The MG5 is a lot of car for it’s price
To be very honest, I’m in the market for a second car. Scratch that, our family is in the market for a second car.
Now that face-to-face school has started, I've been looking around for another car for my family as we currently only own one. A back-up, so to speak. That’s not a “flex”. During the time when work and school were done from home, having only one vehicle was very practical. We only went out when it was essential.
I don't want a big and expensive SUV. The two years of having no DJ gigs have forced me to tighten my belt, that's why a small sedan has become more appealing when it comes to the family budget.
With my knowledge of the local car market, window shopping is a must. There are many choices out there. I checked out vehicles like the Toyota Vios, Mitsubishi Mirage G4, and Nissan Almera. That's the Japanese side. There were other models like the Kia Soluto, Hyundai Reina, and GAC GA4.
What piqued my interest though was the sedan from MG: the MG5.
Many sneer at the idea of MG. Yes, it started out as something very Brit, but it's now owned by China's SAIC. But that's not exactly turning customers away; we can tell by the number of examples we're seeing on the road. Maybe it also has something to do with the distributor. In the Philippines, the same company that handles Volvo and Chevrolet is also responsible for MG.
We have a feeling that it's really the pricing. Being made in China does give it a huge edge in value, and we got to experience that when they handed us the keys to this particular variant of the MG5. Even with its features, it costs just PHP 738,000. If you're in the market for a subcompact sedan, you'll know that's very reasonable.
But we'd rather experience it for ourselves. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
Walking up to it for the first time at MG Makati, I thought to myself: Man, this car is a looker. I found myself already thinking of what a good wheel and tire combination would compliment the sleek lines of the car. The grille and projector headlight combo really gives off that sporty vibe and combined with the rear taillights, ups that curb appeal which will make heads turn. My younger partner Jamil from AutoIndustriya though was a little unimpressed. He's young, and he doesn't like chrome.
As we made our way out of Makati, one thing was clear: this car felt bigger than its class rivals. Yes, this is a subcompact sedan but it’s actually nearing the size of a regular compact maybe a generation or two ago. You could get a sense of the size of the car when we got on NLEX and SCTEX, most of the smaller cars moved out of the way and let us pass for some weird reason. Maybe it was the bling on the grille.
Most of the cars I mentioned earlier had decent trunks but the MG5’s was cavernous compared to theirs. I can already imagine going outlet shopping at Subic or Clark with my little two boys and have no problem hiding errr, storing the stuff we bought in the trunk for the wife not to see.
Now being a family of four -plus one dog- I found the interior spacious enough for my family. With my two boys and our dog in the back plus the wifey in the front, drives to the house of my in-laws would be comfy enough because of the faux leather seats and cold air-conditioning. Having a dog in the car might cause some scratches on the plastics and even the leather seats. But for now, the only dawg with me was Jamil, and he was still busy looking at his phone.
It may be rocking a 10-inch screen but the infotainment system itself is pretty basic. But no matter, there is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built in so we could hook up our smartphones and listen to our tunes. Sadly though, these apps aren’t wireless so some cable sharing will be in effect. And mind you, it was picky with the cables. No worries though, as I'm pretty picky about speaker sound quality too, and these seem to pass my DJ standards. But only just.
Being a small vehicle, the MG5 comes with a 1.5-liter engine which I found responsive; this was very evident when we took the car through the twisties going up Mt. Samat and the hills of “Bataanes". However, the car felt like it would hold back the power before releasing it which felt like a rubber band on the lower gears. That's actually an odd behavior of the CVT.
What’s nice is it wouldn’t be guzzling gas so those out-of-town getaways won’t be hard on the wallet. I may also finally get to use the cruise control feature for those really long drives. I wish I could say we checked the fuel eco, but we really just didn't care at this point in time. The CVT may not be outstanding, but after last Friday's basketball game with the boys, I'm just thankful my knees won't have to put up with a manual transmission for this price.
The steering was light, while the handling and suspension were average. The car had a lot of safety features like ABS and airbags which the wife would approve of. I'm sure she would wish this one had the 360 camera, but that's reserved for the higher variants. Most times, I will be the one driving but when I’m not there I know that my wife and maybe my son (eventually) will be able to handle the car with ease.
When we got to La Jolla in Bataan, it was a good opportunity to take stock of the experience. The MG5 isn't an exciting drive. Far from it. But that's not what it's supposed to be.
What they have is a practical, spacious, well-equipped, and comfortable daily driver. It ticks most of the boxes that define a sensible family car, but even more so with the price and the maintenance. Peace of mind comes with that 5 year vehicle warranty and that free one year PMS. That counts for a lot.
Before this drive, MG wasn’t even on my shortlist, but now I'm coming around to trying a brand that isn't quite mainstream yet. As for the wife, I don't know. I might get a green light if I take her around in the version with the sunroof.