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Right price MG's latest offering is an absolute bargain and like the other two models it is a full electric


The MG5 is not the coolest EV on the block, but it offers great value

The MG5 is not the coolest EV on the block, but it offers great value

The MG5 is not the coolest EV on the block, but it offers great value

As a young boy growing up on the mean streets, my Matchbox MG MGA model was the envy of all my car-mad friends.

The MG group epitomised the British sports car with its stylish two-seaters that were driven not only by the general public, but celebrities and footballers too.

A particular favourite of mine was always the MGB GT, and I was very close to buying one a few years ago, I loved them so much.

Unfortunately for MG, the iconic brand seemed to drift off into the doldrums after its heyday and lost its identity following too many mergers with other brands during the 60s and 70s.

Sadly, in 2005, the famous British brand went into receivership before the marque, along with other assets of MG Rover, were purchased by Nanjing Automobile Group (which merged into 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.

Nowadays the Chinese-owned MG brand is dipping its toes into the electric market and, although the two models I have test-driven recently won’t win any style or innovation awards, they might just offer potential electric vehicle buyers an affordable option to some current €50k-plus models that are way overpriced.

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 is that I nearly had to turn the time machine back to 1984. An estate car in this day and age? Great Scott, Marty!

In general, estate cars don’t appeal to Irish buyers the way they do with our European counterparts, and I am not so sure MG will sell many of its ‘Sportwagon’ models here. On the outside, the exterior probably wouldn’t exactly turn your head if it passed you by on the street.

However, it is not the worst looking car to grace our roads in the last few years. The inside won’t exactly set your world alight either. It is covered with a lot of cheap plastics that I can only imagine washed ashore from the South China Sea.

The touch-screen, although quite 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 driver at your doorbell.

On a positive note though, the MG5 is extremely spacious inside, offering ample leg and head room for all occupants. The boot is also enormous compared to many of the EVs that I have driven lately – some of which wouldn’t stow a 10kg cabin bag.

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On the road, MG claim that the new MG5 is good for 403km with the battery fully charged, which is up 59km on the previous model.

That’s a fairly decent range considering some models that cost three times as much as one of these don’t offer that. At a time when prices for electric vehicles seem to be going through the roof in Europe, the Chinese might just have the winning formula with this MG to take on the big guns in the EV market – and start driving the prices down.

Prices for the new MG5 start at €29,645 – that’s bargain basement material if you compare it to any other electric car on the market at the moment. It’s definitely nowhere near the standards of Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 (see opposite page) or Volkswagen’s ID.4, but it is almost half the price.

The MG5 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it just might be the first rung on the EV ladder.

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