Category Archives: Buyer’s Guide

Buyer’s Guide – MG GS

By Barry.

This is a buyer’s guide for the MG GS 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 MG GS, something you can print off and take with you to a viewing.

What is it?

This is MG’s first entry into the incredibly popular SUV market. It’s going up against some big names and brands in the market such as the Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Ford and Renault.

Sadly, it didn’t get off to a great start due to a terribly lack-lustre and confusing TV ad campaign. Matthew Cheyne made various claims of sales numbers and despite these being small the sales targets have been missed so it appears the market isn’t flocking towards MG’s latest offering.

Which models are available?

The MG GS is available in 3 trim levels; the Explore, the Excite and the Exclusive.

MG GS Excite

All models come with the expected standard features, such as electric windows, power-steering, adjustable steering column etc, the Explore comes with Cruise control, automatic headlamps, air-con and an intelligent stop-start engine.

The Excite comes with the features of the Explore, plus a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and rear parking sensors. Finally, the

Mg GS Explore

Exclusive offers you 18” alloy wheels and the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. Leather interiors are available on the Excite and Exclusive models

Mg GS Exclusive

According to MG “All of this will put you on the edge of your seat with excitement”. Unfortunately for MG so will some other elements of the GS, for example, the colour choice and options have for some customers been inconsistent with what was ordered and what has arrived off the boat from China.

While we’re on that, the GS is not built or finished in Longbridge so don’t be fooled by any salesman talk of “Buying British”. A Qashqai would be the one to go for, if that’s your main reason for choosing.

What should I look for if I’m buying a used one?

There are a number of things to watch out for when buying a new or used MG GS. And it’s with Buying new I’m going to start.

The Sales Centre: This is MG’s flagship sales outlet. However, be warned, some customers have had a very poor sales experience and customer service experience from the Sales Centre and its staff. There are reports across owner’s forums and Facebook help pages of buyers having their credit details shared in public, having wrong orders placed, being shouted at by sales people, receiving aggressive text messages from MG staff’s personal phones and finally receiving abusive call-backs when they have the audacity to complain about all of the above. Certainly not all of the Sales Centre staff are like that, there are great people in there. If you choose to buy there try and deal with ‘Dave’ who is a long time MG enthusiast. His heart is in the right place even if those around him seem to be just there for the cheque.

Rear Boot lock: Some customers are beginning to complain that the boot door has a tendency to unlock and open itself. Edge of the seat stuff when it happens at 70mph on the M40. Make sure all doors and locks are opening and closing correctly.

 

Headlamps: Owners are reporting that headlights are beginning to fog up and hold moisture. Some dealerships are quick to replace these under warranty as is standard practice for most brands. However, the official response from MG is that they have not been sealed and that this is perfectly normal and in fact a safety feature. It’s a worrying response and indication of potential cost cutting and poor assembly in China and in this writer’s opinion, not something which should be going wrong with a modern and well assembled car.

Gearbox: There are multiple reports of the GS giving serious gearbox trouble already even on newly delivered cars. Everything from sticking in gear, not engaging in any gear and being slow to respond to driver inputs. MG claimed a simple software update was needed and proceeded to update the software on affected cars. This lead to the cars becoming “locked down” and non-responsive to any further dealership attempts at rectification. Some owner’s cars have been left off the road for a number of weeks with no solution forthcoming. Be warned, if the gearbox isn’t working correctly run away.

Values: MG refused to discount the GS when launched. But due to very poor sales, currently matching those of the disastrous MG6, that strategy quickly changed. Be warned, residuals aren’t looking promising.

 

Diesel: There is none, don’t waste your time looking for one despite the fact almost all other manufacturers offer one in this segment due to strong customer demand.

 

 

MG GS

Stop/Start: This is creating many running issues for owners. Owners report that the car cuts out when still in motion, is slow to respond and some have stated that it is downright dangerous. However owners do report that when it’s switched off the car is no longer dangerous to operate. This seems to be a big issue with cars fitted with an auto gearbox.

Safety: The GS has not been crash tested however it performed well in the significantly easier Chinese NCAP tests. As MG are not importing the GS above 1000 units per year into Europe the GS does not have to undergo strict testing. But why would they not want to anyway, unless they were afraid of the out-come?

Multi-function Screen: MG owners are reporting that the MFS does not turn itself on and sometimes shuts down during use. This is resulting in cars being returned to dealers. Make sure it is operating correctly. This is a worrying sign of future reliability of the electrical equipment. A quick fix for owners is to hold down the on/off switch for 10 seconds however this isn’t seen as a permanent fix.

Over rev on manual cars: Owners are reporting an annoying over rev on manual cars. This is resulting in cars being returned to dealerships. Currently a software update is being performed but this is not a guaranteed fix.

Boot release fob: Owners have reported that the tailgate release fob is not consistently working to open the boot door. Check it is working properly.

Overall:

It’s shaping up to be the second best offering from MG. I still think the MG3 is the best all-rounder from them. The unresolved gearbox issues and poor service from MG really are major drawbacks. Customers are already ignoring all the other better offerings in the market to go with the MG GS.

The GS has already been face-lifted in China but MG are for the foreseeable future only offering the old model for the UK market. Customers don’t need worries about the company and who they are dealing with to be turning them off as well as offering an already dated model. Add to that it’s got the least British content of any MG so far, now that MG has made all its production staff in Longbridge redundant the future of the company here is now in doubt.

The verdict has to be one of AVOID. Genuinely Impossible to TENNIS.

Buyer’s Guide – MG 3

By Barry

This is a buyer’s guide for the MG3 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 MG3, something you can print off ad take with you to a viewing.

What is it?

The MG3 is a 5 door supermini from MG. It focuses on being good value and is marketed as having a sporty driving experience. It is currently available with one engine and gearbox combination, a 1.5 VTi-Tech 4 cylinder petrol engine generating 105bhp. This is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. There is no automatic gearbox currently offered in the UK. A small capacity turbo model is rumoured in the near future as the current engine required more than a remapping of the current engine to make it Euro 6 compatible. As of January 2017 sales seem to be dropping as it becomes comprehensively outclassed. In better news it’s selling well in Thailand.

Which model?

There are four models in the MG3 range, all are available with accessorise options.

MG3 3Time

The entry model MG3 3TIMEcosts £8399 and features a CD player with MP3 compatibility and Aux-in facility. It is also supplied with some very questionable plastic wheel trims.

MG3 3Form

 

The mid-range MG3 3FORM which is available from £9299. In addition to the standard specification it comes with air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth and audio streaming, leather MG-design steering wheel with red stitching and steering wheel audio controls.

MG3 3Form Sport

The MG3 3FORM SPORT includes all the features of the mid-range 3FORM with the sports body styling pack and 16-inch Carousel alloy wheels at £9549.

 

 

MG 3 3Style

The final specification grade available is the range-topping MG3 3STYLE which is offered with 16-inch Diamond alloy wheel and a sports body styling pack that includes the rear boot spoiler and side sill extensions. Standard features include cruise control, automatic lights and windscreen wipers and reverse parking sensors, all for only £9999.

What should I look out for?

In general the MG3 is well built but it does come with some niggling faults. The following is a list of things buyers should watch out for and check.

Front LED ‘Hockey-stick’ lights: These can fail without warning. Usually one rather than both fail on new models. It doesn’t appear to affect all cars but it is worth checking that they have been replaced under warranty. Make sure there isn’t a colour difference between the two lights. They should be replaced in pairs to avoid this.

Clutch: Due to the failure of a small rubber seal near the bulkhead the clutch can appear to fail. Symptoms generally involve the clutch pedal going to the floor however it can be intermittent. This is easily rectified by dealers however not all appear to be aware of the fault which makes it difficult to identify the cause.

Sub frames: These have been known to be misaligned on new cars. This causes excessive tyre wear. It has also been known to cause a knocking noise in the front which can be hard to trace.

Brakes: Front brake pads can wear quickly due to poor quality pads being used. Discs appear to wear well. The rear brakes can suffer from a slight unbalance in braking due to iffy quality of the brake shoe linings, leading to rapid wear in the rear shoes on one side. A number of owners have reported that their cars have been in for wheel cylinder replacement due to seal failure. Check for leaks around the rear drums.

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.

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. Again these seem to be rare but be aware they do happen.

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.

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 stop the car from functioning it has proved a great annoyance to owners and a head scratching issue to resolve for dealers. It has also been known to affect the fuel gauge leading it to give a false fuel level reading.

Over-Rev between 1st and 2nd gear: Some cars are known to suffer an over-rev between 1st and 2nd gear. This affects earlier cars and appears to have been cured on later cars. There are no ill effects from this other than it can cause annoyance to some owners. The fix for this being employed by owners is to stick a pound coin to the back of the clutch pedal (seriously this isn’t a joke). It cures the over-rev with no other issues.

British or Chinese built? There is a healthy debate whether the cars are British or Chinese built. While most of the assembly of cars takes place in China they are mostly finished in the old Longbridge factory however some MG3’s have been imported fully complete from China. This has been blamed on the fact the Longbridge plant cannot keep up with demand. Chinese built cars can be identified via the 11 digit VIN which will read “SDPZ1CBDADSxxxxxx” while Longbridge cars completed from CKD kits will read “SDPZ1CBDADDxxxxxx”.

Engine Issues: Reports are beginning to emerge from multiple owners of cam chain failure. Chains are slipping a cog and this leads to poor running and starting and will ultimately lead to engine failure. MG are slow to honour warranty repairs however this appears to be a localised dealership issue being caused by MG being slow to pay out on warranty claims. Always check the car starts easily and runs smoothly.

Overall:

Most owners appear to have positive experiences of the MG3 despite niggling faults. They report fuel efficiency of between 36-40mpg in general depending on usage conditions. Owners praise the nimble handling offered by the MG3, the low list price, high specification and graphics packs. 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.

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.

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.