By BRENWIN NAIDU AND ERIC PHIRI
PROGRESS is essential if an automaker wants to maintain its relevance and if MG plans to make an indelible mark on the industry, the company would need to assault us with an array of competent, contemporary products – its past models were terribly long-in-the-tooth when they came on the local scene in the early 2000s.
And we think that they are on the way to establishing a strong presence with the MG6, their first new model since, being taken over by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
Rather than being a poor misinterpretation of what a premium British car should be (with lashings of insipid old world wood and leather), the all-new MG6 has a distinctly modern air, while still retaining some of the sporty hallmarks that the brand became famous for.
Sports Focus sampled the MG6 in sedan and fastback guises, and we were left suitably impressed by both models.
There is no doubt that looks play an important role in the buying process. Humans after all tend to base many of their opinions on aesthetics. First glances of the MG6 are pleasant; it has a formidable exterior that one can’t help but sit up and notice.
The designers have endowed it with substantial proportions: from its full-figured rump to a length befitting of a car in this medium-sized sedan segment. Purposeful bulges and creases contribute to an athletic shape, and the aggressive front-end is something that will certainly be noted in the rear-view mirrors of your fellow road users.
Comparing it to competitors like the conservative Volkswagen Jetta and the soft-styled Renault Fluence, the MG6 stands out. A striking colour helps accentuate its dynamic appearance, and we think a delicious red or sleek black would be the hues to explore. Both of the models we tested wore white – which didn’t really do justice to its shape.
Get inside the new MG6 and it’s clear from the get-go, that this would be a product a family of four would be quite happy in. It has a spacious cabin, with supportive seats and ample legroom for rear passengers. The cavernous boot would easily be able to accommodate stacks of luggage for the end-of-year coastal break. Interior assembly feels solid, even though surfaces don’t feel as nice as they would on some of its other counterparts. One can live with that, however, when you consider how the keen pricing of this car.
It was important for the engineers to get this car’s on-road performance as top-notch as possible – MG has sporting heritage, the brand conjures up images of cars with spirited driving prowess. And it doesn’t disappoint, even though it might be targeted at the family man, this MG6 will keep you entertained in the driver’s seat. The steering is weighty, gear changes are notchy and its platform feels taut and able to conquer the bends. The most exciting part is that the MG6 comes with a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine, standard across the range. We loved the thrilling surge of power when the turbo kicks in, and the smooth delivery of power, when shifting down and accelerating to overtake, on the highway.
Ultimately, it’s the pocket that dictates the decision of what will end up in your driveway. And the cool part about the MG6, is that it proves you needn’t give an arm and a leg, to have a car that looks good and performs well.
Prices start at R 229 900 for the Comfort model, and on this you get a host of standard features – anti-lock brakes, four airbags, on board computer and alloy wheels to name a few. Even for the top-of-the line Luxury version, you won’t break the bank; it comes in at R 239 900.
The MG6 is different, competent, well-priced and looks superb. We’re glad to see the iconic British marque back on the map, and we’re eager to see what they have planned for the near future.