MG's Icon small SUV turns up at Beijing

The MG Icon, a shopping trolley SUV with more than a hint of Nissan Juke, has debuted at the Beijing Motor Show.

MG says it takes inspiration from some of the company's most famous sports cars, and certainly, there's a hint of MGB GT in the grille.
From there backwards, though, the chunky wheel arches (especially the back ones) are pure Juke, and the angle of the contrasting white roof, complete with union jack decal, is reminiscent of the new MINI Coupé.

Having said all that, nothing's really new these days, is it? And it does look very nice.

The Icon's very existence is proof that MG is serious about becoming a mainstream manufacturer. Its only current car, the MG6, is a surprisingly decent effort but it's hardly getting the masses queuing to put a piece of Chinese Britain on their driveways; in 2011, MG sold 360 cars - about the number of Fiestas that Ford sells in two days.

The so-called B-segment SUV looks like it might shortly become the must-have niche, just like the C-segment SUV has been ever since the Nissan Qashqai came out.

You only need look at how many Jukes there are on the road to see how well Nissan's B-segment SUV is doing, and a walk through the Beijing show floor shows that it's a fledgling segment: Ford's EcoSport is on display, as is a brand new concept by Peugeot, called the Urban Crossover.

Hyundai is working on one too, having debuted the Curb concept at the Detroit Motor Show 2011.

The Icon was designed by British dude Anthony Williams-Kenny. He said: "The MG Icon represents our vision of a modern MG and we feel that the small SUV canvas demonstrates MG's capacity for progressive design with respect for its long heritage.

"[It] clearly demonstrates a progressive and soulful British spirit and has a lithe and powerful stance – its proportion harmonised by feature lines interpreted from MG's iconic greats."

We don't know much about the interior yet, although MG says it's a four-seat layout whose rear chairs can be folded flush into the floor. It has rear-hinged back doors for easier entry, and it's powered by a 135bhp 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine.

It's thought that it'll go on sale in China first - despite its "British spirit" - in 2014, which means it'll probably be with us the following year. MG will put the MG5 family hatchback on sale here before that.
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