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MG 5 review

In these financially straitened times, is the MG 5 all the EV you need? It certainly makes a good case for itself, with plenty of kit for your cash and a serene urban driving experience.

Summary

In these financially straitened times, is the MG 5 all the EV you need? It certainly makes a good case for itself, with plenty of kit for your cash and a serene urban driving experience. However, it's not as nice at motorway speeds and it's yet to be safety rated by Euro NCAP.
Design
6
Comfort
7
Driving experience
7
Value for money
10
Safety
6

Summary

In these financially straitened times, is the MG 5 all the EV you need? It certainly makes a good case for itself, with plenty of kit for your cash and a serene urban driving experience. However, it's not as nice at motorway speeds and it's yet to be safety rated by Euro NCAP.

Make and model: MG 5 EV Long Range
Description: Medium-sized estate, battery-powered electric vehicle
Price range: £30,995 to £33,495 (plus options)

MG says: “The practical, affordable and efficient electric estate car”

We say: In times of belt-tightening, could the all-electric MG 5 be all the car you really need?


Introduction

This is the facelifted MG 5 (styled as MG5 by its maker), updated in 2022 with a dramatic new look over familiar underpinnings.

As of April 2023, it’s still the only electric estate model on sale in the UK (apart from the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo, which is about £100K dearer) – and the second-best-selling estate in the country (behind the Toyota Corolla, which is very similar in size).

It’s officially called ‘the MG5 EV Long Range’, but currently all versions of the MG 5 are Long Range, so that’s a fairly pointless name tag unless the company decides to bring out a ‘Short Range’ version. Incidentally, MG defines ‘long range’ as 250 miles, according to official lab tests, which is not really that long by 2023 standards.

It’s unusual for a car to get a major visual facelift so soon into its production life – the MG 5 was only launched in 2020, so a major update after only two years is unexpected.

What is it?

The MG 5 is a mid-sized estate, similar in size to a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports or Volkswagen Golf estate. However, unlike those two – or anything else of a similar size and shape – the MG is purely electric.

The MG 5 is powered by a single electric motor, rated at 115kW (156hp). Like all EVs, it’s only available as an automatic. The motor and battery are carried over from the previous model, so performance and range are unchanged as result of the facelift.

There are two trim levels available – SE and Trophy – with prices starting at £31k on-road. That’s a bit dearer than the old model, but it’s still it one of the cheapest new electric vehicles on sale.

Who is this car aimed at?

The MG 5 appeals to both consumer and fleet buyers, and for very similar reasons – it’s roomy, practical and (relatively) cheap.

On the fleet side, the 5 is fast becoming a replacement for the Toyota Prius. You may have already seen plenty of them popping up in London and other city centres, serving as minicabs and delivery vehicles.

For retail customers, it’s one of the cheapest possible ways to get into a brand new, family-sized electric car. That alone makes it attractive to plenty of people.

Who won’t like it?

The reality is that the MG badge will be looked down on by many buyers, who won’t even consider it because of its ‘budget’ connotations.

To be fair, if you’re expecting fit and finish to rival an Audi interior then you’re going to be disappointed. But then you’re not paying anywhere near Audi prices…

First impressions

Although a relatively simple facelift, the effect of the restyling work done on the MG 5 is dramatic. The original version was quite conservative in appearance, while the facelift applied to the front end of the 5 has imbued it with a far more radical look.

Whether you like its new style is up to you, but it’s not exactly elegant. However, it certainly makes the MG 5 look about a decade newer than its rather dowdy-looking predecessor, rather than just the two years.

Step inside and initial impressions of the dashboard layout are very positive. The digital displays are clear and easy to read, without the over-designed graphics of many cars.

There are a few physical buttons, but most functions are controlled through the high-mounted touchscreen. The steering wheel has loads of buttons, but they’re laid out in a logical way. It looks and feels quite like a last-generation Volkswagen (which is actually a compliment, as the new Volkswagen steering wheels are much worse!).

The dashboard is covered in a cloth material, which certainly looks better than bare plastic although you do wonder how well it will last over time.

We like: Most dashboard controls and functions are well laid out
We don’t like: Styling is more radical than original version, but very much an acquired taste

What do you get for your money?

Once we’ve got the first impressions out of the way, it’s time to look a bit harder at exactly what you’re getting for your money with the MG 5 EV Long Range (to give it its full and glorious title).

This is an area where MG always excels, because the company keeps things simple while giving you plenty of kit for your cash. The MG 5 is no different.

There’s only one powertrain option – the 115kW (156hp) electric motor with a 61kWh battery that’s officially good for 250 miles – your results will certainly vary, but it should easily be 200+ miles for most drivers.

Charging time is about ten hours (from 10% to 100%) on a 7kW home wallbox, while if you have access to a 150kW public rapid charger, you can go from 10% to 80% charge in as little as 35 minutes. At a 50kW public fast charger (which is more common), this would take just over an hour.

There are only two trim levels, SE and Trophy. SE starts at £31K and Trophy at £33.5K. The only additional cost options are colour and… that’s it. Black, blue, silver or grey paint costs £545, while red costs £695. White is the only no-cost colour.

These prices are about the same as the Toyota Corolla estate, which is similar in size but powered by petrol with a bit of electricity, so the running costs of the fully electric MG 5 should be far less. Alternatively, you can get a Ford Focus estate or Volkswagen Golf estate for a bit less money (starting a bit under £30K), but they’re petrol only with no electric contribution at all.

Both models come standard with a full suite of active safety systems, like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and auto high-beam headlights. They also both get the ten-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality. Trophy adds niceties such as heated seats, 360-degree parking cameras, automatic wipers and climate control.

With the original model, MG claims that about 75% of customers picked the Trophy version. Accordingly, it expects similar results with this updated version.

Naturally, your local dealer will still try to up-sell you all sorts of add-ons like floor mats, tow bars and other stuff, but actually choosing which model you want is pretty simple compared to most car manufacturers.

We like: Simple trim levels with plenty of standard kit
We don’t like: ‘Long Range’ isn’t really that long, with no genuinely long-range model available

What’s the MG 5 like inside?

The press cars were all Trophy spec, but really there’s not a massive difference in how the base SE model looks or feels inside. So the following applies to whichever version of the MG 5 you choose.

The front seats are comfortable enough, being fairly flat but supportive enough for longer-legged drivers. The seating position also offers plenty of adjustment for both the seat and steering wheel, so drivers of any size and shape should be able to get comfy. Visibility is pretty much average for this size of car – not great but no worse than most others.

The centre console between the front seats is quite high, which makes things feel quite snug. EVs don’t really need this, as there’s no gearbox underneath the console that forces it to sit so high, but it does offer an open tray underneath which is quite handy.

As with almost every new car on sale today, most functions are controlled by the central touchscreen. Car manufacturers keep trying to tell us that this is because it’s what the people want, but it’s also true that a touchscreen is a lot cheaper to design and build than a load of buttons…

The touchscreen graphics are clear and easy to read, but there is a terrible lag between pressing the screen and getting a response. Inevitably, you’ll think nothing has happened and keep stabbing at the screen, while it finally reacts to your first press and then your second, then third… Volume is at least an up/down button, which is better than a touchscreen but not as good as a simple knob for adjustment on the move.

The stereo is perfectly functional, although the sound is pretty tinny. Obviously, there’s no option to upgrade to a more powerful sound system like you’d get in many other brands so if that’s a priority then you might want to look elsewhere. However, the integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is seamless – at least as far as we could tell – so everything works well enough.

The back seat is decent enough, and comparable with other mid-sized cars. Likewise, the boot space is pretty good for most family needs and pretty much in line with what you’d get in a non-electric rival.

The standard factory navigation system seemed to be quite decent on our drive, although most owners will probably prefer to use Apple Maps or Google Maps instead. The reversing and 360-degree camera systems are pretty basic, with no guide lines to help you estimate how close you are to obstacles.

We like: Everything works pretty much exactly as expected
We don’t like: Tinny stereo, basic reversing camera

What’s under the bonnet?

This is pretty straightforward. The MG 5 has a single electric motor, which produces 115kW (156hp) and drives the front wheels through a single-speed automatic transmission. In other words, put your foot down and go.

The battery is a 61kWh unit, which equates to an official driving range of 250 miles. Take this as a best-case scenario, as in cold weather or under heavy load this will reduce towards 200 miles.

Given that MG refers to this as the ‘Long Range’ model, it’s possible that it will (re)introduce a ‘short range’ model at some point in the future at a cheaper price point. 250 miles isn’t exactly ‘long range’ these days, so bear that in mind.

What’s the MG 5 like to drive?

If you’re looking for tyre-smoking excitement, you’re looking at the wrong car (and probably the wrong website). However, if you’re looking for perfectly competent A-to-B transport, then the MG 5 delivers comfortably.

Being an electric car, there’s not a lot of fuss or bother. Electric motors are inherently quiet and smooth compared to petrol or diesel engines, so at low speeds it’s all quite serene. However, once you pick up the pace to 50+ mph, you’ll hear quite a lot of tyre noise.

Acceleration is quite punchy, which is again a highlight of EV driving. This is all delivered in a smooth and fuss-free fashion.

Like most EVs, there are options for braking and coasting so you can choose to recover some wasted electricity to recharge the battery every time you slow down. The MG 5 offers three settings for this: normal coasting (as you’d get on any normal petrol car), which doesn’t recover much energy; mid-level braking, so when you lift off the accelerator, the car starts to slow down quite noticeably; and high-level braking, so when you lift off the accelerator it’s like applying the brake pedal.

Level 1 is most familiar if you’re new to an EV, particularly if you regularly lift off and coast in urban driving. Level 2 is a pretty good compromise for most people, while Level 3 feels pretty severe (although better than some other car brands – the Nissan one is pretty awful, for example).

We like: Smooth and quiet for urban driving
We don’t like: Road noise is pretty loud at higher speeds

How safe is it?

In short, we don’t know. As of April 2023, the MG 5 has not been assessed by Euro NCAP, the world’s premier road safety testing organisation.

The level of standard equipment for accident avoidance is quite good, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and so on. But until these systems, plus the airbags and crash structures have been properly tested, we can’t give you any definitive guidance.

[Plenty of car magazines and websites will look at a spec sheet and tell you that this car is great for safety, but there have been plenty of situations in the past where cars with good on-paper performance have performed poorly when actually put through rigorous testing.]

MG’s current safety record, according to Euro NCAP, is mixed. The MG 4 EV hatchback and MG HS SUV both have five-star scores, but the MG 3 supermini (an older car) only scored three stars. Bizarrely, the MG ZS small petrol SUV only gets three stars, but the electric ZS gets five stars. As such, we really don’t want to give you any guidance one way or the other.

If/when Euro NCAP assesses the MG 5, we’ll update our Expert Rating report accordingly.

Summary

In these financially straitened times, is the MG 5 all the EV you need?

It certainly makes a good case for itself. With a starting price of £31K, this mid-size estate is about the same price as an electric Vauxhall Corsa supermini (or a highly-specced Fiat 500e… city car).

That pricing is also about the same as the Toyota Corolla estate (petrol-electric hybrid) and not a lot more than the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf estates (petrol only), so a fully electric estate for £31K is significant.

And for run-of-the-mill family driving, there’s plenty to like about the MG 5. It’s quiet and smooth, with plenty of standard kit. Urban driving will be this car’s forte, which is the same for most EVs, as you can recover wasted energy to the battery every time you slow down.

On a motorway, the battery will drain much faster and the road noise is annoyingly high, so it’s not as good for long journeys (and that’s without considering the joys of public while-you-wait charging in the UK).

The only caveat at this point in time is that the MG 5 doesn’t have a safety rating from Euro NCAP. It has all the usual kit you’d want to see in a new car, but can’t verify how it all works in an emergency situation.

Similar cars

Citroën e-C4 | Ford Focus estate (petrol)Hyundai Kona Electric | Kia Niro EV | Nissan Leaf | Peugeot e-2008 Skoda Octavia iV plug-in | Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (hybrid) | Vauxhall Astra estate (petrol) | Volkswagen Golf estate (petrol)

Key specifications

Model tested: MG 5 EV Long Range Trophy
Price (as tested): £34,040 (including metallic paint)
Engine: single electric motor
Gearbox: Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

Power: 115 kW (156 hp)
Torque: 280 Nm front
Top speed: 115 mph
0-62 mph: 7.3 seconds

Battery range: 250 miles
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Euro NCAP safety rating: Not yet rated (as of April 2023)
TCE Expert Rating: 63% (as of January 2023)

Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.
In these financially straitened times, is the MG 5 all the EV you need? It certainly makes a good case for itself, with plenty of kit for your cash and a serene urban driving experience. However, it's not as nice at motorway speeds and it's yet to be safety rated by Euro NCAP.MG 5 review