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Living, Motors

MG Got Young Again

Oxfordshire's Car Company Celebrates 95 Years

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Kevin Haggarthy
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The MG car company – born and bred in Oxfordshire – is 95 this year. Since its establishment in the mid-1920s, through numerous owners of the brand, the marque has survived. Actually it’s the fastest growing car company in Britain, with year to date sales increasing by 44%. Of course, the brand has dug deep, is relatively small-scale in volume sales, and is a far cry from the classic historic British sports car many older folk have come to know and love. Yet, at 95 it’s kind of got young again.

It’s a shame that when we mere humans hit 95 we can’t turn the clock back to look and feel contemporary, but car companies can. These days, people who buy cars want SUVs and more of us (albeit by persuasion) are buying electric.

MG ZS

MG’s answer to both trends is the MG ZS; an SUV they produce both with and without an engine. Let’s take the engine-powered version first; it comes in three model trims, ‘Explore’, ‘Excite’ and ‘Exclusive’, priced from £12,495, £14,045 and £15,795 respectively and powered by either 1.0 litre auto or a 1.5 litre manual engine. We test drove the manual version and were genuinely impressed by its value. The car doesn’t sell the volumes of its competitors such as the Nissan Juke or Mazda CX-5, but it stands head to head with the likes of Peugeot (2008), Renault (Captur) and SEAT (Arona), offering more in the way of equipment and extras per pound spent. It’s economical and relatively cheap to run, and whilst not a car for the demanding driver (only 106 bhp), is adequately refined and comfortable for family day-to-day use. Neither will you be wanting for anything in the way of equipment; it’s all there; Sat Nav, mobile app-friendly, Bluetooth equipment. Add 448 litres of storage capacity (which MG says is the biggest in this class) and average fuel consumption of 41.5 mpg and there is little reason to complain. Remember we’re talking 12 to 16 grand here… and the reassurance of a seven-year warranty.

MG ZS EV

It could be that MG just might tempt you with the new MG ZS EV. EV of course, denoting ‘Electric Vehicle’. Going all electric is a first for MG. They’re getting in there early with an electric car that is actually affordable, and a clever sales strategy means they are selling at a rate of knots. 1,000 orders in just two weeks of the September 2019 launch can’t be bad. The incentive being price and genuine affordability at £21,495 – yes that’s cheap for an EV, achievable by matching the government’s £3,500 plug in car grant with an equivalent grant of its own. Clever. So clever in fact that they’re doing it again for the next 1,000 takers. Get in quickly.

How far will it go before you have to recharge it? 163 miles. We drove the new EV just for a short while and mostly in traffic, as will most of its owners. It has the inherent advantage of silence along with the same chassis refinement, comfort and comprehensive equipment package of the petrol-engined car. Shoulder, leg and headroom are amongst the best in class, and yes it comes with that seven-year warranty too. Add to that the MG ‘Pilot’ driver assistance package, offering advanced emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane assist, and adaptive cruise control and you’ll have very little actual driving to do.

So with both cars there remains a common formula defining the contemporary MG brand. We would suggest that formula is value, peace of mind and affordability. In commercial terms it certainly seems to be working. MG may be a company celebrating its 95th birthday, but its products are very 2019.

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