Friday, 26 February 2016

REVIEW – MG6 TL

So if my recent review of the MG3 inspired confidence in the brand, and you were curious as to their other offerings, then you may be interested by this review too. Currently the only other MG on sale is the MG6; a car that aims to take on the likes of the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo. That’s a tall ask, but with a revised engine, updated cabin and decent list of standard kit, the MG6 is going to give it a go. It has previously it has fallen short of the overall refinement to make it a contender, so how's the new one?

Looks – 7/10


I have to admit, that from the outside the MG6 bears a slight resemblance to the Insignia. Not like that’s a bad thing though, because it looks rather well. The front bumper is angular with honeycomb grille and integrated LED daytime running lights. The bonnet looks long and sleek, as does the side profile. I don’t really like the alloys; at 16-inches they’re a bit on the small side. And a bit bland if I’m honest. I also think that privacy glass is needed to boost the premium feel to the styling, but sadly this is not available on any model. The higher-level models get a chrome window trim though, and that’s a nice touch. At the back there’s more honeycomb pattern, a nice lip spoiler and some rather funky tail lights.

On the inside the range-topping TL model I had on test came with full leather seats and some rather grey trim. It’s all a bit monotonous, and there isn’t enough to break up the pattern. Some more silver trim would have helped, or even some contrast stitching. I like the multimedia screen, but found the dials a bit small. The switchgear is nice, and I liked the perforated leather on the steering wheel, but overall the plastics in the cabin give away that this is a budget car after all. The heating control display looked a bit frosted, and the gear knob is a bit clumpy. It’s not so bad, but when you look at the likes of the new Mondeo (see my review last year) the MG is a world away.


Handling/Performance – 8/10

Now one thing the guys at MG have got right is the engine. It’s rather good if truth be told. It’s a 1.9-litre DTi diesel engine producing 190PS and 340Nm of torque. That’s sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 8.4seconds and a top speed of 120mph. The engine is only EU5 compliant, but does feel refined. The torquey power delivery is typical of a diesel, and there’s plenty of in-gear acceleration on hand. The 6th gear is a rather tall one, which keeps the revs down on the motorway resulting in a quieter, smoother drive. The updated engine does make the MG6 a viable option now for a motorway cruiser.

The handling isn’t too bad for a big diesel either. The ride is generally quite comfortable, although on certain roads I did wonder whether the suspension setup was a little bit on the firm side. This is meant as a motorway cruiser, and in that regard it performs well. Once you get to the twistier A-roads things aren’t as good. I found there was noticeable pitch on corner entry. I think that’s partly down to the 16-inch wheels having quite tall tyres on them, but it didn’t inspire confidence. The steering was nicely weighted but could also have done with being a little more direct. And lastly I wonder whether MG will be developing a 4WD system. There’s talk of several new cars being released over the coming years, and I think it would be wise for MG to look into a bit of sure-footedness. The market is heading that way, and it could definitely improve the appeal of the MG6.

Economy – 9/10

The revised engine has lower CO2 emissions, and at 119g/km road tax will cost you £30 per year (free in the first year). That’s VED band C, and means that the MG6 will be kind to company car drivers too, with a 21% BIK for P11d purposes. That’ll equate to £63 a month for basic rate tax payers, and that’s not a bad deal at all. Combined fuel consumption is 61.4mpg and the presence of start/stop technology highlights MG’s attention to becoming greener. The MG can’t score a 10 here though, because there are more efficient cars out there in this sector, with sub-100g/km emissions and higher average mpg. Importantly though, the MG6 has closed the gap.

Practicality – 9/10

The MG6 is a rather large car. Once you open up the rear hatch you will reveal 498 litres of boot space. Fold the seats down and that rises to 1,379 litres. Being a hatchback there’s a large opening too, making the boot space more usable. Rear legroom is good, and the driving position was fine for 5ft7 me. The standard kit in the form of satellite navigation, cruise control, rear parking camera and Bluetooth hands-free make the MG6 enjoyable to live with, and provide the rep with everything he would need to bomb up and down the M6 every day. The key system is a bit of a faff. You have to put the key into a slot in the dashboard. It’s similar to the Audi system, but feels a bit cheap.

Fun – 2/10

So what about the fun factor? Well to put it nicely, there isn’t any. This is a car that is best described as functional. It will happily eat up the miles, but lacks soul. The driving experience is saved by the addition of creature comforts that make a drive more pleasant, but really this is never going to inspire you to go for a drive. What’s more, it wouldn’t recognise my iPod classic as a device, so I couldn’t even put some decent music on. And lastly is the stigma surrounding the MG6. “What is it?” was a question I was asked many times. And you have to explain how it is cheap for what it is and that actually the engine is half decent. It becomes tiresome.

Concluding Remarks

So that’s my week with the MG6. It looks good, and now has a good engine under the bonnet. For a motor that was developed in-house I think it’s a credit to MG, and means that the MG6 is comparable with the likes of the Insignia and Mondeo in delivering performance and economy. The standard equipment list is great, and the top-spec TL model I tested will set you back £18,390 including metallic paint. If you really want to stick to a budget, then the entry-level S model may be the choice for you. At £13,995 it really is cheap. For more information log on to the MG website where you can configure your own car and find your local dealership. I think MG are definitely taking steps in the right direction, and with new models planned over the next few years, I’m excited to see where the brand is heading.

Total Score – 35/50

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