New diesel power adds MG6 appeal

MG6 hatchback and Magnette saloon are now available with turbo diesel power.

MG6 hatchback and Magnette saloon are now available with turbo diesel power. - Credit: MG

Turbo diesel power makes the MG6 a more sensible option, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

In the heyday of the great british sports car that is MG the prospect it would be powered by a diesel was unthinkable.

But times change and when the octagonal MG badge was once again being sported on a new car a couple of years ago, albeit one built in China and assembled at Longbridge, the reality of a family car powered only by a turbo petrol engine was not the most sensible decision.

The MG6's 160PS 1.8-litre turbo petrol may have made sense in China but not here and it certainly did not help MG's renaissance in the UK, despite success on the race track in the British Touring Car Championship raising its profile.

We knew a diesel would follow but did not expect it to take so long but, now that it has finally arrived, it has made the GT hatchback and Magnette saloon much more attractive propositions.

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The 1.9-litre turbo diesel delivers a useful 150 horses and decent performance. There's very strong low-down flexibility and mid-range punch although it runs out of steam when revved harder, so it is not surprising MG is highlighting its towing capabilities, and lags behind the competition on economy, emissions and refinement.

When cold and under hard acceleration you know this is a diesel although it quietens when cruising while everyday driving returned 45mpg overall with a best of 60mpg on a gentle cruise aided by the long-legged sixth gear which sees the engine pulling 1,750rpm at an indicated 70mph.

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The MG6 drives nicely with a flat, stable stance through corners and good grip, although the steering is light at speed, and generally rides comfortably but there is tyre noise on rough surfaces.

There's enough room to seat six-foot passengers front and back but headroom is the limitingfactor in the rear of the hatchback for tall people. The 498-litre hatchback boot will take a good load of luggage but has a high load lip. Rear seat backs split 60/40 and fold down but need weight on them to go totally flat.

The dashboard works well but feels dated and some of the switchgear and plastic trim has a budget feel but it's well put together. The driving position has good adjustment but the clutch pedal is too close the left foot rest if you have big feet and chunky rear pillars limit rear visibility. Seats could also do with more under-thigh support, especially in the back.

Entry S model gets six airbags, stability control, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, four electric windows and radio/CD with jackpoint and USB port so, with used prices not as strong as rivals, this makes most financial sense. SE adds satellite-navigation, cruise control, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors and TSE leather seats, dual-zone climate control and reversing camera.

Even with diesel power the MG6 is never going to be a big seller but it is now a more sensible choice and, for some people, the MG badge still has some kudos as the last link to Britain's sports car heritage.

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