Stylish MG ZT
THE MG ZT is a class act, a car that feels as if it should retail another £5,000 dearer.
There's a bulletproof aura to it whichever model you choose. With used examples now starting to appear in steady numbers it's possible to buy into this hefty hunk of Britishness at bargain prices.
MG Rover started at a considerable disadvantage in not having a clean sheet of paper to work from.
They had the Rover 75 as a basis and had to make a decent fist of it.
Therefore the end result was a bit of a surprise.
Headline grabbing flagship models may build the brand, but it's the cars with broader appeal that put the money in the bank, and the ZT CDTi, ZT CDTi135, ZT 120, ZT 160, 180 Sports Auto and 190 models that form the most relevant parts of the ZT range have had to earn their keep against some formidable and well-established opposition.
The ZT190 certainly looks aggressive enough, with the squinting front lamps, deep spoilers and full dechroming treatment ridding the MG ZT of the geriatric appearance of the Rover 75.
The interior has been thoroughly divested of any timber, and there is some exquisite detailing, not least of which the beautiful leather/ alcantara seats and steering wheel combination. Compared to the MG, the interiors of many rival sporting brands are token efforts, ruthlessly excised overheads from the big budgets that have been lavished on the drivetrains and suspension set-ups. The ZT+ models hammer home the point still further with additional air conditioning, rear electric windows, a CD autochanger and a rear spoiler included in their prices.
Around £6,775 would be an indicative price for a 2001 Y plated MG ZT 160+ with a 51-plated car retailing at around £7,500.
The ZT190+ model is the most frequent find and these turn up at around £6,950 on a 2001 Y plate or £9,300 for a 03-plated car. Expect to add around £400 to the price if you want a ZT-T estate.
The MG ZT has proved to be a reliable offering, despite being driven by some quite demanding customers.
Because of the sporting nature of the car, check the tyres for wear as keen driving will quickly scrub the shoulders off the front pair, especially with V6 versions.
There's a lot to be said for buying a used MG ZT. With a range of decent engines and a classic look, it offers durability, practicality and a modicum of excitement. It's a feel good car that's available at realistic prices.
It's well worth a look if you fancy something a little different to the compact executive mainstream.