Selasa, 19 April 2011

MG6 1.8 TCI TSE Fastback Review

What is it?

The first all-new MG to come to the UK market for sixteen years – and today, now that MG Motor UK Ltd has announced prices, is its first day of official sales. This is the MG 6, driven in the UK in final production specification for the first time.
Although it’s part-assembled by SAIC in China, this new MG has been designed and engineered in the UK by the 300-strong staff of SAIC’s Longbridge technical centre.
It’s body-in-white under-structure, panels and interior are sourced and screwed together in China, but the car’s chassis, engine and transmission are fitted at Longbridge, Birmingham.
Chinese-owned MG Motor UK Ltd is hoping that British connection, together with the warmth of feeling that it believes still exists for the MG brand in the UK, will attract people who might otherwise buy an entry-level five-door family hatchback like a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra to try the MG 6.
Aside from that, they say, the new hatchback should sell as a value proposition. Priced from £15,495 for an entry-level ‘S’-spec car, rising to £18,995 for the equipment-laden ‘TSE’-spec car we drove, the MG 6 is between £1500 and £3000 cheaper than a like-for-like Ford Focus or Skoda Octavia. Being over 4.6-metres long, it also offers a little more cabin- and luggage space than a conventional C-segment option.
See pics of the MG 6 1.8T TSE in action

 What happened next was messy. It involved Rover's bankruptcy, financial scandal, the closure and likely flattening of the Longbridge factories, and the sending of tooling and sale of design rights to China. So now the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC) makes Rover 75 derivatives (called Roewe 750 and MG7), the MG TF sports car and some all-new Roewe and MG models.

What’s it like?

There are two burning questions to answer here: does it look and feel like a low-rent, Chinese-built car on the inside, and secondly, does it drive like one?
Settle in behind the big, leather-trimmed steering wheel of the MG 6 and, at first, you certainly don’t feel short-changed. The overall appearance of the fascia is modern and reasonably appealing. The leather’s soft and well-stitched, the instruments a bit over-stylised, but readable. And you get loads of equipment as standard: electric windows, air con, alloy wheels and USB connectivity on entry-level cars, and sat nav, heated electric leather seats, cruise control, reversing camera, Bluetooth and 18in wheels on range-topping TSEs.
You sit high in the MG 6 by the latest standards, and the particularly tall may find their forehead in close proximity to the header rail. With only a limited amount of reach adjustment on the steering column, you may also find your knees a little close to the dashboard if you’re long-legged. This 6ft 3in tester had no lasting difficulty getting comfortable though.

MG6 1.8T Fastback
Tested: 1796cc, 4-cylinder turbo, DOHC, 16 valves, five-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive
Price/on sale: from £15,495/now
Power/torque: 158bhp @ 5,500rpm/159lb/ft @ 1,750-4,500rpm
Top speed: 120mph (limited)
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 8.4sec
Fuel economy: 35.6mpg (EU Combined)
CO2 emissions: 184g/km
VED band: I (£300 first year, £200 thereafter)
Verdict: Quiet and refined cruiser with a controlled ride, but some aspects of the cabin let it down and it really needs a diesel option
Telegraph rating: Four out of five stars

Should I buy one?

If you want a handsome-looking, zesty family hatchback for a great price – and you don’t mind running a relatively thirsty, high-CO2 petrol option instead of the default-for-fleet diesel – you should certainly try one. It’s not often that cars from the budget sector deliver so much athleticism and driver involvement.
You’ll have to accept a few compromises, mind. The MG 6’s engine is relatively raucous at high rpm, its cabin quality is below par in places; it does feel like a cheap car here and there.
But not so cheap, we suspect, as to discourage you if you’re a bargain-hunter and you like the idea of owning what’s a perfectly competent and surprisingly stirring car for less.
If MG can keep making cars like this in China, and can improve its act in a few key areas, we say bring ‘em on.

Matt Saunders

MG 6 1.8T TSE
Price: £18,995; Top speed: 120mph (limited); 0-60mph: 8.4sec; Economy: 35.6mpg; Co2: 184g/km; Kerb weight: 1495kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls in line, 1796cc, turbocharged petrol; Power: 158bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 159lb ft at 1750-4500rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

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