Perhaps you need to be of a certain vintage to remember – or maybe old enough that all memories have taken on that hazy, sepia-stained feel – but there was once a time when in-car satellite navigation was reserved for only the most well-heeled of shoppers.
In fact, when it first appeared as an option on the 1995 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight in the USA, it cost about $2300 to be installed, and even then stored only the map data for a single city. Heading out of town? Then you had to pay another $450 to buy the map data for each city you were visiting. All of which meant a cross-country road trip was suddenly a very expensive proposition.
But like the pain of street directories (that were, for some strange reason, always missing the pertinent page) and huge foldable maps that took up every spare inch of cabin space, actually paying for satellite navigation is a pain that that young buyers of the MG ZS will never know.
The tech-packed city SUV (think reversing camera, rear parking sensors and standard torque vectoring) also employs what might be the most revolutionary piece of in-car technology of recent times – and one that is at the very top of every millennial’s wish list – in Apple CarPlay.
Intriguingly, the ZS’s lush eight-inch colour screen actually looks like a modern Microsoft Windows interface at first, but once you plug your phone into the handy USB socket, it transforms into an ingenious version of your device.
Perfectly mirroring your iPhone’s screen on the car’s high-resolution touchscreen, CarPlay means you can use your phone’s maps for directions anywhere in the world. The system will even issue turn-by-turn instructions in Sir’s soothing voice, and keep you updated on traffic jams and other delays.
Not only does this give the car a perfectly wondrous version of satellite navigation for free, but it also gives you easy, one-touch access to your music – including Spotify playlists – as well as allowing you to make phone calls.
Perhaps best of all, though, it genuinely makes you safer, by reading out directions, as well as any text messages you receive, and allows you to respond in spoken form, using clever voice-recognition software.
It’s all enough to make a cartographer weep, but getting from point A to point B (without accidentally ending up at point Z) has never been so easy.