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It’s time for T


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MG PHL presents the turbocharged ZS crossover

IT’S BUT APROPOS for MG Philippines to provide more choices for the model that catapulted it into the imagination and consideration set of many on the hunt for an affordable, value-for-money vehicle. The China-headquartered brand with a decidedly British heritage made a splash via the ZS which “to this day… remains a perennial crowd favorite (and is) currently at the top of the five-seater SUV-B segment in the Philippines,” according to a company release.

“When we launched the MG brand in 2018, our goal was clear: To be part of the exciting and growing Philippine automotive market, and to provide Filipinos with stylish, modern, and safe vehicles — but at very attainable price points,” said MG Philippines President and CEO Atty. Alberto B. Arcilla. “The local market’s reception has been very encouraging, indeed. In just three years, more Filipinos have chosen MG, and there are now over 10,000 MGs on our roads, with (many) of those being the ever-popular ZS crossover SUV.”

And so, MG Philippines wisely revisits its popular crossover nameplate and gives it a veritable shot in the arm through an additional (and more exciting) trim. The MG ZS T (for Trophy) comes with a new, three-cylinder 1.3-liter engine. Now before you go ballistic with the mention of three cylinders and an almost paltry-sounding 1.3, bear in mind that this power plant is turbocharged. Yes, “T” might as well stand for “turbocharged” as well — allowing the ZS to neigh with the power of 160 horses and 230Nm of torque. This power plant is mated with a new six-speed automatic transmission with manual sport mode.

Even as it takes its place at the very top of the ZS totem pole (above the Core MT, Style AT, and Alpha AT) in terms of power and accoutrements, the ZS T is priced at a still-reasonable P1,158,888. Now available at all 39 MG dealers, the variant also assumes the “updated global design language.”

On the outside, the ZS T receives the new, good-looking Obsidian Matrix Grille, flanked by full-LED projector headlamps. Lending a premium look are daytime running lamps, and 17-inch two-tone Tomahawk design alloy wheels upon which wide, low-profile tires are affixed.

Red brake calipers heighten the sporty appearance, as do gloss-black exterior door panel accents, a widened front air dam, and new body lines. “With these, among other features, the ZS T conveys a presence that is both striking and impressive; but still very approachable, and youthful in spirit,” the car maker said.

Perhaps most obvious among the updates within the cabin is the so-called Goggles Visual Instrument Cluster — a fully digital information center for the driver — that brings the ZS into the company of vehicles in more expensive price points.

The ZS T also boasts “carefully placed soft touch surfaces on the steering wheel, dashboard, center console, door panels, and other high-contact areas.” MG stitches red thread on the seats and other areas, and affixes embroidered MG monograms on the driver and front passenger headrests. Along with multiple storage compartments is a thoughtful dedicated USB port behind the rearview mirror for quicker and neater dashcam installation.

The T’s infotainment system is platformed on a 10.1-inch non-reflective high-definition touchscreen, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Hooked up are six speakers. Rear occupants get their own A/C vents.

A slew of safety features include front, side, and curtain air bags; rear cross-traffic assist; lane change assist; cornering lamps (built into the fog lamps); hill hold control; cornering brake control; traction control; vehicle dynamic control; and more. A blind spot information system works with the ZS T’s 360-degree vehicle view.

The ZS T comes with a five-year/100,000-km (whichever comes first) warranty, and one-year free periodic maintenance service. The company adds, “MG owners can also download the My MG mobile app which allows them to easily schedule vehicle servicing appointments from the convenience of their smartphones. They can also use the app to book a visit from a Mobile Garage service caravan that provides MG owners with vehicle home service for major technical issues. MG HERO Services, on the other hand, provides 24/7 roadside support through the MG Philippines hotline (+632 5328-4664.)”

And, oh, word from The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI) — the company that oversees both MG and Chevrolet here — has it that MG is not quite done yet. TCCCI Executive Vice-President and Director for Marketing and Customer Services Lyn Manalansang-Buena exclusively told “Velocity” that the company intends to roll out one more model before 2021 is done and dusted.