First Drive : MG GS Exclusive

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

The 6 is dead – long live the GS. MG has announced the slow-selling 6 is to be dropped from the UK model range, but it’s not all bad news. At the launch event in Oxfordshire we got to sample the much-awaited new crossover from MG Motor UK, the MG GS. Here’s what we discovered…

Mike Humble

gsout
The all-new MG GS: a well-presented car that has the potential to sell in numbers that the MG3 and MG6 can only dream of – if marketed and pitched with professionalism. A five-year warranty is new, too, but no diesel is offered for the time being

Well, it’s finally arrived, despite having been on sale in China for the past year: the all-new MG GS. Already, and as expected, it’s caused a great deal of interest here. Our relationship with MG Motor UK hasn’t always been sweetness and light, especially given how the company has handled its marketing of this precious marque in the UK. A glimmer of hope came along with the MG3, thanks to its neat styling, roomy cabin, impressive value for money and smile-inducing chassis. However, small cars generate small profit – and a family-oriented vehicle is where the money lies.

It comes as no real surprise that the company has taken the decision to drop the MG6 from the UK model line up. Sales here in the UK have been pretty disastrous – so it’s out with the old and in with the new. That said, the MG6 has by no means been a waste of time – it gave the company a fresh starting point and rebirth after the deletion of the TF, not to mention a vehicle that proved the merging of UK and Asian SAIC Design Teams could be achieved. The MG3 was received reasonably well, but this all-new crossover offers a style that’s more European than previous SAIC-developed models, and gives MG Motor UK a crack at the busiest market sector.

It has pleasant styling and some thoughtful design cues, with the lion’s share of the work produced at the MG Design Centre, MG Motor UK now has a viable full-sized family car to sell. There are three levels of specification, one power unit and two transmissions:

  • Explore: The entry-level model which features air-con, 17in alloys, cruise and comes in at less than £15,000
  • Excite: Adds DAB, Bluetooth and parking sensors
  • Exclusive: Top of the range model with leather interior, climate and sat-nav for less than £20,000
  • Exclusive DCT Auto: Featuring a new electronic dual-clutch seven-speed auto at £20,995
1.5 turbo petrol - Currently the only option. Developed with GM and MG powertrain engineers reckon this to be one heck of a tough engine.
The 1.5 turbo petrol is currently your only option. Developed alongside GM, and MG’s Powertrain Engineers reckon this to be one heck of a tough engine. Unless you really wring its neck, it’s smooth and well insulated from the cabin

Driveline Technical Overview:

  • 1.5-litre all-alloy 16v turbocharged petrol developed in conjunction with General Motors
  • Centralised fuel injectors and integrated exhaust manifold
  • 164bhp with 184lb ft available from 1600rpm
  • Compact and robust three-shaft six-speed manual gearbox
  • A seven-speed dual-clutch electronic automatic gearbox with paddle shift capability

Driving 

We’re given the manual Exclusive variant, which promises to be a popular choice, given it’s below the psychologically-important £20k barrier. We go in with low expectations and, on that basis, come away feeling rather pleased with how the MG GS stacks up. There’s nothing offensive about the styling – in fact, in some areas it looks quite bold. The way the large octagon badge flares into the bonnet pressing is good design and an eye-catching feature, as are the sculpted rear light clusters. All panel gaps are tight and uniform, and the paintwork has a deep lustre to it.

Inside, it feels much better than the MG3 or MG6. Some plastics are hard and scratchy, but this is by no means unique in class. It compares well with the Nissan Qashqai – there are some odds and ends in that car, which are really bitterly cheap in feel. The GS’s seat trim has a much better quality look and feel than older MG Motor UK products, and the bolstering is notably firmer without compromising comfort. Its driving position is pretty much spot on, too – it’s only spoilt by the awkward positioning of the cruise control. It’s controlled by a lever that lives on the column, as opposed to the steering wheel, and that makes it easy to knock when you’re aiming for the indicator stalk.

In terms of touch and feel its light years ahead of MG3 and MG6. Decent to drive and quite refined but the ride is a little choppy at high speeds. Front seats are very comfy and share equal electrical adjustments - nice touch!
In terms of touch and feel, the GS is light years ahead of MG3 and MG6. It’s decent to drive, very well appointed in Exclusive trim and quite refined. The ride is a little choppy at high speeds. There’s ample space front, rear and in the boot. The front seats are very comfortable and share equal electrical adjustments – a nice touch!

A chunky steering wheel and a well-damped action to the column stalks are important confidence factor-building first-contact items in a car. So, the GS scores well here. Quality-wise, it’s no better or worse than the bulk of its competitors, but the steering wheel adjustment locking lever feels cheap and nasty – even one or two Engineers reluctantly agreed.

Unlike the MG6, all the buttons and knobs seem to feel consistent to the touch. Nothing feels loose, rattles or squeaks, despite spirited back-lane driving in some awful weather. There’s ample room inside. The split rear seatbacks have an adjustable recline angle, while the bench folds totally flat to give access to extra cargo space.

Engine response won’t exactly set your pulse racing, but equally, it doesn’t feel too flat. So long as you show 1300rpm on the dial, it pulls quite well, and only becomes raucous beyond 5000rpm. Stick between these two points, and the GS remains credibly smooth and refined. Its power unit isn’t dissimilar to the engine in the current Vauxhall Astra, owing to the fact it was developed in conjunction with GM. And as far as fuel consumption matters, the test car gave 33mpg over a 30-mile drive in poor weather which required the air conditioning to be switched on for most of the time – so, it’s not too bad at all really.

Despite what others may say, the gearchange feels direct and has a positive action. Overall, the car is easy and rather pleasant to drive. An Engineer who worked on the GS’s development very proudly told us that the driveline is proven, well developed and robust.

Twin boot lights are a novel feature, as is the 3 position rear backrest recline function. One touch fold action offers a totally flat floor with plenty of space for clutter.
Twin boot lights are a novel feature, as is the three-position rear backrest recline function. The one-touch fold action offers a totally flat floor with plenty of space for clutter

So, the GS seems to be built on a par with the competition. It offers superb value for money, is incredibly well-equipped in top flight spec and generally drives quite well. Dig a little deeper, and it actually has some class-leading attributes. And we don’t just mean in terms of cost. It ticks the boxes in most areas – a fact we’re quietly pleased about.

We’re still unsure about MG Motor UK’s ability to market the car but, if previous lessons have been learned, there should be no reason why it can’t rack up some useful and strong sales figures – especially when compared with what has come before. In short, we reckon the GS has the minerals to survive in the retail world.

Matthew Cheyne and co – your time has come to prove your critics wrong!


The Marketing Strategy: How MG Motor UK plans not to make the same mistake twice

Matthew Cheyne
We talk to Matthew Cheyne (left), MG Motor UK’s Head of Sales and Marketing

There is to be no diesel engine option, but MG Motor UK states it will keep a close eye on this – and may reconsider if there’s a demand for it. The company is also keen to point out this 1.5-litre turbo will not be going into the MG3 – but, after speaking to an Engineer, we should watch this space for a livelier and more efficient engine in the MG3. The company sees the GS as a retail (as opposed to fleet) car and, although it won’t turn fleet sales away, the company is very conscious that heavy discounting of more than a third of the cost per unit can end up causing heavy depreciation.

We chatted with Sales and Marketing boss Matthew Cheyne, and touched on the failure of MG and Avis with the 6. His response was clear: ‘Why should I order overly large orders from the factory just to slash 40 per cent off the screen price in order to get them noticed.’ He admits that previous management had its sums and predictions wrong with MG6. ‘The MG GS is a different case now, it’s very much a retail orientated car that’s class leading in many areas especially outright value. We won’t be making the same launch prediction errors like previous management did with 6,’ he says.

‘The dealers now have a portfolio of cars to sell with confidence and the GS is very much the right car for current lifestyles – so far, our dealer feedback is incredible,’ Matthew added. Interest from dealers with GS has been so positive, he has taken a decision to order an extra 200 vehicles from the factory for additional launch stock. These numbers and predictions may not seem earth shattering but, coupled with strong interest with MG3, it can only improve the company’s foothold in the UK market.

A TV campaign with three lifestyle-themed commercials is due to air shortly after the EU referendum results, with the adverts set to run in primetime viewing slots. MG Motor UK is also keen to say that some magazine advertising has been secured, and that dealers have been prospecting hard and vigorously to current customers as well as chasing conquest buyers on their databases. Cheyne concluded: ‘Its pricing structure comes in at more than £4000 below its rivals, add into the mix a brand new, MG-backed five-year warranty showing that we mean business and stand by our product – it’s a no-brainer choice for retail customers.’

Another member of the MG management team was keen to point out – off the record – that the company is not looking to chase or threaten the likes of the Ford Kuga or Nissan Qashqai in terms of sales numbers. They stated: ‘We are not geared up for that level of volume business with our present dealer network or our own UK infrastructure, but what we can do is gain a useful and very profitable share of a very lucrative trend in crossover vehicles.

‘Everyone involved feels very proud at what’s been achieved with GS… we so badly needed that shot in the arm and bit of good fortune to boot, everyone has worked above and beyond on this project in Birmingham and China.’

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

77 Comments

  1. Good review however the demise of the MG6 due to SAIC bring unwilling to invest in the diesel puts a big question mark over the arrival of a diesel anytime soon, if at all. That will hamper its appeal especially against competitors such as the Duster, Cashcow and Korando the latter which is popular with caravanners.

    • I would say that the demise of the 6 was more to do with where the market is at, nobody is really buying D segment fastback/saloon cars, everyone is switching to these crossover SUVs. Manufacturers do one of two things – drop the model, or try and push it as a more premium item – Accord/Primera being the former, i40/Mondeo taking the latter approach.

      I’m guessing MG thought they could “do a Skoda” with the Octavia, however that model was popular as taxi drivers realised it was a Golf chassis with VW diesel engines on the cheap.

      Where does this leave the BTCC? Has anyone ever entered an SUV? The Levorg is probably close, being a tall estate car. Or will they just race a discontinued car?

      The local MG dealer, Martin of Killyleagh, has a couple of 3s in their shop window where the DS3s used to sit. They seem to be a small selling but popular little car. The GS should follow on with what the market wants.

  2. The 1.9Dti diesel engine from the MG6 was never a consideration for the GS anyway.

    That’s not to say a diesel hasn’t been considered or even tested.

  3. Whatever the merits of the car itself I just cannot see it doing well. It has the makings of an MG6 style sales flop in spite of it being in a growing sector.

    It’s no cheaper than a discounted or pre-reg Qashqai – a much better car and actually built in Britain. The value ticket is much better filled by the smaller but surprisingly good SsangYong Tivoli which is cheaper and has a much wider range. Those who get as far as even considering the car against this competition will be put off by the lack of a diesel engine.

    All these things considered the marketing department have a tough job on their hands. People out there still don’t know MG are back what hope of them linking the brand with the unfamiliar territory of a crossover?

    • Good point, why are we getting all misty eyed about some cheap and nasty car made in China just because it has an Olde England badge when our own motor industry builds a car that would blow it into the weeds, albeit with Japanese badging?

      • It really is hard to understand what the attraction is, especially to those with an interest in UK manufacturing.

        Perhaps it’s our inherent support for the hopeless underdog, though why so many people appear to feel this way about a sizeable (and fairly well off) Chinese manufacturer, which is attempting to compete against UK based manufactures and their employees, is a complete mystery to me. Especially when all pretence at UK manufacturing has now gone and the relative handful of UK SIAC designers are only assisting a serious future competitor on how to build better cars.

        I can only imagine that the attraction of supporting a defunct British brand, while irrational, must be strong.

  4. I wouldn’t get too bothered regards the lack of a diesel. The future is electric, in one form or another..
    I wonder if MG are looking this area ?

    A good review, hopefully things are looking up 🙂

    • This (from South China Morning Post) answers the question about MG and electric cars, and also underlines how relatively unimportant the UK market is to SAIC/MG/Roewe global ambitions and how far they have gone already to achieve them;

      “Shanghai is arguably the powerhouse of China’s automotive industry. It is the home of SAIC Motor Corp, the largest car manufacturer on China’s A-share market, and whose affiliated marques include MG, SAIC MAXUS, SAIC Volkswagen, SAIC-GM, Shanghai General Motors Wuling, NAVECO, SAIC-IVECO Hongyan and Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corp.

      Last year, SAIC Motor sold 5.902 million units, 5 per cent more than the previous year and, in 2014, climbed 25 places to rank 60th on the annual Fortune Global 500 list, thanks to its US$102.25 billion in revenues.

      SAIC Motor Corp is a prolific innovator. At Auto China 2016 in Beijing in April, the group presented more than 100 new models from eight of its self-owned and joint-venture brands. Its highlights included the Roewe RX5, and new energy models such as the latest Roewe plug-in hybrid SUV.

      The group’s other new energy models included the Maxus V80 fuel cell, EV80 light vehicle and two plug-ins, the EG10 MPV and Sunwin city bus. The company is also planning a timeshare rental programme for new energy vehicles via its 4,000-plus outlets in over 20 cities, and the installation of 50,000 public charging locations across mainland China.

      SAIC also highlighted its MG-iGS “intelligent car”; SAIC-GM launched 32 cars, including Cadillac’s CT6 and new XT5; and SAIC Volkswagen showcased the Volkswagen Phideon luxury saloon, the Lamando GTS and the all-new Touran L six-seater.”

    • Totally agree with this comment. It’s an outrageous thing for Matthew Cheyne to say.
      Basically, MG Motors have dropped the “6” & replaced it with the “GS”. If MG Motors were going to continue the with the “6”, then they could claim to be adding to their portfolio – A two model range doesn’t equal a portfolio.
      I thought the age of the “Spin Doctor” was over?

  5. Unless I missed it in the text, there is no mention of the (still existing?)MG UK Factory lines being used in any function of this cars production, even bolting wheels on?

    So is it just another SUV RHD Import, from China, partly designed and engineered in UK, like Hornby Train sets…

    • Is it assembled in China or Thailand which has just been announced as the global hub for RHD production (bad news for Longbridge) with a second factory now planned there even though local sales are disappointing.

      I always like Mike’s reviews since he sees it from a customer’s view with an expert eye rather than the average motoring journo who is mainly bothered with outright performance.

      Not convinced that twin boot lights are ground breaking!

      I still think the benchmark comparison is with the Ssangyong Korando – £15,995 (2wd) to £23,495 (4wd) albeit 2.2 diesel.

  6. I notice that the usual suspects with negative comments are coming out of the woodwork, as usual.

    • What is there positive to say?

      I agree with the so called ‘negative’ comments above.

      It is a Chinese car with a badge that used to belong to a British company stuck on it.

      Am I wrong?

  7. My money’s on a Qashqai or CX-5. Yeah they cost more, but I bet they’ll be worth more than £4K in 3 years’ time.

  8. An excellent and thoughtful article, Mike and some good positive quotes from the MG team.

    MG need to quickly put the recent past (and MG6) behind them. The MG3 remains a good retail vehicle that sells well for dealers (although mine bemoans the lack of an auto on the ‘3) and the GS will complement it well. Cheyne is already expecting to shift 800 GS’s this year pushing total UK MG sales to 5,000 for 2016. Still very modest numbers (and the advertising budget will reflect this), but strong growth in % terms.

    A ‘B segment’ SUV is expected in the UK late next year and then a new MG3 with more power and performance in 2018. So plenty to look forward to.

    Pity they are not building the GS in the UK yet, but I understand that local assembly to the same level as the 3 and 6 may start next year (with bodies from Thailand or China) depending on demand – and that long promised plan to finally start sales in mainland Europe.

    • I think sadly the writing is on the wall with regard to UK assembly. To start with, all MG6 and MG3 were finished at Longbridge. Then it was only some MG3s. Now the new hope comes in fully imported.

  9. Give over Mr Metro. If you believe any of that, you have drunk deeply from the MuGUK Kool Aid. Longbridge is finished, it is nothing more than a pre dealer PDI and aftersales centre now.
    Why should we get behind a below average Chinese car with a looted badge stuck to it that is offered by a criminally incompetent bunch of halfwits?

    • You are in very real danger of the “usual ignorant negative comments about MG” police coming down on you hard for those sorts of comments.
      They may not be built here, they may not source parts here, there may be minimal design input here (until the Chinese learn how to design cars for themselves), but they do have a leased address at Longbridge and it was a British brand once, so get behind the rebirth of this major UK manufacturer!
      Err, hang on a minute…

  10. A very encouraging read. The right type of car for these times. By the sound of it, more on par with rivals, more class competitive. Mike, you seem rather impressed and that’s a good sign.

    I can see MG becoming a notably bigger market presence. Not huge, but no longer tiny, tiny.

  11. An interesting review from What Car, with the following conclusion:

    2 Stars (out of a possible 5 stars)

    “While the cheap price, punchy engine and spacious interior may tempt you; we find it hard to recommend the GS. Unfortunately the overly firm ride, cheap feeling interior and merely adequate emissions and economy far outweigh any positives.

    If you’re looking at the lower end of the range, a Dacia Duster or Ssangyong Tivoli offer a better ride and cheaper running costs (if you opt for a diesel, that is), yet still come with plenty of equipment and space. If you’re thinking about a higher-spec GS model, a basic Nissan Qashqai is a much better bet.”

    http://www.whatcar.com/news/2016-mg-gs-15-tgi-review/

    • Much as I despair at ‘What Crate?’ magazine for being a pale shadow of the great magazine it was many years ago, I suspect they are probably right about the GS.
      The Duster and the lesser-known Tivoli are also better-looking and will give it a hard time for the same or less outlay for punters.

      Strange mixed-messaging from MG to customers as well, removing petrol variants and leaving a diesel-only option on the last facelift of the 6, but then no diesel at all on the new car.
      MG’s bold new and improved Marketing Dept. shooting itself in the foot?

  12. Its a shame they are pulling the plug on the MG6, it could of been so much different if MG had got the price, sales and marketing correct at the cars launch.

    MG GS, well we shall see, I still think that they are going to struggle with the price even starting at £14,995 for the entry level model, people will still buy a “main stream brand” used vehicle in this category rather than take a risk on buying a new vehicle from a company they are not sure of or possibly not even heard of.

    And again they are launching a new car with no Diesel option, its got MG6 launch written all over it, will MG ever learn !

    How many miles had the MG GS on test done ? It would be interesting to find out as I am shocked by the state of the drivers seat lower bolster, it looks creased and nasty already, makes be dubious about build quality.

  13. Quite a good effort with decent styling, better quality than the 6, excellent prices and a reasonable driving experience, only problem is 33 mpg fuel consumption is poor these days when most drivers expect at least 40 mpg from any petrol engine under 2 litres. I’d think with a diesel option and a more efficient petrol engine the GS could do quite well.

  14. The GS might gain sales from Dacia and Ssangyong with an aggressive marketing campaign and a bigger dealer network, but it needs a bigger range of engines to succeed. A 1.5 litre petrol turbo with poor fuel consumption and a high tax bracket will limit sales, surely a 1.6 turbodiesel with over 50 mpg performance or a hybrid are what most people want in a crossover. I’m not saying like some people on here that this MG will be a flop, as they have done the right thing and entered the crossover market and the GS is aggressively priced and well equipped, it’s just the car needs more engine options.

    • I think the car industry is going to change its stance on what engines they are going to use, staring next year as all cars under 40K will have to pay the same car tax of £140. In three years time London wants to charge every diesel £12.50 per day just to drive in the city. Only electric cars will have no charge.
      This could be why MG has used a small petrol engine all be it nearly 170bhp. This gives the car a towing capacity of 1.75 tons. Most of the composition petrol cars are low power and cant be used to tow a caravan or boat.

      Lets see what happens to values of cars that are diesel, as the government starts to try and cost us out of them to clean up the air.

  15. Hmm… the ‘What Car?’ verdict seems a bit grim. Mike reported notable improvements over 3 and 6. The ‘What Car?’ verdict, on the other hand, seems no better than those given previously for the 6 and the 3.

    Mike’s article gave a feeling of optimism. Auto Express gave 3 stars. Think I’ll go with this.

    I can’t totally understand the readiness to say “buy a Dacia instead”. As a lasting element of BLARG I can’t understand why some contributors to this site don’t offer more support. Speaking from an 8,500 miles experience stand point whilst magazines may not rate it that highly my MG 3 is by no means bad. It may not be the best but in daily ownership there is nothing I really have issue with. Several positives though – great handling, very roomy, superb seats, pleasant styling. It’s uniqueness is a real plus!!

    I’m off to Longbridge early July. The 3 is due a service, I need a break and there’s some very pleasant countryside near by. So, I’ll take a good look at the GS then.

    Glenn – hoo’s t’ gaan on marra? (he, coming from Cumbria will understand!!) See your point regards lack of engine options but at least being in the SUV market will be a great help.

  16. Just had a quick look at the Auto Express report –

    ” If you’re desperate for a good value crossover, the SsangYong Tivoli will probably be a better choice, though. It’s not as big, nor is it as good to drive as the MG. However its punchy and efficient diesel, available at comparable prices to the MG’s petrol, will be the biggest thorn in the MG’s side ”

    Surely, Auto Express, if you prioritise bigger size, better handling then the MG is your preferred choice over the SsangYong. No diesel option does not rule out ALL buyers either, especially with a move away from diesel potentially now underway. Go on, stick your neck out, and recommend it for a certain group of buyers at least!

    • I agree with you on that one. I have found it very hard to find an alternative manufacture that offers a petrol equivalent. I for one will be changing my Land rover in September and will consider the GS as it has all-most the same towing capacity as the discovery sport but with a cleaner engine.

      E.J

  17. I’m sorry to say that this was not a report that told me much, frankly, about the car that appears to be crucial to MG’s ability to remain in the UK marketplace. What about ride quality ? What about handling ? The ride/handling compromise is one of the most important aspects of cars in modern Britain with its appalling road surfaces, and as far as I know, it is the ride which has been criticised heavily in other reports . Also , considering that I get 29 mpg from my 3.5 litre petrol engined automatic transmission car , to describe 33 mpg from this as ” not too bad at all” hardly suggests that too much thought has been expended on its relative merits .

    • Ride quality can’t be important, if it was the Germans would sell no cars here, German cars are all dreadful in this respect bar none!

      • Indeed it has been speculated that harsh ride quality actually sells cars, as it gives the impression of some sort of solidity, compared to vehicles with soft suspension.

    • I think the average British punter is more concerned with Tax Band/BIK (i.e. running costs, how much is it going to cost me on a dily basis?).

  18. The MG6 has had a chequered history in the UK, first, only petrol engines were available, then the Magnette 4 door arrived, then diesel’s arrive and a slight facelift… now the car is withdrawn – all in a relatively short space of time. Resale values must have hit the floor!

    At least the GS as a crossover / SUV seems aimed at a better target market?

  19. I love this line, it’s very funny:

    “As things stand there is to be no diesel engine option but MG state that they will keep a close eye on this and may reconsider if the market predicts a requirement.”

    Despite the hysteria stirred up by the non-thinking person’s press, without a diesel engine an SUV (even a discount one aimed at the Dacia / Ssangyong end of the market) is dead in the water without a diesel option!

    I wish MG luck with “keeping a close eye…if the market predicts a requirement” if they haven’t seen what’s staring them in the face already!!

  20. True that few really need a diesel, especially in a small/medium car – even if you tow occasionally or drive more than the 12K miles-a-year cut-off that’s often quoted.

    Personally I’ve always happily avoided the noisy dirty things – but most punters are seduced by the promise of lower road tax rates and better fuel economy, so think they have to have one.

        • Go drive a TD5 discovery2 and then an LPG V8 disco 2 and say that again.. the V8 walks all over it, in torque, range on one fill and cost per mile

          • If the TD5 is what you are basing your experience of modern, large capacity, diesels on, I can fully appreciate you preference for LPG powered V8’s! If you get an opportunity to try something like a current SDV6, please let us know what you think then.

    • “Personally I’ve always happily avoided the noisy dirty things”

      Clearly, you’ve never driven a modern one?

      I can also assume that you have pockets deep enough to fuel your mileage and that you don’t have to use your own money to fuel your car to travel all over the country and then have to wait 4/5 weeks to get the funds back? Or are subject to BIK?

      • I’ve driven a modern one, BMW320D, my LPG CLK320 walks all over it, in all respects why LPG never took off is beyond me although I am partly releived as I can still run a 3.2 litre V6 for less than a fiesta. This would have changed by now if it had

        • I have never driven a CLK320, so I can’t comment, but the last time I drove a 320d, it was a 2 year old example with around 60,000 miles on the clock and it was horrible – crude, slow and noisy; this is not a good yardstick for a modern diesel!

          The reason that I’ve never gone for a LPG powered car is that if it had ever taken off, the government would have quickly phased out the tax advantages of the fuel. Consequently, for those who run one, you really don’t want the fuel to become popular!

  21. Driving around 30,000-35,000 miles a year I’m “seduced by the promise” of torque that a petrol engine can’t come close to (600 NM) and even outright outright power (256 BHP). Each time I drive a petrol, it seems revvy and gutless (and that engine was built in Dagenham with all of the car assembly taking place in the Midlands , not China, so seems a much more relevant to the original purposes of this site)

    Low revving, torquey, diesels tend to suit SUV’s better. Even pretend, FWD, ones.

    But I appreciate that for those that are oddly passionate in their support of the Shanghai Automtive Industry Corporation (even where those Chinese products are competing directly with UK based manufacturing jobs), these arguments are likely to fall on surprisingly deaf ears.

    • Don’t think anyone much questions the costs logic of choosing a diesel if driving that sort of mileage. Clearly your vehicle doesn’t fit into the modest smaller car/SUV category being discussed.

      Perhaps I should make clear that I’m no supporter of a Chinese/Asian made vehicle over a British/Euro made one, but do note the large number of newer smallish, low-power diesel SUVs around my neck of the woods that are used mainly for local school-run/shopping trips and are never fitted with towbars.

      Conversations with family and workmates often reveals their desire to auto-choose diesel for their usually modest cars, only to be used for low miles – purely because of the cheap/free road tax.

      In such cases most owners would be better-off with the quieter, cleaner and usually cheaper-to-buy petrol option, without the often expensive prospect of emissions filters going pop down the line because the regeneration cycle doesn’t get chance to work as intended.

      My personal preference is a well-sorted petrol/LPG combo, with the advantage of even quieter running, nice wide power band, the huge range and flexibility that 2 fuel tanks offers – and is rather more eco-friendly, without the disadvantages of the oil burners.

      • I agree with you on what you just said. I am glade that the masses will be moving away from diesel next year as the cheep road tax is removed from small diesel cars and a fare level charge of £140 will mean the MG GS will be the same price as a 1.2L diesel.

        I think our streets will be quiet with just a few VW A4 and skodas clattering un till they have paid off there lease’s and taken advantage of the government diesel scrappage scheme.

  22. MG used to stand for:
    Fun
    Performance
    Style
    Accessibility

    MG now stands for:
    Cheap
    Unimaginative
    Anonymous
    Average

    Sad really

  23. Drivers seat bolster looks badly creased in that interior photo.

    Assume it has been lent out to some of the chunkier gentlemen of the UK motoring press!

  24. An interesting thread about a boringly average cheap Chinese tin box (admittedly with some British design input, not that you’d know it) that just happens to have a once-British badge on it. Of course it would be great if it did well, but I just can’t see it happening. There are just too many talented alternatives on the market from established and trusted brands – as highlighted in previous posts. Let’s face it, the final days of the ‘real’ MG brand back in 2005 didn’t exactly bring crowds flooding into the showrooms, so why should a Chinese MG-branded remix of unknown pedigree do it now? And that’s before we add to that remix the issues of no diesel version, no 4WD and potentially horrendous residuals as per the MG6. Great brand revivals such as Dacia and Skoda had already well known brands behind then in the form of Renault and VW; MG on the other hand has nothing that anyone in Europe has ever heard of. Call me negative if you like, but I’m afraid that’s the way I see it.
    As a post script, I suppose the Chinese have got one thing right – ‘MG GS’ as a name never going to excite much controversy. On a recent business trip to the Middle East I spotted a Chinese built pick up truck that went under the name ‘Great Wall Tiggo’….

    • Even in 2005 the TF was the biggest selling sports car on the market (selling more than the MX5) so where is its replacement?

  25. Have to say the Autocar review is depressing. 888 and their drivers must be cheesed off racing an out of production car. The MG3 is slipping from our next car short list. And whilst I understand the need for SUV’s given the lack of enthusiasm for a diesel in the line up I just don’t get the model Iine up and marketing strategy any more. The MG6 could have been targeted at the taxi market as a cheaper alternative to the Octavia, it also got reasonable reviews last year as a tow car – a sector which Sang Yong, Volvo and Mitsubishi target with success.

  26. So this isn’t even assembled in the UK? A Chinese built car with one date engine choice, and an MG badge glued to the front. Yep this will be a winner.

  27. Woo! The MG6 was out of fashion before it even hit the road!

    This WILL sell.. The small X-over SUV market is full of tat, no offence, but this is just like the rest of them so, it’ll sell.

  28. Agree with the ‘negative’ commentary. It is a Chinese made car with some design input from the UK, so not much else to say really.
    Just about to put a deposit on a new XE with an Ingenium engine.
    Who cares if TaTa own it, all the value added happens within 80 miles of my house.
    The XE will look good next to the wife’s Evoque..

    • A majority of criticism seems to be the cars interior, mostly because it is made of hard plastics. I did some investigation recently and found a number of similar cars also take this approach to their interiors. Notably the Mitsubishi ASX and Suzuki Vitara. The latter being particularly abysmal in terms of materials and design – sharing many switches apparently with one of its 1980’s ancestors. From what I can see, the MG is significantly better than either of those on the inside, and is rather attractive on the outside. It would have to drive like a jalopy to get some of the reviews it does get. MG is just one of those badges that a lot of the motoring press just do not want to feel any love for or wish it to do well and this comes across very strongly in many f their publications. This is not me being misty eyed or believing in conspiracy theories, it is based on reading reviews of similar cars, similar in size and price yet with completely different slants to their review write ups. The Vitara is dreadful inside, and pretty ungainly outside but does ok with reviews – I cannot explain why the MG doesn’t get an equal treatment other than that the badge is toxic and people will just not let go of very established opinions of it.

      • They have been at it for years.. the 25 was outdated an old fashioned..when apartently at the same time the Ford Ka was not…

      • I’ve never thought of the MG badge as being “toxic” before, but you may have a point.

        Despite it being attached to a very few half decent cars over the last 40-50 years, it’s been so long since it was a well respected manufacturer (and it has been stuck on so many unworthy cars, as a last ditch attempts at survival), that it’s hard to blame the press for being negative when the zombie brand is rolled out yet again!

  29. Think you are right, the press seem to make out that the car has a very poor interior when comparing it to the competition. I’m currently looking to change my car in September and have taken a look at Skoda / Toyota / Ford they all seem comparable but where the MG does best is its petrol engine. We all know they could put the diesel engine in the car but what would be the point it has less power than the petrol and would not help with the handling and weight. Plus with the world now taking a dim view on diesel. It’s almost an insult when they recommend the Duster as an better alternative seeing as the cars only have 3 star encap plus come with much less equipment. I think the best people can do is make there own mind up and drive the car they feel most happy with. Maybe the press are worried that this car may become popular and change the balance. 4 decades ago we laught at the Japanese inporting cars and said they will come to nothing. Well this time the Chinese cars are designed by European engineers and using a already know brand for there own market with a desire to other western exports. Let’s see what happens in the next year or two with the new two seater sports car and new focus size car plus mini suv. With every European car manufacturer scrambling to build and sell cars to Asian countries.

    • Eddy, comparing the rise in Japanese sales to Chinese attempts to muscle in on the UK market is a misnomer. Then, the choice was between a car you could depend on to start in the morning or buy something more casually hurled together. That stark choice has gone, so what do the Chinese have to offer?

      As for the press being worried “that this car may become popular and change the balance”, what on earth are you on about? Is Gavin Green a Lizard Overlord controlling what UK motorists drove? Such nonsense, even if I am looking at Nick Trott a little more suspiciously now.

      Finally, if you think MG are going to be launching a sports car in the next year or so then you should have a long lie down. The UK is home to a ramshackle operation that can barely shift cheap superminis with a stockpile of saloons it cannot work out how to shift before they are no longer emissions compliant. Sports cars are, at absolute best, a distant pipe dream.

  30. Don’t get the appeal of these cars whatsoever, or the painfully ignorant marketing blurb and brainwashing backers. It all smacks far too much of a hopelessly desperate optimism. Anyone who buys these cars are mad – there are enough brands like Kia and Hyundai to choose from…in fact they would be a better bet, rather than desecrating a great British brand by rolling around in one of these abominations.

  31. I wouldn’t normally bother chipping in about ‘MG’ as I never had any affinity with the brand even before the troubles of MG Rover and then SAIC/Nanjing.
    The brand as it is now, has been passed from pillar to post and diluted to the point that the buying UK public are not sure what to make of it.
    Nanjing were never for proper formal volume production in the UK. This production was for the home market in China, where they could pull the wool over the eyes of the peoples republic, and gloat about the so called glorious history of an olde world English sports car brand, whilst never actually making the Chinese versions sporty. Nanjing never understood the MG brand, whereas SAIC understood Rover better, tying to imitate the Rover marque with Roewe or whatever which was humiliatingly pronounced ‘wrong why’ in native Chinese.
    Why Nanjing even bothered to revive the MG TF is beyond me, but worse still is do they contemplate bringing a serious sports car back into production?
    There must be a market today considering the new Mazda MX5 and Fiat 124 in Europe.
    I was in the market for an MG3 sized car 2 years ago, but in the end the Hyundai I10 won me over as an overall better package. The MG3’s 1.5 litre engine was subject to greater excise duty and the insurance bracket higher, despite the glowing reports I had read by owners about MG build quality.
    Things are different now because in my eyes Nanjing/MG have lost the ounce of credibility they had by closing down Longbridge assembly production and use Brexit uncertainty as a pathetic excuse.

  32. Why did I choose an manual, 200 BHP, 1.6 Petrol Turbo, Astra K SRI NAV Sports Tourer?

    I became aware of GM’s newly developed SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection ) Petrol Turbo engines – having already owned a car with one of the first generation engines of this type – a Mazda 256 BHP, 2.3 litre DISI (same as SIDI but reversed) Petrol Turbo engine, specifically designed to out accelerate conventional 3 to 4 litre petrol engined cars (in a Mazda CX7, 0-60 mph in 6.8 secs – second only to the Porsche Cayenne when the CX 7 was released in 2007 – it was the most popular SUV in Russia and Australia and won ten awards for low pollution in Japan). My CX 7 had been totally reliable for me with low servicing costs. This engine’s block is the one used in the latest 2016 Ford Focus RS.

    Having had a great Sports SUV, I wanted the space and pace of an 4.7 metre Sports SUV, but without the £7 to £12k markup being asked by most manufacturers of SUVs.

    I did not want many of the features being offered by many brands – things like: key-less car entry (security issues here), push button starting, 18 to 20 inch tyres – done that, electronic handbrake (various roll away and other issues here), run flat tyres, self parking, cold leather seats – done that, engines that remember how you drive, ridiculous double pull door opening on BMWs, dowdy colours like VW and Audi’s, high servicing costs of Premium brands – done that, non opening panoramic sun roof, fiddly screen controlled secondary services – A/C etc., handbooks only available online like Volvo’s, screens instead of proper instruments, excessive safety aids, cars that have looked the same for ages, excessively downsized engines, a long bonnet, tricky to get into rear seats like a Jaguar XE, cars that bash your head as you get into the driver’s seat, cramped cars like a small or medium Lexus, engines that shut down cylinders or do other things when they feel like it.

    I did want a car with a petrol turbo SIDI engine (fewer pollutants), manual so I was in control – not the car, a zippy engine with loads of torque – which doesn’t make a fuss on acceleration – and just delivers, an opening sunroof, a built in SatNav, an actual spare wheel, a manual pull up handbrake, heated seats and steering wheel, fog lights, mud flaps, a decent colour selection, tinted rear windows, a fresh design, all round parking sensors, a Tax band around £140 (which even sub 100 g/km cars will pay next year), a low insurance group – not Group 33 like a lot of modest performance SUVs and I also fancied a local dealer so I could walk home from leaving it for servicing rather than servicing being a whole day event.

    I toyed with the idea of getting a SAIC built MG GS – manual, four wheel drive, with a 217 HP two litre DISI turbo petrol engine and all the bells and whistles – mainly to see what Chinese built cars were like. It looked good on paper – but MG did not bring that model over. Anyway, SAIC brought out, in Summer 2016, a far better looking and “Internet Connected” Roewe RX5 – again with manual or Double Clutch Gearbox, four wheel drive, the 217 HP two litre DISI turbo petrol engine and all the bells and whistles for ~£20k – just before the MG GS was launched in the UK. I would have had one of these Roewe RX5s, if they had been available in the UK.

    I looked for alternatives, viewing the Ssangyong Tivoli (nice, but with a modest petrol engine and no petrol engine available for the Tivoli XLV) and the Renault Kadjar (similar styling to CX7 – same designer – but overpriced and with a rather small petrol turbo engine).

    Late in the day I came to my local Vauxhall Dealer and picked up and studied the blurb on the new Astra K, which I had read about in Autocar and knew was European Car Of The Year. I organised for a test drive of the 1.4 petrol manual and auto and a 1.6 Sports Tourer, if possible (the dealer had only seen one 1.6 at this time).

    On test drive day I drove the first 1.4 Turbo Petrol, Auto, Elite Sports Tourer that the dealer had had. I was smitten by the sharp looks, good access, good forward sight lines, space to match my CX7 and the way it drove. I quickly ordered the manual, 200 BHP, 1.6 Petrol Turbo, Astra K SRI NAV Sports Tourer – to give me 0-60 in 7.2 sec pace, 35 to 40 mpg, 146 g/km, £145 annual car tax – and which, with my options, gave me all of what I was looking for less than the price I had paid for my CX 7 nine years earlier. The bargain of the century, with well presented and selectable driving aids – resulting in a group 19 Insurance for a 146 mph car – it even includes an on board WiFi router and OnStar remote diagnostics and instant Personal support! Better still Vauxhall were fourth in the latest UK car reliability survey by J D Power behind Skoda, Kia and Suzuki and the Astra Sports Tourer is built in the UK at Ellesmere Port. Surprisingly my Astra K Sports Tourer, seats down. carrying capacity is more than 100 litres larger than that of the £37k, Volvo V90 estate which is 200 mm longer!

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