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Why the MG 5 is a solid, best-in-class contender
LAUNCHED back in September 2019, it’s hard to believe that the MG 5 is already almost two years old. It still looks fresh and head-turning as the smaller of two MG sedans that the venerable (now Chinese-owned) British brand has brought to the Philippines. The bigger sibling, in case you’re wondering, is the MG 6 fastback/liftback turbocharged five-door compact sedan.
The MG 5 falls under the highly competitive subcompact class, currently dominated by the Toyota Vios and populated by other strong players like the Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda City, Mazda2, Suzuki Ciaz, Nissan Almera, Hyundai Accent and Reina, Kia Rio and Soluto, and the Volkswagen Santana.
But the MG 5 has more than what it takes to hold off the competition. Here’s why:
While the Japanese car brands have steadfastly adhered to their native country’s design languages, the Chinese (and Korean) brands have gone all-out European. So if you’re a fan of European design themes, then you’ll fall for the MG 5, which blends an Audi’s minimalism with a Jaguar’s sensuousness.
The front has serious-looking headlamps and a boldly large grille — a description that applies to pretty much any luxury car maker from Germany — while the side is devoid of extraneous curves and bulges but only has one continuous and gracefully curving character line that stretches from the tip of the headlamps to the tip of the taillights. Very tasteful and elegant.
LED headlamps and taillamps add even more upmarket distinctiveness — as do handsome 16-inch alloy wheels (for the Style and Alpha variants).
The MG 5 subcompact sedan punches above its weight with its class-leading dimensions, endowing it with cabin space — especially legroom — that’s almost comparable to one-size-bigger compact sedans.
Much of the credit goes to its generous 2,680mm wheelbase — less than an inch shorter than the one-class-higher Honda Civic’s. The low center hump on the floor of the MG 5’s rear seats helps a lot, too.
A legitimate case can be made for the MG 5 being the best-equipped model in the subcompact class. In fact, it gives some bigger compact cars a run for their money. Key features include a user-friendly 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that runs both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; 360-degree vehicle view, which gives drivers a bird’s-eye view of their car, making it easier to maneuver around tight spaces; a power driver’s seat; and auto on/off headlamps.
More safety and convenience features include dual air bags, four-wheel disc brakes, hill start assist, auto brake hold, a push start/stop button, cruise control, electronic climate control, a tire pressure monitoring system, a reversing camera, and a sunroof.
Under the hood of the MG 5 is a responsive yet smooth and fuel-efficient 1.5-liter, DOHC 16V, naturally aspirated engine that produces 114ps and a best-in-class torque output of 150Nm. The MG 5 is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or my test unit’s CVT gearbox with manual mode. The CVT works smoothly enough, but it still has a bit of lag, making me wish for a conventional automatic. A CVT, however, delivers better fuel economy than an old-school automatic. The car averaged an excellent 9kpl in predominantly city driving.
It’s also priced to sell. The MG 5 starts at an unbelievably low P658,888 for the entry-level Core M/T. The other three variants all have CVTs, starting with the Core at P718,888, the Style at P848,888, topping out with the flagship Alpha at P938,888. While the Core obviously offers the biggest bang for the buck, springing for the Style or Alpha lets you enjoy more toys (and that bigger size) than their equivalent rivals from other brands.
The car’s already high value proposition is further supplemented by MG Philippines’ premium after-sales offers and services. These include a five-year/100,000km warranty and one-year free periodic maintenance service (PMS). MG owners can also download the My MG mobile app, which allows them to easily schedule vehicle servicing appointments through their smartphones. They can also use the app to book a visit from a Mobile Garage service caravan that provides MG owners with vehicle home service for major technical issues. MG Hero Services, on the other hand, provide 24/7 roadside support through the MG Philippines hotline (02 5328-4664).
All things considered, the MG 5 is one hugely compelling sedan. If the looks don’t hook you, the price, the performance, or the wealth of features (or all of the above) will.