On its launch 18 months ago, the MG6 arrived in a class where diesels make up 88 per cent of sales – but it was offered only with a 1.8-litre petrol engine. Now, though, MG has introduced a 1.9-litre diesel, which promises improved performance and lower running costs.
Unlike the petrol engine, which was essentially just a reworked version of the old Rover K Series powerplant, the DTi is an all-new MG-developed engine. On paper, this car’s 0-62mph performance is half a second faster than the petrol’s, at 8.9 seconds, but as it produces 350Nm of torque from 1,800rpm, it feels a lot quicker during everyday driving.
Fuel economy is 53.5mpg and CO2 emissions 139g/km – far from class-leading, yet much better than the petrol model’s 35.6mpg and 184g/km. That’ll save company car buyers around four per cent in tax, too.
To complement the engine there’s a new six-speed manual box, and that extra ratio really helps with motorway refinement – we saw only 1,800rpm at 70mph. However, things do get noisy towards the top of the rev range when you’re driving around town.
Improvements to the MG6 stretch beyond the powertrain, too, with new speed-sensitive electro-hydraulic steering and fresh suspension settings. The car rides well over bumpy back roads and feels agile in corners as well.
The 6’s trump card has always been its value for money, and the diesel is no different. Our SE had dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a USB input, 17-inch alloys, hill-hold assist, parking sensors and sat-nav for £18,915. That’s £1,655 less than the Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 140 Elegance, although the Skoda’s cleaner engine puts it into a cheaper company car tax bracket.
And while the MG6 isn’t quite as spacious as the Octavia, there is lots of room inside. The seats are supportive and have large side bolsters, and the wheel adjusts for reach and rake.
The boot has a huge 498-litre capacity, but although the hatch-style opening aids access, there’s a high lip to lift luggage over. And while everything looks smart inside, the buttons are ill-fitting and some of the plastics in lower regions feel flimsy.