2022 MG ZS Trophy – Turbocharger for the better?

At the end of 2021, the MG ZS bested the Geely Coolray in terms of annual sales – 4,158 to 3,221. While one can argue that these two are not exactly in the same segment – the ZS is more affordable despite their relative similarity in size – one can’t deny the popularity of the Coolray is slowly eating away from the sales numbers of the MG ZS.

So, what can MG Philippines do? Take the fight to the Coolray’s arena in the form of the MG ZS T (Trophy), that is. With a new turbocharged engine now on its arsenal, does the new ZS T have what it takes to keep its current status as the best-selling subcompact crossover in the local market? We drove one to find out.


The turbocharged engine isn’t the only thing that’s new with the 2022 MG ZS T. With it also comes the ZS’s facelift that’s sold in other parts of the world. It now stands as the new range-topper, sold side-by-side by non-turbo ZS models that still have dated styling.

The changes include a redesigned front fascia, which now carries an updated Obsidian Matrix grille. The Mazda-esque design is now a thing of the past; the LED projector headlights are now adorned with a “snake light” design. The halogen fog lights double as turn-assist lights, basically switching on at night depending on the direction of the steering wheel. Cool feature, and equally functional too especially on dark alleys.

The sides retain the form, though you’ll appreciate the new design of the 17-inch wheels that’s reminiscent of the mu-X’s. The rubber’s thicker, too, filling the wheel well nicely.

At the back, the changes are subtle yet effective. The graphics on the LED taillights are different, plus the chrome accents are fewer – though the shiny stuff still outlines the faux-exhaust tips.

Overall, the updates on the facelifted ZS aren’t revolutionary but they’re enough to give the crossover its own identity and refreshing look.


Inside, the changes are more apparent when you touch them. Unlike the non-turbo ZS, the ZS T comes with soft-touch materials and leather. The leather D-shaped steering wheel feels nice to the touch. Despite the lack of telescopic adjustment for the tiller, finding my ideal driving position was still a cinch.

The carbon-fiber printed dashboard is still up for preference, but what I appreciate is the clean execution of the buttons, knobs, and other controls. There are several cubbyholes as well and a huge storage area near the gear lever for my smartphone. However, I wish the cupholders are as big as they struggle to hold two McDonald’s coffee cups with ease, more so for larger “venti” cups.

The rear cabin doesn’t have a foldable center armrest, but at least occupants have A/C vents and charging ports. Space is still very comfortable for two average-sized adults; fairly okay for three. The panoramic sunroof extends to the rear, though I wish its cover is a bit thicker and more opaque to bar extensive sunlight from coming in. Good thing there are A/C vents at the back to counter the heat especially at noon.

As for the trunk, 450 liters of space is available when the floor is at its lowest setting. Not cavernous but more than usable for usual cargo-carrying tasks. Loading height isn’t too tall as well. You can even maximize that to over 1,100 liters by folding the rear backrests.

Tech & Safety

The design changes come with tech & safety feature updates, too. The 10-inch infotainment does come with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – features that are notably absent with the Coolray. The instrument cluster’s digital, as well, and boy the display looks good. I just wish you can toggle the view but then again, the rich color makes up for it.

The same can’t be said about the display of the 360-degree-view camera and rear parking camera. Both are usable even at night but I think they can be better if they have a higher resolution.

The electronic seat adjustment for the driver is a notable inclusion, as is the electronic climate control. Props to MG for combining auto-brake hold with the electronic parking brake; it made traffic jams more bearable. Also, two USB ports are located near the spot where you’ll put your smartphones, plus there’s a USB port near the rearview mirror – a perfect spot for your dashcam. You got to love the thought put into that.

Cruise control is also available in the MG ZS T, although there’s something to be said about its usability. It’s located behind the steering wheel acting as a third stalk, therefore it isn’t as easy to use as other CC buttons usually found on the steering wheel’s facade.

Driving & Handling

The juiciest part of the 2022 MG ZS T is its 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-three gasoline engine, co-developed by SAIC and General Motors. It’s good for 161hp and 230Nm of torque, sent to the front wheels via a new 6-speed automatic slushbox. Those numbers won’t beat the Coolray, but in terms of menial use, the 16hp and 25Nm differences aren’t substantial.

This holds true during real-world testing. Torque was readily available when you need it; there’s a satisfying pull once the turbochargers come in. There’s a noticeable lag but it wasn’t annoying and was manageable. The six-speed automatic was at least 10 years’ worth of improvement from the sluggish gearbox of the non-turbo ZS. I just wish that there were paddle shifters, but that’s a nitpick on my end. Brakes were also predictable, plus the light steering and slightly stiff suspension made for an agile machine with minimal body roll on corners.

Speaking of comfort, it wasn’t compromised despite the marginal rigidity in dampening. I love how NVH was insulated in the car; I almost forgot that I was driving a car with odd-firing cylinders.

Fuel Efficiency

The 2022 MG ZS T recorded quite good numbers in terms of fuel efficiency, especially within the confines of the city. In my test within light to moderate traffic flow, the small crossover returned 9.8 km/L, which was better than what we got with the Geely Coolray Sport Limited.

On the highway, though, cruising at 90 km/h registered 14 km/L for the MG ZS T, which was worse than the Coolray’s 18 km/L. Both tests were done with minimal passenger and cargo.


The 2022 MG ZS T is a great improvement from what the non-turbo variants can offer – not only in terms of performance and comfort but also when it comes to design, cabin material quality, and tech amenities.

More importantly, it does hold a candle against the Coolray now. While one could say that the Coolray’s top-spec Sport Limited trim still has the upper hand in terms of tech features, we need to remember that the MG ZS T is still priced P100,000 lower at P1,158,888.

That said, you can look at the ZS T as a more affordable turbocharged crossover option if you’re not willing to go all out on a Coolray. And besides, MG Philippines has a wider network of dealerships in the country, which means accessible aftermarket service in more locations… at least for now.

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