2013 MG 6 diesel review

* New diesel engine and six-speed gearbox * Mild improvements to cabin * On sale in Jan; priced from 16,995...

2013 MG 6 diesel review

The MG 6 has been on sale since 2010, and still sits near the top of the class for driving dynamics and space. However, it's always badly let down by its thirsty petrol engine.

That's where this new diesel version come in. The engine is the first to be developed by MG under its new owner Chinese giant SAIC and has been designed and engineered in the UK.

Like the petrol version of the MG 6, the diesel will be built at MGs Longbridge factory, although the kit of parts used for that process will be shipped in from China.

Whats the 2013 MG 6 DTi-Tech diesel like to drive?
The new 148bhp 1.9-litre diesel engine is a major step forward for the MG 6. There's plenty of torque (258lb ft) from around 1200rpm, so you can maintain swift progress without pushing the revs beyond 2500rpm. The new six-speed gearbox helps with this, because it has a precise shift action.

MG 6 is surprisingly agile for a car of its size

Push the diesel motor harder and you wont be under any illusions about which nozzle you have to choose at the filling station, because theres a loud rasp as the revs rise towards 3000rpm.

However, on the motorway the MG 6 diesel is a reasonably refined companion; at 70mph the engine spins away at just 1900rpm. In fact, youre more likely to be bothered by the wind noise from around the door mirrors and the door-pillar.

The petrol MG 6 is surprisingly agile for such a big car, and the new diesel is, too. Body control and grip are both impressive, so you can chuck the car into corners with complete confidence.

The steering is an electro-hydraulic set-up rather than the purely electric systems that you find in most modern cars and that means you get a pleasing amount of feel. It's also generally accurate and direct, despite a little bit of play around the straight-ahead.

Diesel engine noise is noticeable but not intrusive

The steering is supposed to be lighter at low speeds to assist with parking manoeuvres, but we still think it's a shade too heavy.

The diesels suspension has been modified to cope with the car's extra weight (its around 100kg heavier than the petrol.) The resulting ride quality is undeniably firm, but (just) compliant enough to take the sting out of most bumps and potholes.

Whats the 2013 MG 6 DTi-Tech diesel like inside?
The MG 6 remains a big car by the standards of the class, offering space and load capacity more in tune with the likes of a Ford Mondeo and than a Focus. You wont have any problems fitting two fully grown adults in the back, while the boot is large and well shaped even though the rear seats dont fold down completely flat.

Cabin ambience remains a weak point. The indicator stalks have a more solid feel than they did on early MG 6s, and there's a new leather steering wheel. However, the overall impression is still a bit low-rent.

That has a lot to do with the choice of materials in particular the gloss black finish on switches that looks like its been stuck on and also the awkward handbrake lever.

On the plus side, there's a generous amount of standard equipment, with even entry-level models getting air-conditioning, 17-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo, four electric windows and a USB socket.
SE trim adds satellite-navigation, reversing sensors and cruise control, while range-topping TSE versions bring leather upholstery, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, front parking sensors, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Should I buy one?
The MG 6 diesel is easily the most credible offering from the reborn British brand. Its engine is strong and fairly refined, while its chassis remains one of the most capable and entertaining in the class. The diesel should follow the petrol by being relatively cheap to insure, too.

Sadly, the new engine isnt particularly efficient by modern standards. CO2 emissions of 139g/km will put off a lot of company car drivers, while official average fuel economy of 53.8mpg is also disappointing when you consider that rivals such as the Seat Toledo and Skoda Rapid are claimed to top 70mpg.

Still, as a leftfield proposition with a generous amount of space and standard equipment, the new MG 6 diesel does enough to merit consideration.