2021 MG 5 EV Exclusive SW 61.1kWh Review - Sensible
Singapore - The mention of the MG brand might awaken memories of a time when the British marque manufactured rather attainable-but-attractive sports cars alongside more mass-market transport. After being bought out by the Chinese, the brand’s focus has shifted almost solely to family-oriented vehicles.
Electrification has also become one of their core strengths, and here in Singapore, MG brings us two EV options, the compact ZS SUV, and this - the MG 5.
The stub-tailed estate car is easy on the eyes, and if you are familiar with cars in China, the MG 5 seems to have taken quite a few design cues from the Volkswagen Viloran.
2021 MG 5 EV - inside
The interior vibes more like a German car, rather than something Asian. This is understandable, since MG's parent spent many good years building VWs. The hard plastic panels have a familiar texture, and familiar too is the Golf Mk6-ish button placement on the steering wheel. Overall, you get a sense that MG know how to build interiors, since nothing here squeaks.
While I say this, I have to mention that the air-conditioning switches are in a rather unusual position, and the speed dial prioritises MPH over Km/h. The infotainment system is a little too laggy for my liking; and it took me a while to figure out that the ‘Home’ button is a physical one, in the middle of the volume knob.
The 5 accommodates 4 with ease, and boasts a generous 495-litre boot, with an adjustable floor for taller items. Sadly, there is no “frunk” here, and instead, all you get is a plastic cover where the engine would have been (it is also available with an ICE in China).
2021 MG 5 EV - the drive
There are two variants of the MG 5 available, a lower range 50.3kWh Excite, and the one we are driving, the 61.1kWh Exclusive. Interestingly, the more costly Exclusive has 7hp less, but 20Nm more than the former.
As expected from an EV, the MG 5 accelerates instantaneously, with occasional chirping of the front wheels. Since there are very few mechanical bits, the EV Estate delivers its drive in very smooth fashion. All you get is just a little bit of wind noise against the wing mirrors and around the front windows, but the overall experience is pleasantly silent.
We were surprised too, that the suspension is well-tuned, providing a balance between handling and comfort. As the motor would have less weight than an engine up-front, the MG 5 tucks into a bend with more precision than initially anticipated.
There are three stages to the car’s regenerative braking. The Kinetic Energy Recovery System’s (KERS) default setting is always in the middle when you start the car. The highest setting allows you to almost drive the car with just one foot; while the lowest provides only a hint of slowing down, when you lift off the accelerator. The lowest is my preferred setting here.
On paper, the MG 5 does 17.5kWh/100km, and a claimed 403km. We believe, with our local start-stop traffic, 350km is quite achievable.
While the Exclusive variant may provide more range of the two cars, those who have access to their very own wall charger, may not find the extra juice very relevant. But it does have an important suite of safety features, which includes the Electronic Stability Program, additional front side airbags, and side curtain airbags. There is also Adaptive Cruise Control, which uses the same sensors for its Forward Collision System.
Perhaps, it will take one more generation before MG builds a car, which feels even more spot-on. But for now, the MG 5 has already, in a way, found their “Toyota Corolla moment”. The 5 is an enjoyable, well-built car you can simply drive and own with confidence.
TEXT Clifford Chow
MG 5 EV Exclusive SW 61.1kWh
Electric Motor 154hp/280Nm
Electric Range up to 303km (WLTP)
Top Speed 185km/h
Dimensions 4544/1818/1543mm (LxBxH)