This MG 6 is the first real attempt that Shanghai Automotive-owned MG has made to become a known quantity. It is a far more significant car than the (very lightly) modernised TF roadster because this is the first all-new model to wear the badge since the collapsed company was bought.

But its Chinese ownership and many years away from the market mean that, despite previous familiarity, MG is now an unknown quantity in every significant way. How will the new MG fare i Britain?

Its sister models sell very well in China, but in the UK the MG 6’s on-paper figures do not inspire confidence. The marketing blurb calls the 5dr a “sports-fastback” while the saloon is badged Magnette. Both are, in effect, a rival for the Ford Focus and its ilk and yet it is only available currently with a turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox.

Even the £19k required for a top-spec TSE doesn’t go far towards justifying the figures elsewhere. But many cars deliver rewards that aren’t written in numbers, and we’re here to find out if this package adds up.

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

  • Volkswagen Golf

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • The popular Ford Focus in 1.5 TDCi Zetec form
    The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon

    Seat Leon

    3
  • Mazda 3
    The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

    Mazda 3

    4
  • Peugeot 308
    The 308 marks the first time a carry-over name has been applied to an all-new Peugeot

    Peugeot 308

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the MG Motor range

Driven this week

  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be
  • Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Plug-in petrol-electric Panamera makes a better case than ever to supplant the diesel best seller, but it still appeals more to the head than the heart
  • MX-5 RF 2.0 160
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    The distinctive 'retractable fastback' roadster promises typical MX-5 dynamics coupled with better refinement. It achieves the former, but the latter isn't quite there yet
  • Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi Premium
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Facing increasingly formidable opposition, the Hyundai i30 has been overhauled for 2017. The result is a recognisably mixed bag
  • 2016 Infiniti Q50 Country Road
    First Drive
    12 January 2017
    Infiniti’s premium mid-sized saloon packs a serious punch, but lacks the dynamic prowess of European rivals