Driven : A week with the MG6 1.9DTi TL

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Mike Humble

The revised and cheaper MG6 TSE - A great car dying to get out but not good enough overall.
The revised and cheaper MG6 TL – a great car dying to get out, but not good enough overall

On a personal level, I’ve had a fair bit of experience with the MG6 over the years. Not only have I driven a few of them, I have even undertaken two first services on a brace of 1.8 petrol models and so gained something of a feeling for the model – both inside and out. However, there are mixed emotions as I type this out – again, I yearned for a great car to come alive once handed the (rather light and flimsy-feeling) key only to be left feeling a tad disappointed.

Gone is the Magnette saloon which I thought looked rather smart suited and gone is the 1.8 turbo petrol – which was a decent re-working of our old friend the K-Series. So we now have just one shape with one diesel engine in manual six-speed form only. The car I have driven for a week is the top of the range TL and, to be fair, comes decently appointed for the asking price. Dual-zone climate, cruise, leather and heated seats and a vastly improved touch screen infotainment unit all come as standard toys, so as far as knobs and buttons matter few should feel short changed – the TL is £17,995.

Some desperately need improvements with interior trim include a decent touch screen Sat-Nav, electronic park brake, new gear lever and centre floor switchgear. Decent equipment levels and now able to stream music from your smartphone. Comfy with good driving position but clocks are too small and binnacle centre display screen looks ancient and has laughably small digits that are hard to read at a glance.
Some desperately-needed improvements to the interior trim include a decent touch-screen sat-nav, electronic park brake, new gear lever and centre floor switchgear. The comfortable seats give a good driving position but clocks are too small and binnacle centre display screen looks ancient featuring laughably small digits that are hard to read at a glance

Styling wise, the 6 benefits from new bumpers and lamps both front and rear. DRL units occupy the space where the fog lamps used to live while the rear clusters are a new design which looks much better in terms of both appearance and quality to the outgoing model. Oddly enough, for a five-door hatch, there is no rear wash wipe and it’s not ideal in heavy rain – I found this out during a heavy downpour on the M23 at night. Other visual changes include a switch to smaller 16in alloys with higher profile tyres which I feel robs the stance of the car and takes away the sporting accent this model claims to have.

Smaller wheels means lower rolling resistance = better Co2 and better economy so I suppose it’s all in the quest to be greener – MG have brought the emission figure down and claim better fuel economy. I posted 46mpg as an average which seems a bit, well,  average but not considering the majority of my mileage in the car was a daily commute to Gatwick and some zesty back road driving – the latter being a place where the 6 really does excel just for the record. Sadly though, and in my own humble (ahem sniff) opinion, this re-style dilutes the sporty nature that the brand suggests.

The British designed and Asian built 1.9 oil burner has been re-mapped to give better Co2 and pulls like a runaway train. There's too much NVH in the cabin at low and high revs but the gearchange is super slick on the move. Once you see 1200rpm on the dial its torque and overtaking punch is very good.
The British-designed and Asian built 1.9-litre oil burner has been re-mapped to give better Co2 and pulls like a runaway train. There’s too much NVH in the cabin at low and high revs but the gearchange is super slick on the move. Once you see 1300rpm on the dial its torque and overtaking punch is effective

On the inside, the hilariously poor handbrake lever of old has given way to an electronic item and also in the same zone the ashtray has been repositioned further forward. The plastic trim around the handbrake has a pleasant-looking grain effect to it and both the ashtray and cup holder cover work with a defined push, opening with a damped action and giving the driver a subconscious feeling of added quality. The infotainment system is also drastically bettered upon and now works by a touch screen featuring a very easy to use satnav with decent screen graphics.

The radio controls remain the same which contains a little flap for a USB connection though I found the access difficult with my clumsy sausage fingers – thank God for Biros. Streaming your music through the audio is hassle-free and easy to do once paired to a smartphone and I also found the speakers to be of agreeable quality to my ears. General build quality is a leap ahead of the old 6 and the rotary select button above the wireless seems to be more robust than before and less likely to snap or pull off with a hard wiggle but some other plastics on the facia are still way behind most rivals.

The exterior fit and finish is fine and the paintwork looks as deep as a lake but this nearly made me fall overspray, gaffer tape and expanding sealant. This wouldnt have been acceptable on a 1990 Lada Riva let alone a current 18 grand motor car.
The exterior fit and finish is fine and the paintwork looks as deep as a lake but this nearly made me spit my tea out – gaffer tape, expanding sealant and overspray. This wouldnt have been acceptable on a 1990 Lada Riva let alone a current 18 grand motor car of the 21st century. Totally at odds, the exterior finish and panel gaps are pretty good

Instruments feature analogue dials with LEDs for fuel and coolant status. One thing I didn’t like was the tiny numbers and graphics on the central binnacle display area – they really are teeny-weenie and the font looks like something akin to a 1980s hand-held game console. Another odd thing is the sloping gap of the instrument cluster to the main facia moulding – it’s not a build issue, it’s actually been moulded that way and looks a bit weird to the eye. There was no problem with comfort, though, as the leather chairs, although seeming initially over-soft, support well and feature lumbar, electric and heated functions.

Head and leg room are absolutely fine but, if like me you sit high over the wheel, the rim obscures the top sections of the tacho and speedo. Getting settled into the 6 presents no worries, the doors open and close with a reassuring clunk, the climate system works well (albeit a little noisily) and the actual driving position is very good. However, the footrest seems too wide and I found my clutch foot catching the side of the rest in urban driving. You’ll find no issues with the gearbox either as the change quality impresses and the lever itself is a new type that looks better than it used to – the quality of the moulding could be improved upon, though.

Plenty of space for passengers or parcels. Seats fold almost totally flat and the omission of a spare wheel adds extra secure storage.
Plenty of space for passengers or parcels. Seats fold almost totally flat and the omission of a spare wheel adds extra secure storage under the floor – superb practicality

Firing up the engine brings a little more than average noise and I noticed a fair bit of NVH through the steering wheel and pedal at some low and high speed revs. The 6 pulls well and cruises with serenity at the legal maximum on a good road surface and benefits from having a really strong belt of torque from around 1300rpm. Overtaking on back lanes and single A roads is rapid but it gets very loud in the cabin as you throw the needle round the rev counter. The smaller wheels and larger profile tyres seem to have done no harm to the chassis or its manners – just as the old model was known for, it’s still able and nimble on its toes.

Fast driving is good fun thanks to the aforementioned chassis and good strong brakes as it tucks in and powers out of bends with a nice level of accuracy via the thick rimmed steering wheel. Mid-bend bumps don’t really scare the 6 and, although potholes and ruts bring in a noticeable level of noise from the suspension, the ride overall is impressive regardless of solo driving or with a full compliment of occupants. On paper the MG6 seems to tick most of the boxes for most people’s motoring needs but does it really stack up tall in the most aggressive of market sectors?

Other updates include new front and rear lights / bumpers. Rear clusters look far better than the old model and look stylish. Smaller alloys help efficiency but the general overall package seems to dilute the sporting nature of the brand. The outgoing model just looked that little bit more snazzy.
Other updates include new front and rear lights/bumpers. Rear clusters look far better than the old model and have intricate design detail. Smaller alloys help efficiency but the general overall package seems to dilute the sporting nature of the brand. The outgoing model just looked that little bit more snazzy

I have to brutally honest here and, with a very heavy heart, I have to say, no. The test car came with a lovely application of gloss white paint but peer under the bonnet towards the back of the inner wings and the quality is really quite, well, rubbish, really. Gaffer tape is used where rubber grommets should be and loads of rough overspray made it look like a crash repair – it really was that messy. There was also more gaffer tape on the bottom edge of the front doors only here it was already peeling back – all this on a car with 1600 miles on it.

Exposed threads poking from the bulkhead spoil what is an impressive engine installation and the boot required a really hard slam to close properly – a problem ‘er indoors had until I adjusted the rubber pegs on the tailgate. High-speed driving found the front wheels to be out of balance and the icing on the quality cake came in the form of the cruise control showing a fault – twice – with the only way of clearing it being to pull over, switch off and re-start. All this on a car that’s barely a few weeks old and with minuscule mileage on the clock too – nor was it being used and abused… It was also noted that it’s quite easy to stall – something several people found with the Magnette diesel I sampled last year.

I wondered what this was at first but closer inspection revealed it to be yet more gaffer tape covering an exposed hole from manufacturing. At just 1700 miles its peeling away and the black / white contrast makes it catch your eye every time you open the door. Deep rooted quality is worryingly lacking.
I wondered what this was at first but closer inspection revealed it to be yet more gaffer tape covering an exposed hole from manufacturing. At just 1700 miles it’s peeling away and the black/white contrast makes it catch your eye every time you open the door. The whole car seems to be a four-wheeled inconsistency when it comes to quality – it’s either very good or rather poor and it’s that what breaks my heart about MG

Sadly, this has been my gripe with MG for a long time – it’s the whole quality thing that lets it down. In some areas the car really brings a smile to your face but in others it makes me grit my teeth with pent-up rage. The leather on the seats smells nothing like leather, the lower dash plastic feels bone hard and scratchy while the whole under-bonnet paint finish and the aforementioned gaffer tape thing makes the overall package feel so out of touch with what is really expected in the current market place regardless of the re-aligned pricing.

I think MG would have done better by keeping the pricing the same but spending much more sorting out the little things that matter. After all, it’s those little things that add up when it comes to committing to buy – in the case of the 6, the detail is the devil. It’s a bit of a shame really because, under the skin, there is a great car with a great chassis screaming to get out. Sort out the NVH, give it a decent dash, tighten up the build quality here and there and then MG might just pick off some extra sales and give a much-needed boost to the public’s perception of the brand – in engineering terms, it really wouldn’t blow the bank or require a Herculean effort to make the MG6 a sorted and viable option.

Sitting alongside the actually quite good MG3, the new MG6 still seems a decade behind and way below class standards. With a twinge of sadness and based on my present and previous experiences, I’m hard-pushed to recommend it as a new car purchase at the moment – in short, if you are not desperate for a brand-new car and are prepared to look at something around a year old, there are currently better choices out there for similar money.

I’m sure the Rover-tinted spectacle brigade will accuse me of MG bashing but, believe me, that’s really not the case – if, like me, you have a keen eye for engineering and quality, you will understand why I have to tell it as it is and you will find the lack of top-to-bottom attention to detail below expectations. Come on MG Motor UK, let’s get a grip as this is letting the brand and the Longbridge workers down quite badly.

To conclude, I will quote Mr Roy (Catchphrase) Walker by saying, “it’s good, but it’s not right.”

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

61 Comments

  1. A nice article, Mike, and with some good analysis of some the areas where it can deliver a ‘thumbs up’ or a groan.

    A real shame that many of the comments observers – both professional and lay – have made about getting more out of the MG6 to appeal to a wider customer base have not been acted on as part of this update programme. As a practical, value-for-money proposition the MG6 is right up there as a convincing proposition, providing you like diesels (which I do). As a model wearing a sporting badge with pride, I find it to be rather questionable.

    Forgetting the badge it wears and where final assembly takes place, is it ultimately a better proposition than a Vauxhall Astra or Honda Civic, both of which like the MG6, support British jobs?

    I personally do feel rather saddened that MG Motor UK Ltd or SAIC (as their parent company) have not taken the opportunity to tap into the talented resources of special automotive design consultants and secondary trim and components suppliers based in the Midlands to create something that appeals to a wider audience in the UK and central Europe. After all if Saab and Volvo as major players could do this with some of their specialised offerings such as the 9-3 Viggen and C70 in the the late 1990s, by utilising the services of TWR (who are sadly no longer in business), why can’t MG Motor UK Ltd?

    Even though greater value-for-money has been delivered, I feel that too much else has now been taken away in the process which does not ensure its wider appeal is maintained in the marketplace. Sorry.

  2. A shame, the build quality glitches do rather betray the Chinese origins of the MG6.

    Mike, do you know whether the ‘gaffer taped areas’ were done by Longbridge or imported already in that condition?

  3. I note that Car magazine, a publication I’ve read through thick and thin since 1973 is asking (in the GBU section) “is this the worst new car on sale in Britain?”. They have a point. How many really bad cars are on sale these days? there may be plenty not to my taste (Mercedes A-class for one), but there aren’t many bad ones.

    I looked at both a 3 and a 6 on Saturday gone and felt the 3 made far more sense than the 6. It’s a crying shame and doesn’t augur well for Chinese vehicles in general. Would I buy one? No way. Sorry.

  4. This write up is more benign than the one you posted on facebook. What about the stalling issue you mentioned on there?

  5. Re-reading the article I am somewhat shocked at the gaffer tape issue Mike identified with his Press demo car.

    Perhaps I should not be saying this, but it is well known among journalists that cars built with the intention of becoming Press demo cars usually have a far superior level of fit, finish and preparation than the regular production cars, even though most car manufacturers won’t admit to this. This is usually courtesy of the manufacturer’s press garage who oversee this additional final stage between when the car has left the assembly line and when it is ready to go out on press demo appraisal.

    With this in mind, I am surprised this quality issue was not identified by the press garage before the vehicle was handed over to a journalist, namely Mike.

    • David, having worked for a car manufacturer with naff all PR budget, I can tell you that ‘press prep’ was one of the first things to go. I’d never have let a car out with gaffer tape on it though!

  6. I’m not sure at all about the latest 6. The re-pricing seems to have taken away any mildly sporty aspect. Smaller wheels?! Personally, I preferred the old rear lights. That new instrument binnacle looks odd.

    Regarding the gaffer tape – what exactly is it hiding?

    I’m not saying I don’t like the 6, but these revisions seem to have a ‘budget’ as opposed to sporty theme.

    I think the diesel only option will deter many buyers – I’m sure there will be a big section of the buying public who will still only consider a petrol. Like Mike says, the deletion of the Magnette is a bit questionable. I too thought it looked rather good.

    Would I fork out £18,000 for one. I doubt it. Then again, having just spent £10K on a 3 (my first ever, and probably only ever, brand new car) I’d baulk at the figure alone!

  7. The diesel only engine does deter me. As Mike says there is a lot to like and admire in this car, but for everything good, there seems something that lets it down (like the gaffer tape & overspray).

    I agree that 17″ wheels would look better. As a previous MG owner I would really “love to love” the 6, but there’s still room for improvement… it will take time. MG UK are still learning their lessons.

  8. I have also test driven the facelift 6 and have had extensive use of the previous 6

    I note that you said your foot fouled the foot rest when depressing the clutch, I would hazard a guess that the cruise fault was caused by you fouling the clutch pedal when resting your foot on the foot rest, or worse riding the clutch ?, this could also explain the reason why you experienced issues with the stop start.

    Agree on the small writing on the dials, the “joke”hand brake made the previous 6 feel different, and was a feature I liked. I agree on the facelift feels less sporty and does not have that “special” feel.

    So you found a bit of rough build quality in areas that are not on view ? I have just had a look around a quality VAG product and this also has the “gaffer” tape pads in areas that surfaces touch, and mastic, although more neatly applied. BTW PSA use a clear plastic pad. I am sure most punters wouldn’t even pick up on this, or look so closely, I think I drove the same car as you have and the areas you feel are major let didn’t catch my eye.

    I also drove the car in rain and apart from when the car was stationary, once on the move I did not miss the wiper, other fast backs are doing away with wipers.

    Whilst I did not stall it the other half did, but that was when we tested the automatic release of the electronic handbrake.

    The MG6 is not a quality product, but then you are not paying a premium price.

    • Stop – Start was down to battery condition

      Cruise Error was caused by a glitch that pops up if you scroll the thumbwheel a bit quickly

      ” I am sure most punters wouldn’t even pick up on this, or look so closely, I think I drove the same car as you have and the areas you feel are major let didn’t catch my eye.”

      So YOU as a manufacturer or dealer would take that risk would you?

      More worryingly YOU as a Press Dept would take that risk would you?

      I subsequently managed to get a better picture of the paint / sealer / duct tape debacle and added the picture onto my full test on http://www.autobritannia.net

      Go and have a shuftie and come back and tell me what you think?

      Sorry my friend – the cars just not on a par with the competition

      • Looks like some one has been over zealous with sealant on a gap between body and wing to me,poor yes , but not sure it would make the car difficult to recommend ?

        Other Brands use these perfectly round “gaffer” tape circles, you simply pull them away to access nuts bolts etc, this is possibly one of the ways they have saved weight, so why the big deal ?

        I also accept the overspray is poor.

        Most potential owners will not open the bonnet, let alone peer right down the side of the wing.

        BTW It is not the car I drove, the one I had was a VX plate.

        Clutch riding is common reason for cruise failure, just came to that assumption based on your right up.

        The 6 maynot be on par with other cars but, did you get on your hands and knees to take a picture of the Bottom edge of the door on the Civic you tested.

        I have agreed with you on a number of things wrong with the facelift, but it just seems that you have gone that you have had to get down and dirty to find fault, my friend.

        BTW, I am not connected to MGMUK, or am I a rose tinted potential purchaser, just some one who has read this report and came to this conclusion, when you test drive the Jag XE, can we have pictures in the same areas to show how it should be done !
        Take Care

        • Not on hands and knees at all – its just that owing to the black / white contrast it catches your eye when you open the door so I had a closer look.

          On the point about the Civic… I made a mention of their untidy underseal application of the one I tested.

  9. If they’re happy to let a gaffer taped up press car out you really have to wonder how many bodges are hidden away where you can’t see them. So many better cars for the money new and second hand.

  10. Beats me why they’re still bothering with the 6. I guess the deletion of the petrol engine, some spec levels and colour options suggests that they’ve actually given up on it themselves, and are only leaving it in the marketplace until something else comes along, like the 5 or SUV. Is it exported from China to any other right hand drive markets, or are they really spending all that time and effort producing so few right hookers?

    If you have a look at SAICs website you’ll see that they are still trading on the MG name and tradition – the launch of the 5 was headlined “Legendary British Sporty car goes on the market” Even though it clearly isn’t a legend, nor British, nor even sold in Britain, it does just sort of give you a clue about this whole thing. There’s even a picture of it passing the houses of parliament. Really, you couldn’t make this up could you?

    Its all a terrible shame – hopelessly unncompetitive cars continuously lambasted by the press and ignored by the public, passed off by a few dealers as British.

    I really don’t know what to say. Its just so embarrassing. Gaffer tape, over-spray, and tragically over here. I really wish someone would put this whole episode out of its misery.

    But on a positive note, I have now seen a 3.

    • its so cool that u mentioned the photo. i was driving accros wesminster bridge a few months back and i saw what i though was an MG3 for the first time….turns out it was the 5 and people were taking photos of it for MG…
      it looked awful. but at least i can lay claim to seeing a chinese only MG5 before i saw the british built MG3 hehe

      its soo cool that u mentioned that..
      please excuse my bit of useless trivia lol

  11. Thanks for article Mike and, no I won’t accuse you of MG bashing.

    BUT, before the urban myth develops, the “hole from manufacturing” you refer to in the front door is in fact the main drainage hole – thought you might have guessed that Mike! Why it should be covered by gaffer tape is I agree inexplicable – PDI failure? In any event, no big deal and anyone with any sense would simply remove it.

    I’ve just checked my 2012 example and sure enough no gaffer tape blocking the drain hole nor any under the bonnet (nor over-spray either for that matter). All of which makes me wonder if in MG’s efforts to reduce the price some minor corners have been cut. Lack of a rear wiper is a good example, although on the go it’s never needed since back screen clears itself in virtually all conditions and I’ve only very, very rarely even had to use it.

    As for changing the handbrake, why? Once you got over the unconventional nature of the old one it was great. People used to say they “caught their thumb in it”. Well, what the hell were they doing with their thumb I ask?

    However, I do tend to agree that overall the sporty aspect and bling factor has been diluted slightly, which is a shame. And I think MG missed a trick by not re-mapping the petrol engine to say 200bhp or thereabouts, which the engine can apparently well deal with – the chassis certainly could – which would have given us a bit of a flyer. Ah well, pipe dreams.

    Anyway, all I can report is that mine has done 27k miles with absolutely nothing having gone wrong. delivers reasonable (but not spectacular) economy and can certainly shift when asked to.

    Would I buy new? Probably not, but as a second hand buy with low miles what’s not to like??

    • ” …..is in fact the main drainage hole.”

      Like I said, Jim, what exactly is the tape covering? A drainage hole aye? Big deal.

      … and the old handbrake was, as you say, just unusual. I’d far prefer it to an electronic one.

      If I was buying a 6 though I wouldn’t really want a diesel.

  12. Sounds like the next Top Gear reasonably priced car? Still think it looks more like a Chevrolet than an MG.

  13. So much fuss over a bit of gaffa tape?! Im sure Ive seen it on other cars that Ive owned – it didnt even cross my mind.

    Shame the MG6 was let down by a few issues.

    I still think (wheels aside) that the new model looks more aggressive than the outgoing model?! Strange how people see things so differently.

    • actually i agree totally with u. never liked the 6. thought the front lights were odd and looked cheap because of it. same with the rear and the bumpers looks too blob like. this face lift makes it look much sharper and purpousful as a result in my mind

  14. Would anyone really waste £ 18 k on a new car that has bodged paintwork, gaffer tape in the engine bay, an engine that is noisy and not particularly economical, a rubbish fake leather interior, and cruise control that has a mind of its own after 1600 miles? I think you’d be much better employed paying a visit to your local Toyota dealer, where you would get a far nicer British built( not just out of a kit) Auris for the same money and similar spec.
    I think if the new 6, which is restricted to one engine option again, is as badly made as this test car and isn’t even cheap to compensate, I can see the brand vanishing.

  15. Having gone over the new 6 with a fine tooth comb at the Sales Centre when I went to the Pride of Longbridge, I can only conclude that a Skoda Octavia at would have to be a heck of a good drive to warrant the seven grand extra for a new one given the plastics don’t seem any better.

    Not to mention a SEAT whose plastics are considerably worse.

  16. Sounding probably a trifle biased here but im the proud owner of a 2014 MG6 TSE in Burnt Orange and have to say I absolutely love the car. A very well specced car for the money and gets plenty of looks and comments from people. Importantly the car feels very well screwed together and ive had no problems with it whatsoever with either build or electrics.
    I know this is certainly no high end motor but if you read online at actual owners reports which to me count far more than a journalist view ( said respectfully ) then you will see virtually all owners as with the MG3 are extremely happy with their purchase. I regularly travel in Seat Toledo taxis and what a cheapo grim place to be with its poverty spec, basic looking dashboard and a general feeling of tininess!
    The MG6 certainly has its flaws along with MG Motors UK who seem unwilling to provide more sporty colours, sporty body add ons and more importantly sporty performance but for the bargain price I would definately recommend it.

    • Graig , I echo what you say 100%. I have had very little trouble with my TSE. And feel on the MK1, the reviews are at loggerheads, with how I find my car, which is a well equipped well put together car, with a sporting feel regarding handling and appearance . Having said that I do feel the new MK2. seems to have lost some of the sporty image of the MK1, but that’s just me .

  17. If this car wasn’t wearing an MG moniker would any one be really considering it at 18 grand? Considering at 3 years old it’ll be worth diddly squat. Just the Chinese cashing in on a bought in heritage to peddle a sub par white good.

    • I cant deny that personally and no doubt a lot of modern SAIC MG owners, have bought this car partly because of the MG badge and its Longbridge connection. Surely a lot of people buy their vehicles with a nod to its badge and brand. Im certainly not saying Audi and BMW cars are rubbish, far from it but they certainly arnt worth the premium price over other equally well built and styled cars from lesser marques. Their huge popularity on our roads can surely be attributed to the badge. The MG6 is certainly no BMW 3 series but I would definately say its unfair to class it as a sub par white good as already mentioned most real owners of the MG6 are extremely happy with their purchase.

  18. I have had a late 2012 Petrol MG6 GT TSE, for two years. And was looking forward to this face lift model. like you after viewing the 2015 car, I am left a tad disappointed. My 2012 car is also white and sits on gloss black 18″ Rims, with the cars black privacy glass I feel makes my look a little sporty. After looking at the facelift the car has in your words seems to dilute the sporting nature of the brand. The outgoing model just looked that little bit more snazzy. Also the new car has lost a few of the toys no power fold mirrors, no front parking sensors, and as you said no front fogs. To me the new top of the range TL felt a spec down from my TSE. The is now only four colours, and one power unit. I was hoping for a petrol option, with the sporting look of the old car. We heard rumours of a 217bhp petrol . alas no. so I will be sticking with my Petrol TSE for a year or so yet, and see if MG offer a car to replace it

  19. Some pretty harsh comments above. It makes me wonder why such people are here – I wouldn’t visit the site of another marque and strongly slag its cars.
    Overall, I still like the 6. It’s just a shame to see the sporty edge diluted a tad as opposed to increased. Overall, it seems like a ‘run out’ policy.

    • But its not the site of the “marque” is it?
      Most people on here are fans of MG Rover / Austin Rover / BL / BMC.
      The tenuous link to the marvelous cars of 10, 20, 30 years ago is a company name purchased by a Chinese manufacturer which tries to upspec bland cars by giving them British heritage. Clearly its failing, they are not cars for Britain to be proud of. They will not sell in a market dominated by better made cars.I mourn the loss of the British car industry, this does nothing to resurrect what we had in the past.
      Skoda Octavia TDI, thats where my money would be for a practical, economical mid range car thats not pretending to be something its not!

      • I know it’s a big disappointment in terns of a reborn Rover Group, MG Rover. I too would have expected much more by now. However, I support it as the remaining link. Hence I’ve just bought a 3 Style. It’s a good car and currently unique, attention grabbing – stopped briefly at services on my way back from Longbridge and a Merc driver in the car park was watching me with great interest.

        • I’m much more upbeat than that as it’s really not “the remaining link”. At least the Rover brand is alive and well, employing 10’s of thousands of people in UK R&D and manufacturing, with a huge UK component spend. At just under 500,000 units a year, it’s even building more cars, each of much higher value, than in the “glory days” of BL.

          It’s just that Rover is now prefixed with either “Land” or “Range”. It’s even a huge export success, only requiring the foreign exchange earnings from the sale of approximately 15% of a full size Range Rover in order to purchase enough Yen to import your MG3. Now there’s a thought.

          • I know what you’re saying. JLR and MINI are both remaining parts of BL and are both huge success stories. MG UK is, therefore, hardly the remaining link.

            The core part, the family car part of BL has, however, gone. MG UK is the link to this.

  20. Thanks for writing such a balanced article.

    Whilst I will always object to this car being passed of as being in any way British, it looks like they may finally have a half decent, value led, proposition to take to market. Even though there are much better 1 or 2 year old cars to be bought for these prices, there will always be a promotion of the market that wants the perceived security of a new purchase and this car should happily fill the slot recently vacated by the likes of Kia, Hyundai and previously, Skoda. Besides, if everyone bought used cars, where would tomorrow’s used cars come from?

    Judged as a full sized, 5 door, fairly well equipped car that’s only 5 -10 years behind the times, it’s a bargain and it’s unfair to be too harsh about the quality. If you want better build and acceptable material quality, you’re either going to have to pay for it, or buy used.

    It’s good that SIAC have given us the choice.

  21. Have just has a TL too for the week on behalf of the national taxi association website and yes, i was disappointed, too. But perhaps taxi drivers won’t be – it’s a lot of car for the money and the base model is only available in alabaster white – perfect for the taxi driver who’ll just need a few magnetic signs and hey presto, one minicab! I think the brand as a whole is a pastiche of the past and the new 6 has definitely had a charisma by pass. Funnily enough a taxi guy in Wigan, Lancashire (NEVER greater manchester) is setting up a business sourcing the old ZT and ZS diesels to rent out to other drivers. Once I’ve finished my report for the NTA and MG Enthusiast, I’ll post it here, too. Attended the national police fleet show last tuesday 9th june in telford and was hoping against hope MG would be there but sadly not even though they have been in talks with a consultant about re-entering the market; I think the 3 could hack it for current forces though…

    • Unusual that the base model is only available in white! As you say, presumably they’re going for rental fleet and minicab customers. It’s a good strategy, but Skoda won’t give up those customers easily…

      • Skoda has plenty of good dealers and a track record for reliability. that is why so many are minicabs and you can’t buy a decent second hand one cheap.

        I am reminded of the AVIS / Daewoo situation in the 1990s where Daewoo dumped vast quantities of cars (Esperos and Nexias) onto AVIS and ended up being totally hated by people who had to drive them as hire cars. I was one of those as my company had a deal with AVIS who obviously gave us the cheapest vehicles they could get away with.

        I would not thank you for getting an MG as a hire car when what I really want is a Ford /Vauxhall.

  22. Sorry guys I have to pipe up once more. I know I have given criticism, about this MK2 losing some of its sporty appearance, down to the loss of the 18″ rims on the top model. But I really need to say, that on my 2012 MK1 TSE, it has been very good now at 22k. For a living I work in the motor trade dropping of cars to customers , doing dealer transfers, on all manner of cars. a lot of nearly new Vauxhalls fords ETC,. And the quality of the MG6, is about on a par with said manufactures, but is head & shoulders above them on equipment and VFM. true its no BMW or Audi . But at the end of the day when I drive my MG6 home it puts a smile on my face, its also different , on my drive home down the M40 where, the is shed loads of Ford, Vauxhalls, Nissans, VW BMW etc. The 6 stands out a tad. And I like to think of myself as a bit of a petrol head. My hobby and passion is my Convertible 300+ BHP Mustang. I mention this as a true car enthusiast. The MG6 is far better car then the so called reviews make out, yeas it has its faults , but so is true of all cars . rant over

  23. Thanks Mike for an excellent review, warts and all.

    I fully expect to be picked up in an MG6 diesel next time I go up to Edinburgh or Glasgow and ring for a minicab.

    No taxi driver in his right mind would have bought the petrol because of the fuel consumption but a 1 year old low mileage MG6 diesel at £8,000 (which is all it will be worth) will make excellent sense to a minicab driver.

    My regular daily drives are a C class and an MX5 Mk3. The build quality on both of these is excellent. But even on the Fiat Panda I had on hire a few months ago I could not fault the build quality for a basic small car.

    Let’s be honest, the MG6 is a Chinese product, nothing to do with the classic MG line other than the K series derived petrol engine. As such it is in a similar position to what Daewoos were in the early 1990s i.e. about 10 years behind the pace.

    By the time that SAIC catch up with the Euro / Jap / Korean opposition no one will remember MG except for aged beardies driving lovingly restored Spridgets and B’s.

  24. It’s a shame, but the MG6 and 3 will never capture that many sales. It’s not to say what’s being sold is particularly awful, certainly these cars should prove to be reasonably reliable( like most cars now), just they’re not anything people would go out and buy in big numbers.
    The MG3 makes more sense, a starting price of £ 8995 puts it in Suzuki Swift territory and you get quite a lot for your money, but unlike the Swift, it has a none too economical and efficient 1.5 litre engine, where most superminis will start with a very frugal £ 20 a year tax engine and offers little over its rivals. Surely the economic might of China could have produced a car with a 1.2 green engine and a disel option instead of a strange 1.5.
    Also the MG 6 will be hampered by its single diesel option, where surely a decent 1.6 petrol and a TDI would have covered most bases.

  25. I spent yesterday looking at various new cars, brands ranged from Peugeot, to BMW, ALL used round gaffer tape on panels etc. I am sorry Mike, I cannot put any credibility behind this article as you seem to have highlighted something as poor build quality but is used industry wide, I also saw sealant in boots etc that make the picture you have shown look neat ! The only thing I did not see was the overspray on the black circles.

    • Front wheel wobble?
      Cruise controls that have a fit if you scroll the speed thumbwheel too quickly?
      Off centre steering wheel on straight ahead?

      Lets just agree to disagree on this one 🙂

  26. Regarding depreciation. It would be interesting to see if I three year old Octavia were still worth seven grand more than an MG6 of the same age as the price differential takes some making up.

    • Very sad for a storied brand like MG that their sales pitch has effectively been reduced to “Not as good as Skoda, but hey, at least we’re cheaper”.

      • I don’t think they’ve ever admitted to not being as good as a Skoda. basically I think it’s a case of:-

        3 – Might be more expensive than a Sandero but worth every extra penny.
        6 – The opposite argument. Just as good as an Octavia but £7k cheaper.
        Granted no mention is made of deprecation by MG Motor UK.

  27. The whole “report” is like one of Chris Goffey’s 1980s Top Gear efforts where he does his best to “find fault”, without the context of where the vehicle is placed in the market. (“The seat belt…” says Goffey, with a very pronounced frown (which shows how knowledgeable he is), is rubbing on my lapels…”

  28. Well, compared to three or four years ago there are a far higher number of people on here that are willing to defend MG in the face of this article and even more who are saying that they currently own one so MG must be doing something right – even if it isnt JLR heights of success.

    As Ive told everyone who has asked so far – our MG3 has been brilliant so far – taking us on many family holidays and recently across France.

    I also regret getting rid of my MG6 and will hopefully buy another when funds allow.

  29. I would have thought that the Skoda Rapid would be more of a challenger to the MG6 with the Octavia a much more upmarket car these days!
    By comparison the Rapid is a 16 models range starting from only £500 higher than the base MG6 and 14 colours available (granted the other end is £1k more). MG6 will struggle to cover the ground with only 3 models (all diesel) and 4 colours. I had a Rapid whilst our Yeti was in for a service and whilst it is clearly a budget car it did the job OK. Regardless of whether you think the fit and finish of the MG6 test car was comparable with others – the fact that there are so few surely would encourage MG to send it out absolutely perfect!

    • The Rapid (and it’s Seat sibling) is a curious beast given virtually no marketing.

      It is supposedly in a slot between the Fabia/Ibiza and Octavia/Leon, yet is more of a fastback family car of a size similar to a mk1 Octavia.

      The Rapid (though not the Toledo for some reason) also has the option of an automatic gearbox (something I now find a neccessity for inner city driving).

      Popular with taxi drivers, I’ve seen them on low cost PCP deals.

  30. A real steal these days must be the Dacia Sandero. OK the basic model is like a trip back to the eighties with no radio and wind down windows, but the Ambience trim with electric windows,central locking and CD player can be bought for under £ 7000, and is actually quite a commodious car for its size with a large boot. Also it comes with proven Renault engines and a five year warranty and apparently it’s said to be quite a reliable, well made car.

  31. The difference is that the Dacia is known as a budget car whereas there is nothing budget about my MG3 save the price. It is a little gem in terms of handling, steering, gear change, styling, space, comfort and equipment. The only drawback is that I can’t get over 36mpg. However that may have something to do with the fact that it revels in being driven with relish. It is streets ahead of a Vauxhall Corsa that I also drive regularly, in every area save mpg.

  32. @ Bruce Goodwin, if you opt for the 0.9 TCE or the 1.5 diesel, you are getting modern technology for far less money than a West European car. The Sandero and the bigger, crossover like Stepway are absolute bargains, look substantial, have a good reliability record and for all they are built in low wage Romania and the Access is very basic, they all come with the necessary safety kit and are probably no less well made than a French or German car.
    Also 36 mpg isn’t acceptable for a supermini these days. The 3 is quite a nice looking car and goes well, but a 1.5 litre engine with poor fuel consumption and a highish tax grouping won’t help sales.

    • I agree Glen that the Sandero and Stepway are absolute bargains. They are not without appeal either.

      To me, however, the MG3 was way ahead on my list. After 8 days of ownership and 360 miles (back from Longbridge and loads of local ‘test driving’) I’m very pleased with my purchase.

      I haven’t thought “it’s drinking a fair bit this!”. The road tax is lower than what I’m used to so no problems here either.

      I’m now used to the modern style, size (after 37,000 miles in my ZR). I doubt many would expect a negative appraisal from me but honestly I have yet to have any real criticism of it save a clock that’s almost impossible to read on the move.

      Add the still low purchase price AND exclusivity and it’s brilliant!!!

  33. Travelled home from work tonight in the urban traffic in close proximity to an early 6. Smaller wheels aside, I think I’ll take back other reservations about the minor styling tweaks.

    A sportier version would be nice though!!

  34. I am surprised MG did not issue a press release about the MG6 winnning its class in this years caravan club Tow car of the Year awards. Ssang Yong amongst others are very keen (and succesful) at promoting their products into the caravan towng market so with the forthcoming SUV from MG they need to be doing the same. I am now looking at the ‘3’ as a possible new car for SWMBO next year and IF the new SUV is ‘man’ enough for the job am prepared to consider one for towing our c/van.

  35. Renault have been decontenting new models or facelift cars since at least the 1991-2 25 and Vauxhall were doing it even before that, from personal experience.
    I personally liked the Espero, looked like a cross between a Calibra & an R8 200. Haven’t seen one in years.
    Slightly worried about that door tape, looked suspiciously like it was covering a water drain hole?
    As to the cruise glitch, it’s probably a processor or memory component that’s overtaxed – you could crash old RM Nimbus boxes sometimes by entering text too fast and causing a buffer overrun. Could possibly be a voltage problem too – trying to run a 3v component at 5v or vice versa can do that..
    Probably better off buying a beetleback Primera – just as British but put together properly and no one will notice the difference.

  36. Rather annoyingly, the 6 in ‘GT’ hatchback form ticks all of the boxes I want from my next ‘family’ car – economical, well equipped, spacious, decent boot with fastback hatchback access, great prices for a nearly-new car. They’re even a little bit different from the usual fastback suspects of Insignia or Octavia.
    There is even an MG dealer in a village 5 miles away.

    The only thing stopping me is the lack of an automatic gearbox, which given traffic congestion is now a must-have for my daily driver on a commute.

    Why was the autobox not an option?

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