MG Philippines has been steadily attracting a following thanks to its bang-for-the-buck lineup and the backing of a well-known distributor in The Covenant Car Company, the folks behind Chevrolet Philippines. The cars’ sleekly modern styling is of course one of the ingredients for success, too.
The MG RX5 is the brand’s flagship offering in the Philippines. Flagship here means compact SUV, as MG is leaning towards smaller vehicles. And, in this instance, flagship doesn’t mean an eye-watering price. The RX5 starts at P1,058,888 for the manual-transmission, while the top-range automatic is at P1,228,888.00
That price usually means a subcompact crossover, but in the MG’s case, you get a vehicle that’s about the size of a Subaru Forester. Wheelbase is a commendably long 2700mm, translating to greater interior space. The cabin feels expansive, both for the front and rear seat passengers. The rear seat is somewhat short on thigh support, but there’s plenty of kneeroom and elbow room.
Styling, as in the other MGs, is derivative, but at least they have learned from the best. The MG looks Teutonic front and rear, with a three-bar grille and LED headlamps up front. Cover up the RX5’s badge, or maybe its first letter, and you might think it’s a German car based on its looks.
The drivetrain is different from the usual offerings, in that it’s a turbocharged gasoline engine with 1.5-liter displacement. This is good for 169ps and 250Nm. Drive goes to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The dual-clutch setup sometimes feels hesitant when fed quick and varying throttle inputs. This usually happens in stop-and-go traffic. Once the car gets moving, the drivetrain behaves smoothly. The RX5 accelerates confidently to 100kph+ speeds. During our drive, we recorded 7.1 km/liter in city driving.
The top-level Style variant gets leather seats, a cabin-length panoramic glass moonroof, and smart key with passive entry and pushbutton start. Standard for even the Core base model are 8-inch touchscreen audio with Apple CarPlay, flat-bottom steering wheel with multifunction switches, electronic climate control, reversing camera, rear parkign sensors, and alarm system with immobilizer.
Suspension setup is McPherson struts up front, and independent multi-link in the rear. Safety features include electronic stability program, cornering brake control, hill hold, hill descent, and tire pressure montioring system.
As expected for a compact SUV, the trunk is capacious, with 595 liters with the rear seat up. The rear seat can be split-folded, with up to 1639 liters available once it’s down. There are also storage cubbies to the side and even below the cargo area’s floor. The only downside is a rather high liftover for the cargo area.
The assembly quality of the MG RX5, built by China’s SAIC group, feels tight and solid. The next question may very well be, for how long, and this is where MG Philippines’ 5-year, 100,000km-warranty comes in. MG is also providing 24/7 customer care center and quick service facilities for its cars.
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