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By Jonathan Crouch
MG continues to specialise in providing budget brand buyers access to full electrification at super-affordable prices. Here we look at the original version of the company's second zero emissions model, the MG5 EV, a compact estate that in its first 52.2kWh battery form offered a 214 mile driving range and a spacious cabin seemingly little compromised by this model's advanced battery tech. All for a reasonably conventional price. Exciting? Possibly not. Clever? Definitely.
5dr Estate (EV)
Another electric MG model - and it's not an SUV. Actually the genre of this car, a compact estate, is quite traditional. Basically, what's on offer here is an alternative to these compact SUV electric models that are now springing up, but at a much lower price and with more interior space. Launched here in 2020, this MG5 was basically a European-ised version of a model from MG's Chinese parent group SAIC, the Roewe Ei5. Prior to its UK introduction, over 63,000 examples of that car had been sold to Chinese folk following the Roewe version's launch there in March 2018. So MG hoped that the auspices would be good for the chances of this car establishing a little niche for itself in our market. Initially, the car was introduced in the UK in 52.2kWh battery form but in Autumn 2022, an updated 61kWh battery version of this car arrived, complete with an updated 'MG Pilot' set of camera safety features. It's the earlier 52.2kWh battery 2020-2021-era model though, that we look at here.
At the time of this MG5 EV model's launch, MG already sold the market's most affordable family-sized EV contender, the ZS EV. But while that model won't be quite big enough for some families, this contender might well be. It's 4.54m long, which, to give you some perspective, is about 100mm shorter than a Ford Focus Estate, though this MG's 2.6m wheelbase is only 43mm shorter than that Ford's. This MG5 is 1.82m wide and 1.54m tall too. The exterior styling is restrained and conservative, though not particular suggestive of a budget brand. Up-front, the fit and finish is close to volume brand standards, without feeling especially plush. There's a base 'Excite' version but the top 'Exclusive'-spec variant - the one most will want - enhances things with niceties like leather-style upholstery and a panoramic sunroof. On the rear seat, there's ample headroom and legroom, even for taller occupants. And twin USB ports are provided, along with the usual ISOFIX child seat fastenings. You'll want to know about boot space, which is rated at 578-litres with the rear seats in place. That's about 200-litres more room than you'd get from an EV hatch like the Volkswagen ID.3. Fold the rear bench flat in this MG5 and you can extend your storage space to 1456-litres.
For a '20-plate base Excite'-trimmed MG5 EV 52.2kWh model, pricing starts from around £19,700 (£21,700 retail). For the plusher 'Exclusive' 52.2kWh version, it's £20,900 (£23,200 retail). All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. <a href="https://hpivaluations.com/">Click here for a free valuation.</a>
There aren't many major issues here, other than a few electrical and software issues; go thoroughly over all the powered and infotainment functions of the car you're looking at. Even if there were, all cars will obviously be covered by MG's warranty, a fully-transferrable 7 year/80,000 mile package. Otherwise, it's just the usual things; look out for stone chips and alloy wheel scratches. And insist on a fully stamped-up service history.
MG parts prices are pretty affordable but you'll probably need to source them through an MG dealer. This being an EV, you'll save on a lot of the usual service items - you obviously won't need things like an oil filter and so on. And the brake pads will last a lot longer - possibly the life of the car.
It's a sign of the times that you can't have any sort of combustion engine in an MG5, not even a plug-in hybrid one. And it's a reflection of the needs of the European market that this single EV model is quite a lot more powerful than the version offered to the Chinese. Output for the UK was raised by 42PS to 156PS reflecting the fact that family folk here have been conditioned to expect their EVs to be quite quick; so this one gets to 62mph in just over 8 seconds, on the way to a rather un-EV-like top speed of 115mph. Those family folk will be expecting a reasonably long driving range too, hence the installation of a 52.2kWh lithium-ion battery that's WLTP-rated at 214 miles. As usual in a full EV, the battery is mounted centrally under the floor in a manner that gives a low centre of gravity. This, to some extent, offsetting the inevitable downsides of the EV powertrain's extra weight. MG claims very similar handling characteristics to the conventionally-fuelled Chinese market model. Earlier we mentioned this car's 214 mile WLTP-rated driving range (51 miles more than a ZS EV from this period) - which rises to 276 miles on the WLTP city cycle. You'll need to activate the 'KERS' toggle switch (which alters the level of regenerative braking and therefore energy harvesting); and engage the provided 'Eco' mode to get anywhere hear these figures in normal driving. We'd say 170-180 miles between charges would be more achievable. Charging an MG5 EV is straightforward thanks to its combined CCS and Type 2 port, mounted within the front grille for easy access from either side of the car. The CCS plug is an enhanced version of the Type 2 plug, with two additional power contacts for the purposes of quick charging and supports AC and DC charging power. Featuring rapid charging capability, the car can charge from 0-80% in 50 minutes from a 50kW charging station (if you can find one). At home, the car can recharge itself using a standard 7KW wallbox in around eight and a half hours. That's two and a half hours longer than is needed by a ZS EV but overnight charging should still be easy. In emergencies, the car can also be charged via a standard 3-pin plug. The 52.2kWh battery pack is managed by MG's Intelligent Battery Temperature Control system and insulated from external temperature variations so that it can deliver the optimum power and range whatever the weather.
As MG's sales grow, its model range widens. The brand's last family-sized model that wasn't a crossover was the MG6, a car that struggled to find any sort of sales traction at all in the UK market. This MG5 has much more to recommend it for sensible family folk wanting to take the plunge into full-EV motoring. For the price of a planet polluting mid-range Focus or Astra estate, you could have one of these, a car just as practical with zero tailpipe emissions and a model that you could run without ever having to visit a filling station again. Makes you think doesn't it?
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