MG 5 Review
When electric cars first appeared, they were prohibitively expensive to all but the most dedicated of early adopters. Then they got more affordable, and now you can lease quite a few EVs for less than £250 a month.
Many, however, are small city cars, which aren’t much good if you need a proper family car. Now, though, there are value-for-money electric cars appearing on the market, and the MG5 falls firmly into that category. This is a family estate car with up to 250 miles of range per battery charge, available at much less than a lot of more established rivals.
It’s not the last word in handling prowess, and the interior doesn’t feel as premium as some of the competition, but when it comes to zero-emission practicality at a low, low price, it’s hard to beat.
Select's rating score* - 3.8 / 5
The MG5 is an all-electric family estate. More than that, it’s one of only two all-electric family estates, at the time of writing at least. The other is the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, so is at the opposite end of the price spectrum.
While the world goes SUV crazy, there’s still a lot to be said for the practicality and affordability of an estate car, and that puts the MG 5 into a niche all on its own. For the amount of space you get , a leasing deal on the MG is great value for money, and there’s a fair bit of choice too, with two different battery sizes and two trims on each.
For considerably less than £300 a month, you’ll get a big boot, plenty of space in the back and plenty of available up-to-date features, including adaptive cruise control, a touchscreen infotainment system and sat-nav; this isn’t a bare-bones machine, even at this price.
It’s not bad to drive either, although those looking for driving fun should look elsewhere. The handling is acceptable but set up for comfort rather than excitement, although the zippy electric motor gives some fizz to acceleration.
Some of the advanced charging features are missing (such as the option to time your charging during cheaper off-peak hours), but with a range of 214 or 250 miles per charge, and compatibility with 100kW rapid chargers, it’s a car that should be very easy to live with.
Range anxiety is a key issue for many electric vehicle customers, but official tests suggest the MG5 will do up to 214 or 250 miles on a single charge, depending on which battery you go for. That ticks one large box straightaway, and so does the price; at the time of writing you can lease an MG5 for just £220 a month.
Once you’ve chosen your battery you can choose from two trim levels, which share names across standard and long-range models, although the latter have few more features. Neither are spartan though. Before long, only the long-range model will be available. Either model qualifies for dirt-cheap company car tax.
Aside from price and electric range, the key features of the MG5 revolve around practicality. There’s a generous boot in the back and lots of room for passengers, both front and rear.
At the time of writing, there are two battery choices. The first is a 52.5kWh unit, which gives a range of up to 214 miles, while the second is a 61.1kWh model that’ll deliver up to 250 miles. Fairly soon though, only the larger batter will be available, reflecting customers’ ever-increasing range expectations.
That range isn’t as good as some other models – plenty will now do more than 300 miles – but it’s capable of doing a pretty monstrous commute round trip without needing a charge. And, as with everything we talk about in this review, you’ve got to consider the price.
Whichever battery you choose, they’ll be attached to the same electric motor, which develops 156 horsepower. With the inherent zip you get from electric cars, which give instant max power straight away (rather than having to wait for engine revs to build), the MG 5 feels very perky around town, with quick acceleration when you want it.
Don’t expect this to be a sporty driver’s car though. The handling is on the basic side by modern standards, with vague steering and more body roll through the corners than we’ve come to expect from most of the competition.
However, the ride comfort is much more acceptable, so keep your driving to more of a cruise than a thrash, and you shouldn’t have too many complaints. It’s well insulated on the move as well, with road and wind noise kept to a minimum.
As with all electric cars, the MG 5 refills its battery when braking and cruising, and you can adjust by how much using a switch between the front seats. This has the effect of changing the brake effect when you lift off the accelerator, with more braking the more energy you recoup.
The end result is that on max settings you can drive the MG just using the accelerator, with barely any need to touch the brakes. It makes life that little bit easier around town.
The MG 5 can be charged at home, using a 7kW home wallbox, or at a public charger. Use a home wallbox and you can refill the smaller battery in seven hours, or the long-range model in 9.5 hours. At a public charger, the MG5 will fill to 80% in 50 minutes (standard) or 61 minutes (Long Range) at 50kW. Find a 100kW charger and that time drops to 40 minutes for both models. The charging port is located in the front grille.
Running costs & Emissions
Leasing costs are a major attraction for the MG 5, and they’re impressively low. Prices at the time of writing start at around £220 a month, which is considerably lower than most electric vehicles. You can pick up a Hyundai Ioniq Electric for less than that, but has a lower range per charge, and less space. Most other similarly-priced EVs are small city cars.
When it comes to running costs, electricity is far cheaper than petrol or diesel. Exactly how much it costs to recharge your MG 5 will depend on how you do it. The cheapest way would be at home, overnight on a tariff that gives you cheaper electricity at night. But even topping up at a public charger will be less than filling up with fuel. When it comes to efficiency, the MG 5 should deliver around 3.5 miles per kWh, which is the equivalent of miles-per-gallon. This is good for a car of this size, and comparable to a (smaller) Nissan Leaf.
As a zero-emission vehicle, the MG 5 attracts a 1% benefit-in-kind tax for company car drivers.
There has to be a pay-off for affordability, and as well as mediocre handling, there’s a lack of inspiration inside the MG 5. But don’t let that put you off; it won’t win any design awards, but it’s completely acceptable, especially for the price.
Some of the materials feel quite hard and scratchy, but build quality is generally solid, and there are plenty of features included. These include an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a relatively basic system compared to some of the bells-and-whistles setups you’ll find in other cars, but it reacts quickly and looks inoffensive. There’s also a part-digital dashboard too, with analogue dials complemented by a large screen that can be configured to show your preferred driving information.
All models get satellite navigation and DAB radio, as well as parking sensors and a rear camera to help with manoeuvring. The entry-level, short-range model gets two USB ports for connecting and charging devices, but all other models get four.
Oh, and there’s a six-speaker sound system too.
Practicality is another big selling point for the MG5, as you’ll struggle to get this much space inside an electric car for this price. There’s plenty of headroom and legroom both front and back, even for taller adults. Space in the middle seat is reasonable too, thanks to a flat floor. Sure, there are other estates that have more room, but they won’t be electric at this price.
Likewise, boot space at 464 litres is tight compared with other estates, such as the cavernous Skoda Octavia, but when it comes to EVs it’s a bit bigger than the Nissan Leaf. You can fold down the rear seats in a 60/40 split to give you 1,456 litres, although it’s a shame they don’t go completely flat. There’s quite a big lip at the boot entrance too, which you’ll have to lug things over.
There’s no underfloor boot storage for the charging cables either, although there is a cubby hold on the right where they can be kept. Nor is there any front storage space under the bonnet.
General storage is decent, with big door bins, space under the front central armrest and a couple of cup holders both front and back. There’s a small tray in front of the gear selector dial, with a retractable lid if you need to keep stuff hidden.
At the time of writing the MG 5 hadn’t been tested by independent safety organisation Euro NCAP. Other MGs have scored the maximum five stars in the past, but the lack of automatic emergency braking in the standard range MG 5 is disappointing. That’s a modern feature that will intervene if you don’t react to an impending collision, and it’s very rare for it not to be included on the latest cars. There’s no lane departure warning system, either. However, both of these systems are included in the Long Range model, which in time will be the only one available.
All versions of the MG 5 come with front, side and curtain airbags and Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats.
Choose your battery range and you then have to pick between two trim levels.
The entry-level car is the Excite, which comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats with a manually-adjusted driver’s seat that doesn’t include lumbar support – worth keeping in mind if you have a bad back. You do get air conditioning, the full infotainment system and adaptive cruise control in the Long Range model.
The top-spec model is called Exclusive. It has the same wheels and adds silver roof rails and folding heated door mirrors, while inside you get more sophisticated air conditioning and keyless entry. Automatic wipers and faux-leather upholstery are included too, as are heated, electrically-operated front seats.
Options are restricted to a choice of metallic paint colours.
There are no direct EV rivals at this price point, as no one else makes an electric estate car.
This makes the MG 5 very attractive if practicality and price are priorities. Widen your bodystyle net though, and you might want to consider a few smaller cars like the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq and Renault Zoe, which have plenty to recommend about them and could be cheaper, but will have less space inside. You could also look at a leasing deal on the Mazda MX-30, which is very well priced but again lacks interior space.
If you’re not set on pure electric, there are several plug-in hybrid estates you could look at. These include the Kia Ceed Sportswagon and the Skoda Octavia iV Estate, but again, they’ll be more expensive than the MG.
There’s much to like about the MG 5, but chief among its plus points are its price and practicality. If you can forgive its uninspiring styling, unremarkable interior and slightly soggy handling, you’ll get a heck of a lot of electric car for an impressively low monthly leasing cost.
Being electric, its running costs will be very low too. There are more capable rivals available, but they’ll all have to compromise in some way compared to the MG, whether in space or price. That means that if the MG 5 fits in with your priorities, you could be on to a winner.
Where to next?
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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the MG 5
**Correct as of 15/10/2021. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £2112.93 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.