The MG6 is the first all-Chinese MG to roll out of the Longbridge plant
Just what the fans have been waiting for, the MG Motors MG6 is an all-new sporting hatchback from the once great firm. In the greatest tradition the MG6 is based on a regular car (the Chinese market Roewe 550) but is turned into a racy MG version with tweaks to the design and chassis. It's available as a saloon (named Magnette) and hatchback, and there are two engines available – a 1.8-litre turbo petrol and a 1.9-litre turbodiesel. It’s much bigger than its direct rivals, and the list of standard kit, even on the entry-level models, is impressive. However, build quality is still some way behind European rivals.
Our choice: MG6 GT SE 1.9 DTi
Developed on the ageing Rover 75 platform, the MG Motors MG6 isn’t as modern looking as the Ford Focus or Alfa Romeo Giulietta, although all models look much sportier than its rivals. Even the entry-level GT S gets 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, body coloured trim and a stainless steel exhaust finisher – the only difference to the range-topping GT TSE are the 18-inch alloys. It’s a sleek shape though, with a low roofline and neat design details like the sharp headlights and deep front airdam.
The MG6 makes do with only a couple of engine options. The newer 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine is smooth and torquey, has 138bhp and pulls well. What’s more, it gets an all-important sixth gear to minimise revs at speed. The 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol is directly related to the unreliable K Series unit from MG Rover. It gets 158bhp and 215Nm of torque, providing impressive performance and completing the 0-60mph dash in 8.4 seconds. However, the unit is beginning to show its age, and together with the car’s lack of sound deadening it makes for a noisy experience. Rear visibility through the shallow rear window is especially poor, although the range topping GT TSE comes equipped with a reversing camera to make life easier.
The MG6 received a four star rating from Euro NCAP, scoring highly in all tests except for pedestrian protection, where it scored 42 per cent. The range comes with four airbags, Isofix child restraint fixings, and a switch to disable the passenger seat airbag in case of carrying children in the front. Reliability is yet to be proved, and the MG Motors brand or MG6 model hasn’t featured in our annual Driver Power survey.
The MG6 is actually one of the most spacious cars in its class, with plenty of legroom in the rear – though the sloping roofline does hinder headroom for adults. Behind the rear seats there’s a 472-litre boot, which is much larger than that found in its rivals like the Ford Focus. Fold the rear bench and it rises to an impressive 1,268-litres, which eclipses some estate cars. Up front there’s an air-conditioned container between the seats and a cubby by the driver’s knee that houses the USB and auxiliary audio connections.
Petrol-powered models will return 35.6mpg, and emit 184g/km of CO2, which is over 45g/km more than the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 MultiAir or Ford Focus 1.6 EcoBoost. This means your annual road tax bill will be £210, which is almost twice as much as both the Ford and Alfa. The diesel fares better, with 139g/km emissions and 53.5mpg, but all MG6 models are incredibly well equipped – even the GT S model comes with air conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting and USB connectivity.