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.
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.
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.
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.
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.