MG6 Saloon 1.8T Lux Review

MG6 Saloon 1.8T Lux

MG is back in South Africa, this time via Chinese manufacturer SAIC Motor.

The MG6 is a traditional English style family car in the tradition of a Ford Granada or Rover75, with which it shares basic engine and chassis technology and design re-developed for today’s demands. It was developed at the MG Motor UK Technical Centre. Although also built in the UK, the models we get come from China. There are two body styles, a coupe and a saloon. We tested the mid level saloon.

I am slightly ambivalent about it. There is a lot to like, but there are also some things that don’t quite make the grade.

The MG6 is marginally bigger than the Elantra and Jetta competitors. This results in a huge boot and loads of space inside the car. I like the look of the car. It is smart and tends to the sporty.

At night a red light shines down on the gearstick area from the roof.  The instrumentation is clear and gives you the information you need.

Power is claimed to be 118kW @ 5 500  and torque  215Nm @ 2 500 – 4 500, which is class leading.

Driving impressions

The MG6 drives a lot like the Rover75. Solidly planted and sure footed.  I found the car easy to drive except for a little stalling problem, more of which later. Gear changes are fine, provided you are not in too much of a hurry.

Acceleration is claimed to be 0 to 100 in 8.4seconds with a top speed of 193km.

The car handles well and feels firm with little body roll. Steering is good with enough feel and weight. Brakes feel fine.

Good points

The fuel consumption is quite good. Expect around 6.5 litre/100km on the highway at around 100km/hour.  This rises to around 7.3 at 120km/h at which point she is doing 3 000rpm in 6th gear. I averaged 8.1 litre/100km on my normal route which include some high speed driving and an eight storey parking garage. It will be possible to average below 8 litre/100km. The MG6 has a good engine and chassis.

I found the seats really comfortable and could easily get a good driving position.

The boot is big and the seats split and fold down to accommodate longer objects. The passengers in the back enjoy good leg room.

The MG6 comes with a full house specification, including  air con, cruise control, park assist, Multi-Function Steering, lit vanity mirrors, substantial door pockets, a spacious central storage box, hill stop control , 4 airbags and the usual safety gear.

Bad points

I managed to stall the car 4 times on pulling away. The clutch action is a little odd. After you stall the car you have to remove the key completely and then push it in hard till the car starts.

The hand brake lever is rubbish. Rubbish to look at, to feel and to work with.  You can easily jam your thumb between the lever and the central tunnel. It feels plasticky and not very solid.

The demister button is behind the gear lever when in 6th. The driver cannot see it.

The interior has its good points but there is a super flimsy spring loaded cup holder which protrudes from the dash when you need it. I felt it would not last more than 6 months.

The buttons and roller switches on the steering feel cheap and are counter-intuitive and need attention from the designers.  Most of the other knobs and controls fell and look slightly dodgy.  Some of the plastics on especially the lower sections appear to be quite soft and will scuff quickly.

The electronic key is flimsy and feels very cheap.

Summary

This is the first Chinese car that I was comfortable driving and can comfortably recommend to be considered when looking at cars. You get quite a lot of car for your Rand. It really drives well. But…

With competition like the Corolla 1.6 Advanced R232 500, Elantra 1.8 R224 900 , Jetta 1.4 TSi R244 500 , Mazda3 2.0 R288 920 , Focus GDi 2.0 R245 430 and Civic Elegance 1.8 R159 900, all the MG6 has going for it is good road manners and size.

Fortunately the MG6 pricing is almost competitive. With the interior fixed it would fly of showroom floors.

Costs  R239 900 as tested. Prices range from R229 900 to R269 900.

Warranty 36 months or 80 000km, service plan 36 months or 90 000km, with 24 month service intervals.

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Alfa Giulietta gets automatic TCT gearbox

Alfa Romeo’s innovative (Twin Clutch Transmission) system is now also available in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

The transmission works in either a full automatic or sequential mode. The driver can manually change the gears either up or down utilising the paddle shifts on the steering column or gearshift for complete control. In addition, the driver can customise the car’s personality using the Alfa D.N.A. driving selector to enhance its features of comfort, performance, safety and efficiency.
The new Alfa TCT consists of “two gearboxes” in parallel, one for even gears and one for odd gears, each with its own clutch, which allows the selection and engagement of the subsequent gear while the previous one is still engaged. The gear is therefore changed with a simple, smooth yet very fast switching of the corresponding clutches, guaranteeing continuous torque delivery and therefore traction.

Consumption is reduced by up to 10% with respect to a traditional automatic gearbox. Alfa TCT uses dry clutches allowing, natural integration with Start&Stop, a function which is not always available with traditional automatic transmissions, and which guarantees a further benefit in terms of fuel consumption, particularly in cities.

The operation of the Alfa TCT is also designed to integrate the engine and the various onboard systems in the best manner. To allow for the best performance on the road, depending on the driving conditions and on the driver’s wishes, the transmission interacts with the Alfa D.N.A., braking system, engine control and vehicle stability control system (VDC).

Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna review

Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna intercooler

What a breath of fresh air. It’s cool, it’s fun, it is no joke. I really like Nissan’s Juke.

Nissan are really good at finding and exploiting niches. Afterwards everybody (well nearly everybody) says: of course, obvious isn’t it?

Just so with the Juke. It is full of surprises. Pleasant ones.

There are three throttle settings called D-mod; Eco, normal and sport. You pick your own fuel consumption. Dial in the fun and you will know you are paying for it at the pump. The settings also affect the steering. I got over 8 litres per 100km, driving at 120km/h on the N2 and going up and down an eight storey parking garage every day. You could get close t0 7 litres per 100km if you drive in eco mode.

Driving impressions    

The turbo petrol Juke is a high riding hot hatch – 140kW @ 5 600 and 240Nm @ 5 000 via a silky smooth 6-speed manual box. Joy to drive.

In sport mode this car has a huge grin factor and is recommended to banish the blues. It grips well, feels fast and corners like a demon. The steering is good, accurate and above par.

The gearbox clutch marriage is a happy one. The Juke is a pleasure to drive. The diving position is good and the seats hold you in place.

Acceleration in sport mode when the turbo kicks in feels quick. Nissan claim 0 to 100 in 7.46 seconds and a top speed of 215km/h.

Weak points

The computer menu button is in a bad position in the instrument binnacle. you reach it through the steering wheel. An epic design fail.

This little turbo petrol engine tends to be thirsty, especially in sport mode  on an exciting road. Nissan’s claimed 6.9 litre per 100km combined consumption will be hard to match. I got nearer to 8 litre/100km.

It’s got a small boot, which is divided into a bottom drawer for your laptop and lunch box and an upper shelf for maybe 6 shopping bags. If it’s just two of you and you fold down the back seats you get a pretty decent boot. The Juke is actually a small car in the size class of the Mini and a bit larger than a Polo.

Good points

The Juke has a huge fun factor. It is nippy, cheeky and slightly naughty. The Juke has character.

When the turbo kicks in you feel the surge of power.

I like the design of both the exterior and the interior. It stands out from the crowd. The interior is very clever, cosy and practical. The exterior almost unique with flowing lines curving over very sexy hips.

The cabin is well designed and put together. It is also very different, and I think tasteful. Some will say its garish. That is their problem. I like the way different textures, colours and surfacers are brought together into a harmonious whole. It has more elbow space than its competitors and does not feel cramped.

Summary

In spite of little niggles the Juke carves a new unique niche for itself. It rules the roost. Watch it sell.

Costs as tested R261 925 for the Tekna, but base model is R203 925.  Competitors include the Mini Countryman Cooper R296 881, Suzuki SX4 R245 900, CrossPolo R234 100, Mazda 2 R212 950, Citroen DS3 R268 400 and Audi A1 R253 000.

The Juke is better value than its competitors, and I think a better buy.

It comes as standard with cruise control, auto aircon, Bluetooth, audio and cruise control on a fully adjustable leather steering wheel, data display, electric windows, immobiliser, electric mirrors and all the driving safety kit.

Warranty

Service intervals for the turbo models are 10 000km, and 15 000km for the normally aspirated. Warranties are 3 year / 100 000km. Service contract is 90 000/ 3 years.