What is it?
The first all-new MG in 16 years and the first to be wholly developed under the firm's new Chinese parents Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). Its position places it against established mainstream players like Ford's Focus and the VW Golf, but MG hopes to win customers over with its high standard specification and driver appeal.
Is it any good?
Certainly the specification list reads extensively, with even the entry-level S version gaining climate control, alloy wheels, hill hold control, a tyre pressure monitoring system and a USB/aux-in equipped stereo. The top level TSE model comes fully loaded, with satnav, leather and a reversing camera as standard. It looks good too and it's more spacious inside than the majority of its rivals.
However, that interior betrays the MG 6's Chinese origins. While the dash top is nicely finished, the plastics lower down the fascia feel hard and scratchy, and the switches lack the precision feel of the MG's rivals. It's neat enough to look at, but tactility is lagging behind even budget-orientated Korean rivals.
All MG 6s will initially be powered by a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 158bhp. The figures suggest a 0-62mph of 8.4 seconds, but on the barely run-in example tested it needed working hard to get near that. The engine is flexible enough though, and should feel quicker in time. It's mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which shifts decently enough, but it does feel like it could use another ratio to better compete with its rivals.
It's the chassis that really shines though. The MG 6 is enjoyable behind the wheel, delivering tidy handling combined with a decent ride. The steering might be weighty at low speeds, but it's got more feel at its rim than just about anything in the class. Combine that with high grip levels and that supple ride and it's clear that MG's engineers have managed to endow the new car with some of the firm's sporting DNA.
Should I call the bank manager?
Prices start at £15,495 for the MG 6 S, rising to £18,995 for the TSE model. Like-for-like the MG is better equipped than most of its rivals and offers more space than most, too. Low insurance ratings are attractive to the private buyers MG is aiming the 6 at, but the relatively high 35.6mpg combined fuel economy figure means you'll be filling it up regularly - a diesel version isn't due for at least another 12 months.
Ignore the glaring dashboard and hard plastics and there's an enjoyable, capable car in the MG 6. It won't appeal to everyone, but a combination of neat styling, enjoyable dynamics and generous space and equipment make it a credible alternative for people wanting something other than the mainstream options.