Well-earning its annual Middle East Car of the Year awards’ best Sub-Compact Sedan prize with the great value for money it offers, the MG 5 is the sort of car that is about to become more relevant in more markets than before. A compelling package of comfort, equipment and clean unpretentiously contemporary styling and appointment, the MG 5 ticks most boxes in a competitively affordable package, as value is set to become ever more important for car buyers in the wake of current world events and anticipated repercussions.
An honest, pleasant and utilitarian car, the MG 5 may not be quite as inspired as some of the Chinese owned and operated British brand’s MG 6 fastback saloon and HS SUV with their more expressive and shared design themes and spangled grille design. Instead, the MG 5’s design is however closer to the RX5 and RX8 SUVs with its strong straight lines and prominently tall, low and wide grille design and bold chrome slats. From side view its features a gently arcing roofline, deep lower crease and upper character line with Coke-bottle curves above the wheel-arches.
Perhaps bearing closer resemblance to sister brand Roewe’s cars than the MG 6 or HS, the MG 5 is powered by a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine behind its evocative octagonal badge and under its sharp bonnet creases. Driving the front wheels, it is competitively powered in the high value compact saloon segment, and develops 112BHP at 6,000rpm and 110lb/ft torque at 4,500rpm, which propels its 1,230kg mass to a 180km/h top speed and returns frugal 5.5l/100km combined cycle fuel economy. Meanwhile, the MG 5 is estimated to complete the 0-100km/h sprint in roughly around 11-seconds.
A smooth and responsive small engine with good low-end pick up, versatile mid-range and willing top-end, the MG 5’s 1.5-litre may not be hugely powerful, but it progressive in delivery and more generous than many competitors. Providing enough power for confident driving, the MG 5’s smooth delivery is seamless through its continually variable transmission, which fluently adjusts ratios either for maximum low rev efficiency when cruising. Meanwhile, for responsive acceleration CVT holds revs at an optimal point, which creates a sort of slingshot sensation as revs remain constant while the transmission ration changes.
A comfortable drive with good in class refinement and reassuring handling qualities, the MG 5 is an impressively user-friendly. During a short test drive, it proved to be smooth and stable on highway, with good noise, vibration and harshness isolation. Meanwhile in narrow streets and in traffic it was maneuverable, with light steering, good visibility and a tight turning circle for negotiating heavy traffic and tight parking. Ride quality was comfortable and well absorbed bumps, lumps and cracks, with optional 205/55R16 tyres finding a good compromise between a forgiving ride and good grip.
If not quite as sporty in dynamic disposition as the MG 6, the MG 5 nevertheless availed itself well in that regard during test drive, and more so delivers a reassuring and capable compromise between ride comfort and handling ability. Turning in tidy into corners with good grip and just decent enough steering feel, the MG 5 is agile and maneuverable in town. And while it may lean slightly through corners, it feels controlled and committed through corners. Meanwhile braking is confident, with rear disc brakes even in base specification, rather than drums.
Clean, uncluttered, user-friendly and pleasant inside, the MG 5’s cabin looks and feels more upmarket than prices suggest. Featuring decent quality plastics, trim and upholstering as well as a tidy design, the MG 5 doesn’t seem like a budget car, but more like a mid-range model. Seating is comfortable with good support, steering and seat adjustability and visibility, while front space, cabin access and its 512-litre luggage volume are generous. In the rear, space is good for its size and segment. Legroom is especially good, while rear headroom is good for most adults.
Well-equipped for this segment, the MG 5 is offered in three trim levels in the Middle East, with dusk-sensing headlights, power windows and mirrors, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control, child seat latches, tilt adjustable steering, remote central locking, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and driver and passenger airbags available across the board. Middle and top spec versions get an infotainment touchscreen system with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, and rear parking sensors and camera. The top spec model meanwhile receives leather upholstery, keyless entry, side and curtain airbags, and more.
- Engine: 1.5-litre, transverse 4-cylinders
- Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC
- Gearbox: Continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic, front-wheel-drive
- Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 112 (114)  @6,000rpm
- Specific power: 75BHP/litre
- Power-to-weight: 91BHP/tonne
- Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 110 (150) @4,500rpm
- Specific torque: 100Nm/litre
- Torque-to-weight: 122Nm/tonne
- 0-100km/h: 11-seconds (estimate)
- Top speed: 180km/h
- Fuel consumption, combined: 5.5-litres/100km
- Fuel capacity: 45-litres
- Length: 4,601mm
- Width: 1,818mm
- Height: 1,489mm
- Wheelbase: 2,680mm
- Luggage volume: 512-litres
- Kerb weight: 1,230kg
- Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts / torsion beam
- Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion
- Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs / discs
- Tyres: 205/55R16