MG5 EV review
With its 250-mile range, practical estate body and keen pricing, the MG5 could be the smart all-electric choice
The MG5 is a no-nonsense family estate that offers decent practicality with the efficiency benefits of all-electric drive. It won’t suit buyers looking for any sparkle and shine on their driveway, as the MG5 lacks any pretension or showy, extravagant character.
Instead, it delivers on what matters most: plenty of space, good levels of standard equipment, a usable range and low running costs. The MG5 isn’t going to set your pulse racing, but if you can get past the humdrum image you’ll find a car that just gets the job done - at a price that makes it hard to resist.
About the MG5 EV
Electric cars are often criticized for being too expensive to buy. With stylish city runabouts such as the Fiat 500 priced at well over £20,000, and superminis like the MINI Electric and Honda e nudging £30,000 and above, buyers with an eye on practicality and value for money might be put off making the switch to a new EV
Enter the all-electric MG5. With its functional estate bodystyle, impressive kit list and £25k starting price (after the PiCG government grant), it brings a no-frills approach to challenge the latest models in the burgeoning electric car market.
Evergreen electric rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe can’t compete on price, and don’t come close on interior space, while the MG5’s significantly lower running costs could persuade buyers away from the more typical options of the Ford Focus estate and Volkswagen Golf estate. In fact, the 5 even undercuts its ZS EV sibling on price, while also offering a better overall range.
The cheapest MG5s have a 52.5kWh battery which gives a claimed range of 214 miles, while a single 154bhp motor drives the front wheels. With 50kW on-board charging capability, it’ll take just 50 minutes to charge the battery from 0-80 per cent, while topping up (to 100%) from a 7kW home charger requires around 8.5 hours.
For an extra £1,500 or thereabouts, you can upgrade to Long Range variants which feature a larger 61.1kWh battery and will take you up to 250 miles on a single charge. The 0-80 percent recharge time naturally takes a small hit, rising to 61 minutes using a 50kW charger. However, the MG5 is now also compatible with 100kW charging, so times could drop to around 40 minutes if you have access to a suitably-equipped charge point.
If the £1,500 premium for Long Range spec seems a little steep. MG has also thrown in an extra sweetener in the form of its MG Pilot driver assistance package, which includes Active Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Jam Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist.
Whichever battery size you choose, there are just two trim specifications available for the MG5: Excite and Exclusive. The former includes enough kit for most, with manual air con, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a DAB radio and Bluetooth, while the latter adds luxuries such as heated seats, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, keyless go and extra USB ports.
Engines, performance and drive
As with most electric cars that have a single motor, the MG5 uses a single-speed fixed gear to send drive to the front wheels. The car’s soft suspension set-up doesn't translate into a flawlessly smooth ride however, with the typical pockmarked roads around town too easily felt through the cabin. Things improve when on the motorway, although the doughy steering could be better, with inputs not feeling particularly precise.
The MG5 probably won’t suit keener drivers as, despite a decent turn of straight line speed, the estate’s dynamic deficiencies are again highlighted with lots of body roll through corners. There are three levels of brake recuperation on offer, but none are effective enough to allow ‘one pedal’ driving - a function which helps easier driving in stop/start town traffic.
Three individual drive modes are also available: Eco prioritises range, still allowing for a decent turn of speed, but taking a little longer to get up to motorway pace. In Normal you benefit from full power, while Sport mode adjusts the throttle response to unlock a slightly unexpected level of performance - although the trade-off is you’ll drain battery power more quickly.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
With 154bhp and 260Nm of torque, the front-wheel-drive MG5 is able to dispatch the 0-62mph benchmark in 7.7 seconds, but probably more relevant to buyers in terms of real-world driving will be the sprightly 0-30mph time of 3.2 seconds. In comparison, the 181bhp MINI Electric posts a time of 3.9 seconds from 0-37mph, so the MG5 can definitely hold its own if you need to get off the line quickly.
Range, charging and running costs
The MG5 will be attractive to business users due to its claimed 250-mile maximum range, and zero CO2 emissions attracting the lowest possible Benefit-in-Kind rate: 1 percent for 2021/22, and 2 percent for 2022/23. Competitive list prices, starting from £25,000, will appeal to private buyers, while some determined haggling should secure a decent discount.
On-board charging capability of 100kW means that you should be able to top-up from 0-80 per cent in around 41 minutes with either battery. MG claims an efficiency rate of 3.5 miles per kWh for the 5 EV, which is the same as the MINI Electric, and just behind the Honda e at 3.8m/kWh. In our tests of the Long Range model we recorded 3.7 miles per kWh.
Both MG5 versions sit in group 32 for insurance, so premiums will be a little more expensive than a typical combustion-engined estate. For example, the Ford Focus range is rated from group 10 to 23, with only the standalone 276bhp ST version in a higher group 34. The MINI Electric ranges from group 22-23, while the Honda e is in group 25-29.
Data suggests that, after a typical three-year/36,000-mile ownership period, the MG5 will hold onto around 44 per cent of its original list price, which isn’t quite as good as its ZS EV sibling at nearer 51 per cent, and lags even more behind the MINI Electric with 54% of its value retained over the same period.
Interior, design and technology
MG has been owned by Chinese manufacturer SAIC since 2007, and the 5 EV is a rebranded version of the company’s Roewe Ei5 model. Over the past few years, SUVs have been steadily taking sales away from more traditional estate models, but the MG 5 represents an affordable, back-to-basics approach to family motoring - made all the more appealing by the adoption of emissions-free, all-electric drive.
At first glance, the dull styling of the MG5 won’t perhaps seem as desirable as its more modern ZS EV stablemate, but it will attract buyers looking for decent range and value for money. Yes, most of the exposed plastic materials in the cabin are hard to the touch and rather cheap looking, but the 5 EV isn’t overly utilitarian and a sprinkling of chrome and piano black trim helps to soften things up.
Standard kit includes 16-inch alloy wheels, auto headlights, cruise control, rear parking sensors, air-conditioning and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, while upgrading to the Exclusive trim adds silver roof rails, power folding door mirrors, auto wipers, heated seats and a keyless go function.
Arctic White paint is offered at no extra cost, although you’ll have to pay an additional £545 for one of the blue, black or silver metallic hues. The special tri-coat Dynamic Red paint colour is £695.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
All MG5 versions come equipped with an 8-inch colour touchscreen, as well as sat-nav, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Both the Excite and Exclusive variants are fitted with a six-speaker audio system, although the latter offers 4 USB ports, compared to two for the cheaper version.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
The MG5 offers more practicality and flexibility than other similarly-priced EVs. Generous space upfront helps the driver and front passenger get comfortable, while the flat floor provides a bit more room in the rear.
With its decent 214-mile maximum range, the MG5 is able to take on longer journeys out of town without provoking any anxiety about where you might be able to stop and top the battery up. Generous standard kit adds to the appeal, with cruise control, sat-nav and a 7-inch digital driver information display making trips a little easier to manage.
Extra luxuries such as leather upholstery and heated front seats are available with the more expensive Exclusive trim, while the driver benefits from six-way electric seat adjustment, an auto dimming rear view mirror and auto wipers.
At 4,544mm in length and 1,818mm in width, the MG5 is a touch smaller than a Ford Focus estate, although it stands 1,513mm tall compared to the Focus’ 1,494mm.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
With its five-door estate bodystyle, the MG5 offers plenty of room for rear occupants, although you’ll find even more space to stretch out in the bigger Focus. Headroom is fine and taller passengers should be able to sit comfortably behind the front two.
The MG5’s 464-litre boot should be big enough for most family needs, but there is quite a big lip to negotiate, so loading/unloading bigger items is more awkward than it should be. The rear seats split in a 60:40 configuration, and when folded provide 1,456 litres of room for your luggage.
Overall space eclipses pretty much any other EV in this price range, but if you’re after class-leading capacity then you should look towards the Skoda Octavia estate with its 600 litre boot.
Reliability and safety
The MG5 hasn’t yet been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but buyers can be reassured by the full five-star rating achieved by its MG ZS EV sibling. All MG5 Long Range versions are now fitted with the MG Pilot driver assistance package, which includes lane-keeping, adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assistance. They also all feature front, side and curtain airbags, Emergency Brake Assist, ARP (Anti Rolling Protection) and Hill Launch Assist, along with a rear parking camera and an electric parking brake with auto-hold function.
It’s still too early to assess the MG5’s reliability, although early signs appear positive. MG finished in 20th place in our 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey - a big improvement from 27th spot in 2019.
There were two individual entries for MG in the Best car to own category: the MG ZS in 55th and the MG3 in 74th. The manufacturer will be hoping the new, all-electric talents of the MG 5 and MG ZS EV will push them further up the list in 2021.
A strong seven-year/80,000-mile warranty is offered with all MG cars. This outshines most other manufacturers, with Ford offering just three years/60,000 miles cover for the Focus and MINI providing the same duration, but with unlimited mileage for the Electric model.
MG offers a range of service plans to allow you to spread the cost of scheduled maintenance, rather than having to pay in a one-off lump sum.
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