The price is right for this MG5 EV

MG5 – EV Exclusive Sportwagon As a young boy growing up on the mean streets, my Matchbox MG MGA model was the envy of all my car-crazy friends. The MG Group epitomized the British sports car with its stylish two-seater that was driven not only by the general public, but also by celebrities and footballers. One of my favorites has always been the MGB GT, and I was about to buy one a few years ago, I loved them so much. Unfortunately for MG, the iconic brand seemed to sink into the doldrums after its heyday and lost its identity following too many mergers with other brands during the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, in 2005 the famous British brand went into receivership before the marque, along with other MG Rover assets, was acquired by Nanjing Automobile Group (which merged with SAIC in 2007). MG production restarted in 2007 in China. The first new MG model in the UK and Ireland for 16 years – the MG 6 – was launched on June 26, 2011. Today the Chinese brand MG is entering the electric market and, although the two models that I’ve tested -led recently won’t win any style or innovation awards, they just might offer potential EV buyers an affordable option to some current models over £50,000 that are way too expensive. The latest model to roll off the production line is the MG5, which I drove recently. The first thing that struck me after picking it up was that I almost had to rewind the time machine to 1984. A station wagon these days? Great Scott, Marty! In general, station wagons don’t appeal to Irish buyers the way they do with our European counterparts, and I’m not sure MG will sell many of their ‘Sportwagon’ models here. Outside, the exterior probably wouldn’t turn your head if it passed you on the street. However, it’s not the worst car to grace our roads in recent years. The interior won’t exactly set your world on fire, either. It’s covered in lots of cheap plastics that I can only imagine washed up by the South China Sea. The touchscreen, while fairly simple to use, really annoyed me and to get it to work properly I found myself pressing it more times than an impatient pizza delivery boy at your door. On a positive note though, the MG5 is extremely spacious inside, providing ample legroom and headroom for all occupants. The trunk is also huge compared to most EVs I’ve driven recently – some of which wouldn’t fit a 10kg cabin bag. On the road, MG says the new MG5 is good for 403 km with the battery fully charged, which is 59 km more than the previous model. That’s a pretty decent range considering some models that cost three times as much as one don’t offer that. At a time when EV prices seem to be skyrocketing in Europe, the Chinese might just have the winning formula with this MG to take on the big guns of the EV market – and start driving prices down. Prices for the new MG5 start at €29,645 – that’s basement stuff if you compare it to any other electric car on the market right now. It’s certainly far from the standards of Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 (see opposite page) or Volkswagen’s ID.4, but it’s almost half the price. The MG5 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it could well be the first rung on the electric vehicle ladder.

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