- Good steering
- Punchy diesel engine
- Spacious interior
- Large boot
- Poor build quality initially
- Lacks rivals’ refinement
- Early models overpriced
It’s been a long time since we’ve had an all-new MG, but the production line at Longbridge is alive again and this is the first car to break cover: the MG6 GT hatchback.
The MG6 GT is a family hatchback similar in size to Skoda’s Octavia. There’s also a saloon version without the hatchback’s tailgate called the MG6 Magnette, but sales proved slow and this model was dropped in early 2015. While both cars are cheaper to buy than many rivals, the Octavia offers low running costs whereas the British offering claims to be more of a driver’s car.
It’s an attempt to revive traditional MG of yore, harking back to the days before the marque was linked with Rover churning out rebadged and bodykitted ‘performance’ cars. Remember the MGB, the top-selling sports car in the world in its day? That’s what the Chinese-owned MG Motor is aiming at - affordable and engaging British motoring.
Although the MG6 was designed at the firm’s Longbridge site by a team of 400 engineers and the final assembly takes place on the production line next door, 80 percent of the car’s parts are manufactured in China.
Pair of engines available
From launch there was just the one engine, a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 158bhp returning claimed average fuel consumption of 35.6mpg. This engine essentially ran unchanged until it was dropped in 2015.
A 1.9-litre diesel joined the range in late 2012, with 148bhp and claimed average fuel consumption of 53.5mpg. Initially CO2 emissions were rated at 139g/km but improvements for the 2014 model year saw this figure fall to 129g/km for cheaper VED and company car tax. Average fuel consumption improved too, to 57.6mpg.
We’d suggest the diesel is the pick of the range for both fleet and private buyers because of its far lower running costs and extra pulling power. It has plenty of mid-range torque and performs well on the open road.
Facelift in 2015
April 2015 saw the arrival of an improved MG6 GT range – the Magnette saloon was withdrawn at this point. At first glance it looks much the same as before, but a closer inspection reveals revised bumpers, front and rear light units including LED day running lights and modified side sills to make it appear lower to the ground, emphasising its sportiness.
Inside was a wholesale upgrading with a much better quality new interior, with a particularly good seven-inch touchscreen for the infotainment and sat-nav system. An electronic parking brake was also introduced on all models.
The previous MG6 GT trim hierarchy of S, SE and TSE was replaced by S, TS and TL, all with improved specifications and lower prices.
Not only was the 1.8-litre petrol engine removed from the range, the 1.9-litre diesel enjoyed further enhancements. While power and torque figures remained the same, the 0-60mph acceleration performance fell to 8.4 seconds and overall efficiency improved too: MG claimed 61.4mpg and 119g/km of CO2.
Good to drive, off the pace in other ways
Although the MG6 drives well and is a practical car in both GT and Magnette form, with a big boot and roomy interior, it has too many flaws to make a strong case for itself against its rivals.
Cheap, brittle-feeling switchgear and controls, annoying levels of noise intrusion, clunky graphics on the display screen up to the 2015 facelift, together with myriad other factors add up to make earlier MG6s feel like cars that had been slightly rushed and could have done with more development time. While many of these factors were ironed out in 2015, it didn’t become a class-leading car but at least the revised pricing reflected that.
Could this spacious, value-orientated British hatchback be the family car for you? Read the full MG6 GT review to find out.