Sneaky sneaky, this new MG…
Reborn British marque MG has been very careful in its Australian strategy, after a botched attempt to breach our market in 2013 damaged the brand’s image somewhat. However, the Chinese-backed firm made a return last year, claiming bold sales targets and a strong vision of its future Down Under. In a previous report, MG Motor said it was targeting sales of around 20,000 units annually by 2025, which would give it 3% overall marketshare. A bold target from what’s largely considered to be a bit of an upstart.
At the time, MG Motor was confident that its sales targets would be achieved with a lot of help from its SUV range, starting with the GS. And for a model that has essentially has the hopes of the brand riding on it, we could barely believe it when we discovered that the brand’s GS had made a local introduction without as much as a press release. The GS has been on sale since December, making very little noise for itself.
This discovery was made after the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) today awarded the car a 4-star safety rating, a rating that applies to the two trim levels available for this compact SUV. Prices start at $25,990 for the entry-level Core model, with the higher Soul grade available at $27,990. Although these prices exclude relevant on-the-road costs, it’s likely that MG will offer it with more competitive drive-away prices soon, as has with its other cars in the past.
Motivation for the compact SUV comes from a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-pot petrol, mated to a seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission. Both the engine and the transmission were developed with GM, and they endow the GS with 119kW of power and 250Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is claimed to be just 7.4l/100km on regular unleaded. The car sits on MacPherson struts up front, while the rear enjoys a multi-link arrangement.
At 4500mm long, 1855mm wide, and 1699mm tall, the GS claims boot space at 483-litres, which expands to 1336-litres with the rear seats folded flat. Wheelbase is at 2650mm. Standard kit includes niceties like 17-inch wheels, climate control, rear air-conditioning vents, USB & Bluetooth connectivity, a six-speaker audio system, a colour display (no mention of touchscreen or size), ‘sports seats’ for the front, cruise control, and a leather steering wheel.
There are also things like automatic headlights (with LED daytime running lights), LED taillights, rear fog-lights, space-saver spare wheel, roof rails, remote central locking, powered & heated exterior mirrors, and an electronic parking brake. Safety features are generous too, with ventilated disk brakes all round, six airbags, a rear-view camera, reversing sensors, hill-hold assistance, electronic brake assist, and electronic stability control.
The Soul model takes the Core’s features, and adds on 18-inch wheels, GPS satellite navigation, power-adjustable front seats, front fog lights, and leatherette trim for the front seats, and squeezes a colour multifunction display in the instrument cluster. The lack of active safety features (like autonomous emergency braking) is likely why the new MG only managed a four-star ANCAP rating, but the crash-safety body said that it is “working with MG” to get spec upgrades, liaising with MG’s offices in China.
James Goodwin, CEO of ANCAP, said that while the “GS is a good car structurally, offering sound levels of occupant protection,” he noted that “its safety specification is lacking.” Like its brethren (the MG6 and MG3), the GS gets a six-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, replete with roadside assistance. Although it is already on sale, MG has not yet released details of the SUV on its website.