Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Chinese Resurrect Britain; Famous MG Brand Returns after Being Revived by Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Chinese Resurrect Britain; Famous MG Brand Returns after Being Revived by Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill McKinnon

AS WITH many of its British contemporaries, the MG (for Morris Garages) brand, renowned in the mid-20th century for its stylish, sporty roadsters, almost sank without trace when MG Rover went belly-up in 2005.

It was rescued by Chinese buyers and is now part of the largest car manufacturer in the people's republic, the state-owned Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation, or SAIC.

SAIC built 6.5 million vehicles in 2016, so it's probably the biggest car company you've never heard of.

MG Motor, as the brand is now called, is a tiny part of SAIC's portfolio, with only two models to date, the Toyota Yaris-sized MG 3 and Corolla-sized MG 6, and just three dealers in Australia.

The new MG GS compact SUV, launched this week, should significantly lift the brand's profile in this country. Designed and engineered in Britain (in Birmingham), it is built in China.

Drive-away launch pricing kicks off at $22,990 for the Vivid, with 1.5-litre turbo, six-speed manual and front-wheel drive. It gets 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth, reverse parking sensors, automatic headlights and an electric parking brake.

At $25,990, the GS Core adds a seven-speed dual clutch auto, rear camera, hill holder, dual-zone aircon with rear vents, Arkamys audio, leather-wrapped wheel with infotainment controls and a cooled storage box.

The $28,990 Soul gets 18-inch wheels, more supportive front seats, leather upholstery and lumbar adjustment, eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, foglights and auto wipers.

It's then a big jump to the $34,990 GS Essence X, which runs a 2.0-litre turbo, six-speed auto and all-wheel drive. It adds paddle-shifters, auto-levelling headlights, sunroof, hill descent control and extended stability control to include rollover protection.

The sheetmetal is more interesting and attractive than your typical Euro-box SUV.

That trait does not, unfortunately, carry over into the cabin. It's an uninspiring place, with dated, unimaginative design, a wall-to-wall grey palette relieved only by a few swathes of gloss black plastic trim in up-spec models and dull and unresponsive touchscreen infotainment and instrument displays. There's and no voice control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio or driver assist safety tech in any variant.

There's ample space for four, with plenty of driving position adjustability. Front seats are comfortable and supportive and there is reasonable rear legroom, though adults sit slightly knees-up on a low bench.

The 483L of cargo volume is 100L greater than Toyota's C-HR. …

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