Locally MG's lineup is rather comprehensive. There are four models currently in the range, namely the MG5 sedan, MG6 fastback, ZS subcompact crossover, and HS compact crossover. You could even say there's an MG for almost everyone. A few models are missing though, namely a mid-size SUV, a pick-up, and a van.
Yes, there's the Fortuner-rivalling Gloster and the Extender pick-up, but it seems those are reserved for right-hand-drive markets only for now. As for vans, there's nothing in the current MG stable that serves that purpose. However, MG can take a look at its sister company, Roewe, for a luxury family hauler.
MG's candidate for the van segment could be the new Roewe iMAX8. By the looks of it, it's more minivan than MPV since it comes with a pair of sliding doors instead of the usual forward-hinged doors. Could it pass for a Toyota Alphard fighter, then? Let's look at the stats.
The iMAX8 measures over five meters long, nearly two meters wide, and about 1.7 meters tall. For comparison basis, the Alphard is about 4.9 meters long and 1.8 meters wide, which makes it smaller than the Roewe. The Toyota is taller, though, at nearly two meters tall. We wouldn't call these vans “mini” by any means, but that's the class of vehicle they're placed.
As for luxuries, most of the interior is trimmed in leather. The dashboard employs a wraparound design for that lounge-like look, and there are wood-effect panels thrown in for good measure. The second-row seats are power-operated captain chairs, and yes, it comes with leg rests like in most luxury minivans. Also, the headrests look like something you'll find in business class airplane seats with its built-in pillows.
But the iMAX8 goes beyond acres of leather and power captain chairs. The buzzword for this minivan seems to be magic, as Roewe can't stop attaching that tag to the van's unique features. There's the Magic Box, essentially a sliding mini-refrigerator that serves refreshments to those at the back. The Magic Sofa describes the modular third-row seats that can be set or stowed in different ways. Last but not least is the Magic Screen, which replaces the buttons on the instrument cluster and rear entertainment controls.
Now for the engine and there's only one option. The iMAX8 uses a 2.0-liter turbo engine that's good for 237 PS and 360 Nm of torque. That engine is then paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission courtesy of Aisin.
At the moment, it doesn't seem like there will be an MG version of the iMAX8. That's a bit of a shame since a van would fit in nicely in the MG lineup. If there will be an MG-badged iMAX8 in the future, the idea of a cut-price Alphard alternative sure sounds tempting.