MG MG6 TS
Handsome exterior has been slight tweaked to boost kerb appeal
- Improved handling and surprisingly good ride
- Boosted standard specification
- Interesting left-field choice
- Spacious boot and cabin
- Engine could be more refined when pushed hard
- Rear headroom isn't special
- Some low quality cabin materials remain
- Weight saving programme has dispensed with rear wiper
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 relaunched first with the mid-size MG6. As part of a refresh, the car's line-up has been streamlined, it's been visually tweaked, mechanical efficiencies made and the cabin has been subtly refreshed.
MG have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the MG6 is a worthy challenger to the established mainstream competition. The car's bold looks help it stand out from the crowd, while the now hatchback-only range offers a practical ownership proposition. Crucially the car straddles the Focus-Mondeo size yardstick, allowing MG to offer a large car for mid-size money.
Under the skin the MG6 follows the conventional route in terms of mechanical layout, although the refresh has seen a modest weight loss programme in a bid to improve fuel economy and make emissions more competitive. This approach has even resulted in ditching the car's rear wiper, which some might find odd considering the car's hatch bodystyle.
Now sold in diesel-only guise the refresh programme extends to the car's cabin, which has seen subtle improvements to trim quality and choice, along with the inclusion of an upgraded and feature-rich infotainment system for high grade models.
Our verdict on the MG MG6 TS
In isolation, MG's refresh of its mid-size model is a good effort. The changes to both the way the car drives and what you get with it are welcome. For a private buyer seeking a distinctive alternative to the mainstream opposition the MG6 is worth consideration. It should be noted that this sector is a crowded one and a lot of rival models match or exceed the MG6 in important areas such as fit and finish, running costs and larger dealer networks.
MG says it has worked hard to boost the MG6's appeal buy offering a streamlined range, adding more standard kit and reducing weight to improve its eco credentials. The upshot is modest savings at the pump and when it comes time to renew the car's VED.
Space and practicality
As far as medium-size five-door hatchbacks go the MG6 is performs well in all the expected areas. It boasts a good-size boot, although the load lip could be lower. While no limousine, it can carry five occupants in a good degree of comfort, and there's a sensible amount of oddment storage space in the cabin.
Controls and display
Tweaks to the car's fascia and controls have resulted in a small but welcome improvement in the driving and usability experience. The switch to a more up to date infotainment system is a good thing, and it boasts clear navigation and mapping functions. The audio side of the experience is also good, but it's fair to say that some of the switchgear looks a little old fashioned.
Cabin refinement will surprise a few naysayers, as it's equal to more expensive and premium-rated cars. The seats could do with more lateral support, although this deficiency is largely a product of an enthusiastic driving style. There's ample occupant room upfront for two large adults, with a pleasing generous amount of cabin space at the back if you're short enough not to be troubled by the streamlined roof profile.
The MG6 is sold with a comprehensive anti-theft system and the car's sturdy-looking load bay cover should keep out prying eyes. Remote locking is paired with a 'key' you push into a slot to start the car, which can be a little fiddly at times if you're in a hurry.
All MG6 models have comprehensive safety equipment including ABS with traction control, airbags and a strong safety cell. Don't expect to see all the bells and whistles you get on an increasing number of volume-selling rivals, such as auto brake and collision avoidance systems though.
It's important to drive a new-generation MG before making a judgment as the experience will be a pleasant surprise. Much effort has been expended on driving dynamics - even to the point of fine tuning cars on UK roads - and the MG6 is a surprisingly rewarding drive. The sole diesel option isn't the quickest but it is refined and the manual gearshift is slick and accurate. Ride quality is also good, as is the driving position.
Family car appeal
While not pitched directly at families the MG6 is a reasonable compromise if it was your only car. There's ample space in the back and the boot is a god size, although tall teenagers might be upset at the modest amount of rear headroom and the high-grade car's plush upholstery doesn't look especially child-friendly.
First car appeal
The prospect of modest running costs and ease of use should make the MG6 popular with first time buyers seeking a practical, mid-size hatchback.
Quality and image
After a modest start with its new two model range, MG has listened to feedback and observed the competition. The result is an updated MG6 focusing mainly on low running costs, value for money at the point of sale and boosted quality levels. The firm has done a good job on all these points, but the modest dealer network, brand baggage from previous years and fierce competition mean the MG6 does have an uphill task regarding buyer acceptance
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 have to contend with the sloping roof which reduces the amount of headroom. slightly The boot has a generous load space, although the loading lip is relatively high.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
Move up the trim grades and you are exposed to a high end infotainment and navigation system that delivers good quality music and is easy to use respectively. Steering wheel controls are a welcome inclusion.
Colours and trim
Buyers face a good choice of both conservative and bold exterior colours, with the latter working best. In less adventurous colours the car can look a little anonymous. Inside the overwhelmingly predominant colour is black, and although the illumination helps it remains quite a dark cabin.
The MG6 is not so large that parking is a difficult task. Parking sensors are fitted as standard a useful addition, as the rear three-quarter view is a little restricted due to the design of the rear pillars and screen.
Tyre mobility system included.
Diesel engine options - 1.9-litre (148bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual. Trim levels: S, TS and TL.
Kia Cee'd High quality, good to drive and good value
Ford Focus Superb all-rounder though pricey in comparison
Hyundai i30 Impressive and competent all-rounder
Peugeot 308 More design flair and character than the MG