Fleet News

MG ZT-T 160+ 1.8T

Review

WITH a commitment to increase fleet sales in 'profitable' areas, MG Rover has stepped up its efforts to become more appealing to company car drivers with limited resources.

A key driver in this strategy is its recently turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine, offering combined fuel consumption of 34.9 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 194g/km. Quite acceptable for a petrol upper- medium car offering 158bhp.

We are sampling this engine for three months in an eye-catching MG ZT-T. It would be eye-catching even without the optional multi-spoke alloy wheels and MG styling enhancements which transform this Dr Jekyll of a Rover 75 Tourer into the Mr Hyde MG ZT-T, simply because of its Typhoon Chromactive paint.

The paint is a £2,100 option under the Monogram scheme, and has been chosen with black leather/blue Alcantara seats.

The paint is metallic blue but reflects green and purple depending on the light. Without this and the £5,000 worth of other options fitted to our test car, it would retail for £20,545 and compared to an equivalent V6 model would make a huge difference to a driver's benefit-in-kind tax bill - a 22% banding opposed to 29%.

Our first experience of this engine was in a Rover 75 last year, driven by my colleague Steve Moody, who spotted a jerkiness to the drivetrain when the engine was off boost.

We can only assume it was a problem peculiar to that car as our long termer has been well behaved in this respect.

When the new range of MGs was launched they all came with sports suspension, but last autumn the suspension was downrated, with the sports settings restricted to the options list. It means the standard MG suspension (still stiffer than the Rover settings) seems to be a better compromise.

The only problem we discovered a week or so after the car arrived at Fleet Towers was the airbag warning light illuminated.

A call to Marshall MG Rover in Peterborough, has resulted in a nine-day delay before they can even look at the car. It might well turn out to be a minor fault, but how many company health and safety policies would allow their drivers to use a car for nine days without airbags?

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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