It’s the news you’ve all been waiting for – MG Motor has announced the RX5, a new compact SUV.
Okay, it’s not the biggest news of the week, but it’s interesting for a number of reasons.
MG, in case you didn’t know, used to be a much-celebrated purveyor of interesting British sports cars. They weren’t always reliable, but they were often great to drive, and they looked brilliant.
Alas, the efforts weren’t enough to stop the company from folding. But eventually, the marque was bought by SAIC Motor, a big Chinese carmaker. And SAIC has, over the past couple of years, tried to revive the old British brand.
The thing is, these days, MG doesn’t produce stand-out British sports cars. Essentially, what it makes now is re-worked versions of existing SAIC cars.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. The benefit of this arrangement is that, for once, MG actually has the backing of a big international carmaker. What’s more, the cars in the current range are extremely good value. We tested the GS, MG’s first SUV, last year and we were blown away by the refinement of the thing. It’s as good as the Toyota RAV4, but costs about a quarter less.
And so we come to the RX5, the brand’s new flagship SUV. And, sticking to that new MG tradition, it’s cheap. Really cheap. According to MG, when this thing launches in the Middle East next month, it’ll start at around $14,200 – or AED 52,000.
For that, you’ll get a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine that develops 169 bhp and 250 Nm of torque, mated to a seven-speed transmission. MG didn’t provide performance figures for this base model, but we reckon you’ll be looking at a 0-100 km/h time of about 10 seconds, which isn’t bad for a little over AED 50,000.
And the base model doesn’t scrimp on tech either. As standard, you get an 8-inch colour navigation infotainment system, as well as keyless entry, a remote boot lid and climate control. There’s also a four-wheel drive system that, MG claims, “guarantees impressive off-road performance”. We’ll have to get back to you on that claim.
Anyway, push the boat out a little, and you can have your RX5 with a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, which develops 221 bhp and 350 Nm of torque. That means your little SUV will be good for 0-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds. Oh, and you’ll get a 10.4-inch HD infotainment screen nestled in the centre console.
Interior-wise, the RX5 looks nice enough. MG has gone for Volvo-like simplicity, but everything seems to be in order. And on the outside, there’s nothing horrendously offensive about the looks, but the RX5 isn’t exactly a head-turner either.
Still, with the base price so low, we’re very interested in finding out how this thing drives. After all, who doesn’t love a good deal?