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Driven: MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.

Driven: MG5 SW Trophy Long Range
Electric estates are starting to become more commonplace, but we try the pioneer for a week to see if itís still relevant.

   



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MG5 SW Trophy Long Range

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

When MG Motor launched the MG5 back in 2020, it was the only electric estate car on the market. Soon after that, it was joined by Porsche's mighty Taycan wagon twins, the Cross Turismo and the Sport Turismo, but it remained the only affordable zero-emission load-lugger available in the UK. However, it doesn't have things all its own way now, as rivals such as the Peugeot E-308 SW, the Sports Tourer variant of the Vauxhall Astra Electric and the MINI Countryman SE ALL4 join the scene, with yet more electric estates on the way. Naturally, the MG is still less money than all of these, but is that enough in these image-conscious days? We spent a week with a Trophy to find out.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range
Price: MG5 from £30,995, Trophy Long Range from £33,495
Motor: 115kW electric motor, front-mounted
Battery: 57.4kWh (usable) lithium-ion
Transmission: single-speed reduction-gear automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 156hp
Torque: 280Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 235 miles
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Boot space: 479-1,367 litres

Styling

The 2022 redesign really did the MG5 SW (as its boot badge attests) plenty of favours, because the much sleeker look of the front end better hides the 5's Roewe i5 - or Ei5, more accurately - origins. As a Trophy, this car also gains the 17-inch open-spoke alloys, rather than the 16-inch wheels of the base SE grade that are fitted with aerodynamic covers, and the overall effect is pleasing, even if the MG5 has more front overhang than rear when you view it in profile, which can make it seem aesthetically unbalanced. Nevertheless, the MG is inoffensive enough and has some interesting swage-line details to break up its flanks too, so it's an overall thumbs-up from us on the kerb appeal.

Interior

MG has made a good fist of things in here, what with the improved 10.25-inch infotainment system (which actually works quite well, to be fair to it) and the digital instrument cluster for the tech, while the design isn't the most boring fascia we've ever gazed upon. There are light-and-shade textural finishes too, in order to break up expanses of plastic, although the light-blue line which bisects the door cards and the air vents is going to divide opinion. And while many of the main touchpoints are decent enough, such as the steering wheel, column stalks and the rotary selector for the single-speed reduction transmission, if you explore any of the MG5's interior finishing with greater scrutiny then you'll start to notice where costs have been cut. In essence, for the asking price of the MG5 SW, this cabin is generally fine, but it won't feel anything like as upmarket to sit in as many of its (admittedly more expensive) competitors.

Practicality

Once one of the MG5's USPs, the arrival of alternatives now means you have to assess the boot space of the British-Chinese car differently. At 479 litres with all seats in use, it's certainly a decent size and there's also a dual-height boot floor available as standard on both SE and Trophy cars for further load-bay configurability. Nevertheless, there is a significant step down from the load lip to the floor if you want the maximum storage capacity, while its rear-seats-folded outright figure of 1,367 litres puts the MG5 SW behind the electric models of the MINI Countryman, the Peugeot E-308 SW and the Vauxhall Astra Electric Sports Tourer - the latter two of which also have bigger boots with a full complement of humans onboard. Still, the MG5 is capable enough if you prefer its value offering, while the rear-seat space and internal stowage solutions are both better than average by the standards of the growing class.

Performance

The MG5 continues to be offered with a single drivetrain option, which is a front-mounted 115kW (156hp) electric motor, delivering 280Nm of torque and powered by a lithium-ion battery pack with a usable capacity of less than 60kWh. Opt for this higher-spec Trophy and its lack of aerodynamic wheel covers plus an additional 8kg of weight served up by the larger 17-inch rims and extra equipment means that the WLTP claimed range of the MG5 SW is reduced from the SE's 250-mile figure to a quoted 235 miles for this car.

That's OK and places it in the realms of the Peugeot and the Vauxhall, for instance, with their 51kWh power packs, but the MINI alternative can go almost 290 miles in its single-motor format so that's quite a big deficit for the MG to make up. To be fair to it, during our week with the Trophy it managed to achieve a laudable 3.1 miles/kWh across 185 miles in our company, not too far off the official economy figure of 3.5 miles/kWh, and that was in cold ambient temperatures too - albeit the MG5 spent most of its time on slower rural and semi-urban roads, which are beneficial to an electric vehicle's power consumption figures. A run on a motorway might have shunted that eco-stat down a little.

Another area where the MG5 might be showing its age, though, is in recharging speeds. Its peak rate is 87kW DC, which should see the battery from 10-80 per cent charge in just 35 minutes on a 150kW ultra-rapid unit, or a minute beyond an hour at the more typical 50kW public hook-up; at home on a 7kW AC wallbox, it'll take ten hours to go from 10-100 per cent. Yet all these times are dependent on actually achieving the maximum charging speeds, which as an EV owner will tell you is not always possible. And the bigger issue is that all of the broadly comparable rivals we've mentioned in this piece will run 100-130kW DC speeds, which simply means it's going to take less time, in general, to charge the competitor cars than it is to top up the MG5.

That aside, it's a very pleasantly geared thing to drive. MG has three drive modes, which are Eco, Normal and Sport, as well as three levels of regenerative braking, and in none of these did either of the pedals in the driver's footwell feel imprecise or irritating. Also, while 156hp and 280Nm are hardly huge numbers, the MG5's 1,560kg kerb weight is relatively trim for an EV so the on-road performance is more than adequate. Indeed, the Trophy feels sweetly calibrated for fitting in with public traffic flow, as it's about fast enough to have some verve and pep when you need it (overtaking or nipping out into gaps in traffic at urban junctions) yet never so brutally quick that it can make you feel queasy. Performance-wise, it's a fine showing from the MG5, although we'd not say no to a new model appearing soon with, perhaps, 200hp or more and a 350Nm motor application... couldn't hurt, could it?

Ride & Handling

For what it is, the MG5 is perfectly acceptable, although those remembering MGs of antiquity being sporting might be left a tad deflated. What this car is set up to do is be comfortable first and foremost, and in that quest it largely succeeds. You'll notice the MG5's value ethos in the rolling refinement, because you hear more of road and wind noise in this car than you might do in other EVs of the same size and (roughly similar) price, but at no point is the Trophy actively noisy or coarse.

It also rides pretty well too, because 17-inch wheels are fairly small by 2020s standards, so there's plenty of sidewall squidge and nicely soft suspension to soak up the worst of road surfaces, even if you'll be aware of the springs and dampers working from time to time, manifested as muffled thumping from the car's underpinnings.

What it's not is particularly keen in the corners. Again, it's not bad - it doesn't lean or pitch excessively, even if it's perceptible that the body control is looser than the industry standard these days, while the steering is consistent enough that you can place the car super-accurately after just a few miles of driving it. But there's not much in the way of feel coming through the wheel's rim, and if you start to hustle the MG5 then it just feels like it is reluctantly exiting its comfort zone, rather than offering up any dynamic gems to be unearthed. Basically, for pottering gently about the place, the MG5 Trophy is great. But if you want any sort of driver reward from your electric estate, you're better off looking elsewhere.

Value

Still the MG5's strongest suit. Where pretty much all of its rivals are the wrong side of 40 grand (the Astra Electric Sports Tourer nominally starts at £39,995, but good luck actually getting one out of a Vauxhall showroom for that), even the top-spec MG5 Trophy is less than £34,000. You'll only eclipse that figure, just, if you add one of the optional colours (from £545-£695) to your order form.

An SE MG5 comes with a long list of kit, too, including the infotainment system, the digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, keyless entry and go, air conditioning, and much more for a £30,995 entry price. The Trophy adds to that with the 17-inch wheels, as well as full climate control, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, a 360-degree camera system, rear privacy glass and a folding function for the electrically adjustable, heated door mirrors. So there's no skimping on kit for your money here.

Verdict

While the MG5 SW has lost one of its selling points with the arrival of competitor electric machines of similar estate format, it remains an attractive value proposition. Even the top-spec Trophy is cheaper than the entry-level models of all the extant competition, and for that you get a likeable, well-equipped estate car with a decent amount of usable range. It's maybe not as polished to drive nor as quality to sit in as the alternatives, but if you've saved a huge amount of cash in opting for the MG then you'll soon forget about these deficits and instead enjoy living with a very amenable, zero-emission family wagon.



Matt Robinson - 22 Apr 2024



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2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.

2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.2024 MG5 SW Trophy Long Range. Image by MG.








 

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