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Just read a copy of this months "Top Gear" and found a group test of MG ZS 180, Skoda octavia RS and a Volkswagen Bora.
I thought that the ZS would walk it but NO! They reckon the Skoda is the better car. At this point I would just like to point out one or two things.

The ZS beat it on sounds and acceleration and although the Skoda was quicker in top speed it is NOT unknown for VAG to doctor their test cars! Autocar found this to be the case when they tested the RS in the summer.

But the Skoda out handled and out braked the ZS. It was also 1500 cheaper and only group 13 insurance. The worst thing is that the Skoda has better seats and a nice low driving position. Something Rob Oldaker and MG have yet sort out.

I hope they do soon!

Bet they didn't ask anyone which badge they'd rather have on the grille. If there wan't a MASSIVE stigma against Skoda then Volks would drop the Vee-dub name and badge everything as Skodas.

Funny ol' game TV motoring journalists: Having seen the Skoda in the flesh alongside the others, to my eyes it aint as good looking as the MG neeva. Nor is the VeeDubYah. But then, I'm prejudiced ..... very prejudiced .. :o)

Did not Top Gear's Ace steering wheel Twiddler and pedal depressor extraordinaire "Tiffany Dell" recently state publicy on the programme that the ZS180 was the best handling FWD car he'd ever driven? Or, did I just make that up?

MEGA wrote:

<< it is NOT unknown for VAG to doctor their test cars! >> Nevah! What a dastardly ploy. A German company would never do such a thing!

In the past, Rover on the other hand have frequently been accused of doing nothing special at all to their press cars ..... and that's probably quite near the truth all things considered. .... ;o))

John McFeely

>>In the past, Rover on the other hand have frequently been accused of doing nothing special at all to their press cars ..... and that's probably quite near the truth all things considered. <<

I agree on this one.
It's really not clever from Rover.
Recently I read a test drive of the Trophy in the major belgian car magazine.
They liked the brakes and the suspension very much (in fact, they even found it more comfortable than the standard because of less suspension travel) BUT the didn't like the stability at high speed . A simple tracking adjustement would have transformed the handling ...
And the 0-60 time was OVER 8 sec !!!
Why ? the car they got had 200 miles on the clock.

In Belgium, the F is quite rare and confidential ... That was a great opportunity to get very good pub ... Rover stupidly missed it.
(they journalists still said good things about the Trophy, don't understand me wrong)

Anyway, the Skoda is maybe a better car than the ZS. After all, it has all VW huge financial capacity behind, isn't based on a 10+years old Honda, etc.
But I agree the Skoda badge isn't appealing at all, esp. compared to MG ;))

are we really surpose to take anything the BBC says seriously? from the company that gave us the insult to america "question time" and put our prime minister at risk by telling the world of his travel plans.
i would recommend reading this months EVO magazine where the ZS180 takes on some serious hot metal in the shape of the civic r /clio 172 and the golf v5.
the zs180 got a very favourable review from a magazine that does not mince its words.
skoda dealers localy are advertizing the RS as having a 0-60 of 6.7 ,the car that did this was a ringer.the ZS on the other hand is achieving quicker times than what MG claims 0-60 in 7.1 in the EVO test.
the MG has character,the skoda is a VAG clone that has no soul.

kevin neal

This is hugely disappointing news!
Why did MGR get into this segment if,even with the help of Lola &other racing/tuning specialists
they have not produced a superior product to Skoda? If in Britain they can still sell some cars based on the British MG badge,what sales arguments can they use overseas bearing in mind that its an older basic design,that quality seems to be variable and the high limits more attractive pricing ?

I think that MG are not far off the pace. If they would just lower the drivers seat and or change them for some nice Recaro's. May be just may be. It all depends if they have got the will.

Some years ago i test drove a Proton GTI. It was the product helped by LOTUS. I have Never driven a better handling hatch back! But it couldn't pull the skin of a rice pudding.

I wrote to Proton and begged them to make a version with more power. There was talk of a supercharged mark 2. But they didnt, and they losed a great chance of making a name for themselevs!

I had to buy a 306 GTI-6 Instead!

MEGA do you know a good trim shop Liverpool/Ormskirk area,is that one still in Norfolk St.

AUTOTRIM TEL- 0151-548-0220
Run by a father and son team, both called ROY!
Hoods and trim, small jobs big jobs what ever. Drives a Jag XJS and a TVR.

The guys to see!

"Why did MGR get into this segment if,even with the help of Lola &other racing/tuning specialists
they have not produced a superior product to Skoda?"

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD Skoda now only exist as a name, as the range is the VAG budget line, wholly engineered at Wolfsburg, and thrown together in cheap labour Czechoslovakia. VAG needed this as all the market research showed that all VW's were percieved as too expensive, (remember those desperate ads. for the Polo trying to convince us otherwise) Skoda have NOT designed a car per se since the Favorit. No matter what they do, they will always have the stigma that has dogged them since the dawn of time.
Let's come back to this thread in, say a years time, and find out how many more ZS's have been sold than this bastardised VeeDub.

Reading some of the contributions on this and other recent threads, it appears that some of those old brainwashed car prejudices are far from dead.

Thinks: can I take it that Honda's influences within the former ARG are now regarded by some as negative qualities, irrespective of age? Thinks: Is it not just possible that some brand new VW clone could still be a lesser product than a "ten year old Honda design". But - get real, it's NEW, it's foreign so must obviously be better Dummy! Something new every day! After all, what do Honda know about automotive engineering.

But, thinks again: Remind me please; when was the last time a VW engine powered a successful Formula 1 car. When was the last time a VW CAR won a Formula 1 race as Honda did in its own right as long ago as the 1960s. When Ayrton Senna won all those races and set all those "pole positions" was it simply his due to driving skills. Remind me which powerplant was in his cars for most of those poles and race successes. Oh, I get it, thoroughbred racing history not worth a dime!!. Good grief!!

Back in the late 70s and early 80s when the Golf and later GTi was "de rigeur" with the fashionable Chelsea set types and such like, I drove both and was left wondering what all the fuss was about. I still do - was the Golf in all it's forms so very good? When I first lifted a Golf bonnet expecting to see an example of a quality German engineering, I was quite frankly shocked. That rocker/camshaft cover - a steel pressing. I've seen equal quality on a cocoa tin lid!! Still, it's German so must be good - good grief!!

For those of you yet to experience a Z-car, try and do so, particularly a well run in ZS180; I think you'll be pleasently surprised irrespective of what you usually drive.

Earlier in this thread I wrote: >> In the past, Rover on the other hand have frequently been accused of doing nothing special at all to their press cars ..... and that's probably quite near the truth all things considered. .... ;o)) <<

MG-R could indeed learn from it's rival manufacturers and do as they are often suspected of doing; "Doctor" their press cars. Not difficult and considering the way those BTCC MGs are now performing, who knows what they could get "sorted" on the old qt when nobody's looking. But, I suspect that if MG-R did so, the news would soon be out and our motoring media would make a huge meal of that and love every minute of it. Something I dont recall them ever doing with other manufacturers suspected of "doctoring" their press cars. Ever wondered why - what do you want? Diagrams already! ... :o))

Finally; Kevin Neale, Essex WROTE:

> are we really supposed to take anything the BBC says seriously? <

Funny you should mention that - watched "Top Gear" earlier this evening. Vicki "does my bum look big in this" droopy-drawers B-H demonstrated and appraised two estates: A Lexus and guess what? .. A green ZT-T (looked superb). She quite liked the ZT-T and pointed out that it was no less than 6grand less costly than the Lexus, but guess what - yes you're right; ol' droopy-drawers preferred the Lexus - now there's a turn up for the books ..... :O)).

John McFeely.
John McFeely

Your right, that green ZT-T looked superb. I know which of the two I would buy....
Mark Frost

Echo the thumbs up for that Le-Mans green ZT-T.


Absolutely SUPERB! :o)

The Lexus, IMO, doesn't even get a look in...
Rob Bell

your arguments sum up = "it's British, then it's better"
Isn't a 2001 Honda (say, a Civic type R) better than a 1991 Civic 1.6i16 (did the VTEC exist in these old days ?) ?? You're right, Honda do know alot about engineering. And what do you think the Honda engineers were doing for the past 10 years ? Maybe improving their products, don't you think ?
You seem to only consider accelerations on a straight line, when you tell how good your Montego goes next to every BMW...
VW are not competing in F1, how do you want them to win ?
I won't blame Honda for not winning a rally !
So far, VW hasn't needed to do a lot of motorsport, their cars are selling well, and often, better than most other brands. One can still reckon that they have done pretty well in the last 10-15 years ...
That's just an observation, don't tell me I'm a VW enthusiast !

And I just said *"maybe"* the Skoda is better than the ZS, because it just seemed impossible for some people.

I am not slagging off MG, I think I'm more neutral than you are.
*If* I had to choose, I wouldn't buy a ZS. But well a ZT. Everyone has different priorities/sensibilities/... You just seem to acclaim anything with 4 wheels that has the MG badge on it, or is made by a GB company.


There's a happy medium between "doctoring" press cars and total indifference ... For example, provided a run-in car with adjusted tracking couldn't be accused of cheating.

When VAG doctored the car i mean DOCTORED! The week following its road test Autocar was flooded with letters from people like me asking this nasy qustion.

How come the seat version of the same car thats lighter and has a extra gear(6-speed) could only do 0-60 in 8 secs and 132 flat out.

Autocar very quiety asked VAG if they could have the test car put on a rolling road to measure its bhp. Another RS was surppiled and would you belive it, its performance fell by a great margin!

It still pains me that Autocar has NOT printed the NEW test results in there data bank. The fact that VAG give them load of cash for ads has nothing to do it of course!



My arguments were designed to stimulate discussion. Judging by your response and that of a few others, they were successful ... :o))

My arguments to sum up were exactly the opposite of how you see it. Please look again. I wrote (much snipped) <<it's foreign so it must be better>>.

Please take it from me that over here in the UK, for rather more years than I care to remember, through ignorance or whatever, many have been brainwashed into believing this if it's foreign it must AUTOMATICALLY be better. This is very different is it not?

You wrote to say that my arguments = << = "it's British, then it's better" >> I did NOT say that. I've never said that. What I will say is that I prefer to buy British.

You also accuse << You just seem to acclaim anything with 4 wheels that has the MG badge on it, or is made by a GB company.>>

Anything? I have never done that so why do you accuse me of this? What I do say, and I repeat again, that many british products are underestimated particularly by of all people the British! This is due to the "if it's foreign it must be better" mentality which I assure you DOES exist and is still quite widespread with many of "us" Brits. You may find this strange but I assure you it's true. Do the people of France, Germany,Italy, Spain and your country have an equivalent perverse viewpoint about foreign products. I have yet to see much evidence of it. Probably explains why the Car and Motor cycle companies on mainland Europe have survived and are much healthier than their british equivalents. Correction - it does explain that!

One of the joys of this and other BBS sites is that we can all learn from them. It is good to hear and appreciate the other points of view. Long may it continue Fabrice ... :o))

John "I like MGs" McFeely .... :oP
John McFeely

MEGA wrote:

Much snipped: << It still pains me that Autocar has NOT printed the NEW test results in there data bank. The fact that VAG give them load of cash for ads has nothing to do it of course! >>

Nice one MEGA. My earlier response in this thread posed the question >> Ever wondered why - what do you want? Diagrams already! ... :o)) <<

MEGA; You have now provided one diagram but have merely scratched the surface - there could be many more diagrams. Believe me, what goes on unseen is nobody's business .........

What's a cartel about then Dad? Shaddup and get on with your homework ....... :o))

John McFeely
John McFeely

Its some thing that been going on since Jag doctored that e-type(HP9600) to do 150! but it can backfire on them!

Renault shot themselvies in the foot with the 172 sport.I hear for a ex-employee of theirs that ALL the test fleet cars where running without cats and with folwed heads etc. It worked 0-60 in 6.6 secs!

But when the V6 came along, why it's no quicker than the standard no would buy it.


This nonesence will keep happening untill the likes of AUTOCAR test them on a rolling road and check that the cat is in place!

I DO fully understand the VW-Skoda relationship Dave(although much of the public do not), and if they said the MG was close to a GOLF V5 or V6 -as a recent French test did for the ZS,that would be fine.
But in having the MGs compared to Skodas or SEATs,(with the help of malicious journalists ?),the VW group really rub MGR's nose in the ground-their PR & Communic Depts really need to wake up!


Nothing special on TV tonight so lets spend some more time on the BBS. Have read again your response and some of your comments merit further comment from me. There are a number of inaccurate observations in your response. Despite your excellent english, maybe something is lost in translation/interpretation .... :o))

Here in the UK Ford have outsold all other makes for many years and still have the biggest share of the UK car sales market. Does that mean they are the best cars because more people buy them? In France, Ford are not the best selling car. In Italy Ford are not the best selling car. In Spain, in Germany .... so, who is right?

Maybe VW cars have sold well in recent years as you say - I remember back in the 1970s when the very survival of VW was in serious doubt because nobody wanted to buy their products. Similarly Auto Union. However, they and others during harder times (including BMW?) were helped by sympathetic governments who unlike those I could mention, wanted to see their own countries' industries not only survive, but thrive and moved very effectively to ensure that happened. All things considered over here, it's truly amazing that MG-R still survive to this day - it really is.

Here in the UK, private car buyers have always and continue to pay dearly for their motoring. Much moreso than most mainland Europe and many other countries. Additionally, there is a serious imbalance and distortion with UK car sales resulting from the fact that the vast majority of car sales here actually are COMPANY car or "fleet" discounted purchases. Company car purchases come in many forms. This has and continues to produce a false picture. Why? (and here I speak from my own personal experience having had a number of company cars) because the employee selecting a company car will usually choose one which if he were buying and paying for servicing him/herself, would definitely choose something else. But if someone else is paying ...... This has resulted in huge costs increases across to the private UK motorist for every aspect of their motoring. I dont think that will ever change much here before fossil fuel reserves are exhausted. So bad luck UK private motorists.... keep paying those BIG motoring costs.

Furthermore, Company car purchasing power means large "fleet" discounts. Unfortunately such discounts are usually denied to the UK private car buyer. This means that the identical car purchased privately could be 50% more expensive than the fleet sale cost. There is another distortion. For many years cars with British sounding names which suggest they were made in Luton, Dagenham or elsewhere here in the UK are in fact not made here at all, but in Spain, Germany or you name it. Despite what I've written previously, this frequently means that for those who like me [and there are still some .... :o))] where possible prefer to provide employment for fellow brits when making a purchase, are in actual fact doing nothing of the kind. Later on, usually when something goes wrong with the car, they discover to their chagrin that their car was not made in the UK at all. That failed part has to be specially obtained from Germany, or ..... "only be a day or so Sir" ...... two weeks later and you're still waiting.....

Conversely, how enthusiastic are French car buyers for the British assembled Peugeots? Apparently not very... and there are similar parallel trends.

This UK fleet v. private sales cost disparity has been looked at recently by the present administration. Never thought that would happen! However, despite their efforts, very little lasting benefit is available to the private car buyer. The multi-nationals have got it well stitched up, thank you. The multi-nationals will continue to want to build them where it's cheapest and sell them where the prices are highest. No prizes for correctly guessing where that is ...... and UK's continuing Euro/Pound indecision will worsen the situation.... :-(

We often hear UK motor-trade-speak jargon such as "high residuals". This is simply a tool for getting more UK mug punters to pay over the odds for their motoring in the first place, compared to those elsewhere. Why else do soooo very many Brits now travel to or arrange purchase of their new cars directly from mainland Europe.... even Rovers! Hey (and again no prizes ) guess what? The manufacturers dont like this ever increasing trend and are making the process as difficult and time consuming as possible for UK car buyers ..... or impossible.

You have made several wrong accusations but there is one I feel I must correct: you accuse and write:

<< You seem to only consider accelerations on a straight line, when you tell how good your Montego goes next to every BMW... >>

EVERY BMW? Where did I say that. That's silly. My words were and are LESSER BMWs. These lower spec cars are inferior in performance. It's as simple as that. In a straight line, round corners, up hills, on race circuits, accelerating, running costs - you name it! However, there are many british owners of these LESSER BMWs who do not realise that those very humble, inferior, low residual value old MG Montegos, do in fact have a superior performance from just about every aspect. They believe that simply having a blue and white quartered roundel on their cars guarantees superiority over any humble Montego. Time and again, I've found that in the immortal words of Corporal Jones, "They dont like it up'em".... ;o))

I have been respectfully careful NOT to misinterpret any of your comments or accuse you wrongly. I would appreciate you showing the same care and respect for mine.

Finally 1: here's a statistic from the very highly regarded (by some) J D Power survey: The Rover 75 was the highest placed EUROPEAN car - in 5th position IIRC . Is this correct? can't be right - it's a Rover, it's British .... ;o))

Finally 2: One time even I was partially brainwashed about BMW superiority. Back in 1983 in my even more humble MG Metro 1300, I was both surprised and delighted to discover that the BMW 316 was no match for this little Metro - in a straight line, accelerating, round corners and particularly in wet driving conditions! Plus, by folding down the rear seats, it became a fairly spacious small estate car. Some of the large awkward items I carried in that little car were unbelievable. Very few BMWs you could do that with back then .... Go on, now say you do not believe me .... ;o))

John McFeely
John McFeely

On a purely practical note has anyone looked to see how simple it is to extract another 50bhp and a pocketful of extra torque from either the 150 or 180 bhp 1.8 VW engines? A Sharan with 200bhp creates many questioning looks, and is to all intents standrd in every respect. This particular chassis does need the lowering kit to prevent embarrasment on the twisty bits but apply the same simple engine managment mod to the saloons and the results are obvious.

Roger Parker

I trust you when you say VAG (or rather VAG UK) have doctored cars they gave to the press. That wasn't the point. I was only saying that MGR (at least MGR Belux) should spend a minimum of time checking the cars they are giving to the press ...(that makes me think about the strange stories about apparently missing PDI's etc).
When the press is testing an MGF Trophy that is doing 8 sec 0-100 km/h, you cannot blame the journalist for not mentionning that the car only has 300 miles on the clock and that 5000 miles later it should go faster and estimate that 7sec could be achievable ? For comparison purpose, Steve Childs has measured (with the right equipment) his 5 years old (and well looked after) 1.8 mpi at just under 8 sec...
On the other hand, don't believe as THE truth everything you hear : it is possible that every test Renault is running w/o cat and gas flowed, but I think this information questionnable ...


I won't discuss about the company cars and I will belive you that it disturbs the market (I know I had nearly 20% price reduction on a company 3.0 Opel Sintra). Anyway, every country has its particularities about its car market. For instance, in Belgium, it's very competitive, and there are also lots of company cars. There aren't national brands, but Belgium is (or was, I haven't checked) the country were the bigger amount of cars are built per capita (Ford, VAG, Opel, Volvo, ...). But Belgians seem to ignore that and don't buy "local".

I never said VW are better because they sell lots of car. I just said (in fact, like you) they have really well improved their market shares, positionning and perception, AND you don't do that by selling bad cars ... (that are, moreover, quite expensive). Yes, Ford and Opel still have big market shares, but these are decreasing and those manufacturers are making losses, they don't perform very well to say the least... The German government has maybe helped VW a little ages ago, but I don't think the British car industry hasn't be influenced (to say the least) by the government ?? And anyway, there's nothing to blame. That's IMO a part of the aim of a state : save people's jobs and the industry of a country, but not at any price ... (Well, that's politics, now). Looking at VAG, the result is quite satisfactory !!

I agree with you : when you compare the overall services done by a Montego, or any old and cheap car to a recent model, the result is very clear : the old car will take you from A to B just like the new does, if it's well powered, it will do it faster, and more importantly, cost wise, the old car wins hands down. Only a few collection cars (Bugatti's ?) are investments, all the others are just money "wasted". BUT that doesn't mean they aren't superior for some aspects : security, comfort, etc. Isnt' there a difference between you Montego's from the 80's and a saloon from the 60's ?
Your comparison of a Metro 1300 and a BMW 316 makes no sense ! No need to argue.

JD powers survey ?
first, they are not true at 100%, i.e. they result from a sampling (and it is said the questions are ... sometimes questionnable !). Anyway, I think they are a good source of information and they reflect quite well the truth. It is really a great new that the R75 performs so well, but, c'mon, you know that it's partly due to BMW influence. I'm not saying British engineers don't deserve any credit ! I just hope that the future Rover-MG products will performs so well against their competitors than the R75 does in its segment. And BTW, I understand you when you say "1st European car", but that doesn't mean that the objective is reached, the objective is to be 1st overall. So then, the Japanese cars that soul-less will have anything for them, except their established (but former) reputation of realiability. (do you hear it here ? it's my Euro-patrotism that corresponds to you English one ;o))

I hope you understand why I reply to your postings, or some other postings of Brits : I really don't like the negative way thinking, or the need to convince myself and the others that I made a good choice.
Examples :
"when driving in my Montego, I saw a BMW with steam coming out the bonnet"
First, what does that prove : nothing apart a BMW broke down. Does that make your Montego better ? No.
"Don't say Rovers and MG's are unreliable, I know that some others are too".
(BTW, I'm happy for you that you have more opportunities to report cars you saw along the road waiting for the AA than the times your car broke down ;)))
If I have to explain why I own/choose the MGF, I don't feel the need to slag off others. Well, I'll probably say that if the Boxster wasn't so expensive, I'd have one, and that I don't like the styling of the Z3 from the rear or with the hood up. And I would probably praise my MGF that has been mostly trouble free and very cheap to run.

Finally, you're right : lots of my thoughts cannot be translated in English words, honestly. I'm just trying, and it's a very good training for my English, at least written ;)



Yes i know theres a chap on the next estate who thinking of getting a Skoda RS (group 13) and getting either 210 bhp or the full 225 bhp. If you have any information on the subject i would be grateful.

I would consider it my self, but sorry wrong image!
Mind you just think of all the BMW drives you upset!

This thread was discussed between 10/10/2001 and 15/10/2001

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