handling the first affordable electric station wagon

Founded in 1924, Morris Garage will soon celebrate its 100th anniversary. But after the Rover Group went bankrupt in 2004, the British brand went under the Chinese flag when it was taken over by the SAIC group in 2007. MG’s return was then made in Europe in 2020, with three electrified products: the ZS, EHS and Marvel R. The fourth, baptized MG 5 without much logical naming, sets its wheels with us from the spring of 2022, even if it is not totally unknown. Indeed, it is a big re-powdering of the Roewe Ei5 or E5, sold on the Chinese market since 2017.

The MG 5 is relatively compact but rather tall. It belongs to the same category as the Renault Mégane Estate and Peugeot 308 SWwith almost identical dimensions: 4.60 m long, 1.82 m wide and 1.54 m high. Some will find a certain imbalance in the proportions, in particular because a high ground clearance (11.5 cm) for a non-adventure station wagon. But this is explained by the position of the batteries, under the floor, which requires raising the body to protect the cells from shocks.

The first electric compact station wagon

Because the MG 5 is in fact only offered in electric with us. Apart from the very exclusive Taycan Sport Turismo and Taycan Cross Turismo recently added to the Porsche catalog, no generalist manufacturer has entered the electric station wagon market yet. The MG 5 is therefore the first affordable 100% electric compact “mover”: it is offered from €32,450 excluding bonuses. It’s almost the price of a Renault Zoé (€32,800 excluding bonuses), with much less family benefits. Including the bonus, which brings its price down to €26,450 until July 2022, the MG 5 even manages to be cheaper than an entry-level Renault Mégane Estate (from €29,800 in 140hp petrol) or plug-in hybrid (from €39,750 excluding bonus).

Outside, the MG 5 station wagon adopts a very European, classic and even anonymous look. It has slender LED headlights and a full grille, where the charging access hatch is located. In profile, a slight drop on the window energizes the whole, in addition to certain lines connecting the optics or putting relief at the bottom of the doors. At the rear, the two relatively thick lights are connected by a thinner chrome element. The shields have a simple treatment, with two false triangular scoops integrating reflectors. Two sizes of rims are available: 16 inches on the entry-level Comfort, or 17 inches with two-tone livery on our test model in Luxury finish.

A well-made cabin

On board, the MG 5 offers a modern dashboard, with screens and a floating center console reminiscent of the world of Volvo. The gearbox control lever is replaced by a round Jaguar Land Rover-style gear selector wheel. Behind the steering wheel is a 7-inch digital panel for the counters, customizable and very readable. We find the speed on the left, the percentage of use of engine power on the right and a lot of driving information in the center (range, driving aids engaged, gear engaged, etc.).

A second panel, this time tactile and 10.25 inches, is used to control the multimedia system and many features of the car: air conditioning, navigation, radio control or even display of CarPlay or Android Auto. Shortcuts are placed under the screen but we regret that MG did not leave a wheel to adjust the air conditioning temperature, that you have to look for in the menus.

Habitability: very good and less good

The passenger compartment is well thought out and well finished, with black lacquered, aluminum-style or even light textile inserts on the door trims and facing the front passengers. Of course, there are still some less flattering hard plastics but the whole is very correct, and visually pleasing. Blue inserts on the air vent grilles and the door trims brighten up the passenger compartment, which can have black fabric upholstery on the entry level or leather upholstery (black as standard, light gray as an option) on the high end.

Habitability is also one of the strengths of the Chinese break, thanks to a wheelbase of 2.66 m allowed by the electric. Thus, the rear passengers are pampered with more space than in the ZS EV electric SUV of the same brand. The rear knee space is given for 859 mm by the brand. The middle passenger enjoys plenty of space thanks to the absence of a service tunnel. On the other hand, the trunk volume is reduced compared to its thermal competitors, with 479 liters in the 5-seater configuration, and up to 1367 liters in the 2-seater configuration. By way of comparison, a Peugeot 308 SW offers 608 liters to 1634 liters in combustion, while a Renault Megane Estate offers between 563 liters and 1,543 liters. That said, the square trunk seems suitable for a family.

Driving

Well settled on board thanks to reinforced seats, we take off noiselessly from Avignon station, heading for the Luberon. The evolution is smooth, with three driving modes available: Eco, Comfort and Sport. The Comfort mode, equivalent to a normal mode, is suitable for gentle driving in town with lively accelerations up to 50 km/h. Comfort is good, with relatively firm suspensions that don’t make the car uncomfortable. Soundproofing is good, despite some wind noise from the mirrors.

The vehicle is well suspended, unlike other electrics like the very bouncy Ford Mustang Mach-E. Ditto for the brake pedal, generally difficult to dose due to regenerative braking. Here, the feeling is natural and the “KERS” is adjustable via a button on the center console in three modes. These range from 1 to 3, going from weakest to strongest. Thus, the electric station wagon can almost go to a standstill without touching the brake pedal depending on the mode chosen. On the other hand, there is no full freewheel mode and no way to completely disconnect regeneration.

Controlled consumption

Let’s now leave the city to head towards the Alpilles and discover more about the dynamic behavior. The MG 5 is a fun car to drive, with direct if somewhat artificial steering. On the other hand, good point: we do not feel the usual heaviness of electric cars, since the car is relatively light with 1,562 kg empty. This translates into a very slight body roll in the turns, and decent performance despite only 156 hp on our “Extended range” version. The 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in 8.3 seconds, and the top speed climbs to 185 km/h. The Chinese break has even more lively reminders thanks to the sport mode, useful when overtaking on a departmental road.

After a little over 225 km in the Var hinterland, the verdict is in: our consumption is established on a mixed route at 16.3 kWh, without any particular eco-driving and with a little difference in altitude in the Alpilles. Which, after a quick calculation, would allow 374 km of full battery autonomy in these conditions. A reasonable value, which it is still possible to lower since we were able to stabilize it around 14 kWh in certain conditions, including crossing the sublime villages of Gordes and Roussillon.

Notice

WE love

  • Very affordable price for an electric wagon
  • Presentation quality
  • Healthy road behavior
  • Controlled consumption and autonomy
  • Rear roominess…

We love less

  • …but trunk volume slightly lower
  • No freewheel mode

Verdict

MG is entering the compact station wagon segment with an unprecedented electric proposal, all at the price of a Renault Zoé with much less family benefits. Something to appeal to families but also taxi and VTC drivers.

Price

  • MG 5 Extended autonomy – Luxury finish
  • Version tested: 38,640 euros (bonus not deducted)
  • From: 32,450 euros (bonus not deducted)
  • Average manufacturer consumption / during the test (kWh/100 km): 17.9 / 16.3
  • Autonomy manufacturer / during the test (km): 380 / 360
  • Charging: 3h9 on 11 kW
  • Quick charge: 40 minutes
  • CO2 / bonus: 0 / 6,000*
  • Fiscal power: nc
  • Country of manufacture: China.

*: until July 2022.

Range offered:

Electric, from 156 to 177 hp, from €32,490 to €36,990

Technical sheet

  • Motor: permanent magnet synchronous, AV
    Transmission: front-wheel drive, single-speed gearbox + reverse gear reverser
  • Battery (kWh): NCM (lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt) 61.1 kWh
  • Power: 156 hp / 130 kW
  • Torque (Nm): 280
  • Empty weight: 1,562 kg
  • Length.xwidth.xhigh. (m): 4.60×1.82×1.54
  • Wheelbase (m): 2.66
  • 0 to 100 km/h (s): 8.3
  • Max speed (km/h): 185
  • Test tires: Michelin Primacy 3ST (215/50 R17)
  • 5 / 2 chest (l): 479 / 1,367

Recommended options

  • Metallic paint: €650
  • Gray imitation leather upholstery (Luxury): €1,000

Competitors

  • Renault Mégane Estate: range from €29,800, E-Tech 160 hp plug-in hybrid from €39,750
  • Peugeot 308 SW: range from €26,700, plug-in hybrid 180 hp from €39,050
  • Volkswagen ID.4 Pure (149 hp, 52 kWh): from €41,500

Photos: Clement Choulot.

Also read on Auto-Moto.com:

MG is preparing a new electric model

MG Cyberster: the affordable roadster planned for 2024

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