The octagonal MG badge may be alien to younger generations, but those who can recall will know that the British brand has had its own fair share of highlights with racing and sporting heritage. Exciting roadsters and iconic sports cars dot the timeline of MG’s existence, and, while the brand is currently owned by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), it’s roots are still firmly placed in the design and engineering center in Birmingham in the United Kingdom. The MG 6 Trophy isn’t meant to thrill or bring back the glory days of the brand, instead opting to introduce local buyers to an affordable yet thoughtfully appointed choice in the compact car segment.
While the first introduction of MG in the Philippines was rather short lived, the brand was reintroduced late last year by The Covenant Car Company Inc. (TCCCI) with a much more attractive lineup of three carefully selected vehicles. So does the MG 6 inject something new into the plateauing compact car segment? Let’s find out.
Let me get this out of the way; the MG 6 trophy looks eerily similar to a certain Japanese car manufacturer. But that’s okay, because the similarities end at the front fascia. The grille tries to set itself apart with a honeycomb effect with 3D trim pieces; it’s classy, and it gets the nod from me. The LED running lights are inspired by the London Eye landmark, and it certainly looks eye catching, especially when the headlights power up, throwing off a crisp, white, LED beam. Neat sequential turn signals don the lower portion of the front bumper, adding a unique lighting signature.
From the side, the 18-inch wheels fill out the wheel wells very well, and it gives it a low slung sedan look. But, what will probably catch your eye is that the MG 6 Trophy lacks a trunk. Instead, the entire rear glass panel lifts to reveal that it is a fastback, narrowly treading the line between hatchback and station wagon. The rear is simple with an elegant chrome trim piece going across the trunk, and a small lip at the top to mimic a spoiler. LED taillights round off the rear, and simple reflectors reside at the edges of the rear bumper. Chrome is used extensively but tastefully at the front and sides of the MG 6, and the (fake) exhausts get a chrome trim piece, as well. Overall, it’s a good looking car, and the fact that it’s a fastback adds some charm to this segment of the vehicle market.
Take a step inside the MG 6 Trophy and you’ll find a mostly red interior with touches of carbon fiber trim. While the color choice may be slightly loud, the overall fit and finish is excellent. Plastics in reach are textured nicely, and the hardest and toughest bits are far enough from your hands that you don’t even notice them. Buttons and switches are nice, and the logical layout is appreciated. Leather is used extensively in the dashboard, door panels, seats, armrest, and steering wheel. You’ll even find some neat stitching together with these leather touches. Aluminum trim pieces surround the aircon vents, head unit, and gear selector. Thankfully, the scratch-attracting, fingerprint-inducing piano black is kept to a minimum – just at the display of the gear selector. You even have a sunroof that retracts and lifts slightly to give the cabin a more airy feeling. My only complaint is that the padding on some of the leather trim pieces is a little too thin, but how often would you be poking your door panels on a regular basis.
Cargo compartments are courtesy of retracting and flippable panels, and a good number of cupholders for front and rear passengers is very welcome. Bonus points for a cooling compartment underneath the center armrest, making it an excellent place to store snacks or drinks during a hot day. The rear also gets the same execution of materials and colors and a pair of aircon vents. Speaking of the rear, despite the sloping rear roofline, the headroom for taller passengers is commendable. In fact, the rear can be a very comfortable place to be, especially during longer drives. There is a slight transmission hump that could get in the way of the legroom of center passengers, but the third seat should be reserved for smaller adults or children or car seats anyway. Cargo space is excellent, as the MG 6 Trophy has the largest trunk space of any compact sedan on the market today, and folding the passenger seats reveals wagon levels of versatility.
The MG 6 Trophy comes feature packed at a good price point. You have access to things like keyless entry, push button start, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, speed sensing door locks, automatic LED headlights, cruise control, a reverse parking camera with sensors, automatic dual zone climate control, a steering wheel with paddle shifters and audio controls, a digital 7-inch screen in between a semi-analog instrument cluster, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay. The six-speaker sound system is good enough, and there’s a lot of adjustability to sound levels. You also have a pair of USB ports and a 12V socket in the front cargo compartment. The electronic parking brake is standard, and you also get an auto hold function.
There are a few quirks, however, such as the infotainment always reverting to a loud volume level whenever you start the car. The seatbelt reminder chime is also very safety conscious, going off when it detects a rear passenger. To be honest, you should be wearing your seatbelts in the back at all times. There are also a few redundant menus and selections in the infotainment system, and a few misspelled words, but overall, these are small things that don’t detract from the MG 6 Trophy being a solid competitor in the technology department.
The MG 6 Trophy comes with a comprehensive set of six airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, front and rear seat belt reminders, and rear door child locks. From there, the MG 6 gets a good number of safety aids in the form of electronic stability, traction control, hill hold control, vehicle dynamic control, and cornering brake control. You also get ISOFIX mounting points and tethering points for child seats. Unfortunately, other markets get adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera system, but what’s here is pretty impressive.
Under the hood of the MG 6 Trophy is a 1.5L turbocharged engine that makes a punchy 164 hp and 250 Nm of torque and is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The MG 6’s sporty heritage comes through a little bit, as it is quick to get up to speed, but feel a bit rough around the edges. The transmission can be slightly jerky in low speed situations, and careful application of the throttle is needed to smoothen out the driving experience. On the open road, the transmission works nicely, especially when accelerating quickly.
The handling is also respectable for a car that’s geared more towards comfort. The electronic power steering exhibits lightness in low speed driving and it gets more stable and heavy at higher speeds, which leads to surefootedness behind the wheel. While the suspension absorbs most bumps easily, a pothole can easily bottom it out, transferring the impact and sound to the cabin. There’s also some road noise coming from the tires mostly, and rumble strips and roads with undulations can lead to a droning sound depending on the speed. On smooth roads, the MG 6 feels nice and planted, and a quick prod of the accelerator has it downshift and speed up with surprising eagerness. Overall, the MG 6 is a smooth enough ride as long as you avoid road imperfections, and the engine is pokey enough for some fun, but the transmission isn’t on point.
The MG 6 Trophy returns an okay 6-7 kilometers per liter in heavy traffic, but can get a decent 10-11 kilometers per liter when traffic lightens up and speeds stay a little bit more constant. On the highway, I got a decent 15-17 kilometers per liter when staying at 90-100 km/h with minimal braking.
Thanks to a good combination of handsome styling, impressive technology, and a full-suite of active and passive safety features, the MG 6 Trophy stands as a standard bearer for the MG brand in the Philippines. The icing on the cake is the very competitive price tag of just P1,188,888, making it a standout for those looking for value for money.
MG shows great promise by offering a small but comprehensive lineup of vehicles, and the MG 6 Trophy is a fantastic attempt at breaking into a market dominated by Japanese players. If MG plays their cards right and keeps the momentum going, we could very well see them move up the leaderboards in the Philippine car industry. We certainly hope they do.