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Given that the business sector is crying out for a practical, affordable, long-range EV, the latest MG5 seems ideally placed to clean up.
16in alloys, remote entry with push-button start, air conditioning, four electric windows, electrically adjustable mirrors, smartphone compatibility, 8in colour touchscreen and 7in driver information display, adaptive cruise control, leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors, follow-me-home headlights.
To some extent, the electrically powered MG5 estate car was already doing a grand job of upsetting the apple cart, thanks in no small part to its sub-£25,000 price tag and extensive 214-mile range between charges and the sheer amount of metal and equipment you get for that money. Sadly for the opposition, MG has no intention of stopping there.
With prices starting at £26,495 - which includes the government's £2,500 plug-in car grant - a more powerful MG5 is now available. It comes with a larger 61.1kWh battery pack - up from the standard model's 52.5kWh - and in the process, increase the official WLTP cruising range potential to 250 miles.
Charging is via a quick-shot CCS port, so it will only take around an hour to top up the battery to around 80% from a typical 50kW motorway charger. It can be charged in less time from a 100kW charger, but these are few and far between. Along with the obvious additional range attraction, EV BIK rates currently remain rock bottom, so the 5's implication for 2021-22 is just 1%, rising to 2% in 2022-23.
The larger battery supplies juice to an electric motor mounted on the front axle, which develops 156hp, and MG reckons that's sufficient poke for a 0-60mph of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 115mph. As with so many EVs, though, things feel a whole lot sprightlier because of the instant power delivery and speedy initial sprint to 30mph. Some might even say the 5 is a 21st-century Q-car, given the tequila shot performance underlying its slippers-and-cocoa demeanour.
In essence, the 5 is built more with comfort in mind rather than speed, and does a far better job of sauntering than swerving. While wind noise and electric motor whine are pretty well suppressed, and lumps and bumps are dismissed in reasonably refined fashion, the steering does feel rather spongy, and things do get rolly whenever the road turns twisty; an experience that is not helped by the perched-up driving position.
While three levels of braking regeneration can be selected, none offers sufficient retardation to encourage single pedal driving, but at least the brakes themselves return a reasonably consistent response to pedal inputs.
Helping to keep occupants safe and reduce insurance rates, the 5 comes with MG Pilot. It is a suite of semi-autonomous driving features, including emergency braking, that at speeds below 12mph automatically applies the brakes to avoid collisions with a vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian. Also included is adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, although the latter is very intrusive. Throw in a few bends and the steering wheel squirms around like a fractious toddler, trying to keep well clear of any white lines.
The larger battery has no greater impact on interior space than the lower-powered version, so there's no transmission tunnel robbing rear passenger foot space, which is just as well as there's not a lot of space to slide your feet under the front seats. Thankfully, knee and elbow room are in plentiful supply, so three occupants will sit in reasonable comfort. Equally, luggage space is on the generous side, with a useful 464 litres when the rear seats are in place, while dropping the 60:40 folding seats increases capacity to 1,456 litres.
Although the quality of the cabin finish does feel somewhat utilitarian in places, there are enough soft-touch materials, chrome highlights and piano-black trim dotted about to enhance the impression of quality. The indicator stalks feel a bit flimsy and the touchscreen is rather slow and fiddly to operate while driving, but it would churlish to be too critical at this price point - especially given the amount of standard equipment that MG also throws in.
Even the basic Excite trim comes with 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning, electrically adjustable mirrors, an 8in colour touchscreen, adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors. Up the ante to Exclusive trim and leather-style upholstery with heated front seats and six-way electric adjustment for the driver seat are included, along with silver roof rails, electrically adjustable folding heated mirrors and satellite navigation.