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The next chapter of MG in the Philippines is electric

The SAIC-run brand has introduced the Marvel R and the MG 4

Are you ready to buy and own a full-electric car? PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

You will recall that, on July 20, SAIC Motor Philippines officially took over the distributor rights to MG for our market, effectively displacing The Covenant Car Company Inc. In a formal announcement sent to the media at the time, the new company revealed that it would introduce three new electric models in the fourth quarter of the year.

Two of those three new cars were released last week: the Marvel R and the MG 4.

Our roads will soon be populated by Chinese EVs. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

Helping corral the motoring media to sample the pair of electric vehicles was TCCCI, which, we heard, is now getting ready to launch another brand.

We were able to drive a RWD Marvel R and a FWD MG 4 through a braking test and a slalom course in Bridgetowne. At a later public event in Bonifacio Global City, SAIC showed off an AWD version of the Marvel R, which the new distributor might also bring in.

The Marvel R is an amalgam of lines and curves from existing crossovers. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

The five-passenger Marvel R is available with a solo variant, the Alpha. Measuring 4,674mm long, 1,919mm wide and 1,618mm tall, it is technically a compact crossover. It is competitively priced at P2,588,888.

As an EV, it is equipped with a 137kW (184hp) with a 70kWh battery. This electric propulsion also produces 255Nm. With a two-gear automatic transmission, the car has an average range of 402km.

The Marvel R’s cockpit is designed for young and techy people. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

Immediately stealing your gaze in the cabin is the humongous digital tablet at the center console. The first thought that enters your mind is: “Isn’t this expensive to fix if it breaks?”

The MG 4 looks more expensive than it really is. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

Also seating five people is the MG 4 hatchback. Our demo unit had a bright-orange color. One look and you know that the 4,287mm/1,836mm/1,504mm car is an attention-grabber. This is much more affordable at P1,468,888, although a more premium Lux variant goes for P1,738,888. 

If you think there’s something familiar with the cars’ pricing, you’re correct: SAIC has adopted TCCCI habit of using multiple 8s. Let’s see if they will be as successful.

The Standard version has a 125kW (168hp) electric motor with a 51kWh battery, while the Lux variant is equipped with a 150kW (201hp) and a 64kWh battery. Average range is 350km for the Standard and 435km for the Lux.

The dashboard layout is kind of weird to stare at. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

The cockpit of the MG 4 really looks futuristic with its layout. Again, this thought will dance around your head: “Mmm…hindi ba madaling masira ito?”

SAIC Motor Philippines president Felix Jiang with the AWD Marvel R. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

The short test drive was admittedly fun (and, of course, very quiet). When I left the venue, I wondered if I was ready to fully shift to all-electric.

I’m still wondering.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.