MG 5: Chinese brand details safety fixes for Australia

The MG 5 received one of the few zero-star ratings ever issued by safety authority ANCAP, but its maker is making changes to avoid a repeat performance.

MG is deploying a range of fixes in 2024, both hardware and software, as part of a $4 million upgrade of the recently introduced small sedan.

Given the investment, it appears possible MG will have the vehicle re-tested by ANCAP with the aim of getting a better score.

The new features will be standard across the range, but MG hasn’t confirmed whether there will be corresponding price increases.

It also hasn’t confirmed when during 2024 the updated model will launch.

In addition to previously confirmed software upgrades, MG plans to add seatbelt pre-tensioners, to allow help firmly secure occupants in the event of a collision, and dynamic load tensioners that MG says will help manage the force exerted on seat belts during a collision.

MG will also add a “calf protection panel” to sit under the front bumper to minimise the level of injury to pedestrians in a crash.

Software upgrades will include lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, and intelligent speed assist.

While the MG 5 already has autonomous emergency braking – the only active safety feature it does have – this will be upgraded to a more sophisticated system that includes pedestrian, cyclist, and motorcyclist detection and junction assist.

The MG 5 will also get an occupant monitoring feature.

Not included in the upgrades, however, are blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. These aren’t available on Chinese-built MG 5 sedans, apart from the restyled MG 5 Scorpio.

MG confirmed just days before the MG 5’s test result was published by ANCAP that it was adding safety equipment to the sedan, though it didn’t specify just what would come in this option pack.

The MG 5 is currently the only vehicle in its segment in Australia to not offer adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist or rear cross-traffic alert in any variant.

That led to a safety assist score of just 13 per cent from ANCAP. However, the safety authority also gave the MG 5 scores of just 37 per cent for adult occupant protection, as well as 58 per cent for child occupant protection and 42 per cent for vulnerable road user protection.

ANCAP claims the MG 5 would be unable to achieve a safety rating “any higher than zero stars” due to its active collision avoidance performance, as well as its physical crash protection.

While the MG 5 betters the cheaper MG 3 and ZS in offering standard AEB, it’s a far cry from even other MGs like the ZST which offer a comprehensive suite of active safety and driver assist technology under the MG Pilot name.

The shorter equipment list may have helped MG keep the sedan’s price down, however.

The MG 5 is priced at $24,990 drive-away in base Vibe trim, making it Australia’s cheapest sedan – undercutting the smaller Mazda 2 G15 Pure, priced at $24,720 before on-road costs.

The flagship Essence is priced at $28,990 drive-away. For context, the Kia Cerato starts at $27,890 drive-away.

In November, MG sold more of its two-model MG 5 range than Mazda did of its entire 3 line-up (758 sales vs. 654). It also came close to matching the Kia Cerato range (782 sales).

Sales only began in August, and already MG has sold 1888 examples, putting it narrowly behind the Subaru Impreza (1951 sales).

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