By Jonathan Crouch
Back in 2021, MG was continuing to specialise in providing budget brand buyers access to full electrification at super-affordable prices. A year before, the company had announced its second zero emissions model, the MG5 EV estate, then improved it a year later with a larger 61kWh battery to create the MG5 EV Long Range model we're going to look at here from a used perspective. This was the UK's first and cheapest EV estate and in this updated '21-plate form offered a 250 combined driving range, an increase of 36 miles over the original 52kWh version. All for a reasonably conventional price. Exciting? Possibly not. Clever? Definitely.
5dr Estate (EV)
An affordable family budget doesn't get you much these days if you want your next car to be a full-EV - certainly not much that's practically-sized. Unless you opt for one of these, the MG5 EV, a rather different kind of estate and one that in its original form became a lot easier to justify in 2021 when MG re-launched it in the 'Long Range' 61.1kWh battery form we're going to look at here. The MG5 was basically a European-ised version of a model from MG's Chinese parent group SAIC, the Roewe Ei5. The brand first launched it in 2020 with a 52.2kWh battery that offered a modest 214 mile driving range. Customer interest was also, well, modest. But in '21-plate 'Long Range' form, this car's worth a second look, not only because of its longer 250 mile potential between charges but also because it gained MG's 'Pilot Driver Assist' system that offered extra camera safety tech. Most of the other EVs at this price point from the 2021-2022 era are smaller and can't go as far between charges. The MG5 offered something a bit different - and was further improved with a facelift in late-2022. It's the 2021-2022-era 'Long range' battery version of the original-shape version though, that we're going to look at here.
The exterior styling, which was unchanged with this 'Long Range' model, is restrained and conservative and not particularly suggestive of a budget brand. In profile, a crisp shoulder line runs above the door handles, with lower creases that give the flanks some shape. A set of 16-inch 'Meteor' alloy wheels were standard and silver roof rails decorate the plusher 'Exclusive' version. Whichever variant you opt for, you certainly get a lot of metal for the money. This MG5 is 4.54m long, which, to give you some perspective, is about 100mm shorter than a Ford Focus Estate, though this MG's 2.6m wheelbase is only 43mm shorter than that Ford's. This Chinese contender is 1.82m wide and 1.54m tall too. Up-front, the specialist motoring press has been a bit disparaging about the cabin ambiance, but it's actually not that far off volume brand standards, without feeling especially plush - even in the top 'Exclusive'-spec variant with its white-stitched leatherette upholstery. MG tried to meet the current prevailing class standard for infotainment too with a 8-inch centre monitor. It'll usually display in a split screen format, with audio, navigation and Apple CarPlay options easily accessible. Anything else you might need to know can be found in the instrument binnacle, which combines a central 7-inch screen with (rather curiously on an electric vehicle) outer analogue dials, the left one for speed and the right being an EV Power Meter. When the ignition is fired, the outer edges of both analogue dials are completed by the edges of the centre screen, with a green battery % graphic on the left and a blue voltage display on the right. On the back seat, there's ample headroom and legroom, even for taller occupants. And you could fit three adults in without much trouble, thanks to the relative absence of a central transmission tunnel. Finally, this is an estate car, so you'll want to know about boot space, which is rated at 578-litres with the rear seats in place - around the same as a Ford Focus Estate.
For a '21-plate base Excite'-trimmed MG5 EV 61kWh model, pricing starts from around £23,550 (£26,750 retail). Values rise to around £25,400 (around £28,250 retail) for a late-'22-plate car. Allow a premium of around £1,400 for plusher 'Exclusive' trim. All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. <a href="https://hpivaluations.com/">Click here for a free valuation.</a>
There aren't many major issues here, other than a few electrical and software issues; go thoroughly over all the powered and infotainment functions of the car you're looking at. Even if there were, all cars will obviously be covered by MG's warranty, a fully-transferrable 7 year/80,000 mile package. Otherwise, it's just the usual things; look out for stone chips and alloy wheel scratches. And insist on a fully stamped-up service history.
MG parts prices are pretty affordable but you'll probably need to source them through an MG dealer. This being an EV, you'll save on a lot of the usual service items - you obviously won't need things like an oil filter and so on. And the brake pads will last a lot longer - possibly the life of the car.
It's a sign of the times that you could never have any sort of combustion engine in an MG5, not even a plug-in hybrid one. And it's a reflection of the needs of the European market that the single EV model we did get was quite a lot more powerful than the version offered to the Chinese. The output of this 'Long Range' 61kWh model (unchanged over the original 52kWh version) was set at 156PS. That's 42PS more than the Far Eastern 'Roewe Ei5' version of this design, reflecting the fact that family folk here have been conditioned to expect their EVs to be quite quick; so this one gets to 60mph in just 7.3 seconds, on the way to a rather un-EV-like top speed of 115mph. Those family folk will be expecting a reasonably long driving range too. They didn't really get it with the 214 mile figure offered by the original model, but this 'Long Range' version's 250 mile combined figure was a bit more like it. To get close to that, you'll need to have selected the most frugal of the three available drive modes - 'Eco'; and made proactive use of the three 'KERS' regenerative braking settings, the most powerful of which slows the car noticeably off-throttle. You won't be expecting much from the drive dynamics - and you shouldn't - but the steering is reasonably well weighted and the ride soaks up sharper bumps and speed humps quite well. You'll need to be careful with your right foot - it's easy for the power on offer through the single-speed auto gearbox to quickly overwhelm the front tyres modest reserves of traction. Pushing on a bit offers the opportunity to switch out of the default 'Normal' drive setting into 'Sport' and, as with most EVs, body roll is controlled by the low placement of the battery in the chassis floor. Longer trips in particular are aided by the inclusion of 'MG Pilot', a package of active safety features including adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking.
Here, maybe just maybe, is the market's most sensible family car from the 2021-2022 period. You'd have to be free from the affliction of badge snobbery to consider it and have no particular interest in the joy of driving. But if that doesn't bother you, then an MG5 EV might have plenty to recommend it as an ownership proposition if your next family car simply must be an EV. For the price of a planet polluting mid-range Focus or Astra estate from this period, you could have one of these, a car just as practical but offering zero tailpipe emissions and a model that you could run without ever having to visit a filling station again. Makes you think doesn't it?
NISSAN ARIYA ELECTRIC HATCHBACK
160kW Advance 63kWh 5dr Auto
Personal Contract Hire Per Month (inc VAT) £574.29
Business Contract Hire Per Month (ex VAT) £478.58
250kW eDrive40 Sport 83.9kWh 5dr Auto
Personal Contract Hire Per Month (inc VAT) £743.26
Business Contract Hire Per Month (ex VAT) £619.38