A diesel engine designed and developed in Britain will soon be helping revitalised MG make its mark in the fleet car sector.
Built by SAIC, the Chinese owner of MG Motor UK, it will be available in spring in hatchback and saloon models aimed at offering strong performance and aggressive pricing in one of the most competitive areas of the market.
“Our philosophy is that customers will get what they see – all our models will offer strong, straightforward and honest value for money and we’ve designed them to be hard to beat,” said business sales manager Richard Bourton.
The MG6 had a slow start when it was introduced in petrol form last year, but is more appealing business transport with diesel power. The packaging is at its best in the fleet-specific SE trim, which is well equipped with air conditioning, power windows, emergency brake assist, hill hold, satellite navigation, cruise control, a rear parking aid and a multi-function steering wheel all included as standard.
Underlining the offer is a lusty 1.9-litre unit fitted with stop-start and a smart-charging system that helps deliver more than 53mpg on the combined cycle.
Current tailpipe CO2 emissions are 139g/km, but executives at the Chinese firm’s Midlands offshoot expect another version of the engine to be delivering a five to 10-point reduction in emissions by 2014.
In the meantime, Bourton hopes business users will account for 80% of registrations of the first new MG in 16 years. That equates to 1,200 next year.
The manufacturer is aiming to tempt customers into the SE with a monthly contract hire rate of £250 over three years.
Despite being smaller overall than the Vauxhall Insignia, the car has a bigger interior with best-in-class shoulder, hip and legroom thanks to a compact multi-link rear suspension system.
Luggage capacity is also generous, extending from 498 litres to 1,379 litres with the rear seats folded.
Finish and fit are good, but the dashboard panel has a drab appearance and detailing fails to match the general standard set by C and D-sector rivals.
But progressively-variable power steering, a push-to-go start system and tyre pressure monitoring are all included as standard on a family model that is sufficiently spacious to provide comfortable travel for five adults.
With plenty of torque available from little more than idling speed, the car responds well in enthusiastic driving and cruises casually in a high sixth ratio.
Springing modified to cope with 68kgs more engine weight gives confident handling and kept our test car planted firmly on the road at all speeds during appalling weather conditions.