A car is an expression of who you are


James Deakin

So I bought a new car last week. This is my first new car in five years, and it replaces a 2017 Nissan Urvan that I fondly called Max. After posting the delivery experience on FB live, my inbox blew up with folks asking “Why did I choose an MG over all these other great choices in the same price range and category” so I thought I would dedicate this column to the five reasons why.

Number 5: I wanted something that not everyone has.

There’s safety in numbers, sure, and that is certainly true when making a choice for your new car as going with any volume seller (like Toyota or Nissan) will usually ensure having a better supply of replacement parts and hassle free service, as well more choices for accessories or after market upgrades; but for me a car is an expression of who you are and an extension of your personality. So its important for me to get something that makes me feel like I stand out.

The MG HS stands out in the segment for me because aside from it not being the most ubiquitous model, were also both half British. So it says something about me. And because choosing a car is just as much an emotional purchase as it is a practical one, sometimes brand is more important than new. Because let’s face it, with technology transfer and advance manufacturing processes these days, making a reliable car is no longer rocket science. Any reputable brand can build one that can last. So it’s all about how it makes you feel. And I feel great in it.

Number 4: Fit and finish, interior quality.

My mom always used to say its what’s on the inside that counts. Yes it's important to me to have a good looking car — one that I can throw a loving glance back at every time I park it and walk away — but you’re really going to spend 99.99 percent of the time inside it, so you may as well feel comfortable. And the MG HS Trophy is very comfortable. It has beautiful sports seats with an integrated head rest, matching sport stitching and two types of leather that gives it a very premium feel.

It also has a flat button steering wheel with a provocative red sport button on it, engine start/stop button, paddle shifters, audio and media controls at your fingertips, a customizable interior digital driver display and a 10-inch, multi media center display that features Apple Car Play and Android Auto, plus a gorgeous panoramic moonroof that gives you the feeling you’re in a much bigger space than you really are.
Number 3: It has all the bells and whistles I need, and even some I don’t.

Cruise control, SIRI voice command, blind spot monitors, 360 degree cameras, customizable interior accent lighting, electronic tailgate, keyless entry, 18 inch wheels, tire pressure monitoring system, lane departure warning, automatic parking brake hold feature and hill descent control…these are just some of the features that you would once normally find in cars costing twice as much. It’s all standard here, for ₱1.3 million.

Number 2: Fuel efficiency

Gas prices on the day I picked up my baby was ₱80 a liter. I know this because a few followers suggested I name her "Eighty" because that was the price per liter of her first full tank. The HS uses a 1.5 liter turbo charged engine with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that has more than enough poke in it to have some fun or climb hills, but when driven smoothly and responsibly, is so far returning me 12 kilometers a liter so far in the city and 15 plus on the highway.

Number 1: After sales support and ownership experience.

The previous four reasons are very important to me when looking for a new car, but I’ll be honest here when I say that what really sealed the deal for me here was the brand and ownership experience.
For example, the Ford Territory on paper is really tough to beat. But as much as I appreciate the value for money and spec sheet, I’m not driving a brochure to work everyday; I’m driving something that needs to be maintained and have a good stock of parts, and no offense to my friends at Ford, but they do have a lot of catching up to do here.

Same goes for Honda. Once a leader in this space, I was put off by the way they handled the BRV fuel pump issue so it fell off my shortlist for that. Which leaves Geely, which was also a contender. I have no personal experience with the brand, but in fairness to them I haven’t heard any complaints about the ownership experience either, but in the end, when you ask me to put a ring on it, I need to have peace of mind; and as this will be my third vehicle purchased from TCCI, which are the custodians of the Chevrolet, Volvo, and now MG brand here in the Philippines, I get just that. Because I know that if anything goes wrong, they have always made it right.