If the recent return of traffic jams, the influx of holiday adverts on television, and Commons debates about getting bums back on office seats are anything to go by, then travel is back on the agenda. And for those of us who are driving for work, it’s more likely than ever that we’ll be plugging in, rather than filling up, at each end of the journey.
Fleets have always been at the forefront of the shift to electric vehicles, and they’re still ahead of the curve. According to the SMMT, two thirds of plug-in vehicles were registered to fleets and businesses in 2021, in part because of new company car tax incentives for making the switch. Not surprisingly, with a range of plug-in hybrid and electric cars, MG wants a slice of that pie.
This is a broad market, and it doesn’t necessarily follow wider trends. Some companies still don’t allow SUVs as company cars, and there’s still a significant market for estates among drivers with a job need for the space they offer. That ruthlessly practicality-focused, often high-mileage, user group is where a large share of new Focus, Octavia and Golf estates begin their working lives. It’s also a big opportunity for the MG 5. Tax savings alone make it hard to overlook. Company car tax (whether that’s Benefit-in-Kind for drivers or National Insurance contributions for employers) is based on a CO2-weighted percentage of the list price – the cheaper and more efficient the car is, the lower the tax bill – and MG scores well in both columns. It’s the only electric product in its segment, and there isn’t much of a price gap compared to its fuel-burning rivals.
In turn, whereas a similarly sized petrol or diesel estate would cost a 20% income taxpayer more than £1,500 per year in company car tax, our MG 5 comes in at £128. Even the fleet-focused Skoda Octavia iV SE Business – a plug-in hybrid – comes in at £540. Businesses also get generous tax breaks for leasing vehicles with CO2 emissions of 50g/km
or less, and a similar percentage reduction in National Insurance contributions to their drivers.
Those incentives also don’t come with the compromises they used to. The MG is a quiet, comfortable, and well-appointed long-distance car and, even in the depths of winter, I’ve had 200 motorway miles from a full charge. With selective rapid charging, I can usually recover enough of that range to get home in the time it takes to catch up on the e-mails I’ve missed while I’ve been driving.
In a demanding corner of the market, the MG’s only real drawback is a smaller load area than some of its rivals. Otherwise, this is a totally unchallenging way to make the switch to battery power.
Arrived 10th December 2021
Price when new £30,445
Price as tested £30,990
Range 250 miles
Costs None Faults None