MG dealers are encouraged to be more active locally as the ZS bids to appeal to SMEs.
MG is ready to get back into the corporate market and is hoping the new ZS will give it a foothold in the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) space.
The Chinese-owned company is targeting growth among local businesses. Its 80-strong dealer network will be responsible for forging those relationships.
Matthew Cheyne, head of sales and marketing at MG Motor UK, said: “I firmly believe MG has a compelling offer for the SME business car sector.
"The business programme encourages our dealers to be active in their local communities. We want to see them sponsoring events, delivering on charity initiatives and becoming an integral part of their local area.”
MG has strong aspirations for the new ZS. It expects to double its total registrations next year, achieving sales of almost 10,000 cars.
The ZS is a small crossover, set to rival established compact SUVs such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.
It also faces tough competition from newly-launched models such as the Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona and Seat Arona.
MG says the ZS stands out in three areas: price, space and warranty.
Customers can choose between three trims and two engines. Entry-level Explore models are priced from £12,495, with mid-range Excites from £13,995.
The highest-spec Exclusive is the predicted best-seller and costs from £15,495.
The ZS is around £2,000 cheaper like-for-like than its rivals and offers a high level of specification as standard.
All models feature cruise control and Bluetooth while the Excite benefits from an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, alloy wheels, parking sensors and air-con. Exclusive adds leather upholstery, sat-nav and a reversing camera.
A 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine kicks off the line-up with 106PS. It can return an average 49.6mpg and propels the ZS to 62mph in 10.6 seconds.
This engine is only available with a five-speed manual transmission. It offers the lowest CO2 emissions in the range with 129g/km – a poor performance in a segment where rivals are closer to 100g/km.
For an extra £2,000, a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is available. It is more powerful, thanks to an output of 111PS, but only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission.
As a result, it is slower than the 1.5, taking 12.4 seconds to reach the 62mph benchmark. Emissions for this engine are 144g/km with average fuel economy of just 44.9mpg.
With more torque from lower in the rev range, the smaller engine feels more powerful on the road. It is also much quieter and more refined than the 1.5. MG expects the 1.0 to be the more popular choice.
Handling was a priority for MG’s engineers, who say they tuned the car for UK roads. The ride is smooth and body roll is well controlled, but it lacks the finesse of a Mazda CX-3.
Despite its relatively compact dimensions, interior space is impressive. There is adequate room for five adults and the boot is almost 100 litres larger than in a Nissan Juke.
It’s disappointing there are no alternative powertrains or even a Euro 6 diesel to boost efficiency, but the ZS is an attractive, well-equipped car and comes with a seven-year/80,000-mile warranty for low mileage drivers.
Model tested: MG ZS 1.0T GDi Exclusive