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03 Oct 2022

What We Dislike
Rather plain front fascia
Infotainment system feels outdated and laggy
Cat B COE might be off putting

The MG 5 EV eschews the razzle-dazzle of modern EVs, instead focusing on being a practical car that still packs the thrills of instantaneous torque. The end result is surprisingly good.


A successful car for the masses doesn't necessarily have to be a Red Dot Design Award recipient, be the last word in luxury, or impress you by pulling out bit after bit of the latest tech to hit the market. Rather, what it needs to excel in is sensibility. 

For a long time, the de-facto answer to this is a name one would have muttered instinctively under their breath: The Toyota Corolla Altis. Want something a bit sportier? How about the Honda Civic? The Kia Cerato and Hyundai Avante have convincingly thrown their hats into the ring over time too.

Make no mistake - this 5 is a station wagon, as it is eager to demonstrate with its badge
But the times, as they say, are-a-changin' - and chargin'. EVs used to be otherworldly and foreign, but their proliferation in recent times now means that you can now own something perfectly content with slipping into the background, while still hiding a few thrills up its sleeves.

The MG 5 Electric is one of those cars. 

First impressions

It may not be immediately apparent in photos but the MG 5, riding on eco-tyres with 16-inch alloys, strangely boasts a substantial amount of ground clearance. 

Best viewed from the rear: What it lacks in pomp, the 5 makes up for in understated, agreeable looks
Questions were floated by multiple passengers as to whether MG had sought crossover-inspiration with the car, a la the Crossroads/Alltracks from the Volkswagen Group, especially with the roof rails on the Exclusive variant here.

You'll note too when getting in that the hip point of the vehicle is quite high, and that you'll have to almost step up into it, given its raised floor. But no - it's in the brochures and even in its name ('SW'): This is unabashedly a wagon. 

The 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment is well-sized, but lacks sophistication 
This is about the 5's only eccentricity from a visual standpoint. In its current form, the car isn't the most exciting thing to look at; its grille gets horizontal layers rather than the studded 'Stellar Field' design on its local siblings, which, when paired to the current-generation MG head lights, are rather nondescript.

Instead, the 5 is best appreciated from the rear, where a single chrome strip cuts into the taillights, which themselves boast a neat-looking LED signature. 

The car's other most notable letdown is its infotainment system. The touchscreen isn't the most crisp, nor do its graphics, buttons and general set-up offer class-leading intuitiveness and responsiveness. As an example, one doesn't immediately realise that the circular knob housed below the screen functions as a 'Home' button. These are reminders, in all, that the 5 is still positioned as an economy-level car.

The 5 gets a 'hybrid' instrument cluster, with analogue dials flanking a 7.0-inch digital display 
There are, nonetheless, redeeming points - and strong ones. 

The niggles above can basically be nullified, firstly, since wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered as standard. Secondly, the size of the screen makes icons easy to read and access, following which apps are blown up nicely on the eight inches of digital real estate.

The 5's hybrid instrument cluster - with a decently vibrant 7.0-inch digital display (indicating speed, battery level and range, and driving assistance) flanked by two analogue dials - is also sufficiently modern, while remaining simple to read. And above all, build quality throughout the car's dark cabin feels like it will last you reliably through the years.

Warming (and firing) up 

The 'KERS' button allows one to adjust the strength of the car's regenerative braking system
Furthermore, swivel the gear knob (a solid-feeling, nicely-damped one, by the way) into D and take to the roads, and you will be hard-pressed to find the 5 not growing on you.

The set-up here mimics that of an ICE-car, in that the car creeps forward with some speed the moment you lift your foot off the brakes. The strength of the regenerative braking system can also be toggled via the 'KERS' button, but even at Level 3, it exercises the restraint of a driver who brakes early and gradually, rather than one who stomps hard down on the pedal. In other words - fear no 'EV culture shock'. 

Coupled with its decently light 1.5 tonne-kerb weight, the 5 feels pleasantly light on its feet. Where it starts to surprise, however, is when you're actually getting up to speed. 

On the road, the 5 feels more than capable of its on-paper 8.8 second century sprint 
The 5's single-motor produces a decent 154bhp and 280Nm of torque, but punches forward with enough gusto to make you question if its 8.8-second century sprint timing should be lower, as well as to suspect if you've put it into 'Sport' (you haven't). Although the slightly numb steering and softer brakes are quick to remind this is no hot wagon, its straight-line performance borders on explosive by family-car standards.

In fact, the 5's deceptive demureness only sweetens the thrill of confusing road ruffians flashing their high beams when you suddenly pull away rapidly. Knowing that you have this torque on tap is confidence-inspiring, especially on the highway and when turning out onto main roads. 

Still a sensible and comfortable family wagon

Despite the raised floor, occupants will not be lacking in space, no matter where they are seated
Spending enough time while pottering silently about the city will also allow the 5's strengths as a fully-electrified family car shine through.

There is no question that the 5 was set up for comfort, and although its eco-tyres aren't the best at making rougher road surfaces disappear, the ride is by no means jittery or harsh, and the wagon will sail smoothly over humps.

Perhaps in no small part due its body-style, wind noise is kept at bay even at higher speeds, while the cabin remains well insulated from tyre roar. Families with young kids may appreciate this most, since the result is sleep-inducing silence for your passengers. 

Thanks to its wagon body-style, the 5's 495-litre boot capacity easily trumps that of its siblings 
But make no mistake - the 5 will easily accommodate five tall adults. As a result of the battery being housed underfloor, you'll notice that your knees are slightly raised no matter where you sit in the car, but legroom, headroom and - importantly - shoulder-room are more than generous throughout.

Again, due to the battery cells, its 495-litre boot (with the rear seats in place) may also not be on par with wagons like the Seat Leon Sportstourer, but is still more than plentiful, and comes with nifty features like side pockets and a raisable floor. 

The 5 supports direct current charging at up to 50kW, for a 10 to 80% recharge, while an alternating current at up to 7kW will take 10 hours in this longer range variant (8.5 hours on the 50.3kWh Excite). 

Fret not, however, over having to be on the hunt for stations (and extra time) as you're unlikely to be seeing them too often. Powered by a 61.1kWh battery, this Exclusive variant gets an impressively honest 403km of WLTP rated range, which is likely to see the average driver easily through a week of running about. 

The mass market question

With its commendable range, the 5 is electrification for the masses embodied - if only it were a little less expensive
The MG 5 isn't the flashiest, most premium, most modern or most exciting electric vehicle in the market.

But it doesn't want to be that car.

Instead, it's more than happy to let others take the spotlight, while dutifully carrying out its main duty of hauling the entire family around in remarkable comfort - without excessive visits to a charging station, and with a subtle (but bright) twinkle in its head lights when it senses some playfulness from the driver. 

Even better, too, that it's doing so without bowing to the body-trends of today (since there are still no other electric wagons available, it also benefits in turn now). If one has to envision a new world where EVs are not just driven by the hyper-rich but also everyday men, the 5 will undoubtedly be right there. 

Nonetheless, the 5 does also have one almighty foe to contend with: A Cat B COE. Despite it being genuinely hard not to recommend on the basis of its net strengths, we suspect buyers may proceed with caution purely because of price.

There may be no other electric station wagons in the market today, but if a combustion engine is still your preferred mode of propulsion, be sure to check these cars out:
   
The MINI One Clubman may be more hatchback than stationwagon, but delivers an engaging drive when compared against its competitors

The Seat Leon Sportstourer is a very complete package that distinguishes itself without trying too hard

And if you're on the hunt for other mass-market oriented EVs, these cars are convincing propositions too:
   
The Atto 3 marries better performance with great practicality, serving as a promising taster of what's next for BYD

The MG ZS EV is a reasonably capable, practical and affordable all-electric SUV

The facelifted Hyundai Kona Electric's sharper looks and additional equipment augment an already capable SUV
Car Information
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Price

: $79,888 (w/o COE)

Engine Type

:

Permanent magnet synchronous motor

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

115kW (154 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

280 Nm / 3000 rpm

Transmission

:

1-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8.8sec

Top Speed

:

185km/h

Energy consumption

:

5.7km/kWh

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mg  mg 5  electric  electric vehicles  wagon  station wagon  evs,