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MG MG6 2013 Review

Ferns, sheep and car models - New Zealand has probably more of these than most countries and thanks to liberal import rules, is just the place you'd expect to find rarities like the MG6. The Cruze-sized hatchback is available from 12 dealers in New Zealand and distributed through British Motor Distributors.

It will be practically identical when - or if - it comes to Australia and on a comparative basis, it could be priced around $25,000 - about $5000 less than a similarly-equipped Cruze.

The MG6 Turbo here may be about $38,000. Note that this article should only be seen as a guide to the MG6. If the model comes to Australia there may be changes to the features and drive review.

VALUE

The big news is space. For the bucks - and we're talking $30,000 in New Zealand currency as a base - it's a surprisingly long car that translates into a spacious cabin and, especially, a long and useable boot area.

In fact, space equates to a Skoda Octavia - and that's big! Equipment in the NZ model includes 17-inch alloys, iPod/USB audio, electric sunroof and a one-touch engine start button - and this is the base model.

Pay more and the kit adds rear parking aids, cruise control, tyre-pressure monitoring, sat-nav with a colour screen, leather upholstery and heated front seats with electric adjustment for the driver.

DESIGN 

The shape is neat with styling overtones of Europe. It's 4651mm long and sits on a 2705mm wheelbase and hence has heaps of legroom. The boot is a generous 472 litres with the rear seats up and a cavernous 1268 litres when folded down.

Cabin treatment is generally good though falls down in appearance with the leather-trimmed version looking like its upholstery is made of vinyl, small instrument gauges and a handbrake that is badly positioned and requires a lot of effort to engage.

The high rear tail looks good but begs a rear camera or, at least, park sensors - both are available in the top-spec NZ model while sensors are on the mid-spec car.

TECHNOLOGY

The MG6 Turbo comes with a 118kW 1.8-litre turbo-petrol engine which is a revamp and blown version of the Rover K-series unit fitted previously - an infamously - to the Freelander Mk I and MGF. It was a temperamental engine that hated the Australian summers and displayed its discomfort by blowing head gaskets.

It's been overhauled - now known as the N-series - since the company established in China but hard to say how it'll behave on its return to our warmer climes. There's only a five-speed manual gearbox in NZ but an auto in planned for the future, possibly in time for an Australian launch. Fuel economy is 7.9 L/100km with a 184g/km CO2 emission. The suspension is common MacPherson struts at the front and multi-link at the rear.

SAFETY

This has a four-star crash rating in the European NCAP tests. It also has six airbags, ESC and a full-size spare.

DRIVING 

A short sprint shows the MG6 is well behaved, pleasantly free of surprises and has decent roadholding. Basically, it's a simple and predictable hatchback and even the turbocharged engine holds no surprises. Power delivery is smooth and linear to the point where it feels more like a normally-aspirated 2-litre than a turbocharged 1.8. It won't scare any drivers.

The fact it comes initially only as a manual will deter many buyers but the clutch and gearshift arrangement are light and easy to use. Less so the steering which feels too heavy at parking speeds.

MG6 TURBO

Price: est $38,000
Warranty: TBA
Resale: n/a
Service interval: TBA
Safety Equipment: six airbags, ABS, EBD Crash rating: 4 stars
Engine: 118kW/215Nm 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo-petrol
Body: 5-door, 5 seats Dimensions: 4651mm (L); 1829mm (W); 1478mm (H); 2705mm (WB) WEIGHT: 1495kg
Transmission: 5-spd manual; front-wheel drive
Economy: 7.9 l/100km; 184g/km CO2

BREAKOUT

In 2005, MG Rover went into liquidation and was bought by China's oldest carmaker, NAC. NAC soon after merged with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), China's biggest carmaker. MG Rover became one of 10 SAIC-controlled vehicle companies.

To maintain the UK link, many MG Rover parts were engineered in the UK and then made in China. Cars would be assembled in the UK and at SAIC's new Lingang plant near Shanghai. Under the Roewe badge (the Rover name couldn't be used in China), AIC makes three models in China - the 350, 550 and the 750 (the old 75) - while the MG6 is made in both Britain and China.

The MGF roadster is known as the MG TF and is assembled in Britain from parts made in China. SAIC is on record as planning a front-engined rear-drive roadster in the ilk of the MGB.

Pricing Guides

$11,935
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$8,250
Highest Price
$15,620

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GT Comfort 1.8L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $10,230 – 13,970 2013 MG MG6 2013 GT Comfort Pricing and Specs
GT Luxury 1.8L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $11,660 – 15,620 2013 MG MG6 2013 GT Luxury Pricing and Specs
GT Standard 1.8L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $8,250 – 11,550 2013 MG MG6 2013 GT Standard Pricing and Specs
Magnette Comfort 1.8L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $10,230 – 13,970 2013 MG MG6 2013 Magnette Comfort Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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