It might seem ridiculous to talk about a car that starts in price at more than £15,000 as a bargain – but the MG6 might just qualify.
The GT hatchback is a spacious, sporty, practical family car, delivering a smooth ride, precise handling and rock-solid cruising.
As I said when I drove the Magnette – four-door saloon – version a few weeks ago, it is a crying shame that a badge that means so much to Oxford and Abingdon now adorns a Chinese creation, but we are where we are and there’s no point crying over it.
Though the car is manufactured in China – the largest car market in the world – it was designed by a West Midlands-based team, led by Tony Williams-Kenny, and final assembly takes place in Birmingham. That famous octagonal badge latest appearance is on the bonnet of a large, dynamically-styled hatchback, with loads of cabin space, a whopping loadspace, surprisingly good road manners and a heap of standard equipment.
So far the only engine on offer is a 1.8-litre petrol, turbocharged, four-cylinder unit, linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. Delivering 160 horsepower, this engine is no slouch and perfectly matches the sporty character of the car.
Riding on 18-inch alloy wheels, the agility of the MG6 is something of a surprise, as though this is a big-bodied car, it feels much smaller on the road. Active safety equipment on the car matches the oomph on offer, with anti-lock braking, traction control and a tyre pressure monitoring system all standard.
And if the worst happens, there are driver and front passenger airbags and side airbags fitted. Helpful touches for the driver include a hill-hold control system, that prevents the car rolling backwards on hill starts. Grumbles include a heavy, hard-to-set handbrake and an irritating orange warning light intermittently announcing Stability Control Fail.
The dashboard layout is unexcitingly conventional, with clear, white-on-black marked dials and red needles, and a trip computer offering information, at the touch of a roller switch, on everything from journey mileage, time and fuel consumption, to range-to-empty and, bizarrely, a lap timer.
The MG6 is likely to be on the must-see list of company car buyers and to tempt them, standard equipment levels are high, with the entry-level model fitted with air conditioning, electric windows all round, and a hi-fi system consisting of radio, RDS, CD player, MP3, USB and aux-in capability.
Move to the top of the class and the TSE model has a bulging box of toys on board, from leather sports seats, colour satnav, parking sensors with a camera fitted in the rear, all-round electric windows with one-touch operation, automatic electronic dual-zone climate control and a Bluetooth phone link to the hi-fi. Top that off with the badge of one of the world’s iconic motoring marques and you have a powerfully persuasive package that is worth a look.
Reviewed by David Duffy, 24/10/2011 Oxford Mail newspaper group.
direct link to this review http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/cars/car_review/9322348.Wheeling_in__MG6_GT_TSE/