By Patrick James on 2019-03-10 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
MG GS Exclusive DCT
IN a market still suffering from uncertainy about Brexit and concerns over diesel, MG is celebrating is best year ever since returning to the UK market under Chinese ownership and is the fastest-growing manufacturer in the UK.
It has appointed 18 new dealers and more than doubled the previous year's volume, admittedly not from a huge base.
But totalannual sales of 9,049 registrations, an increase of 104 per cent versus 2017 is no mean achievement and could not be achieved without offering a decent product.
Leading the charge with sales is the5,300 ZS compact, whicle the larger GS SUV sold 1,000.
Designed and finally assembled at Longbridge, the firm says the GS is an SUV that offers plenty of practicality and equipment at a low price. Which it does.
Even entry-level models, which kick in at £14,995, get electric windows, air-conditioning, automatic headlights and cruise control. You get a lot for the money and it looks pretty good as well.
This model with automatic gearbox is a shade under £21,000, but the level of standard equipment puts most rivals in the shade with leather finish to the multi-function steering wheel, touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav, DAB radio/CD/aux and phone connectivity, heated door mirrors parking camera with radar and auto air con. And more.
It does spark curiosity, carrying the iconic MG octagon badge to front and rear and stands comparison stylewise with most competitors.
It is also good to drive, has sharp handling and manages half decent economy from the single 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine available. This model was mated to an automatic twin clutch gearbox.
It is pretty ecnomical though for such a big car with a claimed 46.3, which wasn't that far off the mark in the real world, while it is nippy enough, hitting 60mph in under 10 seconds.
Inside there is little sign of soft touch finish, with mainly solid plastic finish around most of the cabin. It offers comfortable electrically operated leather seats giving the driver a commanding view of the road. They are fully adjustable and the whole cabin has a light and airy feel, despite the black plastic finish.
It can comfortably accommodate a family of five. A boot capacity of 483 litres makes it one of the largest in its class, and when the seats are folded completely flat, it can accommodate an impressive 1,336 litres. Plenty of space for prams, luggage and outdoor leisure equipment.
There are also numerous interior compartments making storage of drink bottles and baby wipes easy.
The control layout is simple and functional with clear, legible dials, sturdy feeling switchgear and the touch screend.
It is quiet and refined on the motorway or around town, with little evidence of wind noise, but I'm still not a fan of the jerky gear change and the six-speed manual would be a preferred option for me.
Handling is decent for such a car, with firm suspension which gives decent grip on corners, still providing a comfortable ride.
MG GS Exclusive DCT
Mechanical: 164bhp 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 46.3
Insurance Group: 16
C02 emissions: 141g/km
Bik rating: 29%
Warranty: 5yrs/80,000 miles
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