It takes time to rise up as an automotive marque and to truly become a force to be reckoned with. The British auto manufacturer MG motors did it in a short time. In a period of over 7-8 years, MG motors have infiltrated deep into the British automotive scene and have been able to get itself recognized internationally. Their well-built and stylish family sedans, SUVs and coupes are the reason behind the brand’s success. Recently MG Motors released their brand-new seven-seat SUV called the MG RX8, not to be confused with the Mazda RX-8 sports car. Large-sized SUVs are the talk of the town nowadays and it is no surprise that MG wants in on the action.
I had the absolute pleasure of driving one myself in Qatar a few days ago and might I say MG Motors has done a brilliant job of keeping the seven-seater relevant to today’s standards.
I was scheduled for an afternoon test drive in the all-new MG RX8, needless to say, I wasn't able to sleep very well the night before. The excitement got the best of me and I had to keep myself contained until I reached the designated venue. I was a bit groggy from the lack of sleep but boy did I wake up when I saw the RX8 in its full grandeur. This SUV does not look like any large-sized SUV in the market right now. SUVs are built to be huge and muscular with intimidating personas; however, the RX8 is more stylish than aggressive. It seems like the designers started from scratch when they sat down to imagine this vehicle.
The RX8 has large headlights that merge into the front grille, that makes the grille and the headlamps look as if they are one piece. The MG logo sits in the middle of the grille. The designers have included air vents on both sides of the bumper for style and practicality while a skid plate sits at the bottom adding to the overall style of the SUV. I love the dual-slot hood that enhances the overall look of the car. The body lines on the side are minimal and subtle, nothing too aggressive. The rear of the vehicle is pretty muscular with dual exhausts as the cherry on top.
The cabin was expansive, which is an obvious assumption since the RX8 is a seven-seat SUV. I was doubly impressed by the intent towards luxury. Soft and exquisite materials are widespread throughout the interior cabin. The leather front seats are a nice touch and they are actually very comfortable. I didn’t feel tired or uncomfortable at any time.
The dash is very clean, in that there are no unnecessary buttons or knobs to distract the driver. A touch screen panel lets you control almost everything. It is also where you can play music and videos, make calls while driving, etc. The use of chrome and wood was really impressive. Both these materials have been added into the cabin carefully so that they are not ubiquitous.
The center console has a mode selector which lets you switch between the different driving modes. The MG has six modes in total including Sport and Off-Road. I was able to switch between modes with relative ease and I was also able to control the traction, hill-assist feature using the buttons just below the knob.
The rear-end seats of the RX8 are foldable so you can add extra luggage and cargo. I don’t think I have ever seen boot space like this in a seven-seater.
Engine and Driving Dynamics
It takes power to propel such a large vehicle forward and you can imagine how much power would be needed to haul the RX8 if it is full of people and cargo. Hence, I was compelled to check out the engine before I head out for a test drive. On opening the hood I saw the 2.0T engine. This 2-liter engine may look small, but it packs a punch. It is rated at 220 hp with peak torque of 360 Nm. If you compare this engine’s power and its size with its competitors you’ll be surprised, as I was. None of its competitors come close in engine performance.
Impressed, I headed back into the cabin and started the SUV. The cabin was completely soundless. I could not hear any engine noise or road noise when I drove off towards the road. The overall ride was smooth with bumps and potholes not making much of a difference to the ride experience. The 20-inch alloy wheels are to be thanked for that feat. The MG RX8 is a 4X4 off-road vehicle, so that means it has a lot of grip both on and off the road.
I only hope the MG RX8 gets the popularity it deserves because I felt it was a great vehicle to drive and to look at. It is practical while being powerful at the same time. That's a rare combination.
As I left the RX8 behind making my way to the hotel I had only one thought on my mind that this was one of the best days and the best drives of my life.