MG5 EV review (2021): The affordable fully electric estate

Every manufacturer in the world has conjured up a plan to electrify some or all of its fleet, with many now fully electric. There are, however, a few vehicle classes that haven’t seen the same amount of love – estates are one of them.

In the UK, there’s only one manufacturer that has taken the initiative to create a fully electric estate, MG Motor. The automaker’s latest addition is the MG5 EV, which is based on the Roewe Ei5, its identical Chinese twin. The Ei5 made its debut at the 2017 Guangzhou Auto Show and is manufactured by one of the largest automakers in China, SAIC Motor.

Indeed, the Chinese manufacturer wholly owns MG Motor and uses the brand to sell to the UK market – a wise move, given it once was a British brand with a long-standing history that stretches back to the 1920s. It’s been some time, however, since MG-branded vehicles were produced in the UK, where manufacturing has taken place in China for quite some time; thus, sharing many similarities with the Roewe EV.

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Regardless of where it’s made, the MG5 EV is unique: at the time of writing, it’s the only all-electric estate available in the UK. Of course, there are many plug-in hybrids to choose from, such as the BMW 330e Touring, but these won’t offer 0% Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) company car tax, nor be as green as the MG5 EV, which emits zero tailpipe emissions.

It’s crazy to think that even in 2021, your options are severely limited: if you don’t feel comfortable driving an SUV due to its ride height and want a vehicle with large capacity, plus don’t want to damage the planet with harmful petrol or diesel fumes, you’re left with a singular option. There are a few reasons behind this and ironically, it’s because the Chinese and US markets aren’t as keen on estates as the Europeans; pushing automakers to omit the vehicle class altogether in favour of crossovers or fully-fledged SUVs.

If you’d prefer to watch a review of the MG5 EV, head on over to our YouTube channel.

MG5 EV price & competition

Despite having a unique position in the market, MG Motor hasn’t lobbed the electric estate with a premium price tag: it’s £25,095 for the base-level Excite, with the Exclusive trim on review, coming in at just £27,595. These figures include the Government Plug-in Car Grant (PICG).

That’s phenomenal value for money, as it not only is unique in its choice of powertrain but also sits among the cheapest EVs you can currently buy: it’s beaten only by the Volkswagen e-up! at £20,555, the Seat Mii Electric at £19,800, and the Smart fortwo coupé at £17,550 – all of which are compact hatchbacks. You do also have the likes of the Renault Twizy at £11,695, although, that’s something different altogether.

MG5 EV review

As standard, the MG5 EV Excite comes with the following options:

  • 7-year/80,000 miles warranty
  • A single motor that dispatches 115 kW (154 hp) of power
  • 260 Nm of torque with a top speed of 115 mph
  • 52.5 kWh battery with a 214-mile WLTP claim
  • Up to 50 kW input charge
  • 16″ ‘Meteor’ alloy wheels
  • 8″ colour touchscreen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and satellite navigation
  • Two front USB Type-A ports for charging
  • 7″ digital instrument cluster
  • 6-speaker audio system with 3D Sound
  • Rear parking camera
  • Cruise control
  • Leather steering wheel

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Add £2,500 for the Exclusive trim and you get the following options added on top:

  • Electrically adjustable, folding and heated body-coloured door mirrors
  • Smart keyless entry with a push-to-start button
  • Leather styler upholstery
  • Driver’s seat lumbar adjustment
  • Heated front seats
  • Electric driver’s 6-way adjustable seat
  • Auto ait conditioning with odour filter
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Silver roof rails with a max load of 35kg
  • Two rear USB Type-A ports for charging

No matter which trim you opt for, the MG5 EV comes as standard in an Arctic White finish. Should you wish for Black Pearl, Picadilly Blue or Westminister Silver it’ll cost £545. Dynamic Red will set you back £695, instead.

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MG5 EV exterior review

From the exterior, the MG5 EV will divide opinion. We asked our Instagram followers and it was a 50-50% split. What do you make of the design? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media.

In our opinion, the all-electric estate isn’t as swish as its SUV counterpart, the MG ZS EV. It’s certainly not as sporty-looking as the BMW 330e Touring nor as elegant as the Mercedes C 300e EQ Power, either. Even the more affordable hybrid estates, such as VW Passat Estate GTE, look better on the road.

To us, it’s the combination of a droopy front bonnet and the large gaps between the vehicle’s wheel arches and the 16″ alloys that have a large tyre wall, where combined ruin the look. On the plus side, the rear of the vehicle has some pizzazz with chrome styling that stretches along the boot door and across the rear bumper.

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MG5 EV interior review

Inside, the vehicle is very similar to the ZS EV, which houses a somewhat simple but yet functional interior design. The steering wheel, for example, has comprehensively laid out physical buttons, while climate and infotainment controls are easy to operate via a flurry of knobs and buttons placed by the centre console.

Indeed, the manufacturer hasn’t overcomplicated basic operations. The electronic gear selector is equally intuitive, with its rotary dial allowing you to shift into Drive, Neutral or Reverse, where Park can be initiated by pressing down on the stylish silver wheel.

Between the gear selector and climate controls sit three switches: one that allows you to shift between the three available drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport), a regenerative braking switch (donated by KERS), and another that reminds you of the remaining battery level through your instrument cluster’s display. The latter is a little redundant given you have a digital dial dedicated to this function on the 7″ LCD display.

Speaking of which, the instrument cluster’s display is vivid, but lack the level of customisation does make it feel a touch basic. Here, you can check your tyre pressures, check the trip computer and display a digital speedometer. On the left of the LCD display is a physical speedometer and on the right, a power dial.

MG5 EV instrument cluster

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Onto technology, the MG5 EV sports a vivid 8″ touchscreen display that has built-in satellite navigation system, and supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The infotainment system seems to have improved from the earlier version that was housed on the ZS EV, but is still a little sluggish and has a few quirks.

On Android Auto, for example, one can’t pinch and zoom, but yet the touchscreen display supports multi-point touch input as it picks up numerous fingers via the built-in navigation system.

Elsewhere, the car will briefly display Chinese before showing you the remaining charge; this only seems to occur when the vehicle is plugged into a charging point and unlocked. Evidence that it is, indeed, a carbon copy of the Roewe Ei5. However, we hope MG Motor can address this in a future firmware update.

To connect up to the vehicle’s infotainment system, there are two USB sockets located under a retractable compartment found by the physical climate control buttons. A 12V socket resides here, too. One can also wirelessly connect over Bluetooth, although, the system is limited to the SBC codec, only.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find six speakers. Unlike the MG ZS EV, both the Excite and Exclusive trims of the MG5 EV house the same ‘3D Sound’ audio system. If you’d like to hear how it performs, watch our dedicated review of it on YouTube.

MG5 EV front USB

MG5 EV storage review

In terms of storage, there are two cupholder spaces by the centre console and a small compartment to place some loose change or the vehicle’s key fob. A small compartment found within the front armrest also makes it convenient to store a few valuables. We’re particularly fond of the two slits which sit on either side of the centre console: these allow you to place a large-sized smartphone on both sides. Better still, it’s the perfect place to store your device when it’s connected over USB. Clever thinking by MG Motor.

As for the doors, there’s ample amounts of space within the front doors, where a 500ml bottle will fit with ease alongside a large-sized purse or wallet. At the back, the door compartments are a bit limited but still offer enough storage for larger-sized accessories, such as power banks.

In terms of boot capacity, the MG5 EV offers a whopping 464 litres, and with the seats down this figure extends up to 1,456 litres of usable space. By comparison, this edges the BMW 330e Touring estate that offers 410 and 1,420 litres and also beats MG’s all-electric SUV that offers up to 448 and 1,375 litres, respectively.

However, it’s worth knowing that the MG5 EV’s rear seats don’t fold flat like its SUV counterpart. Here, there’s a step between the boot floor and the rear seats.

Read next: MG ZS EV review: An affordable all-electric SUV

MG5 EV comfort review

On the subject of the rear seats, they’re supremely comfortable. Reminiscent of the Nissan Leaf’s cushiony rear seats, passengers won’t feel discomfort on longer journeys. If not in use, the middle seat can also be brought down to reveal an armrest and two cupholder spaces.

At the rear of the cabin, there’s plenty of headroom and legroom, where 6-foot 4-inches (193cm) individuals will fit with ease and not feel henned in – the MG5 EV seats up to five occupants. The rear seats aren’t oddly designed either, making for a natural seating position.

The same could be said at the front, where adjustable seats make it even easier to find the right posture. In the Exclusive model, both front seats are heated, with the driver’s seat electronically adjustable, too. By comparison, the VW Passat Estate GTE Advance, which starts from £41,450, omits fully electric seats.

Similarly, the MG5 EV Exclusive also has two rear USB Type-A ports, which is ideal for passengers wanting to charge their electronic devices. Again, many of its pricier competitors seem to omit this useful feature.

As for cabin noise, there’s a small amount of tyre noise that creeps in, but it’s otherwise serene. Still, the MG5 EV isn’t as quiet as the Honda e, the Audi A8 or e-tron that truly set the benchmark for quiet cabins.

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MG5 EV performance review

Leading on from the cabin comes ride comfort, which we feel MG has executed to perfection. It’s both firm enough to prevent you from see-sawing around bends on country roads and soft enough to make for a pleasurable drive within inner-city commutes. It’s especially refreshing, given the manufacturer opts for overly stiff suspension with the ZS EV.

This all leads to a comfortable driving experience, which couldn’t be associated with the BMW 330e M Sport Touring, which opts for a more stiffened setup. Here, the MG’s versatility can be likened to the VW Passat Estate GTE Advance – a great all-rounder when it comes to ride stiffness.

MG5 EV cabin

In terms of raw performance, one might expect the MG5 EV to be sloppy, but it’s quite the opposite. Set to Sport mode, the throttle response is exquisite – it does become a little numb in Normal or Eco modes, but that’s to be expected on any vehicle.

This isn’t any ordinary estate, however, as it’s fully electric. As a result, you get 260 Nm of torque at your disposal at any given time. Indeed, its single front-mounted motor dispatches 115 kW (154 hp) of power, wherefrom our tests using Racelogic’s Vbox Sport, make the estate go from a standstill to 60 mph in just 7.55 seconds. Not quite the lazy wagon you were expecting, it’s almost as if it’s a sleeper car.

MG5 EV front look

As for top speed, it’s limited to 115 mph, which is more than enough (and past the UK speed limit) for the average consumer. It’s also supremely easy to handle, with a claimed 11.3m turning circle. Visibility is excellent, while parking is a breeze thanks to the addition of a rearview camera and sensors. The MG5 EV certainly makes you forget that you are driving an elongated vehicle – throughout our tests, it felt like driving a spacious hatchback, instead. This, in part, is due to the vehicle’s ride height, where unlike an SUV, doesn’t sit too high from the road.

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What really sets itself apart from the rest of the crowd, is that the MG5 EV is an all-electric estate. Here, the automaker claims the vehicle will last 214 miles on a single charge on the WLTP test cycle. In TotallyEV’s tests, however, the estate manages a very respectful 188 miles; these tests include a mixture of motorway, country roads and inner-city driving, where climate controls and regular comforts within the cabin are all left enabled. Indeed, the MG5 EV is far more eco-friendly than its hybrid counterparts, which achieve a measly 25-35 miles on a single charge.

MG5 EV back design

When it comes to recouping energy back into the vehicle’s 52.5 kWh battery pack, MG offers three levels of regenerative braking. Each time you step inside the vehicle, it’ll be set to the medium level ‘2’. One can easily flick to level ‘1’ and ‘3’ using the KERS switch at the centre console – the latter being the harshest mode of the three. One can’t quite use a one-pedal approach, but it strikes a good balance for those coming to an all-electric vehicle for the first time; level ‘1’ is the equivalent of coasting in an ICE-powered vehicle.

We would have liked to see the car memorise the last used driving and regenerative braking modes, but alas that’s not the case. It defaults to Normal mode and level ‘3’ each time you set foot inside the vehicle.

To recharge the estate, MG incorporates both CCS and Type 2 ports that are located under the MG badge at the front of the vehicle. The CCS inlet enables up to 50 kW of DC input, allowing you to charge from 0-80% in 50 minutes. Opt for a slower 7 kW wall box or public AC charger, and you’ll net a full charge (0-100%) in 8hrs 30mins.

As for safety systems, it’s a shame not to see Blind-Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist (LKA) or Emergency Braking Assist. Here, you’re left with basic Cruise Control, only.

At the time of writing, the MG5 EV has yet to be put through its paces by Euro NCAP; one can hope it’ll be safe, given the ZS EV scored five our of five stars in the 2019 test cycle.

MG5 EV TotallyEV award

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TotallyEV’s verdict on the MG5 EV

At the time of writing, the MG5 EV is unique to the UK market – it’s the only all-electric estate. Yet, it’s still an excellent vehicle, regardless of its powertrain. Starting with the price: at £25,095 for the base-level Excite and £27,595 for the top-spec Exclusive, it’s hard to pick out many flaws.

Granted it isn’t, in our opinion, the most stylish vehicle nor does it have plenty of bundled features or a luxurious-feeling interior but it is practical, easy and fun to drive and more importantly will last 188 miles on a single charge.

Regardless of what the competition brings out in the near future, we can’t see many competing at this price point, especially given the most all-electric hatchbacks cost upwards of £25,000.

It’s safe to say the MG5 EV is a fantastic all-electric vehicle and one you should consider if you’re looking to get a spacious vehicle that isn’t an SUV. As a result, the MG5 EV receives TotallyEV’s coveted Best Buy award.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the MG5 EV – would you consider it? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
6
Features
6
Storage space
10
Driving comfort
9
Performance
9
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Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.

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