MG Philippines recently invited several media outfits including ours to test drive a fleet of MG 5 to the province of Bataan, specifically to its highest elevated site which is the Mt. Samat Shrine. The MG 5 has been in the market for a few years now. Amidst the newer competition, I managed to find out that the MG 5 still manages to offer an indulgent drive.
The Mt. Samat Shrine is around 3 hours and 144 kilometers away from MG Makati. On the way up north, I decided to play the role of a passenger instead of the driver so I will be able to experience its comfort for myself. Traveling as a backseat passenger is comfortable because of its spacious cabin. Yes, this is positioned against subcompacts like the Toyota Vios or Honda City, but with its length of 4,601 mm, a width of 1,788 mm, and a long wheelbase of 2,680 mm, it’s actually nearly on par with larger compacts like the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla Altis. There’s even a 512-liter cargo area behind the rear seats, likewise on par with larger compacts.
It’s also worth noting that the air conditioning system of this mid-level MG 5 1.5 CVT Core I’ve been driving performs satisfactorily. The seating capacity of five persons including the driver is good enough for a starter family, though 2 persons in the backseat seem to be more ideal than sitting three. Maneuvering through the busy streets of Makati where you will encounter numerous swerving motorcycle riders is easy thanks to this variant’s 360-degree vehicle camera.
The MG 5 1.5L CVT Core (as shown in blue) price is quoted at ₱718,888. Paired with a CVT, getting up to speed is decent. The engine’s 112-horsepower output is nothing to be excited about, but it gets the job done. For a city driver like me, having a well-equipped automatic transmission car at around ₱700,000 is a good buy compared to other Japanese-made competitors which are relatively more expensive. If you are on a budget, MG offers the base-level Core MT. It is currently discounted at ₱598,000, which makes it one of the most affordable sedans on the market right now.
We then stopped by at the extraordinary Cafe Fleur in Angeles, Pampanga, and the food here was great. Heading back to the corrugated streets around the area, this became an opportune time to feel how the suspension system of this sedan performs. We even drove through light off-road conditions, and though we wouldn’t recommend anyone to do this to their sedan, it’s still a good way to highlight its good ride for the class.
As we drove through longer highway stretches, a quick stop-over at the nearby gas station for a tire check is easy thanks to its tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The MG 5 is one of the only cars in the segment to have this feature, the other being the Geely Emgrand. This segment of the drive also showed the easy smooth shifting of the CVT gearbox. Its refinement is also good as cabin noise is not too obtrusive, which meant I had a relaxing ride until we reached La Jolla Luxury Beach Resort where we were billeted to stay before we drive up to the extraordinary mountain heritage of Mt. Samat.
An early morning drive on the second day of the event, we then proceeded to Mt. Samat Shrine, but a side-tour to a new extraordinary tourist destination which is called “Bataan-es” in the high-peak town of Bagac, as the name is synonymous with the ambiance of the highlands of the original Batanes province which is a welcome idea to further test the engine uphill power capability of the MG 5.
The MG 5 performed well enough when it tackled the twisty and winding roads leading to “Bataan-es” and to the highest point in Mt. Samat. The steering is soft and the throttle power responds well enough to scale the highest portions of the route. Since we are just two inside the car, we were not able to measure the car’s strength if it were to be fully loaded.
The third and final day of the event was allotted for an extraordinary rest and recreation after a safe well-managed road trip up to the summit and going down to the coastline resort of Bataan. As we went back to Manila in the afternoon, I can safely say that for its size and price, the MG 5 1.5 CVT Core is adequately well equipped, making it a good value for money. Features like projector headlamps, rear defogger, foldable rear seats, manual aircon, cruise control, tilt-adjustable multi-functional steering wheel, 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and four speakers, as well as a tire pressure monitoring system, just to name a few, make the MG 5 1.5 CVT Core variant a credible choice compared to other equally-priced subcompact sedans.