Blog : MG6 diesel, 119,000 miles on

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

I had the pleasure of catching up with good friend Simon Weakley this evening, and taking a spin in his 2015 MG6. Readers might not instantly know the name, but Simon’s work over the years has been tremendous – his Harold Musgrove interview, for instance, has been a game-changing update for the site.

Back to his MG6 fastback. It’s a 1.9DTi in S trim, bought with 25,000 miles on the clock and has, for the past two years, been pounding the streets of his town, serving the community as a taxi as part of Simon’s fleet. With 119,000 miles on the clock, it’s time for Simon to move it on, having ordered a Dacia to replace it.

It’s not the first MG6 taxi that Simon’s run. Previously, he ran a 1.8 TCi-Tech as a 200,000-mile minicab and, despite a few niggles along the way, he found the experience largely positive, concluding: ‘In some ways the MG6 continues the tradition of BL and ARG cars in that it is a very good design, a great driver’s car and commendable in so many ways, but let down by a number of faults that should not have occurred.’

Costly to run, and a poor dealer experience

Second time around, Simon’s experience has been less impressive, as the dealer support from Maple Garage Limited in Hull has been rather less than stellar. Simon says, ‘The two biggest bills were a clutch and dual-mass flywheel at 80,000 miles, that cost £1200, and another including EPROM ASA-ECM and ERG cooler assembly and MG6 camshaft sensor for £1471.’

In addition, a run of starting issues took ages to sort, and this was eventually traced to an under-specced battery that the Maple Garage had fitted. Simon also says that running costs aren’t exactly low: ‘In almost 120,000 miles, it’s cost me £3850 in servicing and repairs, compared with less than £1000 for a Dacia…’

In a letter to Maple’s MD, Simon spells out his frustrations. ‘Of major concern has been the total lack of interest from MG Motor UK. The car experienced problems while still in warranty, and this has continued after the 60,000-mile cut-off. MG’s lack of replies to my concerns, never mind acting upon them, has made up my mind never to spend my hard-earned cash with that company again.’

Curiosity leads us to take a look…

When I heard Simon was selling his second MG6, I was keen to get a go (and perhaps do a deal), to see how these cars stand up to a hard life, and whether they make good used cars. As he says, with the faults fixed, and the correct battery fitted, it’s running nicely, and performing as it should have all along.

Jumping in, the first impressions aren’t bad. Being an S model, it’s bereft of much of the kit I was expecting to see on a car in this market sector, such as cruise control, parking sensors and an infotainment system with sat-nav. The door shuts aren’t brilliant and, although they don’t clang when you close them, they do feel lightweight and less-than decent quality.

It’s also quite a monochromatic experience inside – if you like the warm, inviting interiors of Rovers, you’ll not be pleased with what’s presented here. Neither is it sporting enough to carry off the MG thing convincingly.

So, how has it stood up after 120,000-miles?

Not too badly, really. Gloomy interior and cheap-feeling doors aside, it’s good. The seats are well shaped, the driving position is excellent, and the minor controls aren’t too badly laid out. If you want a road test of the MG6 DTi when it was new, it’s worth revisiting, so I don’t have to retread old ground – but, in a nutshell, three years and 120,000 miles on, it handles well, has decent, punchy performance and is a practical proposition.

After receiving its first MoT I’d say that the main areas of aging are that its engine is noisier than I remember, and the gearchange feels 10% looser than I’d hoped. Not bad by any means, but hardly factory fresh. It sits well on the road, all of the electrics still work, and the air-con blows icy cool, as you’d expect. Given that this has been a hard-driven taxi with primarily an urban patch to cover, it’s not bad.

On the road, it’s where it needs to be, and it handles as tidily as any MG6 should, while the ride is as smooth and well-damped as you’d expect. Steering is still sharp, and the brakes pull up square as you’d expect, and don’t attract comment. Does it feel like there’s years of service to come? Yes. Has it aged well? Pretty much… And would I say it feels as dependable at this mileage as, say, a Skoda or Dacia? Almost – it’s not far off.

Could I recommend a second-hand MG6?

Well, if you’re not risk averse, yes – but only if your MG dealer or specialist is a good one, and also with the proviso that you can get parts for that diesel engine, which didn’t see service in any other MG in the UK. Simon backs this up, being bitterly disappointed by the service from Maple Garage: ‘Poor service and vehicle off road for too long being the main reason which costs a taxi private hire firm £1000 a week in lost earnings,’ he says.

Decent support from the dealer, and some manufacturer backup would have transformed this experience completely. It would probably help if you had access to Mike Humble’s spanners, too, as you’ll get nothing in the way of goodwill from MG Motor UK. With these provisos considered, what you get in return is a huge amount of nearly-new car for not a lot of money that happens to stop, go and steer well, and return decent fuel consumption.

I always felt that the MG6 was a half-decent car given a bum steer by its parent company in the UK. It was badly marketed, ineffectually PR’d, overpriced and under-supported by a sparse dealer network. Revisiting the MG6, these feelings are backed up. Three years on, and unencumbered by the pressures of new-car price and competition, I came away liking it a lot, despite its basic spec. Had another company been selling it, things would have been different.

Simon’s looking for about £3000 for his MG6, which given its modest age and full service history, seems like good value to me for a three-year old car, if you’re not averse to a bit of risk, or you have access to your own Mike Humble. If you’re interested, you should email Simon Weakley and say I sent you…

Or we could crowdfund it, and run it as the next AROnline project car!

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

25 Comments

  1. Hadn’t it been decided to no longer include articles on Chinese MG’s once the minor finishing work at Longbridge had come to an end?

      • I think the Chinese MGs are hateful contraptions with a very tenuous link to anything British – but live and let live. If there are people on here who want to discuss them, then why not? One of the beauties of this site is the sheer choice of topics and material on offer (including other stuff that has dubious connections to Britishness, such as certain French Chryslers) – and the chance to pick and choose according to what interests us. We don’t have to read what we don’t like.

  2. MG is still MG in my book no matter where they are built,
    The ultra nationalists have done enough damage to our country as it is with Brexit, without taking a wrecking ball to this site.
    So keep up the good work Keith and if you don’t want to read about ‘Chinese’ MG’s then don’t read them and don’t spoil it for the rest of us who do.

    • Thank you for presuming I’m an “ultra nationalist” when I am not. And also that I’m a Brexit supporter, when I’m a passionate pro-European and keen Remainer. I also believe in free trade, before you might think otherwise.

      That doesn’t stop me from taking a keen interest and being a strong supporter of local manufacturing and putting my money where my mouth is, having bought several new Land Rovers and Range Rovers, as well as a new (Hinckley built) Triumph, in the last 6 years.

      I enjoy this site and have done for several years. But accepting this Chinese car as British doesn’t sit comfortably at all. I was relieved when it was announced that, following the ceasing of the pretence of assembly at Longbridge, the car would no longer be included in these pages.

  3. I think this report is fascinating. Perhaps I’m too risk averse but just because the car has an interesting badge, it doesn’t mean I’d buy it!

    The dealer sounds appalling which is sort of like many BL experience.

    I want more articles like this even if they just reinforce my prejudices!

    Keep at it Keith!

  4. I still really want to run an MG6 for a while, but can’t help thinking I’d be buying a world of pain after 2 trouble-free years with my Astra. As far as £3k in repairs in 120k goes, try running an Ibiza TSi; ours cost us nearly £2k in the 12k after it came out of warranty and only had 48k on it in total!

    I’m surprised to hear the negative comments about Maple Garage, I know them from my time running Protons and they were always highly regarded. Perhaps the issues have more to do with Mg Uk’s intransigent attitude and complete lack of dealer support; probably the main reason I haven’t scratched the MG6 itch.

  5. You can see why the MG6 only sold in tiny numbers, overpriced for what it was, a sparse dealer network where you could be saddled with a poor dealer as the next one was 100 miles away, not reliable enough, and not very well made. Then having a thirsty petrol turbo as the only engine at the start didn’t help. I knew these cars would flop from the start.

  6. I had high hopes that the MG6 would be a good ambassador car for the return of the MG name and even considered the idea of buying one myself if & when they became established with a dealer network (?). However despite it being a good looking car, I was never convinced to go along that route.

    • It was a good “Ambassador” car apparently. The Austin Ambassador. Moderate/poor reliability, meh quality and bad dealer service. This isn’t the only car that’s had problems because of a poor battery, Hyundai Accents do too.
      The sad thing is, the first two aren’t as bad if there is brilliant dealer support…
      As for the whining about whether this is an MG or a Chinee-wagon. It’s the latter. It is made by a Chinese company using a China modded K Series with a Chinese interpretation of a British company that half the time wasn’t sure what it was about anyway. It’s not about nationalism, it’s about reality – y’all should come visit some time.

      • The Austin Ambassador was quite a good car, Gemma. It rode like a Rolls Royce, had a huge interior and boot, looked distinctive, the O series engines were quite reliable if maintained correctly, and it was good value for money. However, the interior was cheap looking, bizarrely a rev counter was deleted from the top models, the excellent E6 engine wasn’t continued from the Princess, and performance wasn’t very good on the 1.7. On the whole, though, a decent car and those who owned an Ambassador enjoyed the experience.

  7. You occasionally see these diesel MG6s in the auctions. They are always non-runners, unlike the petrol equivalents.

    The basic design and manufacture of the engine block is Chinese. But the overall British manufacturing content in the derv unit as a whole and the subsequent installation is as much if not more significant than the petrol. Bizarrely MG weren’t allowed to mention this..

    Sadly, true to its (British) heritage, the car and power train weren’t fully developed before being released to a totally disinterested public. So it bombed even more than the petrol.

  8. Another case of MG UK snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? I always think that the 6 had quite a bit of GM influence in its design, eg comparable to an older Insignia, Chevrolet Cruze, and secondhand frankly I would have more confidence in a GM product given the poor MG support/parts availability. Was the diesel engine really a BMW clone?
    However, there appears to be a new 6 coming. I appreciate it’s Keith’s website, and if current MG models are excluded then fair enough, but MG does seem to be coming on leaps and bounds with its new SUV’s, eg the HS, and it would be interesting to find out how much of their development has Longbridge roots.

  9. I for one would be interested to read about the new MG6 on here. Reputedly there were several at Silverstone for MG Live, although unfortunately I didn’t see one.

    • Me too, at least here you get a “real world” review, rather than the how fast will it get round the Nürburgring so usual today

  10. @ Chris C, it wasn’t a bad looking car and could have been a reasonable car if it was better promoted, had a wider dealer network, was better made, and wasn’t limited to a thirsty 1.8 petrol turbo engine at the start. The MG6 could have been a latter day answer to cars like the Proton Persona or Hyundai Stellar if it was sold at a more competitive price and had been better made.
    Interestingly today, in Silloth, a slightly faded but still reasonably popular resort with caravanners as it’s a lot cheaper than Keswick, I saw two MG3s, the first I’d seen for over a year. Checking the dealer sticker on the back, they’d come from Scotland.

    • There are a few nearly new MG3s on the forecourt of my local branch of Arnold Clark. Presumably they have the franchise here in Scotland. I’ve seen the odd one on the road too.

      • These were the better car of the two, a slightly sporty small hatch with some vivid colours like burnt orange to attract younger buyers, and prices were competitive. The 3 was closer to cars like the MG Metro than the 6, which was like a big family car.

  11. A shame to read. I was hoping that the MG6 would really spearhead MG’s return, like the Octavia did for Skoda. I was dismayed when the original local MG dealer lasted a month (RMG motors) and the MG signage was kept up for years on a derelict building (while Subaru was removed).

    However locally some ex-Rover family dealers (Logan of Whiteabbey and Martin of Killyleagh) have taken on the MG franchise, and I’ve noticed more 3s, GSs an ZSs.

    Was briefly tempted by an MG6, as these local dealers have a good rep. The lack of an autobox put me off. Went with a Skoda, have had no real issues.

  12. Re MG3’s – I’m seeing more of them in the west Lancashire area (Ormskirk, Southport, Formby) and I know a few staff at Ormskirk’s Edge Hill University run some ’66 reg models. I hope the new MG3 is a lot sportier then the current one – it Toyota can charge over £26k for a tuned Yaris, I’m sure MG could launch an MG3 GT or similar for around £15k.

      • Alongside the generous 7 years, don’t forget to mention the 80,000 mile limit and the “wear and tear” clauses applicable from the end of year 1.

  13. I saw my first MG6 today for ages. |Where have they all disappeared to . I know there were not that many original , but it must be 4 years since I last saw one

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