Ant McGowan has put his money where his mouth is and is backing MG Motor UK, by taking delivery of a nearly new ‘6 from Scotland’s only MG dealer.
We’ll be following his progress through the coming months and seeing how the Sino-British family hatch performs day in, day out…
Words and Photographs: Ant McGowan
Welcome to ‘Club six’
Bought: July 2012
Fuel consumption: 36.5mpg
First and foremost, I should say that I’m a diehard MG Rover fan. Over the years, my family has done more than its fair share to help prop up MG Rover during the Phoenix era by purchasing quite a few of its best products.
It’s quite a list:
- MG ZR 105 + (2002)
- Rover Streetwise 1.4S (2003)
- MG TF 135 Sunstorm (2004)
- MG ZS 110 + (2004)
- Rover 75 1.8T Contemporary SE (2005)
Having lost thousands in depreciation and, since moving on to develop a somewhat grudging appreciation for Japanese reliability with my outgoing Mitsubishi, my mates have all questioned my motivation for buying an MG6 TSE in Arctic White. For them it’s too much of an unknown quantity, too much of a risk – particularly when they’re all sat in a collection of German motors.
I’ve heard all the usual put downs including: ‘It’s made in China’; ‘Have you not had enough HGFs to last you a lifetime?’ (I suffered it twice, each time costing me a grand); and ‘You’ll lose another fortune.’
But what they don’t understand is my affinity with the marque and what it has traditionally represented – great value, performance motoring. For me, MG should stand for great handling drivers’ cars with bags of character.
I’d been trying to hang on for the MG5 but, given it won’t be with us until the middle of 2013 and that the MG3 will be just too small to fit into my life, I decided the time was right to take the plunge on the ‘6. While I know the incoming 1849cc turbodiesel will hopefully be the powertrain that gets UK and European sales really moving, my mileage is generally around 10,000 per year, so the petrol version makes sense financially.
Being a canny Scot, I’ve bided my time and waited to see some low mileage ‘6s come onto the market with useful savings on list price. Morrisons Garage in Stirling duly obliged with a one-year old, 5000 mile demonstrator. Overall, the buying experience was excellent and the guys at Morrisons have a genuine enthusiasm for MG. It should have – it’s stuck by he company (MGR and its forebears) for a very long time.
The Sales Manager quickly realised I was an enthusiast, enabling us to have an interesting and informative discussion about both the car and the company’s future plans. There really was never any doubt that I was having the car – Arctic White and Pitch Black are the stand-out colours on the ‘6 – and, for me, the white just edges it (although I would say that wouldn’t I?)
On the road, the ‘6 certainly hasn’t disappointed. I’m hugely impressed by the car’s handling and ride quality and the chassis could certainly handle more power so all of the essential MG qualities (that I expect to find in my car) are absolutely present and correct.
The equipment and controls are pretty good and a world away from the MGR days although it’s true to say that MG are only really now catching up with the competition on that front. The reversing camera is a real ‘surprise and delight’ function – I’m finding myself reversing into parking spots far more than ever before. Space and practicality are also first rate – Mum’s Diamond Club Wednesday trip to B&Q saw the boot full of paint tins, wallpaper, brushes and assorted paraphernalia with serious room to spare (which reminds me I really need a boot liner).
It’s not all perfect though.
For me, the driver’s seat is positioned a little too high, even on its lowest setting and the sat/nav, while good, doesn’t accept full post codes. Oh, and of course, the joy of having a white car also turns keeping it clean into a labour of love. In terms of fuel economy I’m averaging 36.5mpg on a mixture of town and motorway driving.
It feels great to be behind the wheel of an MG again, knowing that I’ve played a small part in encouraging the development of MG Motor UK and its Scottish dealer. The exclusivity is remarkable – I’ve never had a car that turns so many heads and the thumbs up from other MG owners has been really pleasing after they recognise the Octagon. MG Rover achieved solid sales in Scotland for many years (helped in no small part by me) so, with some good marketing and the launch of the MG3 and the MG5, we might just see the undoubted potential begin to be realised.
The car goes back to Morrisons on Friday for its 12-month service which will be free of charge. I’m looking forward to hearing how last week’s dealer preview of the MG6 Diesel and the MG3 went, and I’ll report back on how I’m getting on as the miles clock up.