MG's ZS EV has been the go-to entry-level EV since its launch late last year. Whilst we had many gripes with it, there's no question that it represents fantastic value for money and a brilliant way into EV ownership for more people. Now, MG is continuing to leverage its Chinese origins by rebadging two cars new for the UK market.
The MG5 EV is based on the Roewe Ei5 – a popular EV in China – and opens up an entirely new segment, being the first fully-electric estate car in the country. We've known that it was on its way since the spring. MG is also entering the PHEV market for the first time with its HS Plug-in – by far and away the brand's most powerful car, and one we've known about since January. Both will be cheap, but what do they offer?
For our money the more interesting of the duo is the MG5. A C-segment estate, it is in a segment of one, but also a segment that we think has real potential for those who find SUVs a bit... unnecessary. It offers as much room as most SUVs, with 578 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, or 1456 with them folded as well as “ample head room and plenty of (rear) legroom”.
Powering the MG5 EV is a 154bhp electric motor which enables the '5 to reach 60mph in just over eight seconds. A 52.2kWh battery pack, located beneath the cabin floor, enables the car to travel 214 miles on the WLTP cycle, or up to 276 miles in low-speed town driving. Using a CCS connection, it can be rapid charged to 80 per cent in 50 minutes, suggesting a 50kW DC maximum input. Type 2 home charging takes around eight-and-a-half hours.
Whilst the MG5 EV is never going to be quite as well appointed as rival cars, it's not like it suffers from a barren spec list. It gets an eight inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and connectivity via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Buyers can choose from five exterior colours, 16 inch alloys and if they splash out on a higher spec 'Exclusive' model, will get leather-style upholstery, heated front seats and driver's lumbar support.
And the cost for all this? Just £24,495 after the PiCG for the Excite model, and a mere £26,995 for the Exclusive model. It's available to buy right now.
Joining the MG line-up and adding a PHEV to its range is the HS. As with other PHEVs, it offers a usable electric-only range, suitable for commuting, with the backup of petrol power – not to mention a healthy total power output.
Under the bonnet is MG's 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol motor which powers the regular HS range. Assisting this is a 120bhp electric motor, bringing the total system output to 254bhp. Power goes to the front wheels through what is effectively a 10-speed auto transmission, with the petrol engine going through a regular six-speed auto, and the electric motor having its own four-speed electric drive unit.
The HS Plug-in will do 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, yet delivers an official 43g/km and a WLTP electric range of 32 miles. A Type 2 charger will charge the on-board battery from zero to full in three hours.
Practicality-wise, the HS is actually smaller than the MG5, despite its SUV proportions, but 448 litres with the seats up and 1375 with them folded is fairly capacious. Kit levels are also more generous than the estate car with a greater helping of soft-touch materials, rear reclining seats, rear air vents and USB outlets.
Up front a 10.1 inch touchscreen is standard and integrates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as displaying the images from a 360-degree parking camera. MG Pilot Driver Assistance is also standard, providing active emergency braking at up to 27mph, and mitigation braking above that speed. Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and blind spot assist help with stress-free mile munching and traffic jam assist follows the car in front at up to 35mph when things get bunched up. All of this, along with further driver alert systems is controlled by front-facing radar and camera.
The basic 'Excite' trim car gets 18 inch alloys, leather-style trim, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, auto headlights and wipers, keyless entry and dual zone climate control for £29,995. For £32,495 the 'Exclusive' version gets a power tailgate, panoramic sky roof, full leather with ambient interior lighting and LED lights. It goes on sale in October.