The MG 5 is almost here.

    We’ve snapped some in a carpark, and certification documents have revealed what will power it; now a keen-eyed reader has snapped more examples of the Hyundai i30 rival on the back of a truck in Australia.

    MG has previously said the car will be in Australia during the first half of 2023.

    The brand will offer the sedan with a choice of a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder and a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder.

    It hasn’t published outputs, but in China the 1.5-litre turbo produces 127kW of power and 275Nm of torque and is mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, though a sportier Scorpio model pumps out an additional 6kW and 10Nm.

    The atmo 1.5-litre uses a continuously variable transmission; a five-speed manual is also offered in China, though it didn’t appear on the approval documents.

    The base engine produces 88kW and 150Nm, which would make it the least powerful vehicle in the segment by some margin.

    That’s an identical torque output to the 1.5-litre MG 3 a segment below, while power is only up by 6kW.

    The Hyundai i30Kia CeratoMazda 3 and Toyota Corolla all use a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder as their base engine, each producing at least 110kW and 200Nm.

    The Skoda Scala has a 1.0-litre engine in its base grade, but it’s a turbocharged three-pot so while it has only 85kW of power it has a considerably more stout 200Nm than the MG.

    Given MG’s traditionally sharp pricing, it appears likely the MG 5 will undercut many of these key rivals. The one to beat would be the Kia Cerato, which in base S guise is priced at $27,890 drive-away nationally.

    At 4675mm nose to tail, the MG 5 is 45mm longer than the Corolla, and 14mm shorter than a Skoda Octavia liftback. That puts it at the larger end of the small car segment.

    The Chinese-market MG 5 features a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a standard 3.5-inch instrument cluster screen and available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

    In contrast, MG specifies a 10.0-inch touchscreen and a 7.0-inch instrument cluster screen in the Thai-market MG 5. MG Motor Australia is understood to be sourcing local models from China and not Thailand, as had previously been indicated.

    A full suite of active safety and driver assist technology is available, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view camera.

    While sedan sales are declining every year now, the MG 5 will nevertheless give the newly minted top 10 sales player an incremental boost, and likely undercut all competitors.

    The MG 5 has been a long time coming. The current, second-generation model debuted late in 2020, and around a year later MG Motor Australia confirmed it was coming here in late 2022.

    MG hasn’t offered a vehicle in the small car segment locally since it discontinued the MG 6 in 2019. Available as either a sedan or hatch (later hatch-only), the MG 6 had similar external dimensions to the new MG 5.

    The MG 5 sedan isn’t the only vehicle MG sells with this nameplate.

    In Europe, a restyled version of the Roewe ei5 electric wagon is sold as an MG 5, however this has been ruled out for Australia. Instead, we’ll continue to get the ZS EV crossover, with the MG 4 electric hatchback joining the local line-up in September.

    Reporting contributed by William Stopford.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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