MG 5 EV estate review
"The MG 5 EV is a practical electric car that can do more than 200 miles on a single charge"
- Cheap to buy and run
- Decent range
- Soft suspension
- Lacking some safety kit
- Tall loading lip
If you need a practical, functional car but you've been put off all-electric models by high prices and fussy looks, look no further than the MG 5 EV estate. Despite costing less than a Renault ZOE or Nissan Leaf, it has more space, an impressive turn of speed and a decent range, especially if you go for the model with the bigger battery.
Based on the Roewe Ei5, a car available in China, the standard MG 5 EV has a 52.5kWh battery that means it can travel up to 214 miles on a single charge and can be topped up to 80% in 50 minutes using a 50kW rapid-charger. In July 2021, a long-range version was introduced, with a 61.1kWh battery increasing the car’s range to 250 miles for around £2,000 extra. While it's certainly no sports car, a 154bhp electric motor means it can dispatch the 0-62mph run in 7.7 seconds, beating most of its conventionally powered rivals off the line.
Thanks to its practical, elongated shape, the 5 EV has a 464-litre boot that expands to 1,456 litres with the back seats folded down. There's also plenty of room inside for up to five passengers, with two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points in the back.
The interior is distinctly ‘no-frills’, with quite a few hard plastics and a traditional design, but it's not spartan either. There are only two trims, and the entry-level Excite includes an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 16-inch alloy wheels and air-conditioning. Spend just under £27,000 (after the £2,500 Plug-in Car Grant) and Exclusive trim adds leather-style upholstery, heated front seats, keyless entry and navigation.
While many electric models are out of reach because of their high prices, the MG 5 EV will appeal to buyers who value boot space as much as neck-snapping acceleration. It also offers a surprising diving range and plenty of kit.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Despite its budget billing, MG hasn't skimped on the 5 EV's standard battery. At 52.5kWh, it’s larger than the 40kWh pack fitted in a standard Nissan Leaf and gives the MG a range of up to 214 miles, which is also more than the 163 miles the MG ZS EV can manage.
During our test drive, we found this MG had a range of 191 miles on its readout, or 205 if we switched into Eco mode. This limits the power available to help preserve range but the car is still perfectly usable. The driver can also choose between three levels of regenerative braking, which ramp up the deceleration as you come off the accelerator, putting more energy back into the batteries.
In July 2021, a larger, long-range battery model was made available. According to official figures, this increases range to 250 miles, which should give the MG 5 a real-world range of over 200 miles in most conditions.
Rapid charging at 50kW is also standard, which is rather impressive for such an affordable model, as some manufacturers charge extra for this hardware. It's claimed to take the standard battery from 10 to 80% in 36 minutes, while a full charge from a home wallbox takes around 8.5 hours. The larger battery takes 40 minutes and 9.5 hours respectively. Using a three-point plug is possible but best saved for emergencies, as a full charge will take around 18 hours.
One of the biggest benefactors of the 5 EV could be the company-car crowd, because its zero emissions mean it qualifies for 0% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) in 2020/21 and 1% BiK in 2021/22. Private buyers will also benefit from free VED (road tax) - a saving of around £150 a year, along with tariff-free entry into low emissions zones.
Engines, drive & performance
Buyers should be more than happy with the 5 EV's straight-line performance. Thanks to its 154bhp electric motor it can get from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds, making it faster than most petrol and diesel rivals like the Ford Focus Estate and Kia Ceed Sportswagon. We doubt most drivers will use its hot hatchback acceleration very often, but it's there if you need to nip in front of someone at the lights or overtake on a country road.
Handling is less of a strength, with soft suspension resulting in a fair amount of body lean and numb steering. It will be fine for most drivers who are concerned with preserving range, but try to push the car hard and it struggles.
Interior & comfort
Costing less than a Renault ZOE despite being the size of a family estate car, it's clear the MG 5 EV has been built to a budget. This is most obvious inside, where there are some hard plastics on display. It all feels rather traditional, forgoing the multiple widescreen displays of the Honda e, instead fitted with a partly analogue instrument cluster and a distinct lack of the more cutting-edge gadgets.
What's more impressive is the standard kit on the Excite model, which includes an eight-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors and cruise control. Costing around £2,500 more, Exclusive adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, sat nav, automatic air-conditioning, keyless entry, automatic wipers and a dimming rear-view mirror.
Despite the MG 5 EV's soft suspension, some road imperfections are still transmitted inside the car, so you're likely to feel motorway expansion joints and potholes through the bottom of your seat.
Practicality & boot space
One of the MG 5 EV's main strengths is its size - it's the first affordable electric estate car on sale in the UK. Needless to say, there's lots of room in the front and back seats, so four adults can travel in comfort. It's not quite as spacious as a conventional estate like a Ford Focus Estate or Skoda Octavia Estate but it's impressive for an EV.
Headroom and legroom is generous in both the front and rear, and the driver gets a six-way adjustable seat, making it easy to find a good driving position. It's a fairly comfortable car but there's a lack of storage cubbies compared with some rivals.
There's 464 litres of space behind the rear seats up to the parcel shelf, or 578 litres to the roofline. That's not too far behind the hybrid Toyota Corolla Touring Sports with a 581-litre boot. It's a shame there's a loading lip to lift items over but the impressive space for such a cheap EV helps make up for it. Folding the rear seats down frees up 1,456 litres of storage room.
Reliability & safety
MG knows it has to persuade customers away from brands with more established reputations and it's offering a seven-year/80,000-mile warranty to help do this. Electric cars should inherently be more reliable than petrol or diesel models because they have far fewer moving parts under the bonnet. We expect MG's electric motor and battery pack will prove tough and resilient.
The MG ZS SUV could only manage a three-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and we aren't expecting the 5 EV to do much better. It's fitted with front, side and curtain airbags, an auto-hold handbrake and a tyre pressure monitoring system. However, some of the latest active safety technology isn't present, presumably to keep production costs down. This means it doesn't have autonomous emergency braking, designed to automatically apply the brakes to help prevent a collision. It's an omission that will affect any future safety scores, and likely contributes to a relatively high group 32 for insurance.