MG is hoping to boost modest UK sales with a new Qashqai rival that’s set to hit the streets next year.

The Chinese-owned company unveiled the new GS SUV (called the GD Rui Teng in its home market) at the Shanghai motor show last week – but we’ve seen it before.

MG first showed off a small off-road ‘concept’ in China two years ago. At that time, officials pledged it would reach showrooms by 2015.

True to their word, the GS went on sale in Chinese dealerships a couple of weeks ago, but more needs to be done before the new model is ready for discriminating European buyers.

Although it’s made in China, the GS has a distinct British flavour. It was styled by MG design boss Anthony Williams-Kenny who worked with two teams – one based in the Midlands and the other thousands of miles away in Shanghai.

The GS sticks with the styling that works so well on MG’s saloons – the understated MG grille, aggressive headlights and a deep front bumper with trapezoidal fog lights – but also borrows features that work so well on the Range Rover Evoque, including a black roof and blacked out side windows.

It’s bang on the money for the Qashqai class at 4500mm long, 1855mm wide and 1675mm high.

The interior will be familiar to anyone who has sat in the MG6 saloon (admittedly, not that many people have sat in an MG6 over here). The massive steering wheel looks to be the same, as is the switchgear, but the stylish trapezoidal air vents are an interesting touch.

The company clearly has big plans for a GS family. Officials in Shanghai were at pains to say the new model was based on a scalable platform, jointly developed with another Chinese car company, that is capable of siring smaller (and larger) SUVs.

For the moment, the GS is only available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The engine’s outputs (216bhp/258lb-ft) are competitive but its likely fuel consumption will prove a big turn-off in Europe where buyers prefer diesel SUVs.

Luckily for MG, the torquey 1.9 diesel from the MG6 should be a straightforward fit and the compression-ignition engine should make the GS a more desirable option for buyers wanting something different.

MG is also testing a 1.5-litre petrol engine on UK roads which could power entry-level variants of the GS.

Naturally, the new SUV is available with two-wheel drive as well as a full fat 4x4. The majority of sales will be strictly 2WD – as is the case with the Qashqai, the Kia Sportage and the Skoda Yeti. Given the cost of homologation, it’s by no means a certainty MG will bother with an all-wheel-drive model in the UK.

In China, MG offer versions with a six-speed manual and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Again, the slush box might not make it to the UK.

Official figures released last month show that more MGs were sold in the first three months of 2015 than the whole of 2014, making MG the fastest growing brand in Britain.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what Rui Teng means, it translates to ‘vigorous rise’ – no doubt MG is hoping to see a vigorous rise in its UK sales figures when the new GS arrives next year.

In more good news this week MG Motor was voted on of Britain’s best car manufacturers for the second year running.

More than 61,000 motorists had their say on what they thought the best cars to own were in the Auto Express Driver Power Satisfaction Survey. MG scored highly for road handling, practicality and seat comfort and this week is no exception.

Whilst MG is down a place in the makers’ chart, the overall score has been improved from other high scores, including running costs, ride quality and in-car technology; which nudged the marque closer to 90 per cent.

MG is also celebrating being one of only two brands in Auto Express’s rankings to rate inside the top half for every category. Only three of the scores were outside the top 10; which is an incredible achievement.

Auto Express said: “It’s hard to see how the company can improve, so the message is keep doing what it’s doing as owners can’t get enough of its cars.”

As MG Motor UK goes from strength to strength, it is calling for more prospective dealers to join the iconic brand and work closely with dealer partners.

Matthew Cheyne, Head of Marketing for MG, said: “We’re looking for more dealers to join us and become part of our growing brand. Any dealers that join us will benefit from the low start-up and running costs, as well as a close relationship throughout. Often manufacturers can have complicated and demanding start-ups and very strict franchise requirements, but we aim to make the process easy and stress free for those that join us. We believe in partnerships with our franchises and listen to what they have to say.

“We couldn’t be happier that our customers are placing us so highly, and ahead of many luxury and premium rivals. By becoming part of the MG franchise, you are joining a reputable brand that is fully supported and loved by the public.”