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When the phone rang and MG invited us to test drive the all-new MG 5 as part of our Middle East Car of The Year (MECOTY) nominations, little did we know that we’d be given a free drive schedule. With no particular route in mind, we decided to take the busy and traffic-filled route through Al Quoz and Al Khail Road into Business Bay, because after all, what better measure of comfort than when stuck in traffic, right?
MG’s rebuttal to the Hyundai Accent, Nissan Sunny and Toyota Yaris, the MG 5 is a compact sedan whose approach to winning customers is quite clear. Big on features and at a price that is almost too good to be true, the MG 5 offers a value proposition that its rivals simply cannot match.
Like all other models in the MG line-up, the MG 5 is well designed and looks far more expensive than it truly is. With LED headlights encompassed by sleek Daytime Running Lights and well-integrated into the design of the chrome grille, the MG 5 leaves an extremely positive first impression. The sentiments tend to continue all around with sharp creases in the bodywork and a beautiful set of alloy wheels filling the wheel wells.
No different on the interior, the MG 5 continues to impress with the overall quality and design. Modern and minimalistic, there aren’t many buttons along the dashboard or center console, instead, there’s a sizable 10.1-inch infotainment screen that is used to control everything from the radio and climate control system to individual car settings and Bluetooth telephony.
What the MG 5 lacks in rear A/C vents and an adjustable steering column, it more than makes up for with electric leather seats, cruise control, electric parking brake with auto hold, sunroof, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and around view camera that makes parking easier. Is there much more you can expect at just 48,000 Dirhams? We don’t think so.
The 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that powers the MG 5, is mated a CVT gearbox and produces 118 horsepower and 150 Nm of torque. While the numbers might not sound like much, they are plenty when cruising at city speeds, or when stuck in traffic, like we were. Once we broke away and made our way to lesser congested roads, we began experimenting with the three steering modes and two drive modes available.
The steering modes (Urban, Normal, Dynamic) progressively add weight to the steering, for a more engaging drive, while the drive modes (Normal and Eco) alter the responsiveness of the accelerator pedal. What was also instantly noticeable was that the digital and analogue speedometer readings weren’t calibrated. As seen in the image above, there was always a 5km/h difference in the two readings. Which one was actually correct? We’re not sure.
With a starting price of 38,850 Dirhams going up to 48,000 Dirhams for the fully loaded model, the MG 5 offers buyers a feature packed vehicle at a price that its rivals cannot match. Is it perfect? Definitely not, but its shortcomings can be overlooked for the thousands you’d save by opting for the MG 5 over its Japanese or Korean rivals.