All credit must go to the new MG5 EV Estate. As many manufacturers fall over themselves to produce what are essentially the same pure electric cars in hatchbacks or saloon styles, the MG5 stands out from a crowd
of challengers because it has none, at least no pure electric estate cars in this price bracket.
The MG5 estate sounds unremarkable but that really shouts out about its ability to be a very roomy, easy to drive and practical car for families or business users.
Using its stablemate SUV MGZS EV as a starting point, the MG engineers have produced a more nimble and enhanced model which will find greater favour among some drivers because it’s a very good range between recharges and it can slip into a tight urban environment of car parks and parking bays.
There are just two trim levels in the MG5 EV Estate, the entry Excite from £25,095 and the Exclusive at £27,595, with the only option being metallic paint at £545 or Tri-coat paint at £695 inc. VAT. (At April 2021)
The test car’s higher Exclusive trim for an additional £2,500 includes electrically adjustable, heated body-coloured door mirrors, automatic air conditioning with filter, keyless entry and push button starting, rain sensing wipers, one-touch powered windows, auto-dimming interior mirror, 4 USB ports, faux leather upholstery and heated front seats, six-way powered driver’s seat with lumbar setting but the powertrain is common to both versions.
MG5 has a bigger than most traction battery under the rear seats which can recharge to 80% capacity in under an hour from a dedicated 50kW point and overnight it will sip electricity from a domestic mains circuit and when fully charged is good for comfortably over 200 miles. Typically that will have cost you about £8.50p to pack in the power at home but public charging points are dearer.
It was good to see the MG5 came with power cables for both domestic and rapid chargers as another hatchback ev tested a few months earlier had a single high capacity cable and it was over £600 extra for the domestic version option.
So you can begin to see the wisdom of MG’s thinking, give the owners what they want at a price they can afford and a vehicle which will do most things for them without any dramas.
Charging is done behind a front grille flap whichever power cable is attached and it can be locked in for security. Then it’s just sit down, sleep, go shopping or any other chore you fancy while it tops up.
Our Exclusive had keyless entry and starting and then the MG5 pulses into life, pulling away smartly and silently. You have three power modes to use, normal, sport or eco and you can even tailor the regenerative braking to boost the battery.
It sounds fancy and a bit of F1 trickery but the kinetic energy recovery does add about 20miles to the range if you stay off motorways and go lightly on the throttle.
The acceleration is immediate and strong, giving this family car a sports car heart and it will comfortably settle at the motorway maximum. Really it is better to stick to main roads and keep the power at a reasonable level so the range is very practical for most purposes.What is surprising for most in the MG5 is the general lack of noise and where the usual sounds from a car engine are replaced with a whizz or whine at times. That does, however, mean the road rumbles and suspension bump-thump are more noticeable, but they are still low.
I liked the light feel to the steering, very strong brakes and quality feedback from the secondary controls while the sophisticated instruments’ display included a multi-function splitting the power meter and speedometer. You can see how the battery is running down and ahead of the rotary selector on the central console are buttons to maximise power or economy.
I liked the comprehensive automatic air conditioning working with four powered windows but it lacked a sunroof. Oddments space was very good and it came with a really useful quartet of USB sockets for a family car.
Visibility was good all round and even over the shoulder the blindspots were minimal despite the sloping c-pillars. I liked the big washers and wipers along with the far-reaching headlights.
Access was very easy throughout and the boot floor was about knee-high and contained the bags for the power cables but they should really be accommodated underneath or better still in compartments to the sides.
I was slightly disappointed that the rear seats did not fold down completely flat to maximise carrying capacity but this was due to the traction battery location and even so the total capacity is very reasonable.
For occupants the driver’s seat in the Exclusive is fully powered and includes welcome lumbar support and the range of adjustment on the front pair is wide and even the three behind should find legroom good even if headroom is a bit restricted.
As I said, the steering is light and the handling is agile but it felt a bit soft on sharp corners and some body roll worked into the cornering. Ride was generally good and only really bad bumps or potholes could be felt underneath.
You could ease off with the kers cranked up and sometimes did not need to brake but in an emergency simulation it stopped quickly and without drama and under complete control. The parking brake securely held it on our regular test slope.
The range of any electric car is variable due to a number of factors but on our regular test route we saw it display nearly precisely the WLTP test figure of 214 miles and that is exceptional in our experience.
The mechanical competence of the car is matched by its refinement and sophistication. It really lacks very little and gives away nothing to its price competitors but it delivers a lot more than you might expect or credit.
Mini Milestones: MG5 EV Estate Exclusive.Price: £27,595 (after PiCG plug-in car grant)Mechanical: 156ps electric motor, 260Nm, 53kWh battery, auto Max Speed: 115mph 0-62mph: 7.7sec Driving range: 214 miles Insurance Group: 32 CO2 emissions: Zero Tax costs: Bik company car rating 1%, VED road tax £0 Full and Standard rates Warranty: 7-years/80,000 miles Size: L4.55m, W2.06m, H1.54m Boot space: 578 to 1,456 litres Kerbweight: 1550kg For: Performance and range, smooth powertrain, light controls, well equipped, good visibility and very roomy Against: Road and suspension noises, soft handling, high insurance, rear seats don’t fold flat for max loading and rear-seat headroom is low. Robin Roberts Miles Better News Agency