MG 5 SW EV electric estate review

It may not be the most exciting or desirable electric car on sale, but the MG 5 EV electric estate car makes a lot of sense on many levels

MG 5 EV
£24,495 - £26,995

Pros

  • Practical
  • Great value
  • Lots of standard equipment

Cons

  • Plasticky interior
  • Not the best to drive
  • Lacks appeal of some rivals
Car type Electric range Wallbox charge time Rapid charge time
Electric 214 miles 8hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW) 50mins (0-80%, 50kW)

MG has enjoyed major success with its ZS EV, the cheapest electric SUV on sale. It's sold in big numbers and proved that the UK market has an appetite for affordable and well equipped pure-electric cars with a decent equipment list, regardless of the badge on the nose.

With this in mind, the brand has brought another electric car to these shores – the MG 5. It's the first – and for now only – pure-electric estate car on sale in the UK, based on the Chinese-market Roewe Ei5. As with so many MG cars, value is the order of the day – this is a family car that costs less than a Renault ZOE or Honda e.

Power comes from a 154bhp electric motor turning the front wheels, with a 53.5kWh battery offering a claimed 214 miles' driving range. Our test car showed 191 miles of range after a full charge, however, so as ever it's worth taking these figures with a pinch of salt. It's a useful range in any case, and more than some more expensive electric cars – including the MG ZS EV – can manage.

The MG 5 is a car for people who care about the essentials. Along with that useful electric range, there's a large 464-litre boot, space for five and a list of standard kit that includes a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control and automatic headlights, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto running on an eight-inch infotainment screen. There's even a seven-year/80,000-mile warranty that covers the battery, too. Clearly, there's very little to complain about – and plenty to help make the MG a very savvy alternative to the mainstream. 

MG hasn't skimped on the 5's charging capability, with 50kW charging supported for what it claims will be an 80% charge in just 50 minutes. Charge using the three-pin cable and you'll have to wait 18 hours for a full charge (MG says this is for emergencies only), but use a home wallbox and that'll drop to around eight and a half hours. 

This pragmatic approach to the electric car continues with the MG 5's overall design and execution. It's not the most stylish model around, but it looks smart enough, while inside there are plenty of cheap plastics around. It doesn't feel especially modern and certainly can't match the Honda e for wow factor – but at a price like this, that doesn't really matter.

There's a no-nonsense range with just two trim levels: Excite or Exclusive. The former gets all the aforementioned kit, along with a seven-inch driver's display, four USB ports, fabric seats and a leather steering wheel; the step to Exclusive adds keyless entry, sat nav, faux-leather upholstery, heated seats and electric adjustment for the driver's seat, plus automatic wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. We'd be inclined to stick with the entry-level car, though – it's got plenty of equipment.

Performance is surprisingly good. With 260Nm of torque, acceleration is brisk: 0-62mph takes 7.7 seconds in Sport mode and it feels plenty fast enough. The 5 isn't much fun in corners, however, where it pitches and rolls as you fight with the lifeless steering. This isn't a sports car, though, and will be absolutely fine for most drivers. It's not especially comfortable nonetheless: the suspension is soft, but can't deal very well with bad surfaces.

There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport. Eco maxmises range by limiting performance, Normal offers a bit more of that addictive electric-car off-the-line performance, while Sport helps you to achieve the car's official acceleration figures. These modes are complemented by three selectable levels of regenerative braking.

Given its combination of low price, good range, strong performance and value-packed equipment levels, it's hard not to recommend the MG 5 EV. It doesn't offer the last word in polish, desirability or badge appeal – and we've yet to see how it performs in a Euro NCAP crash test – but it's the most accessible route into electric family-car ownership we've seen yet.