New MG 5 EV 2021 review

The MG 5 EV has been updated with a bigger battery, meaning it now boasts a 250-mile range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Verdict 

The MG5 certainly answers a question many would-be electric car buyers are asking. It offers family-friendly space, with the kind of price tag that would otherwise only get you an A- or B-segment car. Yes, it feels built to price, but the kit count, 100kW charging capability and the promise of a thoroughly usable 250-mile range more than makes up for it. Its relaxed driving manners and long warranty round out what is a remarkably pragmatic choice in an increasingly busy, and some may say expensive, electric-car market.

For all the talk about Britain’s drive to electrification there’s a rather sizeable elephant in the room: cost. Affordable electric cars are few and far between, particularly if you need something that has a bit more space, or a hint of family-friendliness. The MG5, then, could be more significant than it first appears, and not only because the Five remains the only electric estate car you can buy.

You might argue that it’s that focus on value which has seen MG’s sales soar: by the end of June, it’d already beaten its lockdown-ravaged 2020 record, and bosses say the Chinese-owned firm is the fourth biggest EV brand in the UK, behind Tesla, Polestar and Smart.

The MG5 only went on sale in the UK last year, but MG is already ringing the changes with the introduction of a new, longer-range version. The latest model boasts a WLTP-certified 250-mile range (up from 217 miles) 100kW charging capability and the promise of an 80 per cent charge from flat in as little as 40 minutes.

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MG says that, with a starting price of £26,495, the new model has the longest range per pound of any new electric car on sale. The top-spec Exclusive model we’re testing weighs in at a still budget-friendly £28,995, but for context, that’s about the same as a mid-spec, hybrid-powered Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. If budget really is a concern, the pre-facelift model is £1,400 cheaper, and will be sold alongside the new car for a time.

The extra range is achieved through a new battery, which sees capacity grow by 8.6kW to 61.1kWh (57.7kWh usable). MG says using a 100kW CCS charger, it’ll take 40 minutes to reach 80 per cent, 61 minutes using a 50kW charger and around nine and a half hours using a home wallbox. MG quotes an average of 3.5 miles/kWh, but we easily exceeded that, chalking up 3.7miles/kWh.

The 115kW motor, equivalent to 154bhp, is unchanged meaning the 7.7-second 0-62mph time and 155mph maximum remains. That’s fair, given few buyers are likely to be pushing the MG5’s performance envelope.

MG Pilot, the firm’s suite of driver-assistance features which includes lane-keep assist, AEB, adaptive cruise, traffic jam assist and more, is fitted across the range and sees the car drop five insurance groups as a result.

Those credentials, coupled with rock-bottom benefit-in-kind tax rates could make the MG5 a financially alluring company car choice with its one-per-cent BiK rate in the current financial year, rising to two per cent in the 2022/23 tax year. And the transferable seven-year/80,000-mile warranty will provide reassurance to private buyers, too. But is there appeal behind the finances?

Let’s get one thing out of the way: while acceleration is brisk, the MG5 is categorically not a driver’s car. The steering is numb and remote, there’s plenty of body roll through the bends, and while it has a Sport mode (Normal and Eco are also available), it’s hard to think of a circumstance where you might use it. But given the kind of use the Five will receive, it’s hard to overly criticise its dynamics.

Better is the ride comfort. It’s not perfect, but it certainly feels more resolved than you’d expect. MG has increased the ride height by 9mm over the shorter-range model so may well be slightly softer as a result, but you’d be hard-pressed to notice. It is quiet, though, with only a small amount of tyre roar and a little whistle around the door mirrors to unsettle things.

Like most EVs, the MG5 has three levels of brake regen, operated via a toggle switch on the centre console, and while it doesn't allow one-pedal driving around town, on the flowing country roads of our test route it permitted just enough braking to avoid tapping the left pedal. It’s a shame the regen level indicator on the part-digital dash is so small, because otherwise the display is fairly clear and offers a number of unusual readouts, including motor speed and the car’s voltage and current consumption at any given time.

The general fit and finish of the interior is best described as robust rather than tactile, but the controls are generally well laid out and easy to use. There’s a rotary gear selector in the centre console plus a new eight-inch touchscreen which, while responsive enough, isn’t overly intuitive to use. The glossy screen is prone to reflections and the rear-parking camera lacks the kind of resolution we’ve come to expect. 

It’s easy to get a decent driving position, and visibility is pretty good. Interior storage is okay, and the same can be said for space in the rear where head and legroom are in good supply, but there’s no space to slide your feet under the seats and little thigh support as a result.

It’s better in the boot, where there’s 464 litres of space, growing to 1,456 litres when dropping the rear seat backs, but it’s a shame they don’t fold flat. It’s also disappointing to see there’s no cable storage, but you can specify a spare wheel in place of the standard-fit tyre foam.

The MG5 claws back points for the equipment it features. Entry-level Excite models come with alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operated through a eight-inch screen, keyless entry, push-button start and rear parking sensors. For another £2,500, Exclusive models add leather-effect trim, heated front seats, six-way electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, auto wipers and sat-nav.

Model:MG5 SW EV Exclusive
Price: £28,995
Motor/battery: Single motor/61.1kWh (57.7kWh usable)
Power/torque: 154bhp/260Nm
Transmission:Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Range: 250 miles
Max charging: 100kW DC (0-80% 40mins)

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