If ever there was a good example of plucky British spirit, MG is it. After steady decline in the early to mid-2000s and subsequent re-launch in the UK under Chinese ownership, the company is putting all its faith in just two models - the MG6 hatchback and MG Magnette saloon.
Customers persevering with the marque can now benefit from lower on-the-road prices, improved economy and lower road tax.
A criticism of the MG models at launch was their relatively poor fuel economy, putting them off the pace of rivals with more advanced engines. Though the MG6 and Magnette dont yet have the diesel models that would allow them to truly compete - particularly with fleet buyers - some small changes have realised improvements in fuel economy.
Urban fuel consumption improves from 26.1 to 27.7 mpg, extra urban economy rises from 45.2 mpg to 48.7 mpg, and the combined figure increases from 35.6 mpg to 37.7 mpg.
These are all useful improvements, and as youd expect, emissions have decreased as a result. CO2 output drops from 184 grams per kilometre to 174g/km. That drops the MG6 and Magnette by one VED band, saving you 50 in the first year on road tax, and 20 per year thereafter. Youll now pay less than 200 per year in tax.
That addresses some of the experts concerns about the car, and youll still get the same decent acceleration - 8.4 seconds to 60mph - and nimble handling that the MG6 has always offered. Top speed is limited to 120mph, which brings down insurance ratings.
On-the-road prices have dropped across the board by 40, with an MG6 GT fastback in S trim now beginning at a thoroughly reasonable 15,455, rising to 19,955 for the flagship Magnette model. Thats a bargain next to many of its higher-profile rivals.
MGs profile has also improved recently following early success in the British Touring Car Championship.
At the hands of touring car ace Jason Plato, the MG6 scored its maiden win in the third race of the series, at Brands Hatch in Kent. BTCC success certainly helped boost MGs sales back in the early 2000s, so the company will be hoping for more of the same.
The MG6 isnt quite a class leader, but the improved mpg and lower purchase prices should help the company sell a few more cars in 2012.
Check out our full guide the MG6. With reviews, photos, videos and stats.