MG 5 overview
The MG 5 EV remains a relatively unique proposition, because apart from the expensive Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo, it's about the only electric estate car on sale. And thanks to MG's keen pricing, combined with the Government's EV incentives, it has taken Ireland's taxi market by storm.
However, while the MG 5 EV majors on practicality and efficiency, until now it hasn't really been a looker. With an awkwardly tall ride height and a big chrome grille up front, it looked dated as soon as it was launched in 2020, if inoffensively so. For the 2023 model year, MG has introduced a fresh face, and a few other worthwhile updates.
MG has really improved the design of the MG 5 EV on the outside - it looks particularly smart in red with the new nose, while new bumpers, LED rear lights and stylish wheels also enhance the shape no end - while the car also benefits from a much-improved interior.
The more up-to-date design should be more attractive to private buyers looking for a value-led alternative to the likes of the Volkswagen ID.3, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona Electric or Renault Megane E-Tech.
The MG 5 model range
The MG 5 EV starts from €34,645 and the line-up is pretty simple, with one powertrain option and two trim levels to choose from. The new model retains the 61kWh battery that was introduced to the MG 5 in 2021, so there's a driving range of up to 403km on offer. The battery sends energy to a 115kW (156hp) electric motor that drives the front wheels, while on-board charging rated at up to 87kW means that a suitable DC rapid charger can take the battery from 10-80 per cent capacity in 35 minutes.
The two trim levels on offer in Ireland are Exclusive and Excite. Exclusive comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, auto LED headlights, rear parking sensors and a camera, plus keyless entry and starting. Inside, there's air conditioning, a seven-inch driver's display, electric parking brake and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. This includes Bluetooth and navigation, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
For an extra €3,250, Excite models add 17-inch alloys, electrically folding door mirrors, rear privacy glass and rain-sensing wipers, synthetic leather trim with electrical adjustment for the driver's seat, heated front seats, climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a 360-degree camera system.
Whichever version you choose, you get the MG Pilot system as standard. This adds autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, speed limit detection and auto dipped beam, while the adaptive cruise control includes a traffic jam assist function. This is on top of the standard safety features, which includes six airbags, stability control, hill-start assist, tyre pressure monitors and two rear ISOFIX child seat mounts.
The MG 5 interior
Inside, there's a new dashboard and centre console, with a wide touchscreen and digital instruments that feature neat graphics and loads of information, while build quality feels more than adequate.
The high-set centre console has a rotary drive selector (which you press for Park, but otherwise twist for Drive, Neutral or Reverse) and toggle switches for the drive modes (Eco, Sport, Comfort) and KERS energy recovery system (which has levels from 1-3). The USB ports are now in a lower level with a 12-volt socket and there's space for devices there, too. Storage includes a covered box under the centre armrest, while two cupholders are located just ahead of that.
The synthetic leather trim found in Excite models feels like it's made to a high standard, and the seats overall are better than the old MG 5's. The only real downside is that the blue highlights on the air vents seem unnecessary, especially since they clashed with our car's metallic red exterior paint.
While the 10.25-inch touchscreen system is clear and carries lots of information, the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity is useful, because we found that the built-in system was a little on the slow side to respond at times.
Further back, rear-seat space is fine, rather than outstanding. It would be better if the front seats didn't adjust as low as they do, because this limits foot space in the back. At least the rear floor is completely flat for all three passengers, although headroom isn't as generous as you'll find in SUVs. There are no air vents in the back, either, but there are USB and USB-C charging ports and map pockets, while the middle armrest folds down with two cupholders. There's just enough space for three adults in the back, but it's far more pleasant for two.
Boot space is rated at 500 litres in five-seat mode, which isn't particularly large for an estate car of this size, but still a useful amount ahead of electric hatchbacks and comparable to the luggage volume of the most popular electric SUVs. The boot floor can be positioned to offer maximum space or a level load lip, although while the back seats fold forward in a 60:40 split, they don't go completely flat.
The MG 5 driving experience
The MG 5 Excite has an electrically-adjustable driver's seat, and there's a wide range of adjustment for it and the steering wheel, so it's easy to get comfortable, even if the wheel itself feels a little old fashioned in the updated interior.
In everyday driving, the MG 5 EV isn't bad at all, with light controls and an easy-going nature. It handles well enough, with the bias is towards comfort over a sporty drive. The 156hp output of the electric motor is decent for urban environments, while the MG 5 can keep pace with faster traffic on the motorway, too. There is some road noise at higher speeds, but the MG 5 is hushed and pleasant most of the time.
Switching between Eco, Normal and Sport modes alters the car's response to accelerator input, with Sport mode feeling particularly frisky. Changing modes adjusts the car's predicted range, but the overall character of the car doesn't alter drastically. The brakes feel good for the most part, while the strength of the energy recovery system doesn't feel too extreme - though that does mean that one-pedal driving isn't on offer.
Our verdict on the MG 5
The new MG 5 EV looks way better than before, outside and in, which should help it to attract more private buyers. It's just as spacious as before, while the estate car body means it continues to be almost as versatile as an electric SUV. But then it offers far better value for money than most rivals, especially if you choose the entry-level version.