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MG Motor

479,000-1,310,000 baht/unit

Address:21, Soi Sukhumvit 62, Sukhumvit Rd., Bang Chak, Phra Khanong, Bangkok 10260 Thailand

Tel:+6623117900

Service day:Everyday, Service hours: 08:00-17:00

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Official description

MG Motor UK Limited (MG Motor) is a British car manufacturing company headquartered in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIC Motor UK, which in turn is owned by the Shanghai-based SAIC Motor. It designs, develops, assembles and markets cars sold under the MG marque. The marque returned to competitive motorsport in 2012, and won the 2014 British Touring Car Manufacturers Championship.

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Editorial Reviews

Drive to be different

The GS may not be the choice of SUV in its class, but it is arguably the best MG yet to lust for

Thanks to backing from a leading Thai conglomerate and the Chinese government, MG is a brand that has proven hard to die in the country's tough automotive market.

Although the British nameplate has already launched three models since its resurrection in 2014, none of those products --3, 5 and 6 family saloons and hatchbacks -- have been good enough to stand out in their respective classes.

Add that with sales outlets that are not widely available or particularly credible, and going for any of the MGs is never really that enticing. It's reported that most customers choose the brand's reasonably distinctive design as the reason for purchasing.

But as the saying goes, the show must go on. That's why new dealers (who also officially sell other brands) are currently being appointed here and there. To give them more confidence in selling cars, MG has introduced its fourth model this year, which has strong relevance in today's market.

That specimen is no other than a compact five-seat SUV, called GS, to rival the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail, and Subaru XV and Forester in Thailand. And unlike most other MGs, the GS has been aggressively priced against all of its competitors.

In fact, such keen pricing has apparently led Subaru in announcing lowered prices for both the XV (down 200k) and Forester (100-200k) last week, but without specifying why. Imagine how buyers of both Subarus in the past months must feel and the already uncertain resale values they're going to face.

On the upside of things, the XV is now the lowest-priced SUV in its class with a starting price of just under 1 million baht. Back to the gist of things, the GS initially comes with a 218hp 2.0-litre petrol-turbo engine -- the most potent SUV in its class at the moment -- yet is priced in the vicinity of rivals' baseline models.

The two-wheel-drive version goes for 1.21 million baht, while the four-wheel-drive variant asks for another 100,000 baht, which also sees added features like sunroof, HID headlights, paddle-shifters for the automatic, roof rails and electrically adjustable front passenger seat.

There isn't a single competitor that comes close in matching the GS for price and performance. The petrol-powered CR-V 2.4 and diesel-sipping CX-5 2.2, both with 175hp, cost north of 1.5 million baht.

Because of this, you can consider the GS to be of great value. There could be some reasons why it is attractively priced, though; the specification, particularly on the safety front, isn't as generous as in some of its opponents.

While curtain airbags and driver-assist technologies of some sort are now becoming normal in SUVs costing more than 1 million baht, the GS doesn't have any of them.

They could eventually come to the GS in range-topping form, perhaps after the Thai MG office adds a cheaper and less performance-oriented model with a 1.5-litre petrol-turbo motor producing around 160hp.

Ride is reasonably comfortable.

Another reason for the eye-catching prices could be the quality of materials used inside the GS. A sea of hard plastics can be found throughout the GS cabin and hardly lends the vehicle any sense of modernity.

After all, the GS is an all-new model for markets stretching from Asia to Europe. At least MG has given the GS the latest in infotainment, connectivity and online car services, though, via its InkaNet system.

One thing MG has certainly got right in the GS is design. Whether the exterior is beautiful is up to you, but it is certainly distinctive and looks like no other. The brand's family face continues in the GS and the chunky proportions play along with the SUV game.

But the longer you stare at the GS, the more it somehow feels as compact as an HR-V or CX-3 when actually it isn't. Glance at those dimensions in the accompanying graphic and they're roughly the same of those measured on the CR-V and CX-5.

Interior space in the GS is also on par with its intended opposition, although the same could not be exactly said for the boot, whose width is hampered by protruding sidewalls. At least the rear backrests fold flat for more cargo area. Although the floor plan is sized right for its class, it almost appears that the body shell has been deliberately squashed for the sake of those good looks. Of course, it could also be an illusion.

According to MG sources, the GS's platform hasn't been developed from scratch and is actually an adapted version of that used in the Volkswagen Tiguan, a compact SUV that didn't prove popular in Thailand due to its imported status and near-3 million baht price tag. MG's parent firm, SAIC Motor Corp, has ties with the German brand in China.

In fact, you sense some European-ness in the way the GS behaves on the move. The chassis feels naturally planted to the tarmac at even high speeds. Unlike in other MGs, the GS has a steering set-up geared for lightness and comfort.

In fact, the GS's rack doesn't turn as crisply as in other MGs and occasionally feels that it could do with a touch more weight. The same goes for the reasonably comfortable ride quality, which, however, is let down by some vibration over rutted roads.

The 4x4 system in the GS is also said to come from VW in a modified form and proves to be useful in containing those 200-plus ponies. The front-wheel-drive-only GS is 0.7sec quicker from 0-100kph, and you can feel that advantage on the move.

But the downside is the notable amount of torque steer during hard acceleration caused by all that grunt going to just two driven wheels without any limited slip differential.

What the GS certainly hasn't got from VW is the drivetrain. Although the GS has modern ancillaries like turbo and direct-injection technologies, plus a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the performance it yields is far from perfect.

The natural upside is thrust, which is aplenty at all times, be it in the city or highway. You don't have to apply much throttle effort for rapid progress in real-world traffic.

The downsides, meanwhile, include some turbo lag at low speeds, slow kickdown response of the gearbox, and engine noise at high revs. These are clearly some things you won't find in a similarly powered VW. And if it's fuel economy you're asking for in the GS, the 12kpl rating isn't outstanding, either.

This, in the end, makes the GS a bag of virtues and flaws.

The SUV is keenly priced, stylish on the catwalk, reasonably quick and generally easy to steer. But safety kit, interior quality, power delivery and handling tautness could have been made better.

The GS still remains like its other relatives in MG showrooms: somehow compromised and not contemporary enough in the way it has been developed.

But while it may not be the choice of SUV in its class, the GS is arguably the best MG yet to lust for.

Cheap-feeling plastic can be found throughout the cabin.

Unlike in other MGs, the GS has a steering set-up geared for lightness and comfort

Location

21, Soi Sukhumvit 62, Sukhumvit Rd., Bang Chak, Phra Khanong, Bangkok 10260 Thailand

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