A quick escape in Baler with MG Philippines

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Words and photos by Christian Imperio

MG PHILIPPINES’ journey through its inaugural year in the local automotive industry has been nothing short of productive under the leadership of The Covenant Car Company, Inc. The fruits of their labor over the past few months are now evident on the streets, with more and more Filipinos choosing the British car’s vehicle lineup as their trusted companion on the road.

To close out 2019, MG Philippines recently took the local motoring media on a 270-kilometer scenic journey from EDSA Centris to the rustic Baler, Aurora aboard its full vehicle lineup — the MG ZS Crossover SUV, MG 6 Fastback sedan, RX5 SUV, and the MG 5 sedan.

Although MG Philippines brought along with us its entire vehicle portfolio at our disposal, I only got to test out thoroughly the MG 6 and the MG ZS during our spirited drive to and from Baler. Despite that, getting behind the wheel of the famed octagon brand’s prized luxury sedan and crossover SUV was definitely one for the books as I got to enjoy the rich heritage of the MG brand through its latest offerings.

There’s no denying that the MG 6 is very appealing to the eyes. Choose the pearl black color and everything about it gets even sexier, especially those two-toned 18-inch alloy wheels and sunroof. This sedan does not shy away from attention. The front fascia sports a ‘Stardust’ grille along with ‘London eye’ headlamps while the flowing tail lamps exudes the sedan’s sportiness and elegance.

Step inside and you’ll see a two-toned red and black finish on the dash, seats and door panel while the center of the cockpit sports an eight-inch LCD infotainment system that is Apple CarPlay ready. There are multi-functional controls on the flat-bottomed steering wheel that is properly positioned above the seven-inch virtual instrument cluster.

But the Trophy isn’t just about swag. Pop the hood and you’ll see a potent powerplant. At the heart of the sedan is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 166ps and 250Nm of torque that’s transferred through a 7-speed automatic gearbox with manual tiptronic function. Although the sedan produces a tad bit of jolt during stop and go traffic, the Trophy’s acceleration does not disappoint. Slamming your foot on the gas while cruising at legal speed on the expressway eventually pins you to your seat while the powerplant generates a sonorous, feral-like growl. The feeling is quite addictive, actually. I eventually caught myself looking for every opportunity to feel the engine brew all that power that shoves you back to your seat.

As for the handling, the MG6 offers responsive and precise steering, especially in tight corners or overtaking slower vehicles. This speedster-like sedan feels light and quick.

Our assigned vehicle heading back to Manila was the MG ZS. This crossover is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine that produces 114ps and 150Nm of torque. The variant we used had a four-speed automatic with manual tiptronic function.

For its size, the ZS was surprisingly lightweight, offering pin-point steering while maneuvering through the endless twists and turns of the Nueva Ecija-Aurora road.

Despite spending more than six hours on the road, I did not feel worn out because of the ZS’s generous legroom and headroom. Aside from the spacious interior, the ZS features a reverse camera, ABS, cornering brake control, electronic brake assist, electronic brake distribution, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring system, and traction control system. Bottom line: the MG ZS fuses riding comfort with style and performance.

MG Philippines offers a competitive price in all of its vehicle offerings, such as the MG 5 1.5-liter MT that is priced at P658,888. Not just that, as every car also comes with premium after-sales offers and services. These include a 5-year or 100,000km warranty (whichever comes first) on all brand new MG cars, and 1-year free periodic maintenance service (PMS) to set your mind at ease. Aside from that, MG owners can also download the My MG mobile app which allows them to easily schedule vehicle servicing appointments from the convenience of their smartphones. They can also use the app to book a visit from MG Philippines’ Mobile Garage service caravan that provides MG owners with vehicle home service for major technical issues.