The 5 can still claim to be the first fully electric estate car on sale, narrowly beating the far pricier Taycan Sport Turismo. Right now, these are still your choices if you want a practical electric family wagon without the domineering height of an SUV.
But these are at very different ends of the spectrum - not least because the Porsche will turn every head while the outgoing MG5 was blander than Baked Beans.
The new model certainly has a little more visual appeal, which an updated look which is far more modern. Compared to the more style-led crossover market there’s little in the way of sex appeal but it is uncontroversial and handsome.
What customers of the existing car will find attractive are the changes to the new model which answer many of their criticisms. First, there's the tech. Like its big brother, the ZS EV and the smaller MG4, the new 5 gets an updated infotainment system which includes the ability to connect to an app and set charging times and a pre-heater. You can also check your charge status on your phone, or you can now also look at an LED indicator next to the charge port.
On the inside two large screens dominate the dashboard inside and the material selection is anything but cheap. Yes, the MG looks more old-fashioned than the ID models from Volkswagen, for example. But in many areas the actual quality feels like a step up from the Volkswagens, and certainly the switches and infotainment systems are easier to use.
Despite looking very different, the MG5 hasn’t really changed under the skin. There’s the same 154bhp motor driving the front wheels, and although you’d never mistake this car as being sporty, it’s perfectly quick enough.
Interestingly, although the motor is the same, there have been some tweaks to the way it delivers its power, so MG5 version 2 is actually a bit quicker than before. Dropping the zero to 62mph time from just under nine seconds to 7.7 doesn’t sound like much, but you can definitely notice it. In fact it feels a little too fast sometimes. We reckon it’s actually a bit faster than MG claim, and that means the front wheels do scrabble for grip sometimes.
But the price has also gone up – by between £1,300 and £1,500. What do you get for that? Well, the Excite model becomes SE and now has LED lights front and back, lumbar support for the (very comfy) driver's seat, that iSMART connected car feature, and new bigger screens. There are also roof bars and a 500kg towing capacity - this is the first time the 5 can tow.
The Exclusive becomes a Trophy and is £1,500 more than before. For that you get all of the extra bits the SE has, plus 17” alloys, a 360 degree parking camera and privacy glass.
The noticeable change with this version - a top-of the-range Trophy - is those 17 inch wheels. The old car and the lesser SE version have 16-inch. That means you get an inch less squishiness in the tyres, which sharpens up the steering feel but means you feel the car fidgeting more. The old MG5 was very refined and absorbed nasty bumps beautifully. The new Trophy doesn’t seem to do nearly as well. There appears to be more tyre roar too, and a bit of wind noise.
None of it is terrible, but we suspect the cheaper SE will be a nicer car to drive, if not quite as bling. We’ll let you know when we try one.
Charging is at a relaxed pace too. While the basic version only charges with up to 70 kW, the top-spec MG5 can take up to 87 kW. That's on a par with models from Kia.
What the MG lacks in prestige and outright fun, it compensates with its practical virtues, and it’s very spacious for a car of its size. The boot has a deep step behind the loading sill but holds 479 litres of luggage, which can be expanded to 1,367 litres in two simple steps by folding the asymmetrically divided rear seat. This still leaves a 'hump' though as the seats don't fold flat. There is a sizable hump, but it does squash down slightly when a heavy object it put on top, although it's never enough to make it level. This might only be a niggle if you are trying to load large items such as a Ikea purchase.
And there’s a hidden little detail that makes it stand out from other estate cars: a 220-volt socket. Those using the 5 as a zero-emissions work machine can power their tools outdoors without lots of unsightly extension leads. It will make you king of the campsite too, running everything from a hairdryer to a fridge in the middle of a field.
The MG5 might not have the class to itself for long. While rival manufacturers launched their electric future with top-selling SUVs, they’re slowly re-embracing the humble estate car as their electric offerings expand - not least because they have seen the success of the MG.
As well as the promise arrival of an electrified Vauxhall Astra Sport Tourer, Volkswagen is planning an estate version of its electric alternative to the Passat – as the flagship of the European ID family – while Audi has previewed an A6 Avant e-tron which will go into production in less than two years. For now, though, the MG5 remains an appealingly practical and relaxing car which deserves its popularity.