Car Reviews Motoring

MG5 EV Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

You could be forgiven for thinking MG had gone away. However, the automaker has continued to produce cars since its rescue from the remains of MG Rover.

The firm is set for a rise in popularity again, though. Why? Well, MG has recently turned a corner with not one, not two, but three electric cars – the MG4 crossover and the MG ZS SUV being two of them.

Now, the newly overhauled, facelifted MG5 has joined the electrified automotive party, too.

It is a lengthier family estate car, and, like its siblings, it shares one key value at its heart: a no-frills price, with anything but a no-frills equipment list.

It sounds too good to be true, but MG has somehow pulled it off, significantly undercutting its arch-rivals without appearing to cut corners.

In terms of looks, it arguably resembles a more aggressive take on the new-style Vauxhall front end, albeit with more jagged and sculpted bodywork. Meanwhile, the sides have a prominent crease towards the bottom of the doors.

The back looks a bit plainer, but it isn’t boring, with tapering taillights and a chrome strip running across the boot. At the same time, the angled rear skirt and triangular rear fog lights make this MG look the part.

A couple of trim levels are offered: SE Long Range and Trophy Long Range. MG claims both versions will manage around 250 miles from a full charge of a 61.1kWh battery.

The model also comes with vehicle-to-load, meaning that the car can be used to power just about anything. So, it’s a handy feature to have for things like camping trips or if there’s a black-out at home.

The SE grade gets 16-inch alloys, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch digital instrument display and a DAB radio. The car also boasts LED headlights and a rear-view camera, plus MG Pilot, which includes a suite of safety systems.

The Trophy trim adds 17-inch alloys, a 360-degree parking camera, heated front seats, rear privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers and automatic air conditioning.

Both versions get a single electric motor with front-wheel drive and 155PS.

But what’s the MG5 like on the move? Well, torque is delivered in an instant burst as soon as you press the accelerator pedal, taking 8.3-seconds to 62mph.

Admittedly, you probably won’t want to floor it, as there isn’t enough traction to get the power down in one big lump. Indeed, you’ll end up spinning the front wheels if you put the pedal to the metal, which will force the traction control to intervene.

Overtaking on motorways is easy, and the MG has the performance at lower speeds to make driving around town and getting about on ring roads easy.

The ride comfort is wholesome, too, smoothing out imperfections in the road surface and providing a settled and soothing ride at all speeds.

While the suspension setup is absorbing, it makes the handling less than on the ball. The soft springiness to the ride means the MG’s not overly adept at tackling corners at speed.

Sure, the MG5 performs well for a vehicle of its type, with good grip levels and decent steering. But those seeking a more engaging drive will be left frustrated.

The regenerative braking system is pleasingly effective, retaining a naturally consistent feel. The MG will slow down to a crawl when it’s on maximum setting, but you still need to apply the brake pedal to come to a complete halt.

Inside looks well-designed, with squashy-to-the-touch surfaces, lots of silver trim running along the dashboard, and an inviting-to-hold steering wheel with logically arranged buttons. Meanwhile, the centre console is bathed in more silver and shiny piano black.

The infotainment screen is situated on top of the dash. But it’s angled towards the driver, and plenty of physical buttons are underneath.

As for the iSmart Lite infotainment system, it’s not class-leading. However, it’s head and shoulders above the old MG system, while the seven-inch digital instrument cluster is controlled mainly from the steering wheel’s buttons.

Visibility out of the front is good, as MG has tried to keep the pillars as thin as possible. But the visibility is more limited from the back due to thicker rear pillars. Mind you, the rear parking sensors and rear-view camera negate the issue somewhat.

The MG5 is spacious at the front, with the driver and passenger easily accommodated by a considerate quantity of head and legroom. The car is also roomy in the rear, although three adults might feel cramped on longer journeys. That said, the MG’s width helps, as does the hump-free flat floor.

There is also a heap of storage space inside, with charitably sized door bins and a deep central cubby.

Boot capacity measures in at 479 litres, expanding to 1,367 litres with the rear seats folded down in a 60/40 split.

Running costs should be on the low side, despite rocketing electricity bills. Meanwhile, zero emissions mean road tax is gratis. What’s more, the MG5 is in the lowest band for Benefit in Kind taxation, which will please would-be company car drivers.

Euro NCAP is yet to safely test an MG5, although the HS and ZS EV scored five stars. Therefore, MG hopes this model will follow suit.

The MG Pilot system features active emergency braking with pedestrian and bicycle detection; lane keep assist with lane departure warning, as well as traffic jam assist. It also sports intelligent speed limit assist, high beam assist and adaptive cruise control.

Overall, the MG5 is a competitive contender, matching or exceeding many challengers’ offerings at a lower price point.

The vehicle is practical, reasonably good-looking and has a nice interior, coming well-equipped with a notable selection of safety systems.

If you’re put off by the comparatively high price of electric cars, this may help bridge the gap to something more affordable.

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