MG MG6 1.8 TSE

March 2011

picture of car from the front

Handsome front end is a modern interpretation of MG brand

Ratings

Overall Rating 7Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 6Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 6Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 6Car safety


Likes

  • Sharp handling and good ride
  • High standard specification
  • Great value for money
  • Good space efficiency

Gripes

  • Noisy engine when extended
  • Lack of diesel power
  • Some low quality cabin materials
  • No automatic option

The first all-new car to come from MG since 1995, the MG6 represents the start of a revived company supported by Chinese parent SAIC. The MG6 has to build on the positive nostalgia surrounding the brand but also the tainted memories of the end of the MG Rover business more than five years ago.

The MG marque, in the UK and abroad, is still one that is held in deep affection thanks to a back catalogue of sporting cars with a broad appeal. After a period of rebirth where the MG TF has been produced in limited numbers, the brand is relaunching in a more significant manner with a number of brand-new products planned in the next few years beginning with the MG6.

MG have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the MG6 is a brand-new product: there are no carry-over parts or recycled designs. MG has borrowed an idea from before however, as the MG6 hatchback sits between the traditional C and D segments in terms of size - it competes on price with the Ford Focus but is closer to the Mondeo in its proportions.

The design itself is modern and attractive and avoids heading down the road of retro design. The conventional hatchback shape tapers quite heavily towards the rear, but the strong stance and distinctive nose give it character and should make it an instantly recognisable car out on the road.

Under the skin the MG6 follows the conventional route in terms of mechanical layout with front-mounted engine driving the front wheels. Initially the MG6 is limited to a single petrol engine model and a five-speed manual gearbox which will limit its appeal, although a broader range of powetrain options are planned.

Our verdict on the MG MG6 1.8 TSE

The relaunched MG brand is clearly aimed at the value end of the market rather than the sub-premium leanings of MG Rover, and in that light the MG6 does a good job. Attractive, fun to drive, well-specified and good value for money, its shortcomings would be easy enough to overlook for someone seeking lots of car for their money along with an entertaining driving experience.

Costs
Costs rating 6

The relatively low initial purchase price is a big help in terms of costs as is the low insurance premiums. Countering this is the average fuel consumption and the relatively high emissions, both of which will eat in to any initial cost savings.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

With dimensions that are outside of the regular C-segment template the MG6 offers a little extra space in all departments. Although no limousine, it can carry five occupants in a good degree of comfort. The large boot is a bonus too, but cabin storage is only average for the class.

picture of car from the rear

Hatchback rear offers space but with high boot lip

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 6

On first acquaintance the MG6's cabin has a sensible and clear layout, including smart instruments and clearly-labelled buttons. Closer examination reveals some penny pinching and a less than ideal controls: the steering wheel buttons are too light and difficult to manipulate for example.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 7

A well-controlled ride is a surprising strength given that the MG6 has quite a sporting focus, but the engineering that has gone into the suspension has paid off. Noise levels are quite well managed aside from the high-rev issue, and the seats are comfortable too.

Car security
Security Rating 8

The entire range comes with an alarm and immobiliser system as standard, and the low insurance groupings could not have been achieved without close attention being paid to overall security.

Car safety
Safety Rating 6

All MG6 models have comprehensive safety equipment including ABS with traction control, airbags and a strong safety cell. ESP is not available which is a major omission on a car in this class.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 8

A relatively old-school driving experience is on offer with the MG6, thanks to the keen but relatively noisy turbocharged engine and the five-speed manual gearbox. Well-weighted controls including surprisingly heavyweight steering makes regular driving straightforward, with decent pull from low engine revs. Pressed a little harder the 1.8-litre power unit becomes relatively noisy, but the performance is quite strong and the chassis is more than capable of handling the power.

picture of car interior

Attractive design but with mixed quality of materials

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

With good space all round the MG6 can certainly carry out family tasks, with the only possible grumbles likely to come from back seat occupants who would prefer a little more daylight and colour to the trim.

First car appeal
First car Rating 6

One strong factor in the MG's favour is the low insurance groupings, making the initial purchase price a little easier for a new driver to cope with. Whether a freshly-qualified driver wants an MG or not is mostly down to personal taste.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 6

With the previous MG dating back to the mid-1990s the MG6 is setting a new standard for the company, and on initial evidence it is somewhat mixed. Build quality appears of a good standard in terms of actual construction, but the materials used are good in some places and less so in others. The MG image still trades heavily on its sporting car back catalogue, although the badge-engineered cars of the 1990s and 2000s are less positive.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

The five-door only MG6 means a door for each passenger, with front seat occupants having the easiest means of entry. Those in the rear seats have to contend with the sloping roof which reduces the amount of headroom. The boot has a generous hatch too, although the loading lip is relatively high.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

TSE models come with a CD/tuner offering auxiliary and USB input plus a satellite navigation system. Sound quality is respectably good regardless of input, but the steering wheel controls are so light that can be difficult to use on the move.

picture of car in detail

Sole petrol engine offers very brisk performance

Colours and trim

MG have gone for a mix of conservative and bold exterior colours and surprisingly it works best in the latter, emphasising the design. In less adventurous colours it can look a little anonymous. Inside the overwhelmingly predominant colour is black, and although the illumination helps it remains quite a dark cabin.

Parking

The MG6 is not so large that parking is a difficult task. Parking sensors are fitted as standard which are a useful addition, as the rear three-quarter view is a little restricted.

Spare wheel

Full size spare wheel on a steel wheel

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.8-litre (158bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual. Trim levels: S, SE and TSE.

 

Alternative cars

Kia Cee'd High quality, good to drive and good value

Ford Focus Superb all-rounder though pricey in comparison

Vauxhall Astra Competent and good quality throughout

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Similar value but with a less engaging driving experience



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March 2011