First Drive: The updated MG5 brings a longer range and more technology

MG’s electric estate car packs a longer range, but at a price. Ted Welford finds out if it’s worth it.

MG5
MG5

What is it?

MG5
The exterior of the car remains unchanged for this update

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MG is a brand truly on a roll, with a range of value-packed cars really hitting the mark with buyers. For context, it sold more cars in the first six months of 2021 than it did in the entirety of 2019.

A big driver of this success has been its electric models – the ZS EV crossover and the MG5, the latter of which remains the only true battery-powered estate car on the market. Between them, they account for nearly a third of MG’s sales, giving the brand a greater EV sales mix than any other brand that doesn’t just sell purely electric models. MG’s aiming to take that lead further with a revised version of the MG5, but is it good enough to do so?

What’s new?

MG5
A long wheelbase allows the MG5 to offer a decent boot

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This must be one of the earliest occasions a car has ever been updated after being launched, with the MG5 having not even been seen on sale for a year.

Regardless, MG’s already sought to improve it, packing a larger battery into it that takes the range from an already-respectable 214 miles to 250 miles on a full charge.

The brand’s MG Pilot driver assistance pack has also been introduced, adding the likes of autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist – addressing one of this model’s previous key weaknesses.

What’s under the bonnet?

MG5
The MG5 has proved a hit for MG

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As we’ve mentioned, the key change here is the battery, which increases in size from 52.5kWh to 61.4kWh. The rest of the powertrain remains the same, with an electric motor driving the front wheels producing 154bhp and 260Nm of torque and allowing for a 0-60mph time of just 7.3 seconds as well as a top speed of 115mph.

It’s also rather speedy when it comes to charging, too, with an 80 per cent top-up using a 100kW rapid charging taking only 40 minutes, while plugged in at home to a 7kW wallbox it will take around nine and a half hours for the battery to be fully replenished.

We also averaged more than four miles per kilowatt on our test route, suggesting that the 250 miles shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve.

What’s it like to drive?

What takes you immediately by surprise behind the wheel is the immediacy of the acceleration – put your foot down and it really is rapid, even spinning the wheels if you’re not careful. You can also flick between ‘Eco’, ‘Normal and ‘Sport’ driving modes, but even in the Eco setting, it offers more than enough pace.

It’s a solid effort elsewhere, too, with a largely comfortable and compliant ride that’s only occasionally unsettled by potholes. There are also three levels of regenerative braking to choose from, depending on whether you want a more conventional experience or the ‘one-pedal driving’ that EVs are renowned for.

There’s also next to no difference in performance between the previous MG5 and this new car, with the upgraded battery pack said to only add 15kg to the car’s weight.

How does it look?

MG5
The MG5 has a no-nonsense appeal

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While a facelifted MG5 is in the pipeline – and we’re told it won’t be long before we get it – this update here has no styling changes whatsoever. In fact, the only difference is that it sits 9mm higher up than its predecessor in order to accommodate the battery. It certainly seems to sit at a height more in-line with a crossover than an estate car.

Though a sharp black grille with chrome accents gives it a more modern appearance, the rest of the car’s looks are just a bit dated compared to some of the bolder-looking EVs on the market today.

What’s it like inside?

MG5
The interior is nicely finished and logically laid out

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Again, the MG5’s interior is unchanged, with the same digital dial system and eight-inch touchscreen fitted as before. The dials are actually impressive with their clarity, though the infotainment system itself is slow and not the easiest to use. It’s certainly not the most premium-feeling cabin either, though the cheaper plastics that are used are hidden pretty well.

Then there’s the space on offer, which remains unchanged from its predecessor. A 464-litre boot isn’t quite as large as a conventional estate car but is still roomy nonetheless while folding the rear seats increases the space on offer to an impressive 1,456 litres. The rear seats also offer a decent amount of legroom and mean the MG5 is actually more spacious than most electric crossovers on the market today.

What’s the spec like?

MG5
The charging port is handily located at the front of the car

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Perhaps not surprisingly, the use of a larger battery bumps the cost of the MG5 upwards, with starting prices rising from £25,095 to £26,495 (including the grant). That still puts it as one of the more affordable EVs on the market today – as well as undercutting noticeably smaller EVs like the Renault Zoe and Vauxhall Corsa-e.

Standard equipment on the entry-level Excite grade includes keyless entry, a leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors and the digital dials and touchscreen we’ve already mentioned. The MG Pilot driver assistance system is included, too, and is actually one of the better safety features on the market – particularly its adaptive cruise control.

Upgrading to the top-spec Exclusive costs £28,995 (after grant) brings luxuries like leather-style upholstery, electric and heated seats and satellite navigation.

Verdict

Like before, the MG5 is not going to appeal to those looking for the utmost in style and technology, but when it comes to no-nonsense EVs, it remains tough to beat.

Its combination of practicality and value (even with the slight price increase) remains unmatched in the electric car world, and add to that its longer 250-mile range and new safety features and you’ve got a seriously well-rounded package. Whether you’re looking at an estate car or just an electric car at the more affordable end of the spectrum, the MG5 deserves your attention.

  • Model: MG5 EV
  • Base price: £26,495 (including plug-in car grant)
  • Model as tested: MG5 EV Exclusive
  • Price as tested: £28,995 (including plug-in car grant)
  • Engine: Front motor with 61.1KWh battery
  • Power: 154bhp
  • Torque: 260Nm
  • Max speed: 115mph
  • 0-60mph: 7.3 seconds
  • MPG: N/A
  • Emissions: 0g/km CO2
  • Range: 250 miles

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