The upcoming MG ZS small SUV, due to launch in Australia later this year, will feature some of parent company SAIC Motor’s intelligent internet technologies in its home market of China, a first for the MG brand.
From launch, Chinese versions of the ZS will feature the intelligent voice-controlled personal assistant sourced from e-commerce giant Alibaba, integrated into the infotainment system of higher-grade models.
With the technology, drivers can control numerous functions of the car, from basic tasks like audio and air-conditioning, to even opening and closing the sunroof and windows.
However, Australian buyers will have to wait, for now, with MG Australia's general manager, Zhu Chao, confirming the Alibaba-sourced system will initially "for China only".
The company's local boss added that Australia's wireless internet infrastructure isn't quite at the level required to have the net-based personal assistant work reliably everywhere.
At some point down the track, ZS will also get a “new energy” variant in the coming years (unconfirmed for Australia), though it’s unknown whether it will be a conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), or full-electric vehicle (EV).
First revealed at last year’s Guangzhou motor show, the MG ZS is the second SUV for the Chinese-owned British brand, joining the larger GS - which launched locally last month.
When it arrives here in October, the ZS will offer the choice of a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine or a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder.
Produced at the company’s Zhangzhou facility in China, the ZS is MG’s first entrant into the booming small SUV segment, which currently includes the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Mitsubishi ASX and the upcoming Hyundai Kona.