Andrew Brady | July 2014
The MG6 is a rare sight on the road. You’ve probably got your own opinions why that is. Is it because it’s not a real MG? Or is it because it is an MG, and you’d be much better off buying something sporting a Volkswagen or Ford badge?
Well, part of the reason is that when the MG6 was launched you could only buy it with a thirsty 1.8-litre petrol engine. In a sector where most buyers are company car drivers that require supermini economy and lower emissions than a baby calf, the petrol just didn’t cut it.
So, MG finally introduced a diesel in 2013. Only, it wasn’t quite as economical as its rivals, and its CO2 emissions of 139g/km were nothing to shout about, when the likes of the Volkswagen Golf are available with CO2 emissions below 100g/km.
In a desperate attempt to make its MG6 more appealing, MG has reduced CO2 emissions to 129g/km. It’s done so by providing a new six-speed manual ’box, introducing stop-start, tweaking the chassis and providing new speed sensitive electro-hydraulic power steering.
In truth, the lower emissions are still not all that, but they do mean you won’t pay any road tax in the first year, and after that you’ll pay just £110 a year. But does the MG6 diesel cut it when you get behind the wheel?
What’s the 2014 MG6 like to drive?
The MG6 is surprisingly good to drive, actually. MG is desperately trying to cling on to its heritage – and one way it’s doing so is by making all of its cars fun to drive, without costing a fortune.
Many scoffed when it was crowned the best handling car money can buy, but it really is up there with the best in class when it comes to clinging on to roundabouts after being chucked in by an over-zealous company car driver.
But that’s not what really matters. The engine is what’s important, which is why MG has focussed so much on bringing down the emissions rather than giving the rest of the car any sort of update at this stage.
The results are pretty impressive. It’s a refined engine, and pulls well without being too geared towards economy. Sure, there’s a bit of turbo lag, and you have to work the gearbox if you want to keep up with the big boys in their Audis – but the gear change is sweet enough that it’s not a chore.
Should I buy an MG6 diesel?
The main issue with the MG6 is not with the car itself, but the quality of its rivals. Many are very, very good – and the MG6 just, well, isn’t.
Sure, the engine is good, and it handles phenomenally well, but the interior is awful. Really, truly awful. And it’s not often we say that in a review.
The dashboard is similar to that of a late-90s Vauxhall Vectra, only not as good quality. There are hard, shiny plastics everywhere, and every minute spent in it will make you regret not spending a little bit more and buying that Focus.
Yes, if you’ve got a tight budget but need a huge boot and space to carry four adults, maybe you should consider the MG6 diesel. But then, for £18,360 you can pick up a Skoda Octavia. Sure, that is an extra couple of grand. But when you come to sell it you’ll be very glad you put your hand in your pocket.
And then there’s the exterior. While the MG3 is a quirky little car with a range of personalisation options that’ll appeal to young buyers, the MG6 is just bland. Very, very bland. It gives no nods to MG’s heritage, and without the badge it could just be another Japanese repmobile.
MR VERDICT: 2014 MG6 diesel
The MG6 diesel is almost a car that can now be taken seriously. But it still doesn’t cut it in a competitive market. This is a shame, because MG strikes us a brand that really wants to do well, and we respect its priorities.
We look forward to the facelifted MG6, which is expected to arrive next spring, as hopefully its interior will have been heavily updated and maybe then it’ll finally prove to be kind of competitive. Further improvements are needed in the drivetrain, too, to tempt company car drivers out of their German diesels. But for now, we see little reason to buy an MG6 diesel.
- Skoda Octavia
- Vauxhall Astra
- Ford Focus
- Volkswagen Golf
- SEAT Leon
The Skoda Octavia is similar to the MG6, in that they both provide excellent practicality for the money. OK, the MG6 isn’t quite as spacious, but it’s also a little cheaper. The Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus are both good value for money, and a better proposition if you don’t need the space of the MG6. The latter is equally good to drive, while the former is built in the UK. The Volkswagen Golf is considerably pricier than the MG6, but noticeably better quality and will hold its value much better. The SEAT Leon is the sportier, cheaper alternative to the Golf – and probably the one we’d spend our own money on.
Specification – 2014 MG6
Engine 1.9-litre diesel
Gearbox 6-speed manual
Price from £16,995
0-60mph 8.9 seconds
Top speed 120mph