Blog : Getting to know the MG3

Keith Adams

MG3

The launch of the ’3 has seen MG Motor UK’s marketing, PR and sales effort step up a gear compared with the near invisible ’6. When we first drove the car back in September, we concluded that ‘the MG3 is a likeable addition to the market that’s quick, stylish and cheap, would be a sure-fire hit if it were being sold by, say, Ford or Vauxhall’. Those early impressions were formed on the back of a brief drive around the New Forest, and I was keen to see if they still hold true in the real world.

One thing is for sure, the MG3′s launch was probably the most memorable one I’ve been on for a long time. It was both surprising and delightful, thanks to the choice of venue. MG tried to keep the fact it was going to be held at Butlins in Bognor Regis a secret – fearing that the chattering classes might make a big deal of the fact. However, as it happened, the hotel we stayed in was superb and the evening meal, prepared by celebrity chef Brian Turner, was amazing. In short, it was a quirky event, and I liked it.

The idea was that the ‘fun’ image of a reinvented MG was reflected in the venue of its launch. Butlins had modernised, smartened itself up and is projecting a younger and more dynamic image for itself. The fact that Brian Turner has set-up his own restaurant in the place tells you all you need to know. Mind you, being MG, it didn’t quite go to plan – we were treated to a stage show that went badly, badly wrong, leaving us all confused and bemused; and then there were roadworks right at the beginning of the test route… But, overall, it was light years ahead of the unveiling and launch of the MG6.

And that probably reflects the MG3′s chances on the market compared with its older and larger cousin.

My week with - MG3 (4)

The memories of this agreeable summer drive of a capable and likeable ‘warm’ hatch with bargain pricing still lingered fresh in my mind, when the car was delivered to AROnline Towers on a blustery December Monday. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that, if you want people to really look at your MG3, you need to order it in ‘Hello Yellow’ – it’s a strident colour that evokes memories of the MG ZR and, for some people, the Fiat Punto Sporting.

The test car is the MG3 Style version, with the optional ‘Emoticons’ sticker pack and part-leather interior. Total price for this lot is £10,600 – and it has to be said, that appears to be a lot of car for the money. In Style form, the MG3 comes with 16-inch alloys, air conditioning, parking sensors and DAB Audio for starters. As I said, that’s a lot of car for the money. Interestingly, as well my Sandero Access long-termer, there’s a Logan MCV test car parked on my drive, and it’s a Laureate model loaded up with a equipment, coming in at a very similar price to the MG.

In terms of interior feel and quality, the MG feels more mature and less like a budget product. The black interior is livened by light headlining and contrasting red stitching (but not seatbelts). There’s lots of storage, too, including a brilliant lidded compartment in the dash-top with integral USB port and optional ‘phone dock. The paint finish and shutlines are largely comparable between these two hugely good value cars – but, overall, if I were to give one the nod in terms of perceived quality,the MG takes it by a nose, even if the Dacia is a more rounded and mature product.

My week with - MG3 (5)

The first day with the MG3 is a bit of a write-off. I’ve too much writing to do and I limit myself to a quick run up to Silverstone. The 70-mile round trip gives me a chance to re-familiarise myself with the warm hatch and begin to make the mental reboot to get the best from it. By that, I mean drive like a 23-year old again. You see, the MG3 is a car that’s clearly been designed for younger drivers – it’s blessed with a really low purchase price and insurance grouping – and has an eager little engine that delivers its best beyond 4500rpm.

It’s for this reason, I reckon, the MG3′s come in for a bit of a panning from the press. This is a car you actually have to drive in order to really keep up with the flow and, as I find while flowing out of the roundabouts, its tall gearing means you need to be in a lower cog than you might if you’re used to the huge amount of mid-range torque that a modern turbodiesel pushes out. Drive it like one of those cars and you’ll end up bogged down, wondering why everyone else is romping away from you. As I say, it takes mental recalibration for a typical forty-something to drive this car.

But the first re-impressions are good. The controls all feel as they should and are well-sited, there’s ample rearward seat travel for those in the front (not always given in a supermini) and the steering is nicely weighted with above-average amounts of road-feel. Once again, while zipping to and from our most well-known racing circuit, I am reminding myself just how little money this car costs – to give you some perspective, the misery-spec Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 12V in Life form has a list price of £10,255. Remember that…

My week with - MG3 (2)

Day two of my MG3 week involves an early start – and, in mid-December, that’s not always the most desirable state of affairs for a nocturnal creature like me. The plan is to do a little vehicle logistics work with my friend, Richard Kilpatrick. First that involves picking up my latest acquisition, a Citroen XM, and delivering it to his secret barn in Leicestershire and then driving him down to Hampshire to buy a Jeep Cherokee he’s set his heart on.

The first leg of the trip involves nothing but minor A- and B-roads, and it has to be said that the MG3 really does excel in this department – even though I restrain myself from pushing hard, as I have a passenger and the low sun and damp roads present a few visibility problems, thanks to the sheer number of unlit cars on the road. However, by the time we arrive at my storage area the XM’s languishing in, I’m impressed by the MG’s flat cornering, quick steering and strong brakes.

The ride’s a little on the joggly side, but the damping is good and seems to get better the faster you go. Considering that the Chinese version was less than stellar, dynamically, it’s hard not to conclude that Andy Kitson’s chassis team has done a brilliant job in turning the MG3 into a car that handles really very well.

My week with - MG3 (8)

After we spark the XM back into life, it’s Richard’s turn to drive the MG3. I’m keen to find out what he thinks, as he’s a potential customer – he’s coming up to the end of his lease on a Citroen C3 Airdream and is keenly interested in seeing whether a ’3 could fit into his life. His road test is going to be a little unfair, though, as he’s following me in the XM on the way back, the roads are damp and I’ll be dictating a leisurely pace thanks to near-bald front tyres.

While I’m wafting along, loving the effortlessness of my XM Exclusive, enjoying its immense mid-range torque and magic carpet ride, Richard’s getting to know the MG3. The problem is with an XM, even if you’re ‘taking it easy’ you’re actually cracking along at a decent pace, so MG-driving Richard gets a better test than we both expect. When we roll up to his barn after 30 or so miles of cross-country driving, Richard looks like he’s had fun.

When he gets out, his response to my questioning look surprises me. ‘This is far better than I was expecting,’ he smiles. ‘It’s a really nice, well-sorted little car. Some of the interior design features, such as the lazy use of ovals is a little disappointing, but otherwise it’s really very good indeed. I would own one of these – and I’d have the yellow one. Perhaps without the stickers.’ This from a man, from whom praise doesn’t come easily.

I now have 300-miles to cover by motorway to get Richard down to look at his Jeep Cherokee – and, ordinarily, this might not be the perfect stamping ground for the MG3. After all, it’s a £10K supermini, powered by what many people in the press describe as being a substandard engine. As Richard and I join the M1 south, the first thing that impresses is that at the 70-80mph cruise, the MG3 feels remarkably grown up. Wind noise is kept well in check and the engine note is subdued thanks to that tall gearing – and it trundles along quite happily with the repmobiles.

My week with - MG3 (9)

Considering we’re on the downhill run to Christmas, the drive down to Hampshire was easy. The traffic was light, and those on the road were moving along at a good pace. Professionals one and all. By the time we roll into Bordon to look at the Cherokee, I’ve really warmed to the MG3…

It’s about this time that that a fuel warning chimes at me. Hmm, time to fill up and brim it up with a fresh tank of Shell VPower Nitro – and, when I tot up the mileage and amount of petrol pumped in, reality clicks in a little. The average for this tank full is 36.7mpg. Hmm… In my defence, I’ve been driving the MG3 like a 23 year old and haven’t had much opportunity to cruise in a way more typical owners are likely to. Expect 40-43mpg in the real world, not unacceptable for a warm hatch.

While Richard’s looking around the Jeep, I ask the seller what he thinks of the look of the car we turned up in. He’s not a car person and, when he looks over at it and asks me what it is. ‘New MG,’ I say… ‘I didn’t know they were making cars now – are they still British?’ he asks, while looking across at his new Land Rover Discovery. ‘No,’ I reply, with a heavy heart.

Still, Richard bought himself a new Jeep.

My week with - MG3 (10)

The boring drive back on the motorway gave me chance to play with the initially disappointing-sounding DAB stereo. The lack of bass was down to settings and, once corrected, it was very good indeed. Far better than the unit installed in the MG6, in fact. It’s only later I realise why the bass has been turned down to -3 by the previous occupant – DAB sounds muddy and boomy when correctly set-up for my MP3 player, meaning that the factory levels are inconsistent depending on source – an annoyance if you’re constantly switching from one to the other.

Still, it all looks good inside at night – the red illumination is spot on for this car, as is the matching ring around the stereo system (below).

MG3 night dash

Nearer home, I managed to pick up my favourite test route and attacked it at a decent speed, aided by the good headlamps and lack of traffic. The late night run confirmed what I’d suspected – when you really push the MG3, it handles well, losing grip at the front first, but you have to really be pushing for that to happen.

The engine note is undistinguished at low to medium revs and takes on a harder edge as the revs rise – but it’s far from being the unrefined unit the road testers make out. My own small car benchmark, the MINI, is measurably more composed at the limit and steers even more sharply, while the Citroen DS3 is softer and more forgiving. Having said that, it makes absolute mincemeat of the Vauxhall Adam.

My week with - MG3 (6)

After a couple of days Christmas shopping and general errand running that sees me refilling the tank again, I really begin to appreciate the MG3′s interior room and large boot – and curse its short range. For some more alternative views, I thought I’d run it down to my friends at the local MINI dealer. Although the MG3 is in a different market sector to the MINI and isn’t be expected to compete, I was keen to see what my mates Paul Raynes and Gareth Earl – both sales execs for Wollaston MINI – would think of the new MG3.

Paul jumps in and starts poking and prodding. ‘Looks good. Quality’s there, the dashboard plastics aren’t bad and there’s nothing that stands out as being badly made. The instruments and stereo are good and I like the way the dials sweep when you turn on the ignition.’ A quick spin confirms his initial positive impressions. ‘The steering’s good – a tiny bit light, but nice and quick and full of feel. The engine’s smooth and it pulls pretty well. It doesn’t really put a foot wrong and it certainly drives better than something like a Fiat 500.’

However, whereas I think of it as the ideal young person’s car, Paul has some other ideas. ‘I think it loses something for not being available as a three-door car. But it looks right, modern and would make a great second car.’ Not a bad summary.

My week is up, and I’ve had more time to formulate my own opinions about the MG3. And on another grey and damp Monday morning, they begin to crystallise as the delivery truck turns up to take it away. The two-man crew is local to Longbridge and the guys are happy to see the car getting out and about. ‘Everyone we’ve delivered it to has come back saying how much they like it – and I hear that they’ve sold every car they’ve brought in from China so far. But it’s sad that Longbridge is a shadow of its former self’. I do like getting the delivery guys’ views of any test cars – they hear things first hand and generally tell it like it is.

Overall, I think it’s a bit of a result for the MG3. I’ve been accused of giving the car a bit of a soft ride, so it seemed the correct thing to do to sound out as many people as possible about it – enthusiasts as well as those who have a passing interest in cars. Just like it was with the MG6 at launch, the ’3 creates a good impression. But this time around, MG has got the pricing just right and seems to be spending some money on advertising, so it’s a huge step in the right direction. After a week with it, I reckon it’s a good choice for the buyers it seems to have been honed for.

Would I recommend an MG3? Yes, it’s a winner with reservations, but I’ll be happier when I know it’s being built in Britain. If you’re young, in the market for a stylish, fun warm hatch that’s cheap to insure, it’ll be right up your street. Just as long as you have a dealer nearby and don’t mind getting 40mpg. The me of 20 years ago would have loved the MG3, but I think the me of now would prefer to go for a specced-up Dacia Sandero instead.

My week with - MG3 (7)

One happy emoticon – and overall, I felt the same after a week’s tooling around the MG3.

Specifications

Dimension(mm) 3999/1728/1517
Wheelbase(mm) 2520
Luggage capacity(l) 256/938
Engine NSE 1.5L petrol, 16V, DOHC
Displacement(cc) 1498
Max power(bhp/rpm) 104/6000
Max torque(lb ft/rpm) 100/4500
Top speed(mph) 115
Emission Euro V
Suspension Front MacPherson /Rear Torsion Beam
Brake Front disc brakes/Rear drum brakes

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Editor at AROnline and @hjclassics. Likes cars, taking pictures, travelling and knee-high boots...


47 Responses

  1. Neil Turner - December 24, 2013

    Great review Keith :-)

  2. mikelike - December 24, 2013

    What a shame the night time wiper shot didn’t get the dash in and we could of seen that red illumination of instrumentation.
    Wonderful article and well written and very honest , myself in my forties and know how our buying preferences do change as we go through life. I must say though , the Chinese will learn faster than any nation has before it, when it comes to building motorcars , be patient , MG has a huge future !!

  3. francis brett francis brett - December 24, 2013

    Splendid story as always, just seen a advert in one of the wife’s magazines, and it looks the part.

  4. Keith Adams Keith Adams - December 24, 2013

    @mike

    Just for you, I’ve added one…

  5. mikelike - December 25, 2013

    Awesome Keith have a wonderful Christmas and all the best, cheers

  6. bartelbe - December 25, 2013

    The engine isn’t good enough, simple as that. You got under 40 mpg, which is appalling. You claim that you were driving like a young person, but also say the engine gives most of its power over 4000 rpm.

    So you need to rev it to get anything out of it. It also has high emissions, which won’t help with the tax, and a large capacity engine, that won’t endear it to insurance companies.

    It maybe good enough for China, but it needs more than an interior trim upgrade and a chasis tune up to be ready for the UK market.

  7. Keith Adams Keith Adams - December 25, 2013

    Hi Bartelbe

    Merry Christmas to you!

    These are all valid points, but as I said in the piece, it needs to be put in context of the purchase price, and what alternatives there are for the money. You probably also want to look at the emissions figures for rival petrol cars – at the money – and see how they perform.

    The point about insurance companies is also untrue – the car has been confirmed in Group 4, which is incredibly low. An exercise worth undertaking is to draw up a list of all the cars that outperform it, are cleaner, and more economical – as well as come in at a comparable price. I certainly don’t think it’s perfect – but the MG3 is a very capable niche product.

    What MG really needs to content with is its thin dealer network, and blind prejudice.

  8. francis brett francis brett - December 25, 2013

    @6 Did you read the article properly? The car is sound.

    I would sooner buy this 1.5 powered car than any VAG 1.0,1.2 or 1.4 powered Polo knowing I have signed up for the engine swap lottery such is the severe oil consumption with their inadequate piston rings- four of them in last week to weigh the remaining oil and send off samples to receive the same response-throw a new engine in.

  9. subout - December 25, 2013

    When the new range of 3-cylinder engines and DCT transmissions being developed with GM reach the MG3, MG will really make huge market share gains

  10. Dave Dawson - December 25, 2013

    Well, it’s all very positive – a likeable car, a good road test, a great price, a popular (rather than declining) market sector. From what I’ve seen, I like the 3.
    Don’t think yellow would be my first choice though.

    Francis @ 8 – My Mum drives a Y plate low tune 1.4 Polo with a heady 11k miles on the clock. Even at this mileage I’ve recently noted heavy oil consumption (approx. 1 pint in 1k miles – it’s now being used much more heavily). I suspected something serious. Looks like the piston rings then….

  11. David - December 25, 2013

    Mediocre Generic

    :-(

  12. francis brett francis brett - December 25, 2013

    @10
    Hi David, a pint every 1k miles is considered normal.
    Every single engine consumes oil, those that say their oil never drops is because they have “gained” oil via fuel dilution.

    With such low miles on your mums car I would suspect gummed and varnished rings in the bores, maybe it should get out more and be driven like its nicked!

  13. Dave Dawson - December 25, 2013

    Thanks, Francis. I’ll give it a damn good thrashing before the new year!!

  14. Paul Taylor Paul Taylor - December 25, 2013

    Is 16″ the largest wheel size, Keith? They look a wee bit small in the photos, but I’m not sure if it’s the car’s high waistline that is creating that illusion, for want of a better word.

  15. alex scott nzl 69 alex scott - December 25, 2013

    I think these cars needs their own film….They should have slipped one into the Skyfall movie with Ole Defender. Or perhaps instead of the Italian job, do a French Job and steel 3 car loads of the best French Wine (for example) but actually make it back home….alex

  16. Britcarlife - December 26, 2013

    Are those space-saver spare wheels, they look tiny in those pics? Doesn’t help the image much really.

    The emoticons are bizarre….

  17. Paul Pig - December 26, 2013

    I saw one!

  18. Glenn A - December 26, 2013

    For the money not a bad car and it should be promoted in the way Dacia are successfully promoting the Sandero.

  19. Brian - December 26, 2013

    The MG3 looks like a decent effort from the Chinese. 15 years ago Korean cars were little more than a laughing stock, a cheap run-around for people who don’t care about what’s on the drive. Today Hyundai and Kia are real contenders for best in class. MG has real potential as a brand across Europe and in the US, with a rich history which is potentially very marketable. If the Chinese can keep improving the product and get the branding right there is no reason MG can’t fight for class honours within a decade.

  20. bartelbe - December 26, 2013

    7 I will acept your point about insurance, but all its rivals come with engine options. The Sandero has 0.9, a 1.2 and a 1.5 diesel. The Skoda Citigo is also available in that price bracket, with a far supperior engine and dealer support network.

    If blind patriotism couldn’t save the original Rover group, it won’t save this mainly Chinese company, if it keeps offering subpar products.

  21. Chris Baglin - December 26, 2013

    Sounds very encouraging- the styling does look a little generic (but I’m liking it better the more pics of it I see).

    Not sure I’d buy one- me being in my mid-forties (Volvo 960 Automatics have started to seem much more appealing of late) but I wish it well.

  22. Tony - December 26, 2013

    I thought a little final assembly was being undertaken at Longbridge like the 6.

    Balanced, well reasoned review as ever Keith.

    I hope the 3 does well.

  23. Hilton D - December 27, 2013

    Looks a bit boy racer’ish in that lemon colour, but perhaps that’s their aim to go up against the likes of Vauxhall Adam, Citroen DS3 etc. I suppose the same was said about the MG ZR. Anyhow, I do wish it well in promoting the MG brand in the coming years. I hope to buy another MG in my lifetime but perhaps not the “3″

  24. Mike Bushell - December 27, 2013

    Great story, interesting car. Still not seen one and I live in Birmingham

  25. Dave Dawson - December 27, 2013

    bartelbe – @ 20

    ” 7 I will acept your point about insurance, but all its rivals come with engine options. The Sandero has 0.9, a 1.2 and a 1.5 diesel. The Skoda Citigo is also available in that price bracket, with a far supperior engine and dealer support network.

    If blind patriotism couldn’t save the original Rover group, it won’t save this mainly Chinese company, if it keeps offering subpar products. ”

    The current only one engine option does not make the 3 a bad car !! It simply makes it a limited range. If the 1.5 petrol is what you’re after you won’t need “blind patriotism” to buy the 3 in preference to, say, the Kia offering.

    What, may I ask, prompts your lack of support for the 3, MG UK ? “Subpar products” seems harsh.

  26. Keith Adams Keith Adams - December 27, 2013

    Didn’t I say in my piece that it’s a ‘niche product’? And the positive recommendation is based on whether you fit that niche really…

  27. francis brett francis brett - December 27, 2013

    A Polo GTi would be considered niche.
    If you want a Sandero with an engine other than the 1.2 the cost of the car creeps up and over a three year period the cost of running the thing is nothing to write home about.

  28. Martec - December 27, 2013

    The insurance grouping is fairly low, the Co2 compares similar to the 1.6 petrol DS3, the engine is actually fairly nippy. It makes me wonder if the press cars are tuned slightly differently from customer cars as I seem to get a rush of power just above 2k revs.
    As for MPG, I suggest you look at the real world figures that these other small displacement turbo charged engines are actually achieving.

    To sum up, it’s an attractive well built car with some nice touches an absolutely huge interior space for it’s sector and a cheeky charm that others just don’t have.

  29. Keith Adams Keith Adams - December 27, 2013

    Yup – the Fiat 500 TwinAir I had on test this time last year averaged 38mpg, with a real world average of about 43mpg. Which is around the same as the MG3. I generally report real world mpg…

  30. Craig England - December 27, 2013

    An excellent read. Thanks.

    I can see why MG UK are shifting so many.

    What I cant see, is why there are still so many negative comments on here.

  31. Dave Dawson - December 28, 2013

    @ 28
    ” To sum up, it’s an attractive well built car with some nice touches an absolutely huge interior space for it’s sector and a cheeky charm that others just don’t have. ”

    In a nutshell !

  32. Nigel Davies - December 28, 2013

    30. You can “see why MG UK are shifting so many”, you’re joking right?
    The SMMT new registration figures for the MG3 have so far been very disappointing (that’s the polite description).
    TOTAL MG Motor new registrations (including any for MG6):
    August = 13
    September = 104
    October = 36
    November = 75
    It’s too early to make any conclusions, but come April 2014 when the new registration figures for March 2014 are released, we will have more of an idea where MG Motor are heading in the UK.

    I’m sure the MG3 is a half decent offering but it is obvious from the numerous reviews that the current engine is not to everyone’s taste which will hit sales. I disagree that it is a niche car, I think it can be more correctly described as an acquired taste!

    Make no mistake, MG Motor have some serious work on their hands, but do they currently have what it takes to achieve success? I for one am not convinced.

  33. Craig England - December 28, 2013

    @6

    You clearly havent even seen or driven the car yet have cast assumptions about its quality?!

    You are a shining example of the mountain of prejudice that MG UK have to climb.

    @32

    You also seem to be of the negativity ilk.

    They have, so far, sold the 750 cars that they were alloted for 2013, the job now is to deliver and register them.

    Im sure that you cant have missed all of the talk of 3-4 month waiting lists/ lead times?!

  34. Glenn A - December 28, 2013

    Maybe MG should look at recruiting a few former MG Rover dealers, paying for advertising during televised football matches to promote the 3( it does seem to be aimed at a younger male market) and get more advertising in the papers. For the money, and the base model is £ 8600, this isn’t a bad car and putting larger engines into small cars tends to give them plenty of performance.

    I don’t really rate the MG 6, but the 3 seems like a decent enough product.

  35. Dave Dawson - December 28, 2013

    Nigel @ 32

    ” the current engine is not to everyone’s taste which will hit sales ”
    ” I think it can be more correctly described as an acquired taste! ”
    ” Make no mistake, MG Motor have some serious work on their hands, but do they currently have what it takes to achieve success? I for one am not convinced. ”

    Well, yes, we’ve already said that only one engine option will limit sales. However, the currently limited range is not reason to criticise the model which IS available or doubt the abilities of the MG UK team!

  36. Nigel Davies - December 28, 2013

    33. Like I said, I’m making no conclusions until the March 2014 new registration figures (the busiest month for new registrations). I await with interest when the supposed 750 sold cars are registered.

    35. I didn’t actually criticise the MG3 for having a single engine option, I merely suggested that the engine characteristics will not be to everyone’s taste, which by definition will restrict sales opportunities. However some would argue that having a single engine is a very valid reason for criticism, it is after all 2013 and not 1973!
    I don’t think I am the only one who is frustrated by MG Motor, whether this is a team issue or a financial one I don’t know, but either way there is plenty of room for improvement.

  37. Barry Scott - December 29, 2013

    Time to take a fresh view on this one. Like the Maestro, remember the Turbo and Clubman variants before it, the MG car has many detractors. It is to no avail, sadly. For as with Golf there was a GTi, just not the one my dad wanted.

    Celebrate instead the return of a once derided marque, comically set aside for now. One day maybe even the 75 will be recycled, as with the trend in Chinese manufacture. Not surprised, be certain..instead.

  38. Barry Scott - December 29, 2013

    Apologies, just reading back my post and it didn’t make much sense. iPhone keyboard and public transport are not a great combination!

  39. francis brett francis brett - December 29, 2013

    The allocation for the MG3 for 2013/14 does not exceed some 3000 units does it not?

    A drop in the ocean compared to Corsa or Fiesta, so maybe its an astute move on SAIC’s behalf. After all, with all the xenophobia masquerading as its generic, its this, its that or being compared to a Sandero that it a bastard child of Renault filled with decade+ old parts which is not even comparable to the MG3 perhaps its no wonder it has only one engine option.

    Personally I think its the right engine in this size of car, who wants to thrash a three pot about? Its easy to say “oh what about the Ford 1.0L ecoboost?” but you would never ever see that in a Fiesta at this price level.

  40. Dave Dawson - December 29, 2013

    @ 36

    OK, Nigel. I thought you were saying a 1.5 petrol is not to everyone’s taste. Fair enough, the engine’s characteristics may not appeal to all. This could be said of various rivals though. I still see room for healthy sales to those it’s aimed at, suits.
    True, one engine option is very limiting. However, I think this reflects SAIC’s slow, steady approach. The acquisition of MGR would have brought a leap forward on the home market. SAIC were probably content with this and saw no need to quickly conquer the rest of the world.

    BUT, at the end of the day it’s all speculation – only time will tell!!

  41. Rockin Rover - December 30, 2013

    My son and I have visited Charles Warner in Lincoln several times to see firstly the MG6 and then the MG3 and I’ve got to say we are impressed (when expecting not to be) by not only the look and build quality of the cars, but by the little details and MG Rover DNA still to be seen in there (or as a 75 and ZT owner am I looking too hard!) The dealership is friendly, efficient, seems positive for the future and are very happy with the MG3 sales since it’s launch.

  42. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick - December 30, 2013

    A huge number of cars have been defined by a single engine option’s dominance.

    The Mk 2 Golf is complete with with injected 1.8 – GTi or not.
    The Subaru Impreza is commonly thought to only be a 2.0 turbo.
    The Suzuki Ignis’ one outstanding model – the underrated Sport – was a 1.5. Most people forget the Ignis existed.
    300Cs are pointless with a V6 petrol and a fish out of water in the competitive V6 diesel sector – but stand proud with a Hemi.

    So MG don’t have a bargain basement 1.0. They don’t need it – the car is already bargain basement money.

    They don’t have a diesel. Good. Small, angry, unreliable diesels are pointless for the school run/commute urban horror that kills DPFs and creates noise pollution.

    They don’t have a high-performance variant – well, really, why would they? The car has yet to find an identity upon which to build such a thing.

    What it does have is a flexible, pleasant engine that delivers enough performance to enjoy the chassis and works with the weight of the car without excessive complexity.

    It’s a really nice package. This is comparable in price to a C1 or maybe a really stripped out C3 petrol model, the new one. It is a much better car than the C1 and a much nicer package – nicer steering, more kit – than the C3.

    Fundamentally if you’re looking for a sub-£10K 5 door small car, try one and give your feedback; if you’re not and haven’t tried one, repeating the same tripe overheard in the pub or What Car? is a bit pointless, no? I genuinely couldn’t believe the What Car? comments about the engine, btw. Without going back to back with one, the impression I got was of a nicer unit than say, the 1.5 VVTi in the last Prius I drove. I keep harking back to the Ignis Sport – and what a great little thing that was. Fairly sure it had less kit and cost relatively more, being something like £10K in 2004, too.

  43. Paul Pig - January 1, 2014

    @42. Spot on. Say no more.

  44. B wright - February 11, 2014

    Without doubt a ‘stonking’ bit of kit. Breaks the mold in terms of quality with value. Drives beautifully and has more standard kit than the competition costing half as much again.The design is a masterstroke of forward projection whilst allowing practicality well beyond the target consumer. The silly personalisation graphics could have been avoided and my own feeling is the marketing is a misjudged. Young first timers are not in the 10 _ 11k market when a four year old fiesta or Corsa can be acquired for sub 4k The real target here are the second car middle class or first car professionals. GOOD LUCK MG you have a cracking product.

  45. Owen - March 9, 2014

    Took a test drive today in a 3 form sport, luckily I have an MG dealer 15 miles from home. Have to say the car felt remarkable solid inside and drove very nicely indeed. Seriously thinking about changing my Citroën C3 for one. My only real concern is the 6 year anti rust warranty when most other manufacturers offer double that. The last car I owned with a 6 year bodywork cover was a ford sportka and that started rotting away at 18 months old.

  46. David 3500 - March 9, 2014

    I must confess that I have not driven the MG3 although I did spend quite a bit of time pushing, prodding and inspecting the example on the Brown & Gammons’ trade stand at the recent MG and Triumph International Spares Day.

    What surprised me immediately was the quality and consistency of paint finish, not just on the surface but under the removable boot floor where the spare wheel sits, around the tailgate drainage gullies and even in the engine bay. My travelling companion – who is a Jaguar X Type owner and also a serial Old Skool Saab and rear-wheel drive Volvo owner (so he knows a thing or two about quality) – was rather impressed with the paint finish and muttered something about it being better than that found on his X Type. Praise indeed.

    Even the lovely dampened controls for the air vents, the heavy weight feel of the glovebox lid and thud of the doors impressed. Admittedly I still don’t like its styling (which is of course a subjective matter) or its limited engine line-up. But my travelling companion does sum it up rather well: “If I was looking for a value-for-money small hatchback which is probably fun to drive and does not have too much in the way of unnecessary equipment gizmos, I would seriously consider this in preference to the equivalent Kia, Hyundai or Citroen.”

    Its a very positive start for MG.

  47. Owen - March 14, 2014

    Today I’ve taken delivery of my new MG 3 style in ‘hello yellow ‘. Loving the way it drives and looks, hope it proves to be a faultlessly reliable as my old Citroën c3 which didn’t put a foot wrong in 3 years and 50,000 miles.

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