MG 5 EV Exclusive & MG YA Drive Feature Review : Morris Dancing

By davidkhoo, 07 November 2022

MG5 EV Exclusive SW 61.1kWh & MGY 'A' Drive Feature Review : Morris Dancing

Singapore - It’s been a tumultuous century for the entire world, but what’s more staggering is the fact that ‘MG’ is one of the few car marques to have lived through it all since the 1920s.

Yes, we’re well-aware the venerable MG brand has passed through quite a few hands since its inception – with a roster that includes British Leyland and BMW – before its current ‘MG Motor’ incarnation under Shanghai-based SAIC Motor.

However, we'll discover that the brand's endearing British pedigree of solid dependability and sporty flavour have endured through the years.

At quick glance, the current crop of models (HS, ZS EV crossover and this all-electric MG 5 EV sportwagon) under MG Motor’s ‘modern garage’ seems a far cry from the sensible and sporty ‘Morris Garage’ selections of yesteryear.

However, we feel the modern models share a lot more with their illustrious forebears in spirit than the visual and powertrain differences between the all-electric 2021 MG 5 EV and ICE-powered 1950 MG Y ‘A’ might otherwise suggest.

Distilled down to their purest essence, you’ll find that MGs then-and-now are solid, dependable and some fun to drive.

MG charges ahead on its electrification journey in Singapore by offering two all-electric models out of the three available here.

The MG 5 EV we’re featuring is available in two variants: the ‘Exclusive’ (with 61.1kWh) we’ve tested (156hp/280Nm), as well as an (50.3kWh) ‘Excite’, which interestingly boasts slightly more power (163hp), but less torque (260Nm) and a shorter WLTP range (316km) than the 'Exclusive' (403km).

Many people are unaware that the Chinese car companies are deeply entrenched in the electrification journey and well-ahead of the rest of the world (yes, even compared to Europe and America) in terms of adoption and development.

In fact, according to a BBC news piece, China alone accounts for more than half of the world’s total EV population with a quarter of all new cars registered PHEV or full-electric.

That having said, we’ve never understood why some people form a mental resistance to driving a current MG – they’re simple (not basic!) and possibly make a more sensible choice than an overpriced and complicated offering from one of the fringe or mainstream European brands.

At under S$80k before COE (the Excite is sub-S$74k before COE), the MG 5 EV  Exclusive provides an affordable jumping-on point for those in search of a practical, wallet-friendly EV runabout with decent range and wears a stylish sportswagon shape.

By that same token, the classic MG YA here is not just solid and dependable, because we can’t forget its charming blend of ‘classical’ (yes, even for its time) four-door practicality (with its quirky suicide-style front doors) and some measure of drive entertainment, all of which can be enjoyed without breaking the bank!

If you’re wondering, the MG YA’s 1250cc engine delivers 46hp and 80Nm, which is good for a 115km/h top speed and a sub-30secs (!!) from 0-97km/h.

These numbers may not sound earth-shattering, but when you’re on the move, it’s possible to maintain a brisk pace in the sub-one-tonne MG YA without stressing the engine.

Besides, it isn’t always about outright speed, because for the city streets, we much prefer feeling the car and working with its dynamics, as opposed to childish traffic light Grand Prix blasts.

And it’s not as though the MG 5 EV is a slouch off the starting blocks, because of every electric vehicle’s party trick, which is that fat wedge of torque that hits from just over standstill.

Like the MG YA, the MG 5 EV’s 154hp and 280Nm tell just half the story, as does the 8.8secs 0-100km/h time and 185km/h top speed.

In the city, the 0-70km/h counts for a lot more than the familiar century sprint yardstick and there’s punchy shove to the MG 5 EV for quick overtakes and lane changes from standstill to CBD speeds.

We like how the MG 5 EV requires judicious application of the ‘Go’ pedal, because there’s some introspection involved with all that juicy torque channelled to the front wheels.

There's even a decent feel from behind the steering wheel, with the constant stream of communication between the helm and the front wheels allowing for eminently predictable dynamics.

On the move, the ride on the 16-inch footwear is wonderfully supple over flat roads and undulations, which is pretty amazing considering the rear consists of a ‘simple’ torsion beam – some brands can’t even get it right with an expensive multi-link rear set-up.

As far as this author is concerned, regenerative braking is an integral element of the electric vehicle driving experience.

We don’t like to boast, but we’ve developed enough sensitivity to be able to one-pedal drive with some precision and prefer our EVs to have a stronger regen effect than most now offer.

Thankfully, the MG5 EV features three levels of regen strength (toggled by the KERS rocker switch) to accommodate drivers like us, as well as those who prefer their EVs to drive like ICE vehicles.

There’s good space inside and the MG 5 EV features that hallmark of properly developed EVs, a flat floor in the second-row.

The cabin is refined and comfortable and exudes a decidedly premium ambience.

There are even surprisingly ornate details and tactile feel to some of the switchgear, such as the bank of rocker switches and knurled drive-control knob.

Like the MG YA, the MG 5 EV’s cabin is well-appointed for comfort and refinement with fit-for-function ergonomics that are intuitive to operate – as opposed to pared-down bare-faced utility or OTT luxury.

This means it’ll transition seamlessly from load-lugging errands to weekend entertainment and business engagements without skipping a beat.

The combination of its 495-litres boot capacity and 60/40 folding rear seats gives you the flexibility for all sorts of Storage Wars shenanigans and more, with the only limit being your imagination (and flexibility)!

The instruments are concise and legible and the infotainment interface isn’t overly fussy, nor are there a gazillion things to customise, so the learning curve is progressive enough for you to get the knack of by the end of the day – perfect for get-in-and-drive-types.

Instead of buying for their needs, the average mindset of the average EV buyer tends to fixate on the latest technology, the most powerful, the longest range and so on, but then hey, why are you even trying to target Joe Average?

Technology is a game with no winners (except the brands themselves) so do yourself a favour and buy what you need, when you need it.

The MG 5 EV’s 400km WLTP range is good enough for at least ten day’s use between charging sessions for us and we can see this versatile sportswagon perfectly function as either an only car, or the designated grocery/school-run/runabout car for multi-vehicle households.

As a dance partner, the MG 5 EV is solid and dependable, yet fun and frisky on its feet to make for a versatile all-rounder, both literally and metaphorically.

It’s certainly heartening to see that the traits many have come to associate with the MG brand have endured through the better part of a century!

PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals

2021 MG 5 EV ‘Exclusive’ 61.1kWh

Battery 61.1kWh
Electric Motor 156hp/280Nm
Electric Range 403km (WLTP)
0-100km/h 8.8secs
Top Speed 185km/h
Efficiency 17.5kWh/100km
Dimensions 4544/1818/1543mm (LxBxH)
Wheelbase 2659mm
Weight 1565kg

1950 MG Y ‘A’

Engine 1250cc, inline4, single-carb
Power/rpm 46hp/4800rpm
Torque/rpm 58Nm/2400rpm
Transmission 4spd manual
0-100km/h 29.5secs
Top Speed 115km/h
Fuel Consumption ~9.6l/100km
Dimensions 4089/1490/1470mm (LxBxH)
Wheelbase 2515mm
Weight ~950kg

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