Our Cars : An MG6 joins the fleet

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

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’

MG6

Bought: July 2012
Miles: 5546
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.

54 Comments

  1. Looks good, but a satnav that doesn’t accept postcodes is unforgivable in 2012. Such a silly little thing, but it just says “We wanted to say we had a Satnav, but we went with the cheapest components going” rather than “We wanted to build a quality product.”

    I’ll look forward to hearing how you get on with the car. Not a bad looking bus in white, is it?

  2. How is buying a used car “backing MG Motor UK”?

    DItto all those Phoenix-era cars, if they were bought second hand he’s kidding himself if he thinks he did anything to “prop up” MG Rover.

    If he really wanted to “put his money where his mouth is”, he’d have bought new.

  3. Friends (for reasons best known to themselves) have an ’09 BMW X5 which has a sat-nav which accepts half post codes only. It cost a bit more than the MG.

  4. The satnav in my £38K, top of the line Citroën C6 also didn’t accept postcodes. It could, after an update, cope with the first 5 digits but was less than intuitive when doing so and frequently got it wrong. To add insult to injury, the new maps for the C6 cost over £200 when the same mapping data for say, a BMW, was £77. Understandably pirated maps were rife for the Marelli RT3/4/5 Navigation systems used in PSA and Fiat cars because of Navteq’s pricing; my suggestion that they’d easily sell 3x as many if they dropped the price was greeted with an explanation that the licensees of the map set the pricing – i.e. PSA are so predictably tightfisted that they negotiate a lower fee in exchange for the users being shafted on the updates.

    Fortunately, I suspect enough feedback to MG will get the satnav up to speed. China is very good at adapting and updating technology.

  5. Thanks Rusty. Yeah, no postcodes on the sat/nav is disappointing, but I have to say, it’s not let me down yet in finding an address. Unsure whether or not the system can be upgraded – will ask on Friday. And yes, it’s one of those few cars that really wears white very well.

  6. Brum Brum – the point is I’ve supported the dealership, which in turn is supporting MG Motor UK. And the ZR, Streetwise and ZS were all brand new. The TF & 75 dealer demonstrators.

  7. @2, Brum Brum,

    I’d say buying one of these things at all is brave enough, and supports the dealership, as well as ‘flying the flag’.

    Bearing in mind that depreciation with a little- known car that barely sells into double digits monthly he’d have been a damn fool to have bought one brand new- I wouldn’t buy one new or nearly new with my money (if I had any). One of the many variables being how well they stand up in 5 years time.

    Gool luck with the car, Ant, be interesting to see how you get on with it.

  8. So, Chris, how do you propose MG Motor survives those five years if no one buys new?

    You’re certainly doing a fine job “flying the flag” telling everyone on the internet they’d be a “damn fool” to buy one.

  9. I going to have to take it as read and from everyone’s comments that as is often the case, the car looks better ‘in the flesh’ than in the pictures I have seen of it so far.
    To me the pictures look as though the nose is off this, the wheels off that etc.
    I’ll reserve final judgement until I see one, but going on the pictures I wouldn’t be going out to buy one.

    I will now duck back into this concealed lane where the SatNav (with full, programmable by street or postcode GB and EU maps and lifetime updates) on my relatively cheap smart-phone has taken me!

  10. @8, Brum Brum,

    I am not flying the flag for SAIC MG. Given the barely token efforts at marketing their products here, if the car does turn out to be a real diamond, it won’t really be because SAIC deserves much success here (more is the pity for the front bumper fitters at Longbridge).

    This car will only succeed if they decide to pull their finger out. Daewoo started life in the UK with recycled Vauxhalls (rather than recycled Rovers) and their launch was a success.

    At the end of the day I’m not going to wave a little (Chinese made) Union Jack flag whilst shouting to the rooftops that everyone should buy it- buying one isn’t particularly patriotic (and patriotism is dumb anyway), it is merely buying another imported car that happens to have had a little involvement with British engineers and assemblers. There is more British involvement in a German built Ford diesel (the engines are built here and there are more British jobs at Dagenham than Longbridge).Blindly ‘buying British’, as many did in the 1970’s and 80’s, is what kept many companies not bothering to invest in quality, because they could sell their tat anyway. And lets not kid ourselves, the SAIC MG is not a British car.

    Buying a brand new SAIC MG is not a good investment for someone’s own money. If they choose to buy one for other reasons and don’t mind the depreciation and lack of dealer support then fine. And I am not knocking Ant for buying one- I think he’s done it out of a genuine curiosity to ‘see for himself’- what he does with his money is between him and possibly his missus (assuming he has one- hope she’s impressed!). Good luck to him.

    We all have weaknesses for things that seem ridiculous and pointless to others. I’ve spent thousands on Hi-fi, and people who have seen my system (mostly British, or British modified) are amazed when they ask about the various cables- interconnects and speaker cable, and I tell them that it cost about £700. To me, that was money well spent, and to others it is sheer madness. And yes, you can tell the difference.

    If MG Motors UK arm folds in five years time, would that be my fault or the company’s? If MG Motors don’t give two hoots whether their cars sell or not, then why should anybody else?

  11. @11, Keith Adams,

    My hi-fi isn’t all that expotic- and hasn’t been updated for many years. It consists of a Cyrus 7 integrated amp, Cyrus Smartpower power amp (both amps bi-wired), Marantz CD6000 ose KI Signature CD player (basically a stock CD6000 ose re-engineered in the UK with an improved power supply, capacitors, etc, and a copper chassis amongst other mods; a Pro-Ject something-or-other record deck with Graham Slee phono stage, a TEAC something or other 3 head cassette deck, Denon TU 260LII tuner, Chord Oddessey 4 bi-wire cabling with QED bananas (and inverted bananas for the amps), and various interconnects by the Chord Company and Cambridge Audio. Oh, and Monitor Audio Studio S8i two-and-a-half way floorstanders.

    I’ve also got an inexpensive home cinema system from Richer Sounds, a Sony home cinema reciever, Yamaha surround sound sub and sat speakers, and currently an ‘el cheapo’ Xenta DVD player, having taken over front end duties from a failed Cambridge Audio DVD player which was far superior. And in the ‘Betamax/ 8 track’ corner is a now disused hi-fi Pioneer CD recorder, bought before PC based CD-R drives were available.

  12. im sure if you had bought something german and the sat nav didnt accept postcodes everybody would say oh well it no matter but because it represents something british even in name only it must be rubbish, until we get over this it wont matter how british it is no one beleives in british!!!

  13. @13, anton,

    There may well be something in that. However, it may well be that British cars suffered from quality issues for so long that once lost, a reputation is very hard to regain- and a very good British car would be seen as an ‘exception to the rule’.

    However, despite some British involvement, the MG6 is not a British car, but a Chinese one.

    The British are amongst the world leaders in engineering- hence so many Grand Prix teams rely on it. What we tend not to do well is mass market products.

    Pete Waterman, whom I respect as a railwayman (rather less for his contributions towards music) says that the British are ‘The best amateurs in the world’ and explained that comment by saying that we usually cock it all up at first but get there in the end. So many potential British cars have been under developed at first but became good after a while, but only after establishing a poor reputation.

  14. I’m currently stagging on at the Olympic games venue nr St James’s Park. Ive seen about 5 MG6’s driving about, mainly with SMC dealer markings on but have to admit they look pretty good, if they are setting up a military and diplomatic Tax Free sales department I’d be genuinly interested

  15. Having said “And lets not kid ourselves, the SAIC MG is not a British car”, then what is a British car ?

    There’s ownership of the company to consider, where it is designed, where the major parts (engine, suspension etc) are built, and where it is assembled. The 6 does have UK design ownership and some stages of assembly.

    There are very few cars that tick all those boxes. Is a Nissan Qashqai British (designed and assembled in UK) ? What about a Honda Civic (assembled in UK and some of the major parts made here) ? Rolls Royce (fails the ownership test and manufacture of some of the major parts) ? Only really leaves Morgan with the right engine choice and Mclaren.

    And I fit in the Naim box for hi-fi.

  16. Fair play to Ant for taking a chance on an MG6 (looks well in white too). At least it’s different from all the “me too” Audis, BMWs etc that clog our roads (and that all look the same, in various shades of black/grey).

    If I was in the market for a nearly new car (which I’m not), I’d look at an MG6 purely to be different from everyone else. Plus I love the idea of having a sporty petrol turbo engine in these eco-friendly times when horrid underpowered eco-cars actually have badges announcing that you’ve bought the engine with no poke (like those Volvos with the stupid smooth wheeltrims and skinny tyres).

    Having a sporty petrol turbo is the sort of thing that the environmental zealots hate and that petrolheads love, plus 36 mpg from the MG6 is probably the same as a diesel doing 45 mpg on more expensive fuel (and don’t forget all the problems that you get with modern day diesels like the DPF, injector wear, dual mass flywheels etc). Plus, let’s face it, filling up with diesel is still a horrid experience. Nasty stuff.

    As for the sat-nav, virtually every factory fitted sat-nav I’ve ever come across hasn’t been a patch on my five year old Garmin (or pretty much any other aftermarket one). Why the manufacturers don’t use the likes of Garmin, Tom Tom etc to design their sat navs is beyond me. Cost reasons, I suppose. A friend’s Nissan X-Trail has a sat nav with buttons rather than a touch screen; it takes ages to enter a postcode (or the first few digits that it will let you input anyhow) and the interface are totally counter-intuitive. Rubbish in this day and age.

  17. @23, 406 V6,

    I think you’ve pretty much answered your own question as to what constitutes a British car- it defies an accurate definition.

    Essentially, I think it would be one that is built here- therefore I would include Civics, Leafs (or should that be Leaves?), anything from JLR, Bentley and Rolls. And even the Bini. Of course, all of the above apart from JLR models were not designed here, so I think they can consider themselves the ‘Britishest of British’ volume car manufacturer despite Indian ownership.

    Of course, none of the above are British owned. And many of those will have imported components, including major parts such as engines. But such is the nature of globalisation. Years ago it was much easier to define what was British and what was not.

    I don’t think that the MG6 qualifies as a British car because it is not built or even substantially assembled here. If MG Motors wakes up and decides it wants to sell cars here, and Longbridge (sorry ‘MG Birmingham’) becomes fully deployed in doing more than a charade of assembling cars, then they can then be considered ‘British’.

  18. Yes, I prefer white to black aswell and the “6” looks nice. Glad you’ve got the conviction and loyalty to stick with MG and I hope it repays you with loyal reliable service!

  19. Never criticise a man’s choice of car, woman or hi-fi. Good luck to Ant with his MG6 – looks like a very smart car, and regardless of whether he is supporting MG/SAIC or the local dealer, he has put his money where his mouth is, unlike many critics on here, so he deserves kudos for that.

    On the subject of hi-fi – I’m not an audiophile, but I do like good quality retro gear – Audiolab 8000a / Rogers LS2a / Thorens TD165 / Leak Delta (in another room, hooked up to some Allison speakers and an old Sony CD player) / Technics something-or-other CD player (was top of the range when new apparently) / Sony 3-head Dolby S tape deck (I really need to upgrade my CD player at some point….)

  20. @21
    With regard to my earlier post regarding seeing a number of MG6’S in Central London, I got talking to the driver of one today which was waiting outside the Olympic Media Center just opposite from my security position. He ( a Chinese gentleman) informed me that the Chinese media agencies covering the Olympic/ Paralympic games have been loaned a number of MG6 GTs for the duration of the games. The interior looks pretty good apart from the flimsy looking cup holder the driver wasn’t a fan of the Handbrake lever, but apart from that seemed very enthusiastic and even let me keep the dealer catalogue that was in the car

  21. Anthony, you are a very brave man! I admire you, hopefully you got a good deal, there’s still 2 years warranty-just in case- Morrisons never took the Rover-MG signs off their forecourt I believe, is it the one out of the M’way near Bannockburn on the way to Sterling? I haven’t seen a “6” in the flesh yet!!!! Maybe I should make a wee detour via Morrisons next time I get to visit my friends in Alloa and Clackmannan. Anyhow, you certainly have the most exclusive car in Scotland, don’t bother with critics. YOU ACTUALLY PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS, demonstrator or not, and yes, keep us posted, espec. HGF!!! Well done, it’s looking good in white, as for sat-nav, as they all said, it costs £1500 as an option from car makers(all of them) but isn’t as good as a £150 item from Argos!!!It does beg a question zo: aren’t car makers taking us for a ride?
    I am very interested in your driver’s life with a Chinese MG and more so, how would your £12k(?) fare…
    Thanks, and congrats on your purchase, Didier

  22. Comment 2. As Ford understood only too well – cars on the road advertise cars in the showroom. Get them into the fleets cheap with a quick turnpver into the second-hand market and it tells Mr.Average: “Here’s a popular model. Popular must mean sought-after and that must mean ‘good’. I’ll have one” and even if he only gets a used one it keeps the fleets happy in that their cars are readily disposable and then they buy more new.
    So while not forking out direct (I was never affluent enough to buy new either) I think he is supporting MG in a very real way.
    Look at it another way: would buying a second-hand Volvo be supporting MG? At all?

  23. After two years with a 75 I’ve just bought an immaculate, low mileage ZR 105. I imagine it’s eventual replacement will be an SAIC MG so I’ll be watching your updates with interest. Plus, I like the 6.

  24. Morrisons of Stirling the only MG dealer in Scotland? I was sure that AutoEcosse of Dundee was a MG Dealer (certainly their website confirms this). Need to take a wander down to Broughty Ferry to check… Excuse to check out the 6 in the flesh me thinks…

    Nice looking motor Ant. It does look good in white. I’m now in the market for a new motor since someone took a disliking again to my HHR. Might take the plunge and buy a diesel 6 GT when they arrive(my annual mileage is north of 20k a year so precludes me from the tempting 1.8T demos).

  25. I so shouldn’t have looked at Autotrader…

    37mpg from a 1.8T with 160hp? I know that isn’t amazing but its better than I expected – considering that I had been driving a 1.4 petrol for the past 2 years which apparently did 40mpg…

    I don’t use SatNav (other than Google’s own on my phone) so that won’t bother me about lack of postcode search…

    Indeed, a quick check has come up with an 11 plate in champagne with under 11k miles for £13.5k… The only issue is that its in Colchester…

    Will I be as brave as Ant? Will my bank manager for that matter? Is there a road trip in my future?

    Sometimes I regret having the internet… LOL

  26. All good things come from Britain, nuts and bolts, Rock Musicians, the industrial revolution, twin cam engines, suspension tuning experts, British Gas Developments, good old standard engineering and research, the BBC, British Standards (BSxxxx.yy.zzzz) you are world leaders and dont forget it. the only thing that really let you down was perhaps some cost cutting, and not screwing things to gether properyl, and some sabotage. but on the whole lots of good things or solutions come / came from Britain. I often say, Japanese cars often look the same as each other, but no two cars ever are, they change things all the time underneath – its a right pain. British cars, look different on the outside, and underneath they are all much the same as each other (wiring loom design, gearboxes, engines, door handles, etc etc). so good on you. the way Tata-JLR are going they will be world leaders again, I am sure. alex

  27. you bought a beautifull car , we in holland cant wait till its here .
    i drove the car last year, and the high seat is for me also the only comment

  28. It’s a good looking car. The rarity value, ‘oh, what’s that?’ response from the general public must be great!!

  29. Well done for buying the 6 – looks really good in white. VW’s with Sat Navs do not do the whole postcode either. Sat in a 6 the other day (whilst my TF was being looked at by the dealer) and is as good as my Golf.

  30. I’m following the values of these with interest.

    I’ve just seen a metallic Magnette TSE with nav & leather, 12,000 miles on an 11 plate as an approved used car.

    Price new: £20,350, with metallic

    Price at 1 year old from dealer: £13,490

    We Buy any Car offer: £8,430

    Ouch!

  31. I think you are doing MG something of a service by publicising the ‘6 by driving it on the road. Many people may go “oh whats that?” or “an MG? I remember my MGB…” etc. and it might drum up a little bit of interest.
    Certainly can’t be any worse than SAIC’s marketing dept.
    (That’s one thing the germans do very well – marketing. If you brainwash people to believe that they *have* to have your product, it sells itself…)

  32. I am not normally a lover of white cars (unless they are Stags or Dolly Sprints) but that is one good looking motor you have. Good on you for buying one.

  33. I think the depreciation thing is a bit overdone. We bought a 10 month old car for 8k that is now only worth 3k some three years later. Not good, but my wifes choice. My Rover 75 with 22k on the clock has cost me 1300 pounds so can’t depreciate much. You pays your money and takes your choice. If everyone thought like me then no new or nearly new cars would be sold! A nearly new MG6 for 11k is as good as any D segment car in reality. Buy a classic if you want zero depreciation. The days of a BMW 3 series holding their value are long gone. A 3 year old one would be lucky to make 8k so will have lost 12k in depreciation in 3 years!!

  34. Its worth pointing out that all new cars suffer big depriciation – no matter what car it is. BMW’s are almost as bad (and lets face it, people only get those to impress their friends anyway, its all about image and status these days). You get a bid on a 1 year old 3 seriesand see! (as common as teats on a fresian) I would struggle to buy new too – but if you are going to keep the car for a while and it is what you want, then why not? Dont forget, everyone is waiting ‘for someone else’ to suffer the depreciation and if we all did that there would be no new cars sold at all and therefore the entire industry would collapse. Money is tighter thesedays, after all…Everyone has a different opinion of things, be it colour, model, doors, or seat height, so ultimately, if it suits YOU, thats all that matters.

  35. @44 forget the WBAC offer-carcraft by any other name they bid people in the bollocks because if you resort to places like that you are generally trying to offload because you are skint/on your toes/cant be arsed selling yourself.I should know i have worked as a vehicle inspection engineer for them,all they do is buy from joe public-it makes sense they avoid auction/logistics costs-you bring it to them,they screw you and either prep it and upjar the price or sell online to traders and make money without lifting a finger-and thats whya humble car supermarket from rochdale has opened 80 and counting WBAC’s in the USA!

  36. Another 6 sighting a couple of days ago. This time in Bowness On Windermere in the Lakes.

    I thought bound to be a tourist, a sale. However, as it drove away I again noticed MG.Co.Uk on the rear apron & dash.

    Still think it’s an attractive car though.

  37. Hello everyone – clocked up 1100 miles so far and really enjoying it. Will do a proper update after I’ve taken the car up to Fife for the BTCC at Knockhill this weekend 🙂

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