MG adds diesel to the mix
By Maxine Ashford
LIKE a phoenix rising from the ashes, MG views itself as a start-again company and thanks to the financial backing of Chinese motoring giant SAIC the brand is moving onwards and upwards.
The launch of the MG6 GT hatchback and MG6 Magnette saloon models last year were hailed a great success and now MG has introduced a diesel engine into the mix.
The 1.9-litre DTi-Tech turbocharged engine delivers 150PS and offers a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.9 seconds onto a top speed of 120mph.
Although the new diesel model is identical in appearance to the petrol version, there are some changes of note to the mechanics.
The diesel MG6 features a revised braking system, updated chassis, new power steering and a new gearbox.
The car still looks striking with distinctive lines and buyers can choose from one sports saloon model or three hatchbacks – S, SE and TSE.
MG prides itself on the fact all models are packed with technology with no optional extra costs. Guy Jones, the UK’s sales and marketing director at MG Motors, said: “It is straight-forward value for money. It is a very strong package with no options or hidden extras. It all comes as standard.”
This is welcome news considering some premium cars are supplied with optional extras costing more than £5,000.
Equipment on the basic S model priced at £16,995 includes electronically-controlled air con, electric windows, a radio and CD player with MP3, USB and aux-in capability, body-coloured door mirrors, a rear spoiler, plus fog lamps.
There is also a comprehensive list of safety features as standard too.
Step up to mid-range SE costing £18,195 and you will find sat nav, a rear parking aid, cruise control, one-touch electric windows and a multi-functional leather steering wheel.
Finally, the top-of-the-range TSE is priced at £20,195 and introduces leather sports seats, sat-nav via a large colour screen, electronic dual zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and 18-inch alloys.
It was this all-singing, all-dancing model that we took on an extensive drive along motorways, country lanes and through more congested town centres.
Comfort levels are excellent and the six-speed manual transmission is nice and responsive. There are no plans for an automatic gearbox model at this stage.
The car handled exceptionally well despite many of the roads en route being flooded. It powered its way through the water and although a couple of warning lights flashed on and off, it seemed to cope admirably.
All dials and readouts are perfectly placed for driver use and they are neatly housed in an arch-shaped hood protecting them from any glare.
The USB connection is rather strangely situated to the driver’s right which is not exactly the most practical of places.
The cabin area is spacious and there is ample room for back seat passengers. The generously-sized boot can be extended further thanks to 60:40 split-folding rear seats.
My only real gripe was the poor visibility through the rear screen. Being a hatchback, the rear window is quite small anyway and the view is hampered further by the trio of rear headrests.
But that aside, the car performed really well.
MG claims the car can achieve 53.5mpg with emissions of 139g/km. After our two-hour run, we had managed just over 47mpg, but this reading was probably lowered by the dreadful driving conditions with constant gear changes to tackle flooded lanes.
With the Skoda Octavia, Vauxhall Insignia and Honda Accord in its sights the MG6 has some very stiff opposition, but the company does have a huge fan-base and this diesel engine along with the no-hidden-extras policy is certainly a move in the right direction.