Face to face: New Zealand’s three cheapest EVs
While EVs are more expensive than ICE cars at the moment, the gap is narrowing and prices for EVs are falling as more manufacturers ramp up production and battery prices fall. As true price parity becomes common in the more expensive luxury car segment, the entry level of the market is also becoming more and more affordable.
The MG ZS EV (our current long-term test car), the Mini Electric and the Peugeot e-208 GT you see here are the three cheapest new electric vehicles you can buy in New Zealand right now. .
All are well below the $ 80,000 clean car rebate threshold, meaning all three are eligible for the $ 8,625 rebate under the program, making them even more affordable, with the MG topping the $ 40,000 after rebate, while the Mini and Peugeot both end up just over $ 51,000. They are also broadly similar in size, power output, and performance.
The Mini is the smallest in all dimensions (yes, Minis are still small) and is the most expensive, while the MG ZS EV is, unsurprisingly, the largest and the cheapest.
In terms of standard equipment and quality, the two true Europeans have everything about the considerably cheaper car with a Euro badge. The MG is well equipped for the price, but lacks a lot compared to the rest, like any form of remote app connectivity. It also lacks the ultimate polish that the Mini and Peugeot have, especially around its driver assistance systems and infotainment technology.
On the open road, the Mini and Peugeot also have a distinct advantage over the MG (as you would expect), with the Mini being the obvious choice for the enthusiastic driver – it’s a Mini with its low weight and throttle. foolproof. the answers, after all, and all the good things about the dynamics of an ICE Mini also apply here.
An advantage of the Mini’s smaller battery also makes itself known here, as the extra weight is almost imperceptible compared to the other two.
The Peugeot is almost on par with the Mini on a twisty road, with a more delicate and responsive approach to corners.
The e-208 is almost as exquisitely adjustable and agile as its brilliant ICE counterpart, with the exception of two things: the extra weight of the battery. is noticeable when you’re on maximum attack and ultimately makes it a bit clunkier under hard braking, a problem that’s compounded by the dead, lifeless feel of the regenerative brakes.
The braking feel is the Peugeot’s biggest stumble, resembling the Toyota Prius’ lifeless first attempts. Make no mistake – they perform well, they just feel disappointing doing it, with little feedback as well.
Being an SUV, unlike the other two hatchbacks, the MG is out of its depth when it tries to follow them down a twisty road. It’s not bad at all, but not in the right company here.
Its default position is a gentle understeer when things start to get too excited, and while its lower center of gravity definitely makes it a better handling than a baby ICE SUV, it’s still not the choice of the avid driver here.
Its softer suspensions make it the perfect choice for open-road cruising, however, and while neither the Mini nor the Peugeot are anything less than extremely capable and comfortable, the MG is certainly the long-distance cruiser of choice here. However, the other two have better and more favorable seats.
Perhaps the most interesting difference between the three is their power output – the Mini has the most power and the MG the most torque, while the Peugeot sits well in the middle, with the least (fair) power and a couple similar to the Mini.
This leads to three surprisingly different driving experiences, although the differences may seem rather small.
The Mini is the most responsive of its entire lineup, being quick and quite punchy as speed increases. The Peugeot is similar, but slightly slower initially given its more linear, “ICE-like” approach to delivering power, pumping torque, rather than cranking up at the same time.
The MG is the easy winner of the drag race at the traffic lights, however, with its considerably higher torque landing low. and all at once, which means it stops completely from the line, effortlessly leaving the other two dead.
In fact, the MG will leave a lot to die for from a standing start, including some serious performance cars, such is its instant punch.
That is, until it reaches around 50 km / h, when its advantage is largely over. The Mini begins to recover it and at 70 km / h has a clear lead, the Peugeot also taking an advantage over the MG at this point.
Which approach is the best? Well, a lot of it will depend on How? ‘Or’ What you drive and or you drive.
The Peugeot looks a lot more like a “normal” ice car, which many people will like, while the Mini is the more athletic warrior because of its “all-round” approach, and the MG has been all about those quick starts ever since. traffic lights (albeit with more than adequate performance beyond that too), making it the choice of city dwellers in a hurry. And it’s totally hilarious when you blow up much more expensive performance cars in a small Chinese SUV …
So that actually leaves the decision on which is the “best” surprisingly wide open.
The Mini is an incredibly fun car, offering all the build quality, artificial retro touches, and sparkling dynamics of an ICE Mini, but with plenty of torque and a lower center of gravity, making it quite a thing. addictive fact to throw on a winding road. The biggest problem, however, is that you can’t enjoy it for as long as you want, thanks to its stingy range between charges.
The MG, on the other hand, is an absolute delight in the city, with its firecracker offline response and ease of use. It has its quirks, looks pretty generic, lacks some features compared to the other two, and is nowhere near as well built, but it also costs over $ 10,000 less. As a windfall proposition, however, it’s hard to override.
But it’s actually the Peugeot that’s my personal choice – fantastically fun, stunning (with that awesome interior) and packing the sparkling dynamics of the ICE 208 (which I love), it’s really just the braking feel. disappointing that takes a tiny part of the performance brilliance of the Peugeot.