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Road tests

New MG5 EV 2022 review

The updated MG5 EV estate is now better than ever, with smarter styling and a boost in range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The updated MG5 EV is slightly more expensive than before, but it brings worthwhile updates. It gets great tech and smarter styling inside and out, all without compromising the previous car's strong points: practicality, affordability and efficiency. MG is on a roll with more products coming down the track, and this refreshed 5 shows it’s serious.

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You might know the MG5 EV – pretty much the only electric estate on sale – as the Uber drivers' chariot of choice. Far from being a put-down, that's actually a strong endorsement. Think about it: a taxi needs to be affordable to buy and run, spacious, efficient and reliable.

But in an attempt to add a little more appeal alongside retaining those rational elements, the Chinese-owned British brand has given its electric load-lugger a facelift, and we're driving it in the UK.

Hot on the heels of the fantastic MG4, the 5's styling has been updated with a more modern, sleeker look at the front, while the rear end has been smartened up to balance the look. Sharper LED light clusters front and rear, a slimmer grille and deeper bumpers give just a hint of sportiness to what, on the face of things, is one of the most pragmatic cars on sale today.

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Inside, there's a fresh dashboard to boost perceived quality, while the MG5 also gains a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with the brand's iSMART connected services tech to keep pace with the ever-advancing level of connectivity cars at this price point now pack.

And on the subject of price, the MG still undercuts pretty much everything on sale that offers this level of practicality and range. Our top-spec £33,495 Trophy Long Range model features a 360-degree parking camera, heated front seats, tinted windows, automatic wipers, climate control and 17-inch alloys on top of the already generous level of kit fitted to the entry-level SE Long Range version. 

For £30,995 you get MG Pilot driver assistance tech (adaptive cruise with lane centring, pedestrian detection and collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and auto high-beam assist), that 10.25-inch multimedia set-up with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch digital dash, air-conditioning, full keyless go and vehicle-to-load charging so you can power external devices.

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The exterior design tweaks definitely help and the MG looks more European, even if an electric estate might not be quite as appealing as an SUV to some. The same is true inside, as the car's new dash design looks smart and freshens up a basic but uncluttered cabin.

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Material quality could still be better in places, but remember; this car is priced at a similar level to some supermini EVs, with the space and range to match an electric family SUV, so you can expect some compromise. Even in range-topping Trophy trim the MG is only £50 more expensive than a top-spec Peugeot e-208 GT while it undercuts the Fiat 500 La Prima model by £150.

Yet its 61.1kWh battery offers up to 235 miles of range (SE spec claims more, at 250 miles) and with DC charging at up to 87kW a 10-80 per cent top-up takes just 35 minutes. Plug in to a 7kW wallbox at home and a full charge will take 10 hours.

On our test with a mixture of motorway and urban driving, and everything in between these two extremes, the MG recorded efficiency of 3.6 miles/kWh, which means that with a usable capacity of 57.4kWh a real-world range of 206 miles should be achievable. In cooler conditions with the heater on, heated seats on their maximum setting and temperatures not conducive to the best range from the battery, getting within 20 miles of MG's claims is certainly respectable. Plus the 5 consumed energy at a predictable rate, which makes it easy to plan ahead – always a welcome trait in an electric car.

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The battery supplies a 153bhp front-mounted motor, which delivers enough performance for a 7.7-second 0-62mph time. On the move it's the 280Nm of torque that's more obvious, no matter whether you're in town, on a country road or the motorway. It gives the MG5 enough grunt to be swift rather than sporty – the chassis means there's not much in the way of fun, but the light steering is direct and body roll is relatively well controlled. It feels secure.

The ride control is fine too. The platform doesn't have the same level of finesse found in the new MSP architecture that underpins the MG4 hatchback, but it damps out bigger bumps relatively well so that while there is obvious body movement it doesn't throw passengers around inside. It feels relatively fluid and there's travel in the suspension to deliver enough compliance. Things get a little more bobbly on broken roads, but the MG does a good job of damping out the worst imperfections so as never to break down into crashiness.

When cruising, refinement is good. There's not much wind noise, and there's barely any whine from the motor, even with the most aggressive of the three regenerative braking modes engaged. The top of the brake pedal's travel is difficult to modulate, so it needs finesse. But the highest regen setting provides a good level of retardation when you lift off, even if you still have to drive with anticipation as it won't deliver one-pedal driving like some more advanced-feeling but admittedly more expensive EVs.

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On the subject of value, while the cash price is enticing, representative finance deals of £428 a month on the Trophy (based on a £6,699 deposit and a three-year/30,000-mile contract with a £250 deposit contribution) are competitive. Plus MG says you'll actually be able to get hold of one relatively quickly, with 1,250 cars in stock by the end of the year and a 14-week wait time on orders.

Room inside is good, with rear passengers treated to a relatively generous level of legroom thanks in part to a 2,659mm wheelbase, but headroom is a little tighter, especially in the front. Given the estate car's low-ish roofline, you sit high up in the driver's seat to accommodate the battery beneath, but this does at least give good visibility. The 479-litre boot means families won't struggle for luggage space either; at least it's comparable with an SUV such as the Kia Niro EV, which offers 475 litres.

MG matches Kia with a seven-year warranty too, and this is what characterises the MG5. In many areas – and certainly the ones that really count – the 5 EV makes a solid case for itself, it always did. But now, with its extra style and technology, the proposition is even more convincing. 

Model:MG5 EV Trophy Long Range
Price:£33,495
Powertrain: 61.1kWh battery/1x e-motor
Power/torque: 153bhp/280Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Range: 235 miles
Charging: 87kW (10-80% 35mins)
On sale:Now
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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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