Mark Mastrototaro has decided to take the plunge and put a new MG6 on his driveway.
He’s no blind MG6 fanboy, though, and goes in with his eyes open, promising to be completely realistic in his relationship with his new car. However, so far, despite one delivery hiccough, he’s quite enamoured by his new car.
What’s the best way of paying for an MG6?
Getting someone else to pay of course!
Private and company leasing is become much more common-place these days, the economics of such deals making perfect sense to some, not so to others – it totally depends on a person’s circumstances. When I was given the option of taking a car on company lease and given my budget, I was frankly amazed at the deals out there.
The long and short of it is, some manufacturers are throwing money behind deals themselves to get stock moving and, as a result, there are some cracking deals to be had. A shortlist was made of some very capable motors: the Mercedes-Benz C220 CDi Exec SE, Seat Exeo TDi Tech SE, Skoda Superb CR170, Vauxhall Insignia VX Line CDTi, VW Tiguan Sport TDi, were the ones which came rising to the surface after much deliberation.
However, as an owner of over 30 examples of ‘Firm’ machinery, I couldn’t help myself but to just enquire about MG. The leasing company I was going through could only manage a very uncompetitive deal on a TSE. Undeterred, I decided to contact MG myself, emailing a local (well as local as MG Motor UK dealers are presently) dealer, West Riding MG of Bradford. What harm could it do? After a couple of days, one of the sales guys came back to me and gave me some marginally better figures, yet they still weren’t good enough for my budget.
The dealer put me onto one of the chaps based at the MG Sales Centre in what was the Roundhouse at Longbridge. I ended up letting MG Birmingham’s Richard Bourton know the kind of numbers he needed to come back to get my custom. It was was an honest and frank conversation…
I wasn’t confident in the slightest, knowing that lease-deals tend to be without much negotiation. However, I was amazed when they they came through with a deal in under 24 hours!
It was decision time. I’d put my dilemma out to some of my online friends, who were there to offer sound advice and moral support, and I’d given myself a decision deadline. With the clock ticking, I made a call to dealer friend and AROnline and Car Mechanics magazine Contributor, Steven Ward, to have one last conversation and get the nitty gritty on the MG6. By the end of the call – at 11.00am on (poignantly?) Friday the 13th July, I had decided to throw someone else’s money at a brand new MG6 on a 24 month deal.
At this stage I should probably say that, yes, I know there were more capable cars on my shortlist; and yes, were I buying the car myself with my own money then perhaps my decision would have been different (an economical judgement only though). Sometimes, though, just sometimes, you have to trust your heart. When I bought British Leyland, Austin Rover, Rover Group and MG Rover cars in the past, there had always been more capable alternatives. It’s a matter of choice and a matter of taste – the MG Motor UK cars are no different.
Much excitement ensued in the period of time between order and delivery date but the process wasn’t a smooth one – every time we had some paperwork sent in, something else needed completing and my patience was starting to wear thin. Sensing my unrest at a crucial point, MG took the unusual step of giving me a 12-plate MG6 GT SE to use until mine was ready for collection! Excellent.
Having ordered mine in Burnt Orange, I was pleased that the loaner was a different colour and a Regal Red example was mine for the short term. I don’t know why, but I suppose I’d lowered my expectations a little, perhaps because of the tired old clichés being rattled out by people who had not only never sat in or touched one, but never even seen one in the metal – it’s almost laughable.
Mind you, if first impressions are anything to go by, I felt better already. The doors are heavy and incredibly solid feeling, the plastics inside feel expensive (for the most part), but I’m disappointed by a few jarring let-downs:
- That Key. Please, please MG sort something out with it. It feels cheap and nasty and I’ll be amazed if they don’t break quickly. Truly amazed.
- The ‘carbon faux-bre’ around the gear gaiter and handbrake area. It looks cheaper than it should.
- SAIC etching on the windows isn’t very nice to see. I don’t expect TATA will be doing the same on JLR products, so why this SAIC?
- Interior light is FAR too bright at night. Dazzling almost.
- Two small red mood lights which illuminate your hands, are fine… only they shine straight into the mirror. Luckily they’re not bright!
- The gearknob. It feels cheap and nasty.
- The depth of the seat bolsters. These could be increased for more comfort, they seem slightly too shallow compared to my other cars (a Peugeot 407, Austin Maestro and Volvo S40)
I decided to reserve judgement until I’d covered a few miles in a variety of driving styles and situations, but my initial impressions are good. The engine sounds familiar, yet quieter – its origins’ too obvious to ignore and that was just by the sound of it! Revvy and willing like a well-sorted K-Series should be, but the gearbox is very impressive. Very positive, albeit only five-speeds, but with well-spaced ratios and a very sporty feel. Steven Ward actually gave me the low-down on this gearbox and it’s encouraging to hear that MG has given the care and attention a good gearbox needs during its development. The steering has that familiar MG Rover feel: well-weighted, which is so lacking in many over-assisted EPAS set-ups in rival cars these days.
I’ll not bore you with the details of every journey but, in the 1400 miles I put on the loan car, it performed utterly faultlessly. While not the quickest thing in the world, it still has more than enough performance. The average mpg over the time I had it was 37.1 – a figure I’m more than happy with. It’s also good in the corners and on the straights. It seems, completely by accident – if the model’s lack of UK advertising is anything to go by – MG Motor UK has made a very capable car. All MG needs to do is get people to try them!
However, come the 21st August, it was time to collect my MG6 proper. I made the trip over to West Riding MG in the loan car and, in very, very heavy rain, inspected my car for the next two years. I’ve decided on the Burnt Orange as I was impressed by the depth and finish of the first one I saw in the metal months ago. I didn’t regret my choice, as I looked at the new and old cars side by side. In the words of my friend Glenn Robertson, ‘the Hatch in that colour is the definitive ‘6’. He’s spot on. It looks superb.
When I got inside the car, it had 1 mile on the clock! Well, they’d gone and put me some fuel in! To my delight the gearknob has been changed now and this new item feels a million per cent better – no exaggeration. The steering wheel leather also feels better in my car. The Sat-Nav is easy to use, as are the stereo and trip computer.
Importantly, the two cars drive almost identically – a good indication of the quality in both design and build, another seemingly good job, well done. Time will tell now – we have two years of this car together and I don’t doubt there’ll be ups and downs. We’ll also see in real terms how MG and its Dealer Network perform when it comes to sorting out any problems which may come up or how they deal with the fundamentals like servicing.
Have I made a good choice? Have I made a brave choice? Am I wasting someone else’s money? Does my medication need reviewing? These questions will all be answered in the fullness of time!
Update: 24 August
A quick dash shot and also, I’d noticed that this ‘6 seemed a little quieter. On inspection, I discovered that, where the loaner had no under-bonnet soundproofing, mine does! Excellent! I also took a few under-bonnet shots for the parts-bin spotters amongst you and prepare for shrieks of terror as you see the cam cover removed and no longer is the ‘ROVER’ stamping present, now a rather poor looking ‘SAIC MOTOR’ in it’s place. Nice to see the engine numbering system surviveS though!
Anyway, have a quick look and see what bits you recognise!
A moment on the engine cover itself – on looking at the pictures, I assumed it was a hard plastic cover but, once, I’d unbolted it etc, I discovered it was actually a very thick foam/plastic piece of really good quality. I’d been told by Steven Ward that this was designed with pedestrian safety in mind, which definitely seems to ring true.
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.