The MG5 EV is an all-electric estate, which makes it unique, it’s also comfortable, refined and responsive to drive, and it’s good value for money.
Most people still think of MG as a 1960’s/1970’s British sports car brand which then disappeared, but MG is now back, with a Chinese company behind the brand, and it has brought the first all-electric estate to market, the MG5 EV.
The MG5 EV has a 52.5 kWh battery (with 48.8 kWh useable capacity) and a 115 kW (154 hp) electric motor, with automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
The MG5 is an estate, so it’s practical. It’s a five-seater with a boot volume of 464 litres, which increases to 1,456 litres with the rear seats folded down. It also has roof rails but, strangely, MG say that these are for decorative purposes only and you can’t fit roof bars. Makes you think that it would have been better not to have pretend roof rails and to improve the aerodynamics and therefore driving range instead.
The exterior and interior styling is likely to be perceived by many people as functional rather than fashionable. We’re not sure why the MG5 doesn’t share more design similarities with the MG HS.
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OK, here it is: the MG5 is good to drive. Here’s why. Firstly it’s an EV, and all EVs are better to drive than the equivalent petrol or diesel cars because there’s instant torque from the electric motor – meaning instant linear responses to input on the accelerator. The powertrain is also quiet and refined. But one advantage that the MG5 has over other EVs is that it’s light (weighing just 1,550 kg). This means that it’s actually quite fun to drive, and combined with the relatively small 16-inch wheels with tyres that aren’t low profile, the ride quality is good. The handling is appropriate for an estate car – it’s comfortable rather than sporty, but the MG5 has the advantage of the weight of the battery being low down, as well as the entire car having a much lower centre of gravity than an SUV.
Our test drive took in urban areas, motorways and countryside, and the MG5 was perfectly good to drive in all of these settings.
There’s a rotary dial for the gear selector. Near this are three buttons. One is for the three drive modes: Eco, Normal and Sport, and if you select Sport, performance is lively.
There’s also a ‘KERS’ button to select three regenerative braking modes – with the chosen level displayed in very small graphics in the instrument display. And the final of the three buttons is marked ‘battery’, and after trying this button on many occasions, we have no idea what this button was supposed to do.
There’s a sporty leather steering wheel and an electric, heated driver’s seat. The heating and ventilation controls are positioned near the gear selector and they face upwards, rather than the more conventional approach of facing outwards from the centre console. However despite the unusual position, the controls work well, with a dial allowing easy adjustment of temperature, another dial for the fan, with a collection of buttons for air conditioning etc. This may not be a fashionable approach compared to hiding all the heating controls in a touchscreen sub-menu, but it’s much more user-friendly.
There’s a central touchscreen with a button below for selecting the home screen. The system generally works well, and there’s a useful reversing camera, but like the rest of the car, it’s not the most up to date and stylish of designs.
So it’s generally all good news for the MG5, however we would like to see a light in the charging socket to help with charging at night.
The MG5 EV has an official combined electric driving range (WLTP) of 214 miles. The WLTP city range is 276 miles. Over the period of a week on test the real-world range of the MG5 varied between 180-207 miles – which is good.
One journey undertaken was from Manchester to the Lake District and back, which was beyond the range of the car. Over recent years it has been virtually impossible to guarantee finding a user-friendly and reliable rapid charger in the Lake District, but this has now all changed thanks to the installation of four brilliant Instavolt 50kW rapid chargers at Booths Supermarket in Windermere. To charge an EV, you simply place your credit card near the charger, and then rapid charging starts instantly, and then you use your credit card to stop the charging. This is how EV charging should work around the UK rather than messing around with apps or RFID cards. These charge points completely transform the ability to visit the Lake District in an EV, and Instavolt and Booths deserve huge praise for installing these.
The MG5 EV should take 50 minutes for a 0-80% charge at a 50kW rapid charger. A full charge at a 7kW home charger should take 8.5 hours.
The MG5 EV is available in Excite trim from £25,095 after the £3,000 UK government Plug-in Car Grant; the MG5 Exclusive as tested costs £27,595. Whole-life running costs are likely to be less than those of a petrol car, and Benefit in Kind company car tax rates are just 1% for 2021/22.
The MG5 EV is a practical all-electric estate, it’s comfortable and responsive to drive, and it’s good value. There are currently no other all-electric estates on sale in the UK so it has a niche of its own. Some people may want more fashionable styling, but if you’re instead looking for maximum space for minimum price, with zero tailpipe emissions, then the MG5 has to be at the top of your list. The MG5 EV is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.