the “cheap” electric van… and smart

The MG5 isn’t the first 100% electric station wagon on the market, but it’s probably the only one you can afford. In fact, the only existing alternative is called the Porsche Cross Turismo, and it’s about four times more expensive than our “modest” test vehicle.
MG also specializes in attacking the electric market with cars with unbeatable value for money. Its ZS EV is the perfect example among SUVs, the MG5 only confirms this strategy before the arrival, at the end of the year, of a probable MG4, which promises to be the cheapest electric compact on the market.
With an unusual shape and a particularly attractive price (32,490 euros, excluding the ecological bonus), the MG5 certainly deserved to be analyzed. Here’s his test.

The technical model of the ZS declined in the range

MG didn’t look too hard when developing its station wagon. This one already exists in a thermal version in some markets, it was content to integrate a battery/motor block almost identical to that of its SUV, the ZS EV.
As for the latter, the MG5 is available in two versions, “small” and “large” battery and two engines. Like what was done for SUVs, the two battery technologies are different in each version.
In the “Standard autonomy” version, the brake incorporates a 130 kW (177 hp) synchronous motor and a 50.3 kWh LFP (Lithium-iron-phosphate) battery. As for the “Extended Autonomy” version, it offers a 61.1 kWh NMC (Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt) battery, but a slightly less powerful motor (115 kW or 156 hp). It is this last version, in the “luxury” finish, which will probably be the most sold in France, that we decided to test.

Design: She won’t win a beauty contest

There are many reasons why MG is able to offer cheaper electric vehicles than its competitors. The manufacturer, owned by China’s SAIC Motors, benefits, for example, from advantageous battery prices and has its own transport boats.
If he certainly saves on these two important sources of expenditure, one might suspect that he does the same with the salaries of his designers. Indeed, without being particularly daring, the brand’s vehicles struggle to seduce. The MG5 is no exception, and while it manages to avoid the “hearse syndrome” specific to certain station wagons, it clearly lacks sex appeal. Let’s admit one thing to him, though: he’s a lot less sad in reality than he is in the photo, which is sure to surprise future buyers.
In any case, design is not the main asset of this electric van. Fortunately, there is no shortage of goods once the mild disappointment of lost love at first sight has passed.

Awesome equipment for the price

It is once inside the MG5’s cabin that you can see what makes the brand successful. The materials and quality of finishes are worthy of cars sold from 10 to 15,000 euros more expensive and the number of on-board equipment (standard) far exceeds what most competitors offer.
This is undoubtedly why MG has only two finishes in its catalog, the most basic (“comfort”) already very well equipped with a 10.25-inch central screen compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights and even seats. heated at the front, an option normally reserved for the top of the range.

As for our luxury finish, which sells for another 1,500 euros, it adds a 360-degree camera (of dubious quality), an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, 17-inch rims and some comfort sensors (air conditioning, rain, etc. .).

On the OS side, we find here again the same system as the ZS, certainly in progress in relation to the first vehicles marketed by SAIC, but still burdened by some rough translations and very unique names.
Thus, preconditioning the battery before charging becomes “battery heating while driving” in MG. These few scums are even more forgivable as they can be fixed via an update.

Finally, this is also a little surprise, the MG5 incorporates V2L technology, i.e. reverse charging. Concretely, this is a mode during which the car can, thanks to an adapter, recharge its electronic equipment. In our case, we took advantage of the MG5’s V2L to power our iPad, charge our smartphone, but also to connect a compressor to it. Beware though, if the V2L is available as standard on the MG5, the adapter is optional, for 650 euros. It’s expensive to recharge.

Autonomy: where the break format buries the SUV

As the MG5’s technical platform is the same as the excellent ZS EV, we were expecting a very close performance in terms of autonomy.
Admittedly, on paper the station wagon has a certain aerodynamic advantage, but we were far from suspecting the performance difference between the two formats.
In fact, during our test of the SUV, we noticed an average consumption of 20 kWh / 100 km, one of the few minor defects of the vehicle. However, with a similar battery capacity and an identical engine, that consumption drops below 17 kWh/100 km, and that’s without any form of eco-driving.
Because it has a very flexible foot and plays fully in recovery, it even seems possible to go below 15 kWh/100 km, which makes the MG5 one of the least greedy vehicles. Note, however, that during our test we didn’t have the opportunity to venture on the highway where consumption is higher. We will certainly add this aspect when updating this test. Therefore, it is quite possible to glimpse, or even exceed, the 300 km of autonomy promised by the MG5 in its “Standard autonomy” version. As for our “Extended Autonomy” version, it simply points to 400 km on a full tank.

On the other hand, the picture is a little less rosy when it comes to charging, not battery capacities but more charging methods.
With a maximum charging power of 92 kW, the MG5 can be recharged from 10 to 80% in 30 minutes. Performance is decent for a vehicle not intended for long journeys.
It’s more the home charging that raises questions, MG still refusing to provide a home charging socket by default. The future buyer will have to sign an additional check for 200 euros if he wants to charge his vehicle at his home, that is, this expense, a priori optional, is almost mandatory.

When driving, what is the MG5 like?

With its pretty contained power, the MG5 is obviously not lightning. That doesn’t stop you from feeling some slight shivers when accelerating – thanks for the 280Nm of torque. The 0 to 100 km/h is shot in just over 8 seconds, but you will understand, there is really no interest in the vehicle.
However, MG does not hesitate to offer several driving modes with a strong character. There is, in fact, a clear difference in sensation between the car’s eco mode and its sport mode, which is much firmer and livelier when accelerating.

We would like to feel the same difference in the different levels of energy recovery offered by the MG via the button “want” Of car.
Nothing happened, only level 3 (the highest) is really worthy of interest when you want to regain braking autonomy. In addition, it would also be welcome if this system were accompanied by a single pedal mode, but the deceleration of the kers does not allow the MG5 to come to a complete stop.

For the rest, driving with the electric station wagon is quite pleasant and quite comfortable, even if the steering clearly lacks precision. Some might criticize it for a slight lack of dynamism, given its rather restrained weight and streamlined appearance, but keep in mind that this is an affordable family vehicle.

judgment verdict

The MG5 is a proposal as atypical as it is interesting. Electric van with an almost bland design, it manages to convince in almost every point, starting with the price. Not content with going to tease the Zoé for its price (being others) being better equipped, more spacious and more versatile, the latest MG still indulges in some fantasies normally reserved for more elitist vehicles such as reverse charging.

But, above all, on board, we must salute the quality and density of the equipment provided by MG, both in terms of finishes and comfort equipment. As for its SUV, the SAIC Motors brand hits hard with a car with excellent value for money.

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