Updated electric estate has little dynamic flair but is refreshingly uncomplicated and very reasonably priced
The MG 5 EV is a triumph of common sense: practical, good value, no nonsense.
It’s a relief, in fact, to see that such qualities still pay off in the car market, as the MG 5 has been one of the best-selling electric cars in the UK since it arrived in 2019. Despite being almost remarkable in its unremarkable-ness, 21,946 MG 5s were sold in the UK in 2021.
This 2022 facelift solves some of that styling blandness with a completely redesigned front-end that’s inherited something of the squinty-eyed attitude of the new MG 4. It’s a big improvement in our books, as is the new infotainment system that’s the other significant upgrade for this facelift.
Gone is the clunky, aftermarket-looking system, and in its place is a glossy touchscreen that benefits from decent sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the ability to control your timed charging parameters – the latter being a notable oversight in the MG 5 until now.
The touchscreen is straightforward to navigate and benefits from physical shortcut buttons, but it does require a hefty prod to get the screen to react, and sometimes it’s slow to do so. Perhaps more annoying is that the climate controls are in the touchscreen, so you have to leave your nav or media screen altogether just to change the cabin temperature.
Anyway, in most respects the new touchscreen is perfectly decent, and it’s also now mounted in a dash that gets smart, textile and metal-effect finish for usefully improved perceived quality around the cabin.
It doesn’t feel cheap up front in the MG 5, despite this being a budget proposition by the standards of the class, with this 61kWh (57kWh usable) Long Range model starting at £30,995. A cheaper, 199-mile range version may yet join the MG5 range in the UK, although this is yet to be confirmed.
Otherwise, there are no changes inside the MG5 so you’re still getting a roomy family car. There’s enough room in the back seats for a couple of average-sized adults to lounge comfortably, but lankier passengers may find themselves a little tight on headroom.
The boot is a very serviceable 479 litres, and the rear seats fold in the usual 60/40 split, but still leave a step up from the boot floor and expose plenty of tatty, unfinished material edges that show some clear cost-saving.
We’ll cheerfully take some shabby finishes in hidden bits of the boot, though, if that’s what it takes for MG to be able to offer keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, the aforementioned touchscreen and even vehicle-to-device charging, as standard on the cheaper SE trim.
Trophy gets 17-inch alloys, leatherette upholstery, heated seats, auto wipers and a few other extras.
The same 154bhp electric motor powers the MG 5, but a change in torque delivery has seen 0-62mph has drop by 0.6sec to 8.3sec. Despite that, the MG 5 feels more than fast enough even if you ask for a mid-range splurge of acceleration. Meanwhile, the regenerative braking has three levels, which you toggle through via a switch on the console. None of them are heavy enough to be called a one-pedal mode, however.
Soft spring settings let the body roll quite a bit more than you’ll experience in the Volkswagen ID 3, for instance, but it’s progressive and undramatic even in quicker direction changes. That’s a fair price to pay for the way the MG 5 sponges up the worst of the road’s bumps and intrusions any day, in a car like this.
Predictably, the steering has little sense of real connection to the wheels but it’s weighted well enough to give confidence in faster stuff or to make light work of an urban commute, and there’s enough grip to stave off dramatic understeer unless you really try for an optimistic cornering attitude. In fact, the MG 5 EV is usefully more composed in terms of its ride and handling than the MG ZS EV that many will also consider while shopping for a roomy, well-priced, long-range EV.
Overall, the MG 5 EV is about as dynamic as a cup of chamomile tea, and that’s just as it should be; an unpretentious focus on comfort is pretty ideal for a small estate like this.
It’d be nice to have faster charging since the 87kW peak DC charging rate is a little slow next to rivals like the Vauxhall Mokka-e and VW ID.3 and will take some 40mins for a 10-80% charge. It’s also a shame that prices have now jumped to north of £30k. Even so, monthly prices still promise to make this one of the cheapest long-range EVs out there and the 2022 updates successfully address most of the MG5’s niggles. Ultimately, it’s still delightfully sensible, not to mention more recommendable than ever.