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MG Philippines held an extraordinary drive to Bataan

The MG 5 sedan was the star of this road trip

The car the author drove was the top-of-the-line Alpha variant. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Morris Garages (MG) isn’t the first manufacturer that comes to mind when I think of passenger cars. That’s why I kept an open mind when I was invited to the “Extraordinary 5” ride-and-drive to Bataan with the MG 5. Although a subcompact sedan, it is claimed to punch above its weight with its size, comfort and features.

Lunch was held at Café Fleur in Pampanga. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

I haven’t driven any subcompact sedan on a regular basis, so I can only talk about what the car was like during the drive. Once I was handed the key, I stepped inside to familiarize myself with the vehicle.

My first and biggest issue was that the 10-inch infotainment system wasn’t the most intuitive as I struggled to figure out the aircon and volume controls since there was only one unmarked dial.

After arriving at La Jolla resort, the remainder of the day was spent resting. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

At the start of the trip, the group drove to the Skyway, then NLEX. Being able to push the car on the highway, I noticed its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine produced enough power to do some overtaking. After the first stopover on the expressway, I switched seats and experienced the 5 as a passenger this time.

The MG 5 units were lined up before rolling out. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

In spite of the term “subcompact,” the legroom was plentiful even with another passenger in the rear. The seats were electronically adjusted, although I don’t consider that to be a big plus (especially since electronics can be prone to sudden failure). Under the scorching afternoon sun, the aircon was strong enough to keep me from melting, but never really made the cabin cold.

The rolling hills and vast landscape of Bataanes made for a scenic drive. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Once the convoy was out of Subic, the provincial roads became twisty and winding. In spite of the sudden turns and occasional bumpy roads, the suspension kept the ride comfortable and pleasant.

The road going up Mt. Samat felt like a mountain pass from 'Initial D.' PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The following day was spent on excursions to two destinations to enjoy the MG 5 and take photos. The first place was a new road known as Bataanes for its resemblance to the northernmost province of the Philippines. After that, the convoy went up to Mt. Samat for a group shot at the peak with the shrine in the background.

Positioning the cars for the shoot felt like the photo mode from 'Gran Turismo.' PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

With the kind of weather in the Philippines, a sunroof isn’t the most enjoyable feature, but it did help me capture some great shots. I’m not the best with words when it comes to describing places, so I’ll let my photos do the talking.

At the end of the day, the MG 5 did its job well in allowing me to travel to these wonderful places and enjoy local tourism. I can’t say if it’s one of the best subcompact sedans on the market, but it certainly is well-featured and well-priced.

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.