2002 MG ZS 180 2.5 V6 180bhp

Summary:

Cramped, unreliable un-comfy and a little underpowered, but looks nice

Faults:

Drivers window regularly popped out of its channels if you lowered it all the way down.

Fuel pump erratic; stopped working one night on way home, leaving me stranded for 3 hours as it wouldn't start. As soon as the AA man turned up, it started and ran fine; was told it is a common fault.

Front suspension subframe internal bolt broke its weld, allowing the lower arm to move around; ruined a nearly new Bridgestone.

Alternator failed, but fixed under warranty.

Cambelt snapped, causing £2350 worth of internal damage to the engine; dealer told me it had had a belt change, then denied all knowledge; it is still going through the courts. They refused to help, so ended up selling the car for scrap for £300, and I paid £3500 for it.

General Comments:

Performance was not as expected. A Mondeo V6 feels quicker, but the engine in the MG was designed to work with an auto box, so it could be that was more than adequate, although on trip to Nurburgring, it struggled to reach its top speed of 139mph; would only do 132 on the clock on a flat road with 2 people and 1 suitcase a piece, so it wasn't due to weight. But fine for general driving on British roads, and seeing off boy racers in their tarted up 1.2's.

Very harsh ride, no fun on bumpy back roads, but brilliant on smooth A roads.

Seats supportive in front, but can give back ache if you're tired after work, but fine if you have just jumped in after good night's sleep.

No rear leg room or head room. Passengers heads brush the ceiling if over 6 ft.

Drivers seat doesn't quite go back far enough for me, and I'm only 6ft 1 tall, so it's a little cramped.

Very large boot; good luggage hauler.

No rear internal style; it's the same as a Rover 400.

Service prices are astronomical; 90,000 mile service including cambelt is £900!!! MG specialist can do it around £500, as it is almost an engine out job.

Looks great; still one of the nicest looking hatches around, even though they're nothing more than a tarted up Rover 400.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th July, 2010

2002 MG ZS 120+ 1.8

Summary:

Top value, great performance, best car I've ever owned

Faults:

Front CV joints worn, but replaced under warranty.

Passenger window stopped working. Problem was diagnosed as a loose wire getting in the way.

General Comments:

Nice factory bodykit enchances its sporty look.

Lovely sound from the 4 pot engine when in full flow.

Handling is superb, on a par with a Lotus Elise.

Tiff Needel loves them!

Cheap to own and run.

Cabin is a little dated, but can easily be given some life with a few enhancements. I've added a leather colour coded wheel, carbon fibre trim, colour coded door cards and the interior is spot on, a nice place to spend time.

Good standard kit - alloys, half leather trim, ABS, electric windows, c/l, e/m, fogs, bodykit, EBD, 4 airbags, armrest plus many more!

MG need to make this car again!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th June, 2007

2002 MG ZS 120+ 1.8

Summary:

Nice to start with, but a whole new story after a while

Faults:

Head gasket replaced.

Silencer box replaced.

Rocker cover gasket replaced.

Rocker cover gasket replaced (again).

SRS warning light illuminated.

Front right suspension fault.

Cat replaced.

Cat replaced (again).

Cat replaced (again.. no joke).

Cat replaced (honest...).

Front manifold replaced.

Driver's window stuck.

General Comments:

Having previously owned a fair few "hot" hatches and fairly quick cars, I was very keen to take on the Great British Pedigree for the masses..

My last car was an Almera GTi, and I have to say it was great, although very front heavy.. so I decided a saloon was in order.

I'll say from the start that I really do enjoy the engine note, and the handling is (to me) very very good. The performance is distinctly average for a 1.8, although it does overtake with little fuss, and does still make me chuckle when floored.

However, I can't help but feel let down by this car. My dear ol' Dad had a few Rovers in his time - the last one a 620ti, which went like the "proverbial" - (although he also got through a few head gaskets on 2 prevision 820 Vitesse models) so I did have high expectations when buying this car. And, to begin with, it didn't disappoint.

3 months after buying it - used, with only 8000 miles on the clock, things started to get a little, shall we say, crap.

Head gasket went - at 12000 miles... interesting... you may say "oh yeah, well, if you red line the thing all the time etc etc etc "... I didn't... no more than you may do.

It was fixed under warranty... and then, well a whole stream of problems then left me with a "lemon".

I have had, in 3 years and less than 40000 miles of motoring, 4 catalytic converters... not cheap £180 - £300 per go. Bloke said " well - if you thrap it then that happens"... erm, OK.. but firstly I don't thrap it any more than it was designed for, and secondly, I have to be VERY careful of using fuel.

In the first instance, seeing the Union Jack coupled next to the Chequered Flag was enough for me; the ride and handling, the engine note... it all was great.

Now, I am left with a car that is costing me a lot of money to keep running, not in only in fuel, but in keeping the thing on the road.

Sorry to say this, but despite how much my old man's car was great - which it really was - the "new" breed just doesn't have it.

I'm off to get myself another Japanese car or... the Cupra R.

At least they should keep going longer.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th March, 2006

13th Mar 2006, 18:04

Know what you mean mate... mine is a great car when it works...

Has done long journeys without a hitch, just seems to struggle with the dash to and from work. Sucks really when you think about it.

Pity mate - could have been so much better.

21st Jun 2006, 14:47

How did you sort the problem with the srs light on. I had a tip to disconnect the battery terminas then touch them together. let me tell you it didn't work all that happened was that I had to reset the stereo afterwards???

2nd Apr 2008, 07:05

SRS light will be a loose connection in the SRS circuit under the drivers seat, the often either works it way loose or breaks, either/or it's an easy fix.

3 cats? Some thing's not quite right there...

Head gasket failure is common fault of K-Series engines, especially those made in 2002 because Rover played around with the cylinder casting process of an already weak design, be thankful you had it sorted under warranty.

To be honest mate, a lot of this sounds like a problem with the dealer rather than the car. MG Rover dealers, by and large were incompetent monkeys and in a lot of cases brought about their own demise.

However, MG were far from having the monopoly on this, I try my best to avoid dealers of any kind as I don't enjoy being treated like a mug and having to pay for the privilege.

4th Apr 2008, 05:42

You have just kept the Almera GTI as it's a better car in every way!!

19th Jun 2008, 15:09

Hi

I also have an MG ZS. I have had this car for about 3 years. It has only done about 49,000 miles and it's an 02 plate. It is currently at the garage; they think the head gasket has gone. I was not sure whether to pay to have it mended or not, they aren't sure either how much damage it has made yet, but they have quoted me at least 550 pounds up to 1,000. What do you think? Should I pay 1,000; I'm not quite sure?