MG 6 first drive

MG 6

MG 6





The MG brand celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2014 but it has a history of lots of ups and downs, most recently again it is on the up.


The British MG marque has been around since the mid 1920’s with the name originated from the initials of Morris Garages and the famous MG Octagon badge was initially carried on MG two-seater sports cars before being applied to sports saloons initially finishing with the MGB at the end of 1980. 

From 1982 the revived MG brand was added to sportier version of BMC (British Motor Corporation) models such as the Metro, Maestro and Montego and eventually the MG RV8, an updated MGB Roadster 

The MG marque along with the Rover brand went to MG Rover group in mid 2000 and lasted until 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. The assets of MG Rover were bought by the Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in July 2005 and were subsequently bought by the Chinese manufacturer SAIC in December 2007. They now operate the UK subsidiary MG Motor at the old BMC facility at Longbridge in Birmingham which now houses their design, development, assembly, marketing and sales operations. 

In June 2011 the first new MG for 16 years was launched, the MG 6 in five door hatchback and saloon forms and this was followed by the MG 3 supermini hatchback range in 2013. 

Today the MG brand looks in good hands. Currently MG has the fastest growing network of dealers in the UK as sales continue to surge. Thirty-three new MG dealers have been appointed in the UK in the last 18 months and there are 15 open points that will be filled shortly bringing their network from the current 64 dealerships to 80 by the end of the year. In sales terms MG was the fastest growing brand in Britain in 2014 as shown by official figures issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. But we are only talking in terms of relatively small numbers. In 2013 MG new cars sales were just 504 units but after the launch of the MG3 models this total increased by 361.5% in 2014 to reach 2,326 UK sales. Already for the first five months of this year MG sales are up by another 42.5% with 1,436 new MGs rolling onto UK roads. More dealers, more new models, more UK sales and British Touring Car Championship successes seem to work for the rejuvenated iconic MG marque. 

Now the latest chapter in MG’s long history opens with the launch of the 2015 significantly improved MG 6 range. The Saloon models have been removed from the line-up with the much more desirable for Europe five door hatchback body shape being used. Petrol models have also been deleted from the range and the really good news is around £3,000 has come of the price compared to the outgoing diesel models. The new MG 6 is available with one 1.9-litre DTi-Tech turbodiesel engine option, a new Euro 6 compliant 150hp, 350Nm unit with reduced CO2 emissions of 119g/km and Combined Cycle fuel economy of 61.4mpg. Top speed is 120mph and zero to 60mph takes 8.4-seconds. A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard. The new MG6 has shed 75kg of weight over its predecessors which have helped improve performance, fuel economy and reduce emissions. 

At 4,651mm in length the five door coupe styled hatchback is available with three high levels of specification. All versions have 60/40 split folding rear seats and MG logo kick plates plus the famous MG Octagon badge centrally positioned in the front grille. The range starts at just £13,995 for the S version and the standard equipment includes alloy wheels, hill start assist, air conditioning, heated front seats, six airbags and LED daytime running lights plus of course electrically operated windows and such like. Next in line is the TS level of spec priced at £16,195 and additions include part leather seats, a comprehensive infotainment system with a high definition 7.0-inch touchscreen, auto lights and wipers, rear parking sensors and leather clad multifunction steering wheel. Move up to the top TL model, the £17,995 version I tested and the additions include electrically operated front seats, leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlights, dual-zone air con and a rear parking camera. 

Size wise and perhaps its main competitor the new MG6 compares to the Skoda Octavia but the MG is cheaper to buy. It can also be compared to a Ford Focus but the MG is roomier and again cheaper to buy. However both the Skoda and Ford models have proven sales performance and respectable residual values and that is something MG has to work on to promote customer confidence. 

Most MG customers are retail buyers but fleet operators are now taking more of an interest. MG expects to sell around 1,000 units of the MG6 in the UK this year. Currently there is no PCP finance plan on offer as residual values are still being discussed, they determine the final value of the car after three years and that in turn dictates the monthly payment amount. However MG Motor has a 0% HP finance offer for buyers. 

Past MG owners, current ones and new conquest customers will not be disappointed with the high quality kerb appeal of the new MG6. It looks thoroughly modern and European in taste. The re-styled front and rear bumpers, lights and the grille match nicely with the coupe side profile. All the body panel show a high quality of fit with narrow evenly spaced joints and are as good as anything else in this sector. The steeply raked windscreen does limit headroom through the front doors for tall drivers and the rear tailgate window inexplicably is not fitted with a wiper so rain and road grime just lingers there reducing rear visibility. The aero-flow over the streamlined body just doesn’t clear the tailgate window. There is a deep 472-litre boot which increases to 1,268-litres with the split rear seats folded down. 

Overall the fascia design is neat and uncluttered but some of the interior trim looks and feels low-rent but there is no question that the specification is high. The new infotainment system is comprehensive and quick to respond with its functions but had some quirky moments during my use. The sat-nav voice on occasions gave peculiar pronunciations and some of the directions were not logical but I always ended up at the correct location – perhaps not by the fastest route which I had set as the mode I wanted to use. 

MG 6 MG 6 MG 6

Another big plus point was ride comfort. The suspension aided by the 16-inch alloys and not spoilt by the fitment of low profile tyres provided a really pleasant ride quality. There was some initial body roll but the car felt well balanced and stable. There seemed plenty of front end cornering grip through a well-weighted steering. Road and wind noise intrusion was minimal. 

The revised 1.9-litre, four-cylinder direct injection turbodiesel engine is Euro6 compliant and it has been tuned for better fuel economy and lower emissions. Whilst it is still prone to stalling at low engine speeds until you initially get used to it, on the open road it is strong and responded very well to demands for prompt overtaking response. I didn’t find it unduly noisy until it got above 4,000rpm but with its long-legged transmission gearing most of the time the unit was smooth in its most used 2,000rpm band. 

Officially this unit will return 61.4mpg in the Combined Cycle and my week long test driving covering short commuter driving through to some high speed motorway travel returned 54.3mpg. With CO2 emissions of 119g/km VED road tax is £0 for the First Year rate going up to £30 for Year Two onwards. Company car drivers will pay 21% Benefit-in-Kind tax. Insurance is rated at group 17E. 

Overall I was impressed with the new MG6. It has far more plus points than negative ones and it should give a significant boost to MG’s increasing UK sales. 

MILESTONES: MG6 1.9 TL DTi-Tech 5-Door. Price: £17,995. Engine/transmission: 1.9-litre, 4-cylinder, Euro6 turbodiesel, 150hp, 350Nm of torque from 1,800rpm, 6-speed manual. Performance: 120mph, 0-60mph 8.4-seconds, 61.4mpg Combined Cycle (54.3mpg on test), CO2 119g/km, VED road tax £0/£30, BIK company car tax 21%. Insurance group: 17E. Warranty: 3-years/60,000miles. Dimensions/capacities: 5-doors/5-seats, L 4,651mm, W 1,827mm, H 1,472mm, boot/load space 472-1,268-litres. For: New styling, higher specification, lower prices, improved comfortable ride, strong engine, lower emissions, improved fuel economy. Against: Low number of current dealers but the network is growing, residual values need to be improved, some cheap-feel plastic trim, no rear tailgate wash/wipe., sat-nav had some foibles.  Miles Better News Agency

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