New MG 5 EV 2020 review

The new all-electric MG 5 starts from under £25k and boasts a 214-mile range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Verdict

If you want a cheap electric car then the new MG 5 EV deserves serious consideration. It’s not glamorous, even compared with the electric ZS SUV, but the no-frills approach means it combines solid range with vast amounts of space, strong levels of equipment, and even a turn of pace when you need it for a very enticing price tag. If all you are looking for is as many miles of range as possible for as little money as possible, it makes a strong case for itself. 

This week, Tesla boss Elon Musk announced that his company would be able to offer an electric car for a price of £25,000 a few years from now. But Chinese-owned MG can sell you one right now in the form of this: the MG 5 EV. 

It’s MG’s second electric car, sitting alongside the ZS EV but commanding a smaller price tag. Priced from £24,495, rising to £26,995 for the range-topping Exclusive model we’re driving here, the MG 5 is, in effect, a European-market version of the Roewe Ei5. It represents one of the most affordable ways into emissions-free family motoring on sale in Britain today, undercutting key favourites like the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.

While it offers up a price tag cheaper than those cars, it also brings one key bonus - space. As you can see, the MG 5 EV isn’t a small hatchback, but is instead a decently sized family estate car. Similarly, it doesn’t skimp on range either; a 52.5kWh battery pack means a claimed range of 214 miles under WLTP rules, and a 0-80 per cent recharge will take 50 minutes, thanks to standard 50kW charging support. These are promising figures for the cash.

It also greatly eclipses the 163-mile range of the more expensive ZS EV. More subjectively, it’s not as glamorous or desirable as the brand’s electric SUV. But for buyers prioritising range and value for money, this could well be a new champion. 

On a full charge we found the readout claimed 191 miles. However, the switchable drive modes of the MG 5 meant we could eke out more from the cell, with a claimed maximum of 205 miles showing when flicked into Eco mode. This limits the level of performance on offer, but it’s a mode many buyers will default to, given that it still offers more than enough shove to get around. 

Few mass-market electric cars have any unique characteristics to the way they drive and the MG 5 EV is no exception; it is unspectacular and entirely conventional for an EV, with no party tricks or unnecessary fripperies. 

Drive is sent to the front wheels through a single-speed fixed gear, power stands at 154bhp and 260Nm, and there are three levels of brake recuperation, easily altered on the fly by a small switch near the rotary drive selector. Again, in Eco mode there’s more than enough shove on offer to potter around at town-friendly speeds, and you can slowly bring it up to motorway cruising speeds too. Leave it in Normal and you unlock that trademark off-the-line EV punch that many EV drivers find advantageous over petrol power, and this makes the 5 feel more assured on faster roads. 

Sport mode will eat into your battery much faster than the other two, but with good reason: it unlocks a surprising turn of pace from the unassuming and silent MG that could worry hot superminis off the line. 0-62mph comes up in 7.7 seconds, and with a brisk 0-30mph dash of 3.2 seconds, it honestly feels faster than any buyer will ever really demand of the car. Still, if you need to get away from the lights quickly, the power can be summoned. 

You won’t find much joy in using the Sport mode elsewhere, though, as the MG 5 isn’t one of the more dynamic EVs around. The steering is totally numb, and allied with lots of body roll, your inputs feel vague. The soft suspension doesn’t necessarily result in a smooth ride, either. It’s fine on motorways but imperfect surfaces at town speeds are too readily transmitted up through the chassis.

However, the way the MG 5 drives is likely to be low in importance to those who go on to buy in. Instead, alongside the value found within its low cost and long range, they’ll be attracted to the space, practicality, and kit on offer. 

There’s loads of room up front and rear, while the 464-litre boot also impresses. There’s quite a lip to get over, but the sheer amount of space on offer trumps most EVs this size and price range. 

Cabin quality is, as expected, not a priority. The exposed plastics are all hard and cheap to the touch, but Exclusive models like ours at least come with some man-made leather trim to soften things up in places. Both the entry-level Excite and Exclusive use an eight-inch central touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, however, and both get a seven-inch driver information display, with a partially digital instrument panel. 

Indeed, the entry-level car is well equipped. Alongside the standard infotainment, it gets a reversing camera system, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, cruise control with a speed limiter function and a leather steering wheel. Exclusive builds on this with a part-leather interior, some tech upgrades like sat-nav, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and automatic wipers, plus comfort features such as an electrically adjustable driver’s seat. 

Perhaps one of the most enticing aspects of the bargain MG is the warranty. Alongside the modest price tag, MG offers a seven-year/80,000-mile guarantee on the car, including the battery. It makes an affording buying proposition a reassuring one too. 

Model: MG 5 EV Exclusive
Price: £26,995
Engine: 52.5kWh battery, 115kW electric motor
Power/torque: 154bhp/260Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Range: 214 miles  
CO2: 0g/km
On sale: Now

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