Company Car Today

The big test

The most comprehensive
new product test in fleet

As the only electric estate car in the market, the MG 5 fills a handy niche because, as the brand is very aware, there’s a real shortage of choice for companies wanting a practical car with which to take their fleet electric.

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - Gallery Image 4

On the road

On the road

The MG 5 has plenty going for it, with a very reasonable P11D of £27,540 for the lower of the two trim levels, which is called Excite. This rises by £2500 for the Exclusive, a specification that brings a significant equipment improvement.

TEST NOTES:

1. The KERS switch toggles between three levels or regeneration, with pronounced differences between each setting. 

2. The electronic handbrake auto-engaging when you switch off the car is a useful touch sometimes missing on budget brands.

3. The speedo is positively tiny, and you really need to set the main dash to the digital speed display, which means you can’t have any of the other functions displayed.

The battery-range figure is also one that will inspire a degree of confidence among the higher-mileage job-need community, with an official figure of 214 miles that should convert to something not too far from 200 in the real world.

MG, which claims to be the UK’s fastest-growing brand, expects its electric and plug-in hybrid models to account for more than half of its sales in 2021, and this is a company that says it was the UK’s fourth-most-popular EV brand last year.

Dimensions-wise, the MG 5 is slightly shorter than the likes of the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra estates, but it’s in the right area, and despite packaging the batteries, it is within 100 litres of those two internal-combustion-engined cars for boot space. Indeed, its 464 litres of capacity to the parcel shelf is more than that offered by the plug-in hybrid estates from Kia or Renault, for example. That space extends to 578 litres by filling to the roof, or 1456 litres by dropping the 60:40 split rear seats. The only gripe about the luggage area is the big drop down from the lip into the boot – this isn’t an estate where heavy loads can be slid in and out; they will have to be lifted.

Rear passenger space is impressive, and there is plenty of head and legroom for four full-sized people, although a small practicality frustration is the nose-mounted charging socket, requiring the non-textbook front-entry to charging spaces, and therefore reversing out into traffic.

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - Gallery Image 9

The cabin on our higher-spec Exclusive test car is a contrasting tale. The seats themselves are big and comfortable sports seats that are at odds with a) the rest of the cabin, and b) the MG 5’s whole electric-workhorse nature. They feel like they belong in something much more focused on performance, but are lovely in terms of comfort and support. Unfortunately, they don’t make a non-sporty car any sportier to drive.

They also seem a strange fit in a car where the cabin looks good quality, until you get a little closer and find that the softer materials aren’t soft for long, and there’s a hard surface close beneath, while other surfaces are just hard plastic to begin with. It seems that MG has made few attempts to hide the 5’s budget car position.

The infotainment looks good, if not the most modern of systems, but there are lengthy delays with entering or searching for a navigation destination, with significant pauses between each letter as you type.

But equipment levels are pretty good, particularly on the higher of the two trims. The entry model is reasonable, with the likes of rear parking sensors and camera, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto fitted, along with an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen, but the £2500 increase to the Exclusive trim adds silver roof rails, folding and heated door mirrors, leather upholstery, an electric heated driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, climate control rather than air-conditioning, keyless entry (although only the front doors) and satellite navigation, as well as illuminated mirrors on the sun visors. It’s certainly a lot of kit for the extra cash, especially with sat-nav, but does take the MG 5 to a touch over £30,000 before the Government’s £2500 grant off the list price, although not the P11D value.

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Context

Context

The MG 5 is the second production electric vehicle from MG, the classic British brand that has been under the ownership of Chinese company SAIC Motor since 2006, following the collapse of MG Rover.

UK sales have grown from 133 in 2008 to more than 18,000 in 2020. The model range now comprises the MG 3 small hatchback launched in 2013 and revised in 2018 (pictured), MG ZS small crossover that followed in late 2017 and the MG HS larger crossover that was launched in late 2018, and to which a PHEV powertrain was added in 2020. The brand had also sold a MG 6 lower-medium model, but dropped it in 2016 ahead of a second-generation car still sold in Asian markets.

At present, the UK is still MG’s only European market, and its new car share for the first four months of this year has grown from 1.13% in April 2020 to 1.46% at the end of April 2021, driven by its latest plug-in products.

The ZS model became MG’s first electric car when it launched in 2019 with an official range of 163 miles, and the plug-in hybrid HS larger crossover joined the range at the same time as the estate 5 electric model.

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - In Context - The model range now comprises the MG 3 small hatchback launched in 2013 and revised in 2018

What they said

What They Said

"There are multiple reasons why MG5 EV is the ideal fleet car. Whether it’s for multi-drop urban work or commuting to and from an office or to visit clients, MG5 EV’s combination of range, efficiency and ultra-low fleet running costs make it a very difficult prospect to ignore."


Geraint Isaac, national fleet sales manager, MG Motor

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - What They Said - Geraint Isaac, National Fleet Sales Manager, MG Motor

Comparatively speaking

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - Comparatively Speaking Chart

Need to know

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - Need to Know Chart

Like/dislike

Three things we like...

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - Three things we like - 1 - There’s a lot of EV info on the dashboard trip computer
1

There’s a lot of EV info on the dashboard trip computer

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - Three things we like - 2 - The seats are big, comfy and look good; a cut above the rest of the cabin
2

The seats are big, comfy and look good; a cut above the rest of the cabin

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - Three things we like - 3 The estate body shape is unique to the EV sector at the moment
3

The estate body shape is unique to the EV sector at the moment

...And one we don't

The Big Test - 2021 - MG 5 EV - And one thing we don't like - The loose fit to the charge socket is a sign that build quality isn’t at premium levels
X

The loose fit to the charge socket is a sign that build quality isn’t at premium levels

Verdict

Verdict

Drive  8/10

The MG 5 has a good turn of pace, and handles tidily enough for a regular estate car. 

Efficiency  8/10

The official range figures are always a little out of reach, but not far off 200 miles is realistic.

Practicality  9/10

Peerless in terms of EV load-lugging ability, and the MG will comfortably take four adults.

Equipment  8/10

Decent equipment levels, although there isn’t the ability to add optional extras. Higher trim level brings plenty of equipment for the £2500 extra cost.

Looks  7/10

The styling is inoffensive but rather on the bland side. There’s not a lot to make the car stand out – it’s function over form.

Comfort and refinement 7/10

The ride is perfectly acceptable with little complaint, especially taking into account that it’s an EV with extra weight over a petrol model, it’s more impressive. Wind noise is less impressive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabin  6/10

Aside from the lovely seats in the higher-spec model, the cabin is all a bit on the budget side. Even the softer bits of the dash have solid material just below the surface.

Infotainment  7/10

Reaction time isn’t the best, but it’s all perfectly functional otherwise, and everything is logically laid out.

Whole life costs  7/10

RVs are good for a budget brand, but SMR costs aren’t the best and the insurance group is very high.

CCT opinion  8/10

It’s not the most exciting car on the surface, but MG has opened up a niche that wasn’t previous served, and in a decent fashion.

VERDICT 75%

An acceptable range, plenty of estate practicality and a fair amount equipment for the price, the MG 5 is the most sensible of sensible cars. In a good way.

 

Gallery