Car group tests

MG6 vs Skoda Rapid

New MG6 promises a no-nonsense blend of space and value, but is it a better option than the Skoda Rapid?

If you’re after space and practicality on a budget, these two contenders – the new MG6 and the Skoda Rapid – should be top of your list. However, that wasn’t always the case. 

Best hatchbacks

When the MG6 was first released, it’s fair to say it wasn’t exactly a sales success. But this updated 6 looks more promising, with a revised 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine claiming reduced CO2 emissions. 

There’s also a new infotainment system, which means this car now has more premium rivals in its sights. Yet while the top-spec TL version we’re testing gets lots of kit, it’s still kept its knock-down price and represents strong value for money at £17,995.

Best family cars

However, quality was an issue with its predecessor, so has MG managed to spruce up the interior and materials to create something that’s desirable and still affordable?

To find out, we’ve pitched it against a known quantity in the form of the Skoda Rapid. When it came on the market in 2012, the big hatchback served up the manufacturer’s typical formula: a refined, spacious interior and impressive value.

But three years on, with the recipe unchanged, is this still enough to beat off the cheaper and better-equipped competition?

MG6 review

Skoda Rapid review

Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which comes out on top...

Head-to-head

Neat touches

The Rapid features Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ touches as standard, including an ice scraper inside the fuel filler flap, a reversible boot floor, a parking ticket holder on the windscreen and a handy storage tray under the front seat. They’re small, but thoughtful features that’ll make the car easier to live with than the MG6.

Space vs style

Neither of these cars is a design icon, but they offer inoffensive looks to go with their family friendly practicality. While the Skoda is larger inside, the MG6 is arguably that bit more svelte in styling terms. As ever, personal choice is likely to play a major part in your buying decision.

Technology

Cars like these will find favour with business users thanks to low CO2 emissions, but tech will be important, too. Here the MG scores higher with its impressive standard features – however, the poor execution and integration inside take the shine off things.

Verdict

1st place: Skoda Rapid

Neither car majors on style or enjoyment, but it’s the more efficient, more practical Rapid that wins here. While it’s not as cheap to buy and doesn’t feature as much kit, the Skoda’s running costs will offset the difference in price over three years, with stronger residuals, cheaper insurance, lower CO2 and higher mpg. Plus, the bigger boot, roomier cabin and better drive give it an edge over the MG.

2nd place: MG6

There’s no doubt the changes to this new MG6 have resulted in a better car. It’s more efficient, boasts lots of equipment and is seriously well priced. But its bigger engine doesn’t give it a real performance advantage and it can’t match the Rapid dynamically, either. And where it really counts in this class – CO2 and space – the MG sits in the Skoda’s shadow.

Other options in this category

Kia Cee’d SW ‘2’ 1.6 CRDi

Price: £19,000 (est.) Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 108bhp

Kia has updated its practical Cee’d family car, so there’s now more efficiency and tech on offer. You’ll have to go for this Sportswagon estate model to match the MG or Skoda’s practicality in terms of boot space, but price, quality and performance are on par.

SEAT Toledo 1.6 TDI Style

Price: £18,800 Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 113bhp

Using the same engine and chassis as the Rapid, the SEAT Toledo is just as practical, but costlier at £18,800. However, this Style model is better equipped than the Skoda, as it comes with sat-nav, DAB, Bluetooth and cruise control.

Key specs:

 Skoda Rapid 1.6 TDI SEMG6 DTi-Tech TL
On-the-road price/total as tested£18,135/£18,670£17,995/£17,995
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£7,675/42.3%£5,724/31.8%
Depreciation£10,460£12,271
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£687/£1,374£753/£1,507
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,178/£1,964£1,207/£2,011
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost17/£479/E/£2017/£493/E/£30
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£479 (3yrs/30,000)£148/£238/£148
   
Length/wheelbase4,483/2,602mm4,651/2,705mm
Height/width1,461/1,706mm1,472/1,827mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,596cc4cyl in-line/1,849cc
Peak power113/3,500 bhp/rpm148/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque250/1,500 Nm/rpm350/1,800 Nm/rpm
Transmission5-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/repair kit62 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)550/1,490 litres498/1,379 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,217/535/1,200kg1,539/601/1,600kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.2 metres/N/A11.5 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/13515,000 (1yr)/46
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.3rd/7th4th/20th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars94/80/69/71/5 (2012)73/71/42/71/4 (2011)
   
0-60/30-70mph9.3/8.8 secs9.7/8.9 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.0/7.5 secs3.9/5.6 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th9.1 secs/N/A6.6/10.5 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph125mph/2,000rpm120mph/1,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph51.6/38.1/9.6m50.2/36.8/9.4m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph79/54/68/75dB75/53/67/73dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range51.0/11.3/617 miles49.8/10.4/679 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined55.4/76.4/67.3mpg52.3/68.8/61.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined12.2/16.8/14.8mpl11.5/15.1/13.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket148/109g/km/19%152/119g/km/21%
   
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensors/camSix/yes/£380/noSix/yes/yes/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yes
Clim control/leather/heated seats£440/no/£250Yes/yes/yes
Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go£535/£500/£340Yes/yes/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB/Bluetooth£575/yes/£100/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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