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MG still a good choice for EVs

Earlier this year, MG celebrated its EV delivery milestone in Thailand with 10,000 electric vehicles sold here during the past five years. While the first electric MG sold in Thailand was the ZS EV back in 2019, the company started expanding its electric car line-up with additional models such as the EP station wagon, MG4 hatchback, MAXUS9 van and the ES featured in this review.

Sold as the MG5 Electric in Europe, the ES is targeted at family-oriented customers. MG says that while the latest developments in the EV segment are offered in the more expensive premium class, there is an increasing demand for all-electric family cars that are more affordable to the general public, leading to models like the MG5/ES — the world’s first electric station wagon.

Design

The ES has a length of 4,600 millimetres, a width of 1,818mm and height of 1,543mm, along with a wheelbase of 2,665mm.

In general, the ES looks like a regular C-segment station wagon — if it wasn’t for the charging flap at the front it would be difficult to tell it’s an EV.

While the front end gets pretty dynamic styling with a vertical grille below the bumper, the rest of the car appears mellow and low-profile. Headlights are automatic switching LEDs while the LED tail lights feature curtain design and arrow direction markers. There’s also a rear spoiler that also houses the third brake light.

The window frames and door handles are garnished with chrome while the roof rails are able to carry an additional 75kg of luggage. The luggage compartment provides 479 litres of space, which can be increased to 1,367 litres with the second-row backrests folded (they don’t fold totally flat), and although the tailgate can be unlocked via the remote, it ironically isn’t electrically-powered when it comes to the opening and closing mechanisms.

The interior has a black synthetic leather upholstery theme along with blue strip across the cabin and air vents, plus soft touch areas and padded denim fabric. Plastics are of average quality, although the dual-layer console not only looks modern, but also offers lots of added storage space.

The flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel can be adjusted for both reach and rake. It houses controls for a large number of systems, including nine ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), cruise control and car menu. There’s a smart 7-inch colour digital driver display along with a 10.25-inch centre touchscreen that also serves as touch controls for the air-conditioning system (which comes with PM 2.5 filter but has no automatic function). There are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (cable), USB-A and USB-C ports in the front and rear.

The position of the touchscreen is rather low on the centre console, which makes it easier to reach, but at the same time not only makes it difficult to view while driving but also pushes the centre air vents down as well.

Like the door panels, the seats also get synthetic leather/denim upholstery, with the front pair getting electric adjustment. There’s plenty of back support (driver gets lumbar adjustment too) and the seat height is just right when getting in and out. Rear passengers get air vents as well as a centre armrest with cupholder.

The V2L (vehicle-to-Load) system has a max output of 2,200 watts and can charge all sorts of devices or even another EV.

The i-SMART (Lite version) features various functions, including vehicle status check, electronic fence and charging station search, while the ‘Smart Command’ function allows you to send others a digital key, operate air-conditioner remotely or make an emergency call.

Performance

The drive system of the ES, placed under the bonnet, comprises a new-generation permanent magnet electric motor with 177 horsepower and 280Nm of torque that can be utilised instantly.

The 51kWh battery is able to power the ES for approximately 320kms (WLTP), which isn’t great by any means (MG has not offered the long-range version that has a slightly larger battery and longer range of 400kms (WLTP).

The onboard charger allows for quick charging (0-80%) in 40 minutes and normal charging in roughly seven hours. Both the electric motor and battery are liquid-cooled.

In terms of performance the ES can accelerate from 0-100kph in 8.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 183kph, which is pretty average for an electric car. Acceleration may not be eye-popping like more expensive EVs, but there is enough torque to not feel slow in the ES when driving around in comfort mode.

The driver has a choice of three KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) levels to choose from, in order to suit their driving preference. Driving mode and KERS can be selected conveniently via switches above the transmission selector dial.

The suspension comprises a McPherson strut and stabiliser up front and torsion beam at the rear that’s Euro-tuned and fun to drive. The steering-suspension does offer a good level of driver enjoyment, although there’s a degree of harshness hidden in the generally comfortable ride when driving over bumps. Brakes are discs all-round, while the 17-inch wheels are mated to 215/50 tyres.

Verdict

The MG ES is a practical electric station wagon that’s affordable and offers users the benefits of an electric car and an estate, but without as much luxury as more expensive EVs.

Pros: Affordable, decent handling, comprehensive ADAS Cons: Conservative styling, mediocre range, manual tailgate

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