2003 MG ZS Reviews from UK and Ireland

2003 MG ZS + 2.0 TDi

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.0 TDi Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired96000 miles
Most recent distance120000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin 400

Summary:

Fantastic

Faults:

Head cracked, hairline fracture causing small amount of coolant loss.

Oil cooler feed pipes rusted away, replaced with good 2nd hand parts.

Now have issues with head lift, after running 25psi of boost at over 150bhp. Oops!

Clutch exploded due to age, combined with a quick launch.

General Comments:

Great car, nice and quick especially with SDI injectors, a stainless steel exhaust system (with no restrictions) and a decat. Boost upped to 25psi from 15 standard adds to the fun, at your own risk!

I dropped the boost back to 19psi, but appears my short run at high boost has caused head lift, meaning coolant keeps boiling up when under high load.

Sticks to the road like **** to a blanket, handling is excellent.

Air conditioning not working, needs a new condenser. Nice and cheap at £40 though, will be done soon.

Currently awaiting a new cylinder head, which will be done soon. Then fitting a hybrid turbo, so I can keep intake temperatures down while running high boost levels.

With all the modifications, it's amazingly easy to fill the road with thick black smog, great if there's an Audi sitting up your bum.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th November, 2010

2003 MG ZS 180 2.5 V6 petrol

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.5 V6 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired38000 miles
Most recent distance54000 miles
Previous carMG ZT-T

Summary:

A reliable family saloon that's at home on the road as well as the track

Faults:

Nothing! It's been perfect.

General Comments:

This is the third MG ZS I've had, and this one has been as reliable as the others.

It gets used fairly regularly, and does the odd trackday here and there.

It's comfortable on long journeys, and good around town, although the suspension's a bit hard for Essex's dodgy road surfaces.

There's two things I would change about the car -

1, The fuel consumption around town is a little high.

2. The HiFi speakers fitted as standard are poor.

For information, the 2001 model had better speakers, the 2005 model 1.8 had even worse speakers, and hardly any sound proofing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th January, 2010

20th Feb 2012, 13:30

Why buy a sports saloon if you don't want firm suspension?

2003 MG ZS TDi+ 2.0 turbo diesel

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 2.0 turbo diesel Don't Know
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired12000 miles
Most recent distance27000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin 800

Summary:

Brilliant, but underrated drivers car

Faults:

Bearing failed in the vacuum pump, cost £33.75 to have it reconditioned (good when you know people in the trade!)

General Comments:

Great car, nicely proportioned and good to look at.

The car handles superbly, although this is at the expense of a smooth ride.

The seats are very supportive and comfortable.

The sound insulation of the diesel engine is very good, it only sounds diesely at very low speeds or stationary.

Fuel economy is exceptionally good, and the engine is very tunable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th June, 2007

2003 MG ZS 180 2.5 V6

Model year2005
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.5 V6 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired4000 miles
Most recent distance14000 miles
Previous carSubaru Impreza

Summary:

Good value for money overall

Faults:

I have no problems with my 180 except its rattles from cd changer in boot and alarm would work at first, but engine wise perfect.

General Comments:

The noise of the the v6 puts a smile on your face. puts any japanese car to shame any-day. inside needs some attention.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th June, 2006

2003 MG ZS 120+ 1.8

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.8 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance1000 miles
Previous carFord Fiesta

Summary:

Excellent value for money

General Comments:

Positives:

- Excellent handling and cornering.

- Body trim, spoilers and alloys look great.

- Comfortable seats.

- Excellent value for money.

- Good acceleration, 0 - 60 in 9 seconds.

Neutral:

- Dashboard is OK, not as bad as some reviews suggest.

- Firm suspension.

Negatives:

- Road noise.

- Wind noise at high speeds.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th April, 2004

2003 MG ZS 120 Plus 1.8 petrol

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.8 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired2500 miles
Most recent distance7000 miles
Previous carMG ZR

Summary:

Good value drivers car

Faults:

Gear select lever came loose.

L/H suspension creaking.

General Comments:

Excellent car to drive with amazing road holding. Suspension is firm, but not harsh. Engine loves to be revved and delivers surprising performance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th April, 2004

2003 MG ZS 180 2.5 V6

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.5 V6 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance21000 miles
Previous carRenault Megane

Summary:

V6 engined performance car that's also for everyday use

Faults:

Nothing, surprisingly.

General Comments:

If like a lot of people out there you think that the ZS is just a Rover 45 with a bodykit, you may as well not bother reading the rest as nothing I say is likely to change your mind.

If you're willing to accept the fact that Rover, a company more noted for safe choices when it comes to cars, have taken a 45, extracted all pipe & slippers DNA and added a good dose of everything that a hot hatch/everyday affordable performance car should be then give the ZS180 a try.

I've driven many hot hatch style cars - the CTR, Golf GTI, Audi S3 group, and found most of them, well, stodgy. The suspension is too soft, the body roll is often bad (I'm not saying ALL of these type of cars have this problem, but a lot have) and most of them have lost the whole idea of this type of car - remember the Mk1/2 Golf GTI or the old Pug205?

In my opinion, the ZS180 comes a lot closer to bringing the fun back into driving - and it has 4 seats that adults can actually sit in and best of all, a V6.

Sure, it's an MG, so things will go wrong, but I've had mine for just under a year and driven it slightly over 21,000 miles, mostly motorway cruising at speed or B-road lunacy, and as of yet nothing has fallen off or broken. I have 3 cars at present, all under 3 years old, and the ZS is the one I take out if I know there's going to be a fun road, even though one of the others is far more of a performance car.

The resale value isn't the best out there, which is great for second owner purchase prices, and the MPG is a little on the high side, but for a car that certainly stands out from the crowd, shows those others how to have fun, and is still usable every day, the ZS180 is great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd December, 2003

13th May 2004, 06:36

I can only concur with your comments. I too have driven several performance cars and the MG ZS 180 that I currently drive is the most fun. I have only had my car for 2 weeks and I find myself continually coming up with excuses to go for a drive.

It lives for those B road moments, overtaking is a blast and the V6 engine responds to your every whim without complaint. Corners disappear like they were straights.

Well Done MG - Keep up the good work.

14th Jun 2004, 16:46

Again, I concur with the above. Fantastic car, really is amazing! If your in doubt, go and test drive one. Worth every penny, and more! Honestly, you will not be disappointed.

12th Jul 2004, 11:28

I'd just like to say that I have recently just purchase the MG ZS 180 here in Jersey (Channel Islands), and boy there are loads and loads of twisting lanes (No Motorways here.)

I found the MG handles this type of throwing around brilliantly; the response from that V6 engine is excellent. And to think I was going to get a second hand Scooby.

Now I rarely go out in my Ford RS T and just make up some lame excuse to the wife on why I have to go out.

Never thought I would buy an MG, but glad I did. :-)

8th Oct 2004, 07:32

I have had my 180 for about 4 months now... what a car!

Trophy blue saloon with Extreme spoiler - it makes other cars tremble and pull over!!!

The drive is quick without thrash and handles like a dream - any excuse for a B road blast these days!

23rd Apr 2006, 13:38

I took your advice and test drove one oh my god its fast compared 2 my 2.0 pug I just want to know what the fuel is like with the ever rising price is unleaded theese days, but even if its low mpg I'm still going for it :d.

27th Dec 2008, 19:36

Had a ZS 180 for 12 months, best car ever.

Performance is superb. Handling second to none. Previous car a Golf GTI, what a mistake that was.

All I can say is if you haven't got one, get one...

Average review marks: 8.1 / 10, based on 8 reviews