The rise of the SUV is relentless, but sometimes a good old station wagon is the most practical solution for families and business users.
With enough space to transport five people, plus room in the boot for a dog and/or luggage, the lower ride height makes loading and unloading larger items easier, while the total space available is often longer too.
With all that in mind, it’s surprising that the only 100% electric estate car on the market at present is the MG5 EV.
A recent makeover has worked wonders for the Chinese-made vehicle which is available in two specs – SE Long Range or Trophy Long Range. Both are identical mechanically – the latter simply comes with more goodies, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and rear privacy glass.
That’s not to say the that the SE isn’t well equipped – a 10.25-inch centre touchscreen, 7.0-inch digital driver’s display, MG Pilot (an extensive suite of safety and driver assistance features), plus automatic LED headlights and tail-lights, roof rails, rear parking camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are all standard.
The facelift has helped inside too, refreshing the previously slightly dated interior.
One thing there’s no debate over is the space on offer. The large boot, accessed via a wide tailgate opening, delivers a maximum 578 litres of capacity (loaded to the roof), rising to 1,367 litres with the 60:40 rear seats folded down.
Additionally, there’s also plenty of room inside for up to five passengers, with two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points in the back.
The cabin certainly feels more modern. It’s also well put together, though there is a fair amount of hard black plastic up high.
Slip inside and there’s a refreshingly low, comfortable driving position, if you so wish. Naturally, it’s simple to drive with an intuitively laid out dashboard and controls. Just select ‘D’ on the dinky dial in the centre console and away you go.
The steering is light too, making town driving a doddle, while long journeys are effortless and relaxing.
There’s a choice of Eco, Normal and Sport, but I found that Eco was just fine. There are also three levels of regenerative braking to choose from, so adding the odd mile when coasting, braking or on downhill stretches is very possible.
With a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds, it’s no slouch either, which might surprise the odd hot hatch driver off the lights.
Needless to say, there’s no engine noise, and the MG5 does a good job of keeping the outside world outside with little tyre, traffic and wind noise penetrating the cabin.
However, it’s no match for a conventionally-powered estate like a Ford Focus in the handling department. Thanks to its soft suspension, it will lean in faster corners, and even become a little unsettled if pushed hard on challenging country roads.
But then, it not meant to compete with the BMW Tourings of this world – the MG5 is all about value for money and zero emissions.
The MG5 can be fully charged overnight at home or to 80% at a 50kW fast charger in 50 minutes (or in 40 minutes via a 100kW rapid charger).
I didn’t quite manage the claimed range, but I’d say close on 200 miles is realistic, which is more than enough for most drivers.
As with all MG models, there’s peace of mind too because it comes with a generous seven-year/80,000-mile warranty.
And if safety is a priority, then you’re in for a treat. The MG Pilot suite includes AEB (autonomous emergency braking), adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic headlights.
Additionally, the MG5 comes with MG iSMART – an app that allows you to control many functions including charging, checking your vehicle status, finding your nearest charging point, as well as pre-starting the climate control to cool or heat your car.
In a nutshell, the MG5 EV offers big bang for your buck.