First impressions were the car is much more attractive in the flesh than photos indicate, although in black I thought it looked slab sided but other colours accentuated the shape. It is a step up from the MG6 Mk1 I have with regard external trim. Paint work and panel fit is as good as anything else I am aware of, the paint especially with no indication of the Orange Peel effect you see in many much more expensive cars.
Interior is also better than the pictures I have seen, the dash does not look like a massive cluster of disorganised buttons that I first thought, I really like it. Plastics are easilly comparable to anything else in this price bracket and better than the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Santa Fe that I was able to directly compare against on the day. Seats look great and at 6 ft tall I had no problems finding a comfortable driving position although the cubby between the seats hindered my comfort when changing gear with the seat in its lowest position.
On the road the engine is a peach, felt really quick although this may be because it has a more defined power band than the MG6 TCi Tech. Pleasently quite at normal speeds with a hint of harshness in the power train at high revs but nothing I wouldn't be happy to live with. I covered just short of 20 miles and felt perfectly at home by the end of the test drive, although it does reward good driving practice like rev matching during gear shifts. It is quite easy to end up with the revs rising on an up change if you are sloppy with your shifting technique.
Now if MG were to ever make a SUV this is it, the handling defies it size and height. I took it on roads I use on a daily basis and attacked a good few roundabouts I know well and despite the roads being damp the grip was impressive. Not quite MG6 but I was impressed. I found the ride perfectly acceptable even aiming for broken sections of road, but as a MGTF owner, former ZT owner and now MG6 owner I guess I am more acclimatised to a harsher ride than most. Plus my test car had 17" wheels which would have helped.
I arrived back at the showroom with a grin on my face and planning how to justify one of these in my life, I test drove the mid spec as that is the car I would like. I was offered test drives in the top spec & top spec auto but declined as I have no desire for a leather interior.
I will start looking into getting an LPG conversion for one (it has a massive spare wheel well so can hold a big tank
). If I can make the sums stack up,, who knows I may be in one next year, although I have to say I like that Thailand facelift that has popped up on the net and would be keen to know if that is coming to the UK before I make a purchase.
All in a great car but I do think a discount will be needed on the price as sadly I don't expect it to hold it's money. I would like to be in the mid spec for under £14k, but I am happy to buy a pre-reg or low mileage demonstrator to get to that price but not one in Black!