Our new car reviews help new car buyers research the latest models in plain English. We avoid jargon in our road tests to help you make an informed decision

MG6 review: 2015 first drive

MG6 review: 2015 first drive

MG6 review: 2015 first drive

MG means business with its new 6. A revised interior, more standard equipment and a much cheaper price tag mean you should give it serious consideration.

Andrew Brady | April 2015

The MG6 faced a tough challenge when it was launched back in 2010. It was the first car from MG as we know it today, under Chinese ownership.

Built in China and assembled at MG’s Longbridge plant in the UK, the MG6 had a lot to prove. Enthusiasts would need a lot of persuasion – they still mourned the loss of MG Rover and the new MG6 would never be as British as their beloved 75, for instance.

The general public would also take some convincing. While its new owners like to play on MG’s heritage for fun-to-drive open-top roadsters, in its later years MG developed a reputation for failed head gaskets, boy racer hot hatches and, of course, going bust.

So the MG6 would have to be very good, then. Or cheap. And it was neither.

We were greeted by an horrendous interior, stodgy looks, and (until 2012) no diesel engine. And it was priced against D-segment cars such as the Ford Mondeo.

Its sales reflected this. Last year, MG sold just 536 examples. On average, each dealer was selling about one a month. That’s just not sustainable. Serious action needed to be taken. And it’s happened.

MG’s knocked £3,000 off the starting price of the MG6. It now starts at £13,995 – and they’ve axed the petrol engine. You can no longer buy a saloon version either – it’s hatchback only.

The interior’s also been revised, the design tweaked (if you look closely), 75kg of weight removed (resulting in improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions) and extra kit’s now fitted as standard. Drastic changes, even if it looks broadly the same. Will it be enough?

MG6 review: 2015 first drive

What’s the MG6 like to drive?

MGs have always been fun to drive, and the MG6 is no exception. It was one of the few good points of the original model. The steering, although a tad on the light side, provided good levels of feedback and it could be flung about in an enjoyable manner.

MG had a good base for the revised model, then, where handling is concerned. But they’ve added a new electronic differential, which transfers torque between the front wheels and even goes as far as applying brake pressure to avoid spinning up.

The difference is negligible in day-to-day driving, but the MG6 continues to be an enjoyable steer. The suspension is borderline firm – it’s certainly liveable with, but drive a potholed road and you’ll find yourself easing off the accelerator more than you might do in rivals.

The diesel engine is a torquey, if slightly vocal unit. Thanks to its lower weight, it’ll now hit 62mph in 8.4 seconds, half a second quicker than its predecessor.

The clutch has a sharp biting point that might take you by surprise, but the gearchange is slick and encouraging. Not that you need to work the six-speed ‘box particularly hard. Torque is available low down and there’s plenty of poke for overtaking slower traffic.

MG6 review: 2015 first drive

Is the revised MG6’s interior good enough?

It’s rare to find an interior of a car that is simply woeful – but that of the previous generation MG6 really let the car down.

Cheap plastics and a perceived lack of quality meant spending any time in it would make you regret buying one over, say, a Skoda Octavia.

The bad news is they haven’t ripped out the interior and started again. The good news is, they’ve done an admirable job of making it more pleasant.

One key difference is the new app-based navigation system, which is standard on both the mid-range TS and top-spec TL trims. MG tells us this is significantly cheaper than the system it replaces, but we can confirm it’s also significantly better.

As well as navigation, the seven-inch infotainment system offers Mirrorlink, DAB radio, iPod compatibility and multimedia playback – should you wish to watch videos. It’s an intuitive system to use, and far better than the MG6’s previous offering.

For the first time, the MG6 also offers an electronic parking brake. Not a big deal, perhaps, but drivers of the previous model will recall the poorly-designed handbrake that seemed impossible to use without trapping your fingers.

There’s no denying that there’s still quite a lot of cheap plastics in the MG6’s interior, but some nice additions, including a new instrument cluster, take your eye away from the less appealing areas.

MG6 review: 2015 first drive

Verdict: MG6 (2015)

It’s rare that we take a product manager’s opinion of a car with anything more than a pinch of salt, but MG’s product man, Andrew Lowerson, told us in the press conference that “when you sit in the MG6, it won’t be as good as a Skoda Octavia. But it’s £7,000 cheaper than the equivalent Skoda Octavia.”

And that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Where else are you going to buy a diesel car with this level of specification and an enormous boot for £14,000?

We can finally report that the MG6 could potentially be a wise purchase.

It isn’t as good as the likes of the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra. It isn’t even as good as rivals from Kia, Hyundai or Skoda – but they’re moving upmarket, and their price tags reflect this.

There is room in the market for a genuinely affordable car, and the MG6 is finally that. But that doesn’t mean you’d regret it every time you opened the door and jumped inside.

The interior is heaps better than it was. The driving experience is up there with more expensive rivals. And it’s loaded with standard equipment. Even the base-spec S model comes with heated seats.

MG says it’s operating a ‘no haggle’ policy on the new MG6. That’s commendable – you’re not going to buy one only to find a neighbour’s bought an identical one for less money.

We hope, for MG’s sake, it’s enough to tempt buyers away from mainstream brands.


  • Ford Focus
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Skoda Octavia
  • Hyundai i30
  • Toyota Auris

The Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra are conventional choices in this segment, but the MG6 undercuts them both by some margin. The Skoda Octavia is similar to the 6, in that it offers a huge amount of space (even more than the MG), but it’s no longer the budget buy it once was. The Hyundai i30 (alongside its Kia Cee’d sibling) also isn’t as cheap as you might think, while the Toyota Auris shares the MG6’s starting price.

Specification: MG6

Engine 1.9-litre turbodiesel

Gearbox Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive

Price from £13,995

Power 150hp

Torque 258lb/ft

0-62mph 8.4 seconds

Top speed 120mph

MPG 61.4mpg

CO2 119g/km

Ford Grand C-Max 2015

Ford Grand C-Max review: 2015 first drive

Ford Grand C-Max 2015Ford updates the popular seven-seat Grand C-Max compact MPV with a fresh face, more efficient engines and a revised interior.

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith | April 2015

The Ford Grand C-Max is an MPV in the very traditional sense. Its rather sombre and dowdy exterior does little to lift the mood, while a pair of admittedly useful sliding doors suggest you’ve reached a stage in your life where wipe-clean surfaces and ease of use sit highly on your list of priorities.

Face it, you’re not too far off the age of pipe and slippers now.

As we all know, the Grand C-Max is a slightly longer and taller version of the C-Max, which itself is a slightly longer, taller and wider version of the Focus it is based on. This means the Grand C-Max never quite feels like a highly targeted MPV that’s been built with families in mind. It feels compromised. Which isn’t something you could say about the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

Like the z-bed you bring out of the spare room when the in-laws come to visit, the third row of seats are good for occasional use only. Getting to them is hard enough, but once you’re there, the amount of knee, leg and headroom means they’re only suitable for children. Or your least favourite friends when travelling seven-up to the football match.

For the 2015 Grand C-Max, Ford has given it a subtle refresh to bring it in line with the rest of the range, improved the efficiency of the engines and given the interior a much-needed refresh.

The facelift works, up to a point. The new grille, headlights, smoother tailgate and smaller rear lights certainly smarten up the Grand C-Max’s appearance, but it’s not what you’d call a good looking car. On the inside, the simplified dashboard layout is a big improvement, but still a world away from the minimalist approach we’ve seen in other cars.

It does feel more premium than before, but the new adjustable centre console – which replaces the traditional fixed-size cupholders of before – feels flimsy and very cheap. Up front, masses of headroom gives the cabin a cavernous feel and there’s enough seat and steering wheel adjustment for most people to find a comfortable driving position.

What’s the Ford Grand C-Max like to drive?

Ford Grand C-Max 2015

Nobody is going to buy a compact MPV hoping for razor-sharp dynamics and off-the-line pace. And let’s not kid ourselves that the concept of a ‘hot MPV’ is a good idea. Remember the Vauxhall Meriva VXR? Seriously, you were better off buying an Astra and using the cash you had saved to buy a weekend toy.

So the biggest compliment we can pay to the Grand C-Max is that it’s perfectly pleasant to drive. Sure, there’s a fair amount of body roll when cornering hard, but it’s well controlled and predictable. On admittedly silk-like Spanish roads it also rode very well, soaking up bumps and smoothing out all but the worst potholes.

The steering? Yep, that’s absolutely fine, too. Lacking in feel, but for occasions when it matters – i.e. car parks and town centre driving – it’s very good. Mid-range punch is impressive, largely thanks to the 295lb ft of torque available from the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel engine we were testing. This should prove to be useful for overtaking and when on motorways.

Ford has also added a 120hp 1.5-litre diesel engine to the range, which offers an extra 5hp over the 1.6-litre engine it replaces, as well as a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. The diesel engines are expected to account for the vast majority of C-Max and Grand C-Max sales in the UK, but two versions of the excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine are also available.

By thickening the side glass and carpets, along with adding a huge amount of extra sound absorption materials throughout the Grand C-Max, Ford claims to have reduced the amount of noise entering the cabin. For the most part this works, although there’s still a fair amount of wind noise on motorways and plenty of diesel clatter when accelerating hard.

But in the great scheme of things, we’re nitpicking. The Grand C-Max behaves like a slighter taller and wider Ford Focus. And that’s perfectly fine.

So what will the Ford Grand C-Max really be like to live with?

Ford Grand C-Max 2015

What are the things that matter in a part-time seven-seat MPV? Safety, ease of use, comfort and onboard technology. Probably in that order. And the good news is that the Ford Grand C-Max scores highly on all these factors.

Starting with safety. A number of option packs are available, including the Driver Assistance Pack, which includes Active City Stop, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert and auto high beam. Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Recognition are available on the Titanium and Titanium X models.

As for ease of use. The sliding doors give it an edge over the five-seat C-Max and the electric tailgate will undoubtedly appeal to parents and children alike. The Grand C-Max is also available with a Convenience Pack, which offers Active Park Assist, front and rear parking sensors, Powerfold mirrors and global closing. Again, these aren’t available on the C-Max, helping the Grand C-Max to mount a strong case for the additional £1,600 required for the extra seats.

Overall, the Grand C-Max is a comfortable car, but it all depends on where you’re sitting. Up front, the seats offer plenty of support and a commanding driving position. The outermost seats on the second row are also comfortable, offering a good level of leg and headroom. These seats can also be folded backwards and forwards, either to provide extra space in the boot or to give the passengers in the third row some much needed legroom.

But the central seat on the second row is good for occasional use only and, as we’ve already mentioned, the third row is only suitable for children or pet monkeys.

Onboard technology is an area where Ford consistently delivers. All models feature a heated windscreen, DAB digital radio, MyKey, hill start assist, air conditioning and a tyre pressure monitoring system as standard. In a canny move, Ford will also offer a Family Pack – which adds rear unblinds, front and rear LED reading lights and seat-back trays – for just £150.

Ford claims the majority of buyers will opt for the entry-level Zetec model, but it’s the Titanium spec which offers the best value for money, adding an excellent – if slightly complex – 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, automatic lights and wipers, dual zone climate control, keyless start, cruise control with active speed limiter, auto-dimming rear view mirror and rear parking sensors.

Verdict: Ford Grand C-Max (2015)

Ford Grand C-Max 2015

For the UK market, Ford has chosen to ditch the tyre repair kit in favour of a return to the use of a mini spare wheel. Good news and a victory for common sense. But be warned, because by doing so, the amount of luggage space drops from 475 litres (laden to package tray) to 448 litres. With all seven seats in place, this drops to a minuscule 65 litres.

Compact MPVs are incredibly popular in continental Europe, but fall behind hatchbacks and superminis in the UK. We haven’t taken them to heart quite like our European cousins. Whether you should go for the full fat Grand C-Max or save the £1,600 and opt for the marginally prettier C-Max comes down to what you want from a car.

There will be a time when you’ll need the additional seats and you’ll be glad you went large. And in Titanium and Titanium X specification, the Grand C-Max does a good impression of more premium alternatives with far higher price tags.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the Grand C-Max does absolutely nothing to set your pulse racing. It tells the world you’re entering middle age and – whilst not quite prepared to accept you’re not as young as you used to be – you do realise it’s time to grow up. And the Grand C-Max is an excellent car to help guide you through this stage of your life.

Rivals: Ford Grand C-Max (2015)

  • Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
  • Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
  • Peugeot 5008
  • Renault Grand Scenic
  • Volkswagen Touran

Cars like the Grand C4 Picasso and Grand Scenic are designed with seven seats in mind and are your best bet if you’re planning to spend most of the time with all seats in their upright position. The Volkswagen Touran has the Grand C-Max trumped when it comes to interior quality, but at least the Ford’s interior feels more exciting. And let’s not forget there’s an all-new S-Max on the horizon. Review to follow shortly.

Specification: Ford Grand C-Max (2015)

Engines 1.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 1.5 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel

Gearbox Six-speed manual or PowerShift automatic, front-wheel drive

Price from £20,295 – £27,615

Power 100 – 150hp

Torque 125 – 295lb ft

0-62mph 8.8 – 13.7 seconds

Top speed 103 – 129mph

MPG 54 – 64mpg

CO2 113 – 129g/km

Audi TTS review: 2015 first drive

Audi TTS review: 2015 first drive

Audi TTS review: 2015 first drive

More driver-oriented than ever. But it still won’t be the first choice for keen drivers. Read more

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam

Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam review: 2015 first drive

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand SlamThe hottest Vauxhall Adam yet offers impressive performance and agility. But with premium pricing can it compete it a tough market?  Read more

Mazda2 2015

Mazda2 review: 2015 first drive

Mazda2 2015It does just enough to be a convincing MX-5 supermini in drag without scaring off core five-door hatchback buyers.
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Range Rover Sport SVR review: 2015 first drive

01_Range_Rover_Sport_SVR_2015An Audi RS6 Avant is idolised by enthusiasts, as a dream all-weather, all-purpose all-rounder. Somehow, though, a high performance SUV, which does all the RS6 offers and much more, is not. Jaguar Land Rover’s crack new Special Vehicle Operations wants to change that, with its first bespoke-engineered product to market: the Range Rover Sport SVR.

The SVO division is going to engineer many Jaguars and Land Rovers, but has started with the Range Rover Sport because it represents one of the biggest, highest-return market opportunities. Enthusiasts might find high-performance SUVs irksome, but customers love ‘em: the firm expects to sell 3,000 Range Rover Sport SVR a year.

To create it, SVO has taken the regular 510hp Range Rover Sport Supercharged, and honed it to the max. Most obviously, by dropping in the V8 engine from the yowling Jaguar F-Type R. At 550hp, it makes it the most powerful Land Rover ever, but it’s not just about that. Suspension has been tirelessly overhauled to up dynamic abilities accordingly – without, amazingly, losing any of the off-road prowess. It still has a low-range gearbox, can still wade a frankly scary-looking 850mm depth.

And it also corners at up to 1.3g, and can lap the Nurburgring in a ridiculous 8 minutes 14 seconds – until recently, a world record time for an SUV. This is much, much more than simply a Range Rover Sport with a hot engine – and the fact it’s so much more capable on track but no less capable off-road is what’s kept the development team so busy for the past few years…

You’ll have no trouble spotting it on the road, particularly with the optional 22-inch wheels and racy Continental SportContact 5 tyres (an ‘informed choice’ option over the standard all-weather 21-inch wheels). The engine’s hunger for air and cooling means the air intakes are bigger – even the fog lamps have been deleted to create space for airflow – the bumper is suitably toughened up and even the bonnet lettering is now moody black.

There are deep sills and wheelarch extensions, a new rear bumper with quad exhausts, rear diffuser and lift-reducing rear spoiler. One of the seven colours, Estoril Blue, is also unique to the Range Rover Sport SVR. Visually, you get a lot of clout for your £93,450. That heady price is clearly a bargain to some, too: orders already top 1,000. So, apart from ultimate Range Rover bragging rights, what will they be getting for their money?

Range Rover Sport SVR 2015

What’s the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR like to drive?

It really shouldn’t work. But it really does. It could so easily have been just a big, heavy SUV with a hot engine, but it’s so much more than that – and a more convincing performance machine than its chief rivals as a result.

Key to it is the fact it doesn’t feel like it weighs so much. It sounds unlikely, but you drive it with your fingertips, not your elbows, and sense precision accuracy below the pointy, nimble front end, rather than just a plough-on mass of weighty understeer.

This is particularly so in Dynamic mode; twist the dial in the centre console to weighten the steering, sharpen the throttle, stiffen the damper profile and crisp up the active anti-roll. In this guise, the SVR is particularly low-effort and responsive – so long as you’re half-mindful of the fact you’re controlling a lot of mass and are respectfully smooth as a result, it steers with unbelievable economy and dialed-in bite. Something so big really shouldn’t be so adept.

This is all why it’s such an effective A-road (even B-road) sports car. You don’t have to fight it and can thus place it with precision, can see so much of the road ahead to be smooth and fluid – and, crucially, won’t be unduly disturbed by the many craters, rough edges and undulations found on ruinous British back roads. It’s more comfortable than almost any genuine sports car, and you can drive it more quickly as a result. Quicker point-to-point than a Porsche 911 or Audi R8? We’d place bets it would be close.

In normal mode, it’s also impressive, but is more fluid and a touch less focused. The gains over the regular Supercharged are still appreciable, particularly the firmer steering, much stronger grip and general dynamic cohesion, but the ride is also more pliant, the engine less edgy and gearchanges not as sudden (the latter are electric-rapid in Dynamic guise). Given how your passengers will be jittered by the focused ride in ultimate tune, they may prefer this.

Of course, it’s fast. The F-Type R V8 engine has surging, no-lag pull and fantastic bite at the top end: 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds says it all. The noisy only adds to the impact: the active exhaust makes it purposefully cultured in normal mode but, when the active part kicks in and all four pipes are used instead of the regular two, it sounds sublime. It’s a pure, rich V8 roar, somehow not as aggressive as more guttural German rivals, but just as rewarding. The fact its active valves means you don’t get the weird Darth Vader-like rush effect of the competition is another plus.

Something this big and fast needs big, tireless brakes. The discs and calipers are actually unchanged over the standard V8, but there’s much greater cooling around them and the same high-capacity brake fluid as in Jaguar’s carbon ceramic models is used. The pedal’s still a bit soft and takes some travel to bite, but there’s plentiful reassurance once they are.

Range Rover Sport SVR 2015

Could the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR replace an enthusiast’s Audi RS6?

The Audi RS6 is the cool choice for the former Porsche 911 driver who’s now got a family, a business and a smattering of active lifestyle things they’re into. People want to be Audi RS6 drivers; they want to live that lifestyle. That’s why people buy Audi RS6.

Thing is, the Range Rover Sport SVR offers the practical aspects of an Audi RS6, and more. It can also do what it does on a backroad, or a racetrack – and more: the incredible off-road prowess adds authenticity that makes it much more than just a tuned-up SUV.

Could the SVR thus be the car RS6 drivers want to move into? It’s a big question, given the high regard in which the RS6 is held, but the SVR can beat the sweet blend of usability, practicality, all-weather ability and racetrack ability that’s stood the RS6 in such good stead.

It’s not a one-dimensional machine: it has a lush, refined, spacious cabin that’s really enhanced by new one-piece backrest torso-hugging seats. The two buckets in the front are replicated in the rear too, although first glances are deceptive, because it can still seat five – not seven, though: the third-row seats are not available here, because of the defined performance parameters sought by the engineers.

It also has a big boot, a welcoming cabin, a regal view out and, if you spend an eye-watering £5,000, a superb Meridian audio system. It’s a lovely place to be and miles are soaked up with startling effortlessness – the refinement, feeling of depth and air-suspended comfort in everyday mode makes you yearn to use it every day. It may take time for others to come round but, just as we’d like to have an RS6 as a commuter, we’d love to have an SVR as our daily driver.

Even if it would cost us a fortune: average economy on our swift but not racetrack-speed day of testing saw an average of 14mpg recorded.

Range Rover Sport SVR 2015

Verdict: 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR

Up to now, sporting SUVs have elicited rage from enthusiasts: BMW should concentrate on real M cars, not X5 M and X6 M. They may have a point: such cars are good, but not convincing. The Range Rover Sport SVR needs no such polite excuses though. It really does work.

It’s fast, it’s focused, it really handles, it demolishes broken back roads without destroying its passengers in the process – it’s an SUV that defies physics with its grace and pace. But, remarkably, without losing the Land Rover SUV capability: it’s just as impressive off-road.

OK, it’s not cheap – it’s a six-figure car once you’ve added on the essential options – but it’s clear where the money’s been spent. Not everyone will get it, and it will remain anathema to a hardcore, but for the open minded who appreciate really well developed product, it’s worth considering over any performance SUV rival.

Rivals: 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR

  • Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
  • BMW X5 M/X6 M
  • Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG
  • Audi RS6

The Range Rover Sport held the Nurburgring SUV lap record until Porsche rolled out the new Cayenne Turbo S: German pride dented, perhaps? The BMWs X5 M and X6 M are new market additions that build upon the so-so old ones, the ML 63 AMG is an underground alternative and the Audi RS6 is the all-year-round performance car that will guarantee you respect on internet forums.

Specification: 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR

Engine 5.0-litre supercharged V8

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

Price from £93,450

Power 550hp

Torque 502lb ft (680Nm)

0-62mph 4.7 seconds

Top speed 162mph (260km/h)

MPG 22.1mpg (12.8l/100km)

CO2 298g/km

Zenos E10 S 2015

Zenos E10 S review: 2015 first drive

Zenos E10 S 2015Startup Zenos creates a car that’s supercar-fast, as affordable as a hot hatch and as delightful to drive as you’d hope a modern British sports car would be
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Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 86 eco2 (2014) long-term review

Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 86 eco2 (2014) long-term review

Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 86 eco2 (2014) long-term review

It’s amazing how you can drive a car every day and not really know it particularly well. I recently took over our long-term Renault Clio from its previous custodian, Sean, and was really keen to find out why he raved about it so much. Read more

2015 Suzuki Vitara review

Suzuki Vitara review: 2015 first drive

2015 Suzuki Vitara review

New Suzuki Vitara combines brand heritage with funky looks and even off-road ability. Entry-level SZ4 is a bargain to be had. Read more

Volvo XC90 2015 review

Volvo XC90 review: 2015 first drive

Volvo XC90 2015 reviewIt’s been worth the wait: the all-new Volvo XC90 is a brilliantly accomplished car Read more