82kW/160Nm 1.0-litre turbo unit on offer in the ZS. Despite offering more power and torque, the ZST uses a claimed 7.1L/100km of fuel on a combined cycle – just 0.4L/100km more than the 1.0L unit. 

The ZST puts its power to the front wheels using a new six-speed automatic from Aisin, while the dynamics of the car have also been retuned with a new suspension set up and a stiffer body than before. 

Standard equipment:

The standard equipment for both trims of ZST is healthy, with the entry level Excite equipped with kit such as 17-inch alloy wheels, the aforementioned 10.1-inch touchscreen, an electric parking brake with auto hold, synthetic leather upholstery, automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear LED lighting with front and rear foglights, the MG Pilot safety features, keyless entry and start, auto-folding mirrors and even red brake callipers.

The ZST Essence adds different 17-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic glass sunroof, the digital instrument cluster, red MG logos on the front seats, a six-way powered driver’s seat and heated front seats. 

Despite the long list of equipment, kit that you’d find on rivals such as auto climate control, rear vents, a powered bootlid, a heads-up display, memory functionality for the electric driver’s seat, wireless phone charging, digital radio and extra safety kit such as auto reverse braking are not yet available on the ZST range.

2021 MG ZST pricing (plus on-road costs): 

1.3T Excite: $28,490

1.3T Essence: $31,490

Metallic paint: $500

About The Author

Jake is the veteran automotive journalist in the DiscoverAuto team having been in the industry since 2017. His first word was Volvo, he nitpicks every piece of practical design and has an unhealthy obsession for cars that feature rain-activated headlights.

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