Regular readers will remember that I really enjoyed my week with the MG3, a week that was all the better for coming as a bolt from the blue. MG as a company has had more than its fair share of ups and downs in recent years and few were expecting the MG3 to be such a great car, partly because of the decidedly average MG6, which gains a carwow score of just 5.6.
Reviews of the MG6 are mixed, but the consensus seems to be that it is just outclassed by its rivals in most key areas, even if it does offer a lot of interior space. The new diesel engine fills a conspicuous gap in the range and is the model I had on a loan.
All in all, I was looking forward to seven days with the Longbridge car. Here is what I found.
The MG6 GT is not the best looking car in the world; imagine a last-generationMazda 6 (if you can) with just a hint of Alfa Romeo 156. My test cars colour didnt help; red rarely suits family cars and in this case it just served to accentuate the awkward lines around the MG6s rear.
Nice alloys and a handsome front end help lift the mood somewhat but I cant help thinking that the best that can be said of the MG6 is that it isnt sufficiently hideous to actually put anyone off buying one.
The GT, by the way, is the MG6 hatchback. Saloon aficionados will buy the four-door Magnette.
Go on, try and guess what Im going to say about the interior. Cheap plastics? Unconvincing ergonomics from some of the minor switchgear? A few odd textures and patterns? Yes, theyre all there but, like the exterior, none are so bad as to actually put you off buying one.
The rest is, in fact, pretty good. The driving position is excellent, the front seats are very supportive, and the instruments are clear and legible. Boot space is vast (one of the biggest in the class, in fact) and rear-seat legroom is above average too. Its bigger than a Golf and smaller than a Passat, which probably makes it the perfect size for the average 2+2 family.
My middle-of-the-range SE comes with everything youd expect from a car in this class, including a decent sat-nav system and Hill Hold. Step up to the TSE and you gain dual-zone air-con, rain sensing wipers, heated leather seats, a rear camera, front parking sensors, and automatic headlights, to name but a few.
In other words, the SE might have the essentials covered but it doesnt feel luxurious; I think Id be tempted to stump up the extra 2,000 if I was buying one.
The MG6 doesnt handle too badly at all. Initial understeer turns neutral very quickly and it hangs onto the tarmac tenaciously. The high-quality road holding and handling come at a price though as the ride is a bit crashy and harsh.
The brakes and steering are distinctly under-par too; the brakes lack feel and ultimate power and the steering is a bit vague. Neither is a huge concern but both are at odds with the MG6s alleged sporty character. It fares much better on motorways and dual carriageways, where all that torque and a high sixth gear allow for relaxed high-speed cruising.
The 1.9-litre diesel engine remedies one of the legitimate concerns about the MG6 range at launch, namely that it was only available with a petrol engine.
Its a willing enough, if unremarkable, engine that develops 148 bhp and 258 lb/ft of torque. Performance isnt stunning, with the traditional sprint to 62 mph taking 8.9 seconds and, curiously, the 120 mph top speed is a limited one.
MG claims that up to 59mpg is possible. I saw mid-40s over a series of relatively short journeys so low 50s should be possible with a bit of care. CO2 emissions are 139g/km, for an uncompetitive car tax bill of 105 each year.
Value for Money
My car cost 18,195 OTR, which is pretty good for a car as cavernous as this but, as I mentioned earlier, Id be tempted to buck the usual carwow advice to buy a Plain Jane model. Why? The depreciation on the MG6 is pretty savage; I found a two-year-old GT SE with 13,000 miles for 6,750.
That level of loss is ok if you plan on keeping it for a while and if thats the plan, you might as well spoil yourself with the top-of-the-range TSE for 20,195 and spend those years of ownership in comfort.
A three-year/60,000 mile warranty and roadside assistance package is good but offset by a 4* NCAP safety rating.
The MG6 is a better car than I was expecting but not as good as Id hoped, doing most things well and nothing badly. It is, in its favour, cheap and offers more space than other cars at the same price point; hard-core fans of the brand will find much to like about the MG6 and possibly much to love.
Given how good the MG3 is, I suspect that the MG6s replacement (when it comes) will be brilliant but for now its hard to recommend, especially when you consider how good some of its rivals, like the Ford Focus and Skoda Octavia, are.