MG is a venerable name in British automaking. The company is best known stateside for its two-seater sports cars from the 1960s and 1970s like the MGB and the MG Midget. Enthusiasts have fond memories of classic style, affordable fun, and, in my Dad’s case, keeping a turkey baster near the front seat because the soft-top leaked incessantly.
The brand left the U.S. market in 1980, declined, bounced around, and ended up under Chinese owners SAIC. Now, the MG marque will appear on what is just about the most discordant vehicle traditionalists would expect to find it on: a pickup truck. It’s called the MG Extender.
The Extender is a midsize pickup, a re-badged and re-grilled version of SAIC’s Maxus T70 pickup truck. It offers extended and crew cab versions and uses one turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel that puts out 161 hp and 277 lb-ft. Buyers can opt for a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. The Extender starts just under $18,000, about $1,000 less than the cheapest Nissan Frontier.
Unfortunately, the Extender won’t be spearheading MG’s triumphal return to the United States in America’s hottest segment. Right now, MG will sell the truck as a right-hand drive model in Thailand only.
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