Solid performance at a fair price: that’s the verdict on MG’s new hatchback. But, writes reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay, its flaws are hard to ignore.
The MG6 GT looks like the well-made Vauxhall Insignia, but step inside and that’s where any similarity between the two hatchbacks disappears.
Unfortunately for the now Chinese-owned MG brand, the hard cabin plastics look dreadfully cheap.
Poor initial impression
Even the synthetic ignition key feels like it could be easily broken.
Happily, once you start the car, things improve.
The 1.9-litre turbo diesel unit fitted to the flagship DTI-TECH TSE model, on test here, pulls very well indeed.
The torque curve through the six-speed transmission offers strong acceleration with great overtaking ability.
The oil-burner produces 148bhp and can achieve 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds.
Top speed is a less impressive but more than acceptable 120mph.
Another plus point is the efficiency of the diesel-powered MG6 GT.
The motor got me from my home in Northamptonshire to London and back, and then managed a return trip to Norwich.
All in all, I got 500 miles out of a full tank without even trying to drive frugally.
A lumpy ride
The MG’s chassis and suspension isn’t outstanding though.
The ride is reminiscent of a bowl of lumpy porridge – all squidgy and nausea-inducing.
Nonetheless, once you get used to the drive, you see the car for what it is: a practical five-seater with a huge cargo-carrying boot.
The MG6 also offers tremendous value for money as all specifications are available from £15,455 to £20,195.
Furthermore, the MG6 has one of the highest levels of standard equipment of any car on the market.
Even the basic S model has a high level of trim, including anti-lock braking (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), brake pad wear sensor, brake disc wiping, Stability Control System (SCS) and Hill Hold.
In the cabin there’s electronically controlled air conditioning, electric windows all round, in-car entertainment consisting of radio, CD player, MP3, USB and aux-in capability.
Body-coloured mirrors and a rear spoiler are also the norm, along with fog lamps.
Move up to the mid-range SE trim level and kit includes satellite navigation (which covers 27 countries from Albania to the Vatican City), a rear parking aid, cruise control and one-touch operation electric front windows.
For comfort there’s a multi-functional leather steering wheel and cruise control.
At the top of the class, the TSE model adds leather sports seats and a reversing parking aid camera with a large display screen.
The car’s all-round electric windows feature one one-touch operation and there’s automatic electronic dual-zone climate control as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
Safety boost needed
Good-looking 18-inch alloy wheels are also a highlight of the high-spec TSE version.
In many ways the MG6 GT diesel makes perfect sense.
If you look through the budget cabin plastics and lumpy ride, there’s no getting away from the fact the car is cheap to buy and run, has loads of room, and performs well.
However - and it’s a big however in my book - all MG6 models only have a Euro-NCAP four-star safety rating.
As a father of three small children I wouldn’t look at buying a car with anything less than the top five-star safety score.
It’s a shame, and MG needs to go all-out for full marks as soon as possible if it wants to attract more safety-conscious family buyers.
Pros & cons
- Pulling power
- Cheap to buy
- Safety rating
- Max speed: 120 mph
- 0-62 mph: 8.9 seconds
- Combined mpg: 57.6
- Engine: 1849cc 16 valve 4 cylinder turbo diesel
- Power: 148 bhp
- Torque: 258 lb/ft
- CO2: 129 g/km
- Price: £20,195