MG5 EV review

MG5 EV

We road test the facelifted MG5 – currently the only fully electric estate car on sale in the UK…

Cards on table time – I’m a big fan of the MG5 EV. When I reviewed the original version in 2021, I concluded that it “may not be the sexiest estate car on the market today, but it does offer honest, practical, electric motoring at an affordable price”.

I stand by that, and I’m pleased to say that MG has worked wonders with the new version, so it’s better than ever.

The ‘5’ has been a big success, helping to deliver record-breaking sales for the “UK’s fastest-growing mainstream car brand”. It’s also won several prestigious awards.

MG5 EV

So, what’s new about the 2022 MG5? Well, an extensive exterior makeover has transformed the car from dowdy to attractive.

It now has a sleeker appearance and features an updated interior complete with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system, capable of supporting iSMART connected car functionality through MG’s dedicated smartphone app.

The new MG5 EV can now tow up to 500Kg and is also equipped with Vehicle-To-Load (V2L) capability, meaning it can power other electric devices such as camping equipment using the energy stored in the battery.

MG5 EV

Priced from £30,995, it’s offered in two specs – SE Long Range or Trophy Long Range.

Both are identical mechanically – the latter simply comes with more goodies, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and rear privacy glass.

That’s not to say the that the SE isn’t well equipped – a 10.25-inch centre touchscreen, 7.0-inch digital driver’s display, MG Pilot (an extensive suite of safety and driver assistance features), plus automatic LED headlights and tail-lights, roof rails, rear parking camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are all standard.

MG5 EV

And if safety is a priority, then you’re in for a treat. The MG Pilot suite includes AEB (autonomous emergency braking), adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic headlights.

Featuring a 61.1kWh battery which powers a 154bhp electric motor on the front axle, it has an official range of 250 miles. Top speed is 115mph and it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds.

More importantly for some, it’s incredibly practical. There’s plenty of room inside for up to five passengers, with two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points in the back.

MG5 EV

The large boot, accessed via a wide tailgate opening, delivers a maximum 578 litres of capacity (loaded to the roof), rising to 1,367 litres with the 60:40 rear seats folded down.

Compared to the outgoing model, the cabin now feels more modern, and it’s well put together, but there is still a fair amount of hard black plastic up high.

Slip inside and it’s immediately obvious that the MG5 sits much lower than most EVs, which tend to be SUVs or taller hatchbacks.

MG5 EV

It’s also a doddle to drive with an intuitively laid out dashboard and controls. Just select ‘D’ on the dial in the centre console and you’re off.

Light steering and good visibility help in town, while longer journeys are effortless, relaxing and refined.

There’s a choice of Eco, Normal and Sport, but I found that Eco was just fine for everyday driving. There are also three levels of regenerative braking to choose from, so adding the odd mile when coasting, braking or on downhill stretches is very possible.

Feeling faster than the official acceleration figure suggests, it’s more than capable of surprising other drivers off the line.

MG5 EV

However, it’s no match for a conventionally powered estate like a Ford Focus in the handling department. Thanks to its soft suspension, there’s some body lean in faster corners, and it can become a little unsettled if pushed hard on more challenging roads.

But then, the MG5 isn’t meant to compete with established performance estates – it’s all about value for money and zero emissions.

The MG5 can be fully charged overnight at home or to 80% at a 50kW fast charger in 50 minutes (or in 40 minutes via a 100kW rapid charger).

MG5 EV

As with all EVs, real world range drops by around 20%, so I’d say close on 200 miles is realistic, which is more than enough for most drivers.

And like all MG models, there’s peace of mind too because it comes with a seven-year/80,000-mile warranty.

Verdict: The new, improved MG5 electric estate is better than ever. A stylish, facelifted exterior and new infotainment system inside make it even more appealing than before. Add practicality, comfort, a decent range and a generous warranty, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be on everyone’s affordable family car shortlist.

MG Motor UK 

BMW X1 review

BMW X1

We road test the all-new BMW X1 – the ‘baby’ of the brand’s SUV family is bigger than before, and much better for it…

More than 119,999 BMW X1s have found homes in the UK since the model was launched way back in 2009.

Now it’s time for the third generation, and it’s a much improved proposition in every department.

Size is everything in the modern world and the new X1 is slightly bigger than its popular predecessor (53mm longer, 24mm wider, 44mm higher and 22mm in wheelbase), crucially delivering more space for passengers and their luggage.

BMW X1

So, just as the latest Volkswagen Polo is about the same size as the original Golf, the new X1 isn’t far off the Mk 1 BMW X3.

Sharing the same platform as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer MPV, the overall shape of the Mk 3 X1 is chunkier with a greater road presence.

Up front, the large kidney grille is flanked by slim LED headlights. The side profile sports meaty wheel arches and fared-in door handles, while the rear boasts a pert tailgate, three-dimensional LED lights and underride protection.

Inside, the X1 features BMW’s impressive eighth generation iDrive operating system, which includes a 10.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 10.25-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster.

BMW X1

The curved screen infotainment system is mainly operated via the touchscreen, voice commands and flush buttons on the steering wheel. There’s no longer a rotary controller next to the gear selector, which may annoy some, along with the general minimalisation of switches, buttons and dials.

Priced from £33,775, the new X1 is available with a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines (with an EV range of up to 57 miles), while a flagship all-electric iX1 variant joins the family in early 2023.

BMW expects 66% of UK sales to be pure electric, 14% PHEV and the final 20% split between petrol and diesel.

We had a brief test drive in a prototype iX1, but spent most of our time in the xDrive23i, which features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 48V mild hybrid tech that makes 215bhp and is mated to BMW’s seven-speed Steptronic dual clutch transmission.

BMW iX1

Taking just 7.1 seconds to cover the 0-62mph dash, it delivers a claimed 42.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 151g/km.

The top-of-the range iX1 EV costs substantially more, has a 64.7kWh battery producing 308bhp, a claimed range of up to 272 miles, and it can polish off the 0-62mph sprint in a swift 5.6 seconds.

We tested the AWD xDrive23i in xLine and M Sport trim levels (there’s an entry-level Sport too), and a posh piece of kit it is too, with BMW’s usual top build quality and classy materials.

There’s a commanding view of the road from up front (I would prefer the option of a lower seating position), visibility is good, though the reversing camera (standard on all models, along with front and rear sensors) comes in handy when manoeuvring thanks to the slim tailgate window.

BMW X1

A special mention for the infotainment system, which is slick and sharp, along with the clear head-up display and augmented satellite navigation system which overlays upcoming directions on the touchscreen via big chevron graphics.

Refinement levels in the cabin are impressive, there’s plenty of grunt from the petrol engine, which is only vocal under heavy acceleration, while the sweet-shifting gearbox cracks on effortlessly.

The M Sport comes with adaptive suspension, and frankly the difference is marginal. Overall, the set-up is on the firm side, which is noticeable on bumpier surfaces, but not uncomfortable.

BMW X1

The pay-off is that the X1 delivers a more dynamic driving experience. With an agile feel, body control and grip levels are good in more challenging corners – whether you’re in Personal, Sport or Efficient drive modes. Meanwhile, the steering is light and direct, making town driving a doddle.

It’s worth noting that the M Sport gets shift paddles and the left one activates the Sport Boost, which delivers an extra 19bhp of power (useful for overtakes).

Of course, the iX1 is the one to go for if you can stretch to £52,255 and you have a home charger. It looks just like its petrol, diesel and PHEV siblings, but BMW’s entry-level electric car is a real smoothie.

BMW X1

Faster than it really needs to be (there’s a Sport Boost function too), it’s whisper quiet (once you switch off the irritating Hans Zimmer ‘IconicSounds’ digital soundtrack) and easy to drive.

Despite the fact that it weighs around 400kg more than its ICE stablemates, the boffins at BMW have done a great job hiding it, because the iX1 is nimble and fun.

The iX1 we tested has two electric motors, one driving the front wheels and one the rears. Needless to say, there’s excellent traction and it feels nicely composed.

Whether you go electric or not, BMW’s baby SUV is a practical proposition with plenty of space inside the cabin and superb leg and headroom in the back.

BMW X1

Boot space varies according to the degree of electrification, but peaks at 540 litres for the petrols and diesels (1,600 litres with the 40/20/40-split seats folded).

Finally, the X1 is safe too. Awarded a maximum five stars by  Euro NCAP, it’s packed with safety and driver assistance goodies as standard, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning and speed limit assist, plus an additional centre airbag between the driver and front passenger seats.

Premium rivals include the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus UX and Volvo XC40.

Verdict: The latest-gen BMW X1 goes straight to the top of the class with its winning blend of space, technology, driving engagement and quality. If you’re looking for a classy, compact family SUV, the X1 should head your shortlist.

BMW UK

BMW X1