2024 MG 5 Vibe Review
Price & Equipment:5
Performance & Economy:6
Ride & Handling:8
Interior & Practicality:7
Service & Warranty:9
What we like:
  • There are few new cars at this price point
  • Great warranty and service package
  • Roomy and practical interior
What we don't like:
  • Shocking safety credentials
  • Not particularly efficient
  • Performance merely adequate
7DiscoverAuto Rating:

If there are three things that completely go against Australian automotive trends of recent times, it would be passenger vehicles, sedans and affordable cars – meaning that the all new (to Australia) 2024 MG 5 Vibe, an affordable sedan, is a refreshing bucking of the trend where passenger vehicles seem to get little love.  

MG has gone from strength to strength with sales in Australia, with the MG 3 being one of the only light vehicles selling well and both the MG HS and MG ZS doing well in their segments too. Against the tide of the continued rising prices of new vehicles and the new car stock shortage fuelled premiums on used cars, MG’s value-oriented range has been resonating well with Australians. The MG 5 was introduced in other markets like China in 2020, but only went on sale on the Australian market mid 2023. As the cheapest sedan on the Australian market, is MG onto another winner with the MG 5? Read on to see.

How much does the 2024 MG 5 Vibe cost?

Our test car, a 2024 MG 5 Vibe is the entry to the two model MG 5 range, is priced at a sharp $24,990 drive away – the range tops out with the $28,990 MG 5 Essence

MG 5 Vibe standard equipment:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels 
  • Remote keyless entry with push-button start 
  • 10-inch touchscreen infotainment screen 
  • Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 
  • Four-speaker audio
  • Leatherette seat trim 
  • Six-way manual front seat adjustment
  • Dusk-sensing automatic LED headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Heated side mirrors 
  • Electric windows
  • Partially-digital driver’s display 
  • Space-saver spare tyre
  • Cruise control 
  • 3x USB-A charging points

MG5 Vibe safety equipment:

The 2024 MG 5 Vibe recently received a startling 0 star (yes, zero star) ANCAP rating thanks to a mixture of poor performance for occupant safety and missing safety equipment. MG Motor Australia has confirmed that it will be upgrading the MG 5 to improve safety performance in 2024 – though the zero-star rating still applies to the model we tested that’s currently in showrooms. 

  • Six airbags (dual front, dual front side and dual side curtain airbags)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection
  • Reversing camera 
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring 

MG5 Vibe colour range:

  • Dover White
  • Royal Yellow (featured on our test vehicle) 

Premium colours ($700):

  • Misty Grey Metallic
  • Brixton Blue Metallic 
  • Black Pearl Metallic 
  • Diamond Red Metallic 

On one hand it’s hard to fault the value equation of the MG 5 being the cheapest sedan on the Australian market. On the other hand, it’s worrying to have found that MG has cut corners in the safety department. Neglecting to include basic safety equipment like seatbelt pre-tensioners is concerning in this day and age. We think that features like the synthetic leather seats, driver’s display and push-button start could be deleted in favour of seatbelt pre tensioners plus possibly blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. That’s not to mention the structural issues which also contributed to the poor crash rating.

There aren’t a lot of competitors to the 2024 MG5 Vibe, thanks to the lack of affordable sedans on the market. The Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato, Mazda3 and Mazda2 all compete with the MG 5 size-wise, but we consider the Kia Cerato S and Mazda2 Pure sedans to be the closest new competitors to the MG 5. 

Priced at a drive away cost of around $29,000, the Kia Cerato S Sedan has a number of features missing from the MG 5 Vibe including front parking sensors, lane keep assistance and lane trace assistance, driver attention monitoring, rear occupant alert, automatic high beam, a burglar alarm, seatbelt pretensioners, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and two extra speakers for the sound system over the MG 5, though the MG 5 Vibe does feature alloy wheels, push button start, a two-inch larger infotainment screen, a larger digital display for the driver, LED headlights and synthetic leather trim.

The Mazda2 sedan might be smaller than the MG5, but it’s a closer price match than the more similar sized Mazda3 sedan. Mazda charges around $28,700 drive away for the 2 sedan, and it features auto-folding mirrors, a leather steering wheel, gear shifter and handbrake, rain-sensing wipers, digital radio, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assistance, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic braking in reverse, which are all missing from the MG 5 Vibe. Missing from the Mazda2, but featured on the MG 5 Vibe are larger 16 inch alloy wheels (15-inch on the Mazda), a larger 10-inch infotainment screen (7.0-inch in the Mazda), tyre pressure monitoring, a digital driver’s display, synthetic leather seats (fabric in the Mazda), daytime running lights, heated side mirrors and rear disk brakes (drum on the Mazda). 

The MG 5 is cheap in today’s market, but we question if the poor safety credentials are worth the price saving. While it does come at a premium of around $3,800, we think the Cerato’s additional safety features and five-star ANCAP rating demonstrates a far better value equation than the MG 5 Vibe, which is simply not a safe enough car to recommend at the present time – we’re glad to see that MG will be making safety improvements and will revisit our scoring once that has occurred.

What’s under the bonnet of the 2024 MG5 Vibe?

The 2024 MG5 Vibe is powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, which produces of 84kW of power at 6,000rpm and 150Nm of torque at 4,500rpm – these outputs look pretty meagre on paper and while the MG 5 Vibe is slow, it’s not unbearably so. Thanks to a relatively light 1,260kg kerb weight, the MG 5 Vibe isn’t as slow as you’d think with a 0-100km/h sprint time of more than 12 seconds, though generous usage of the accelerator is often required to get up to speed, even around town. 

On the highway, overtaking is possible with careful planning and plenty of time – but the MG 5 Vibe is definitely more at home in the city. Power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT automatic transmission, which is quite fit for purpose – yes it drones like most CVTs, but it’s definitely not the worst CVT we’ve tested.

We think it does what a CVT is meant to do – it keeps the engine in the optimal power band and gets the most out of the small engine. Overall the drivetrain is reasonably refined, though the result of frequent revving does transmit into the cabin. 

The other drivetrain available in the MG 5 range is a 1.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine, paired to a DCT transmission, which is only available on the higher-spec Essence model and is definitely the pick of the MG 5 range. The MG 5 Vibe has a claimed fuel usage figure of 5.7L/100km – in our week of mixed urban and highway driving, we saw consumption hovering around a disappointing 9.0L/100km mark, which is the result of having to work the little engine so hard to get up to speed so frequently. The MG 5 Vibe can run on standard 91RON unleaded fuel, and it has a 50-litre tank.

What is the 2024 MG 5 Vibe like to drive?

Getting behind the wheel of the 2024 MG 5 Vibe, drivers are greeted with a fairly pleasant steering experience – it’s fairly well weighted, but can feel a bit disconnected and artificial at times. For the most part, the MG 5 Vibe feels reasonably planted to the road, though understeer cuts in while trying to have any fun around corners. Most drivers will find the MG 5 to be a safe handler – again – fit for purpose, and what most buyers will want. 

The MG 5 has a fairly simple torsion beam rear suspension setup, but it does a great job soaking up bumps and delivering a surprisingly controlled and composed ride. It’s only on occasion that the lack of a sophisticated rear suspension becomes evident – the rear end takes longer to settle after hitting some imperfections, though most won’t notice this. Road noise is fairly noticeable in the MG 5 Vibe – especially at higher speeds and on coarser road surfaces.

Visibility around the MG5 is fairly good –  buyers must pay more for the Essence to get a 360-degree camera – though the reversing camera and rear parking sensors are certainly more than serviceable. As mentioned, active safety systems in the MG5 are limited to the AEB system, which requires further calibration – it’s a bit too sensitive, picking up parked vehicles and even corners. 

What is the interior of the 2024 MG5 Vibe like?

Inside the 2024 MG 5 Vibe reveals a modern space with some interesting design elements throughout, including the ‘3D’ diamond pattern that runs across the passenger side of the dash. We do wish MG had used higher quality switchgear, as the ‘clicky’ switches detract from the interior ambience a bit. Some touch points in the front are covered with a soft touch leatherette, which include the centre console and the door armrests but all other materials are hard. Unfortunately, while the seats are ‘leather’, the steering wheel is polyurethane and it drags the quality of the cabin down. We’d prefer if MG had instead diverted some money by using cloth on the seats and featured a leather or leatherette steering wheel. 

Most controls in the MG 5 Vibe are fairly well laid out, though having the air-conditioning controls within the touchscreen is never a good thing as it’s less intuitive than having physical controls. We were, however, pleased to see that there is a physical button to access the air-conditioning menu on the screen. Storage throughout the cabin is healthy, with a large centre console box, a reasonable glovebox, door pockets and a tray ahead of the gear shifter handy for phone storage. 

The seats are finished in an eye catching leatherette design, with red stitching, red inserts, a top section of the seat with a hexagonal pattern but they don’t feel like real leather. The seats themselves are relatively comfortable, and unlike many other budget cars, both the driver and passenger seats are height adjustable. Ahead of the driver is a semi-digital instrument cluster with an LCD display flanked by an electronic tachometer and speedometer. The display is pretty good quality, and the screen can display plenty of information – including the rather curious inclusion of a 0-100km/h sprint timer. 

The 10-inch floating tablet infotainment display features both wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the usual AM/FM radio plus Bluetooth and a USB input. The screen itself is reasonable quality, and the software for the most part is easy to use, though some menu layouts could be a bit better and there is the occasional bit of lag. The speaker system is a basic four-speaker system – it’s serviceable but that’s about it. The reversing camera display is perfectly usable for what it is.

The back row of the MG 5 Vibe is probably one of its more impressive attributes as it’s spacious and pretty well equipped for the price point. Two adults can sit with pretty good comfort, with good leg and knee room. Taller adults might be a bit restricted due to the sloped roofline. The middle seat is more restricted with the transmission tunnel eating into foot room – it’s better left for children. For the price point, rear passengers are quite well catered for, with a rear air-vent, a USB charging point, door bins and two map pockets. For smaller children, the rear seat features two ISOFIX points, as well as three top-tether points for child seats.

Opening the boot of the 2024 MG 5 Vibe reveals a storage space of 401-litres, which is on the smaller size for a sedan, but larger than most hatches. For comparison, the Mazda2 sedan features a 440L boot and the Kia Cerato sedan offers 502L. While the space is good, besides an LED light, it misses out on any sort of features – there no hooks or tie points, or even a net to keep shopping in place. Under the boot floor is a space saver spare – and while in the past we would have been critical of the lack of full sized spare, in 2024, we’re happy that there is any sort of spare wheel.  

What warranty covers the 2024 MG5 Vibe?

The 2024 MG 5 Vibe is covered by a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is matched by Kia’s warranty for the Cerato and both beat the five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty that Mazda provides. The MG 5 also receives seven years of roadside assistance – the Cerato only incudes one year of roadside assistance as standard, but is extended by 12 months with each logbook service undertaken at a Kia dealership. The Mazda 2 Sedan receives five years of roadside assistance from new. 

2023 MG 5 Vibe badge

The MG 5 must be serviced each 10,000km or 12 months (whichever comes first}, with capped price servicing making five years of servicing come to a total of $1,831 ($366 per service). The Mazda 2 and Kia Cerato can both travel further between services than the MG5, with 15,000km/12 month service intervals. The MG5 is, however, the cheapest of this trio to service – the Cerato and Mazda 2 cost $2,031 and $2,116 respectively to service over the same 5 year period. 

Should I buy a 2024 MG 5 Vibe?

The combination of a new budget sedan on the Australian new car market is quite the novelty, especially with new car prices forever creeping up and sedans falling out of fashion with new car buyers in favour of hatches and SUVs. The MG 5 Vibe has plenty to like about it – it’s cheap, mostly well equipped for the price, has a fairly roomy interior that feels less ‘budget’ than you’d expect – it also has a good warranty,  servicing and roadside assistance package in addition to handling that most will find perfectly acceptable. 

While on paper the MG 5 Vibe might seem like a good value proposition, the recent zero-star ANCAP rating highlights a lack of safety features and structural crash occupant protection – is the saving of $4,000 really worth it for a car that lacks something as basic as seatbelt pretensioners? We don’t think so. The Kia Cerato sedan in particular shows the large jump in safety (and performance) that can be achieved by spending a bit more money. Performance (or a lack thereof) is another sore point of the MG 5 Vibe and there are also usability issues with some basic controls like the air-conditioning. 

MG has said that it will work on the MG 5 to improve its crash performance, but the model currently on the market is subject to this problematic safety rating. Would we purchase the MG 5 Vibe? In its current state no, but we would have to reconsider our rating once the safety improved model is released.

About The Author

Like the other DA staff, David’s car obsession started at a young age and continues to this day. From every single Toyota model code to soft touch interior materials, no automotive frontier is unturned with him. When he’s not obsessing over XV10 Camrys or the model year differences in Corollas, he’s helping seniors with technology, ensuring your automotive needs are well fulfilled with David’s writing.

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