Buyer’s Guide – MG 6

By Barry

This is a buyer’s guide for the MG6 model. It is not a review or complete list of faults but is intended to be a general guide of what to look out for on a used MG6, something you can print off and take with you to a viewing.

An MG6? What is it?

Well it’s rarer on British roads than a Ferrari, or so some people who haven’t bought one on various owner’s forums will tell you. Anyway, the MG6 is the first offering from the MG brand under the ownership of SAIC. It was initially available as a 5 door hatchback or a 4 door saloon known as the Magnette. It focuses on being good value and is marketed as having a sporty driving experience. Despite marketing material showing the hatchback as having a sunroof no such option was offered in Britain so don’t get your hopes up. At launch, it was available with one engine and gearbox combination, a 1.8 Turbo TCi-Tech 4 cylinder petrol engine generating 160bhp. The petrol engine and saloon variant were dropped from the range when the MG6 was facelifted in early 2015. MG sought to focus sales on the diesel variant was this was seen as the biggest potential seller according to MG, despite it never having outsold the petrol variant. The petrol engine was mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox while the 1.9L Turbo diesel was offered with a 6-speed gearbox. There was no automatic gearbox offered in the UK on any variant of the MG6. Non-compliance with Euro 6 emissions regulations finished new MG6 sales off from September 2016. It wasn’t missed by the market as sales have completely dried up meaning there were many zero mileage pre-reg models dumped on the market at the end further lowering used values.

Which model?

Three trim levels of the 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol MG6 were available from launch, S, SE and TSE with prices ranging from £15,495 to £18,995. TSE was the highest trim level available at launch and included leather interior and sat nav as standard.

MG 6 BTCC Edition

There was also a BTCC Edition which came with a higher level of specification in order to celebrate MG’s return to motorsport. MG tried one final time with a special edition in the form of the slow selling MG90 edition in order to celebrate 90 years of MG. This was offered in conjunction with a car giveaway however due to lacklustre sales the competition was cancelled when people began to ask when the draw was being held. Despite MG claiming to have sold all 90 cars they cancelled the competition due to lack of sales. Yes, we’re as confused as you are.
The MG6 received new trim levels when facelifted in early 2015. These new trim levels were S, TS and TL (a possible homage to the old Renault trim levels). TL was the range topping trim level and cames with a very high level of specification. The facelift range however was limited to the diesel engine only which benefited from improved efficiency levels. It also came with daylight running lights, new smaller alloys, poor colour choice and new bumpers. There was an improvement in interior trim quality and a substantial weight reduction. One announce for car buyers however with the facelift has been the removal of the rear wiper, small standard alloys and limited colour range.

What should I look out for?

The MG6 is the first offering from SAIC using the MG branding. As a first car developed mainly by SAIC it’s not a bad effort however the quality of the cars so far appears to be either hit or miss and certainly not improving with age. Some owners report no issues, some report niggling faults while others report multiple serious faults. The following is a list of things buyers should watch out for and check as these have been highlighted across owner’s forums. Some are very minor niggles, some only occur very rarely while others are reported regularly. It should be remembered that all cars from all manufacturers have faults; this list merely relates to the MG6 and is intended as a buyer’s aid.
Gearbox: It is not unknown for the gearbox in an MG6 to fail. This can happen at any mileage but it is generally preceded by a notchy change into gears, whining and popping out of gear. The finger of blame has been pointed in many directions however an improper filling of the gearbox oil during production is often blamed. While other owners have highlighted the quality of the box and the stresses it is under as major issues. Some owners have reported multiple gearbox failures. These have been replaced under warranty, up to 3 times in some cars. Other owners have reported no issues with the gearbox.
Early MG6s came with a poorly designed gear knob which owners claim makes the gearbox notchy to use. Later cars came with a better design and quality knob which generally cured the gearshift however not always. It’s worth ensuring you have the better design fitted in your car.

Clutch: Some owners have reported issues with the clutch failing on relatively new cars. Other owners have had no issue. The quality of the clutch plate and dual mass flywheel has been blamed by owners. Check for a recent clutch replacement in any prospective purchase and ensure there is no slipping on a test drive.

Coolant: Some owners have claimed that their cars have been supplied with incorrectly filled coolant leading to low coolant warnings. Other however have experienced issues with the coolant level warning sensor. These have been replaced under warranty by MG. Always check the coolant level on any prospective purchase.

Door seals: These can leak and allow water in. They are replaced under warranty but the fix does not always work. Check for evidence of leaks. Seals have also been known to fail on the boot so ensure that there are no leaks into the tyre well.

Rear parking sensors: The sensors on the rear bumper are poorly weather sealed. This can leak to them staying on or not working at all in wet conditions. So far these have been fixed under warranty or by owners sealing them better. Either way, make sure they work.

Stereo: Some owners have reported issues with the radio, from not picking up reception, not turning off and not picking up Bluetooth devices. These faults are more common than in the MG3.

Interior: There are a number of reports of ill-fitting trim on new cars however most dealers rectify this once it’s brought to their attention. As a general rule, the later the build date of the car the better the interior quality. It improved a lot over time.

Leather Seats: The leather seats have been praised for their comfort however some owners have reported issues with the quality of the leather used. This has included cracking/splitting of the leather, premature wear and stitching coming apart. Other owners have had no issue with the leather used. Some have also highlighted that the leather used is also of a poor quality. As usual check before you buy and ensure they are in good condition.

Key Fob: Ensure the key is in good condition and functioning properly. Owners have reported that keys are flimsy and break easily.

Warning lights: There are reports of cars showing erroneous warning lights including the engine warning light. Some require a dealer visit to reset them while others disappear themselves. While this doesn’t normally stop the car from functioning it has proved a great annoyance to owners and a head scratching issue to resolve for dealers. It has led to some owners being stranded also when cars refused to start.

Stop/Start: Owners of diesel cars have encountered issues from the stop/start system. Cars can refuse to start after shutting down. Other owners have blamed it for making the diesel cars easier to stall. It has left owners stranded.

Parts supply: Owners on many owner’s forums and Facebook support groups have reported issues with parts supply. This mainly seems to affect body panels, lights and gearboxes. Prospective owners should be aware that the diesel engine has been built and sold in limited numbers. This could lead to parts issues in the future. It’s generally accepted that the petrol model is a better bet for future parts supply.

Residuals: The MG6 does not hold its value well from new however this is excellent news for used car buyers. Dealers are willing to offer good deals on pre-reg models and used examples. Bargains can be had on used models direct from owners also. A 64 plate MG6 are trading in auctions for sub £2000 with low mileage so values are still falling but are soon to bottom out. Bargain hunters will soon be chasing these cars down.


Rental Cars:
MG sold a batch of 500 cars to Avis, many of these remained unsold when they were returned to MG and 18 months sitting unsold they were sold to Enterprise Rent a Car. Owners should be aware that these cars will have had a very hard life after a double stint on the rental market.

Private Hire cars: MG sold a large amount of cars into the private hire sector. Reports suggest these fared poorly with reliability and poor parts supply when they did fail keeping the cars off the road for far too long. Many firms are now selling these cars on having had enough. Make sure you don’t buy one.

Recalls: MG recalled MG6s for an electrical issue. Ensure this recall work has been done as previous to this a small number of MG6s suffered unexplained fires. Since the recall these fires have not happened however MG denies a link between the two.

Brakes: Front brake pads can wear quickly due to poor quality pads being used. Discs appear to wear well. Excessive front brake pad wear appears to have affected earlier cars, since the issue was highlight MG are sourcing their pads locally from ATB.

Door leaks:
Multiple reports of the inner plastic door seals behind the door cards not being affixed properly causing leaks into the cabin.

Light lenses:
Multiple reports emerging of plastic light covers beginning to crack, leak and discolour with age due to cheap plastics being used during manufacture. There are instances of MG covering this under warranty.

MG6 Facelift Model Only: If the door card is removed customers are reporting that plastic fixings must be broken to do this. These are not being replaced by MG. When reinstalled they have a tendency to rattle and squeak. This issue does not affect the pre-facelift model.

Overall:

Some owners have had very positive experiences of the MG6 however many others have experienced issues, some more than others. They report fuel efficiency of between 35-39mpg in general depending on usage conditions for petrol models and 50-55pg for diesel models. Owners praise the good handling offered by the MG6, good interior space, high specification and value for money.However owners bemoan the amount of niggling faults hit and miss dealerships, poor backup, fuel economy and finally residuals.
It must be noted that the resolution of these niggling issues often depends on the dealership involved. Some are excellent and knowledgeable while others are not as willing to resolve issues in a timely manner. Other owners have reported mixed results from MG in resolving issues when they become larger.
This is simply a guide of all issues I have encountered on owners forums. It is not a complete and comprehensive list of faults. As with all used cars please ensure you run appropriate background checks and ensure all necessary servicing has been carried out.

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