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The MG RX5 is a sleeper in the compact-SUV segment

But that might change soon
PHOTO: Jason Tulio

MG? Seems like they’re the talk of the town lately. 

Yup. The brand’s been around in the Philippines for a while, but it wasn’t until its recent resurgence that it has caught the public’s attention. Late last year, MG came under the umbrella of The Covenant Car Company, the same group in charge of Chevrolet. Since then, there has been a heavy marketing push for the brand, and you’ll have no doubt seen the billboards on EDSA and C5. 

Gotcha. So what’s the RX5, then?

The RX5 is the biggest vehicle in MG’s existing three-car lineup, falling into compact-SUV territory. And to be honest, we were surprised when we first saw it. The Morris Garages name might be British, but it has been Chinese-owned for some time now. Still, at least in relation to other Chinese-made offerings in the country, MG’s emphasis on premium design makes you think twice about its price point.

Up front is a big chrome grille and a pair of halogen headlamps with LED daytime running lights. The hood gets deep strakes, while sharp lines on the body give the curvy SUV a bit of shape. The rear styling is straight out of BMW’s playbook, including the taillamps, the high beltline on the rear windshield, and the jutted hatch door. Build quality is solid, too, which you can feel with the heavy thud of the doors.

Is it just as good on the inside?

Yes. The five-seater comes with a cream leather-lined cabin, with the leather trim extending to the steering wheel and the door panels. Standard features include manually adjustable seats, power windows, and electronic climate control. In the middle of the dash sits an eight-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay. The RX5’s interior fulfills all your standard needs, and it has plenty of space as well. In the trunk, you get 595 liters of cargo space with the seats upright and 1,639 liters with them folded.

What’s it like to drive?

The RX5 makes no pretense about what it was designed for. With a 1.5-liter turbopetrol under the hood (167hp250Nm) delivering power to the front wheels, this is clearly a compact SUV intended for city use. Shifting via the top-of-the-line variant’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is quick and seamless, while the steering is rather light given the vehicle’s size. The power comes on gradually, but once it does, you’ll reach city-appropriate speeds easily enough.

A handy feature on this variant is the auto-hold function—a godsend in heavy traffic. Ride comfort, even on pockmarked roads, is also quite good.

Okay. So, how much is it? 

The base RX5 MT Core goes for P1,058,888, while the higher-spec AT Style costs P1,228,888That’s Honda HR-V territory, except that the RX5 is actually competing with the likes of the CR-V. While it doesn’t quite stack up well against its competitors in a spec-sheet brawl, its price will certainly attract more than a few buyers. With more and more MGs popping up on the streets, the brand’s onslaught looks set to continue. 

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PHOTO: Jason Tulio
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