News : MG3 revealed with personalisation options

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Photography: Adam Sloman

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MG unveiled the full range of styles for the UK MG3 at its Birmingham-based European Design Centre.  The new 3 carries forward many of the styling cues first illustrated on the MG ZERO concept car, again designed at SAIC Motor’s European Design Centre.

The UK studio has just undergone an additional investment and is now more than double its original size. It opened just three years ago in what was then a £5 million capital programme. The MG3 is designed to target young buyers, who are attracted by the level of personalisation available on the likes of the Citroen DS3, Fiat 500, MINI and recently launched Vauxhall Adam, but who are looking at more affordable B-segment models such as the Kia Rio, Skoda Fabia and Suzuki Swift.

From launch, MG3 customers will be able to personalise both the exterior and interior. It will be offered with three trim levels, ten colours and a range of at least ten Graphic Packs. No prices were confirmed at the unveiling of the UK-specification model, but entry-level models are mooted to be coming in at less than £10,000.

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Depending on the model choice, exterior highlights include 16” Diamond cut alloy wheels, unique LED ‘hockey stick’ daytime running lights, sport-design bumper, side sill extensions, rear spoiler, sports-design rear valance, chrome exhaust finishers and MG insert headlamps.

Inside the MG3, again depending on trim level and options, key features will be  an easy to use air conditioning system, six-speaker audio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, DAB radio, USB/Aux input, automatic lights, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, ‘ZERO’ design fabric seats and part-leather trim.

The MG3 chassis has been honed by British Engineers from hundreds of thousands of miles of testing on European roads. Guy Jones, MG Motor UK’s Sales and Marketing Director, said: ‘This new MG3 is a great package for the increasing number of European customers looking for a stylish small car, that’s affordable and practical to own. It’s got a distinctive, cheeky style and will be fun to buy, own and drive, yet still affordable for a wide range of people. It’s the modern interpretation of a small, fun MG and shows how we will take the essence of this iconic brand into the future.’

Full specifications and prices will be announced nearer to the public launch over MG3. Production will start in Longbridge later this year and it is anticipated that dealer demonstrators will be in showrooms by September.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

67 Comments

  1. The MG3 is growing on me, although I’m still not 100% on the Hyundai-ish front end.

    As long as they actually bother to advertise it and it’s not priced stupidly I think that MG could be onto a bit of a winner here…

    Not so sure on the union flag roof either… That design oesn’t look quite right.

    I REALLY hope they have learnt from their mistakes with the 6.

  2. I wish the 3 the very best, but I’m concerned that the interior especially looks a little low-rent to be competing with the likes of the MINI and 500, which people like my wife find very attractive. Fom the pictures I’ve seen so far the 3 doesn’t really look like it has the je ne sais quoi to go up against the Euro bad boys. I feel MG should be aiming at providing some cheap and colourful competition for the grey likes of Hyundai/Kia/Toyota.

  3. Wow! This is superb, much better than I dared hope for. The graphics acks look amazing esp weave and mod oct. this is the car to stick it to those foreign cars so adored by JC et al. MG3 FTW!

  4. MG management have well & truly lost it comparing this to the MINI, DS3 et al. Some of the colour / sticker options look really good, but they can’t disguise the fact that the car underneath is actually quite basic & dated. From some angles the ‘3 is well-proportioned but from others it’s just plain odd – a curious mix of styles & influences. I see Punto at the back. Fabia at the side. Swift at the front three-quarter. The face is like a slightly different take on the facelifted Hyundai i20 – a neat design but in no way a crowd pleaser like the FIAT 500 or the MINI. The interior looks quite dated, and the iPhone / sat nav cradle looks like a Halfords or eBay special.

    On Facebook a well-respected MG fan who I’ve got a lot of time for says the aim is for the ‘3 to be aspirational AND affordable at the same time. I don’t get it. For many people a MINI is an aspirational car due in large part to its pricing, but also it’s well-honed image, perceived & actual quality, residual vales, etc. A Dacia Sandero is an affordable car again largely in part to its pricing. It has an honest image but you know you’re going to have to sacrifice to varying degrees on perceived & actual quality. Put a Sandero and a MINI beside one another and I’d argue most folk (not all) would say they want the MINI cause it’s the aspirational product. If MG is courting some kind of middle ground then I fear it’s the wrong strategy, as the ‘3 will represent not enough of the ‘aspirational’ or the ‘affordable’ to really capture folks’ interest.

    A wiser strategy would be to explicitly go for the Corsa / Punto market where the customisation options will be viewed positively. Both these rivals are still selling well (more so the Corsa) despite their age, and MG could do well by targeting them. The buying public are more sophisticated than MG give them credit, and they’ll readily see through any pretentious claims that the ‘3 is a MINI rival. Honest marketing combined with honest pricing and a realistic view of where the ‘3 can take sales and we may have the beginnings of a modest MG recovery. Have to say though, my expectations are pretty low.

  5. Is it just me, or is the interior (seats/dash/instruments) dull looking compared with the competition i.e. Fiat 500, Mini, etc?

  6. Skoda fabias with white roofs make me cringe, this is pretty much the same. I can’t imagine who’d buy this. That said people bought the fabias

  7. Have to agree no one currently owning or in the market for a MINI, 500 or a DS3 is going to seriously consider this MG…..reminds me too much of this ‘Counterfeit MINI’ USA advert! 🙂

  8. Ant @6 above,

    I attended the MG3 Media Launch Event at MG Birmingham for AROnline yesterday and have now edited the second paragraph to more accurately reflect my understanding of where MG Motor UK intends to position the MG3 in the B-segment.

    Incidentally, my apologies to all our readers – I am on holiday this week and so intend to have my story on yesterday’s unveiling ready for publication by next Wednesday or Thursday.

  9. Clive @ 10

    Thanks for that – your interpretation certainly makes more sense. However, I see a number of sites are maintaining that MG’s management sees the ‘3 as a genuine rival for the premium brigade.

    Perhaps MG would be better served having you in charge of their media management? 😉

  10. @ Post 2 – Shep:

    Quote: “I like the octagon-shaped target thingy”

    I am only guessng here, but it is inspired by the bulls-eye design of an archery target board, albeit with an octagonal interpretation. Alternatively, it could be MG Motor UK Ltd’s take on the Roundell design that was the official marking of Royal Air Force aircraft, particularly during the First and Second World Wars.

  11. Yep! They’ve blown it again. Ideas above their station. The interior is too utilitarian and not funky enough to compare to the MINI/500/DS3 that this sort of marketing is clearly aimed at. Even the cynically marketed Vauxhall Adam is doing a better job.

    The car should have been pitched as an alternative to the FIAT Panda and Dacia models, with the USP of the MG being that it has a better badge than the utilitarian offerings. They would have cleared up if they’d done this.

  12. That’s a great looking little car. Far better thann the MG6.
    I hope to see these Longbridge assembled MG3 in French showrooms very soon!

  13. Did they say what the UK build content would be? Is the customisation done at the factory or the dealer?

  14. Steven @ 13

    Thanks for the clarification there. Unfortunately if you mention brands & cars like MINI, DS3 and FIAT 500 in the same sentence as your own car it’s inevitable that journalists will discern that you’re making a comparison. That seems to be what’s happening in the coverage.

    If MG genuinely know what the ‘3s market niche is likely to be then my expectations are improving 😉

  15. The single visual aspect of a small car that determines whether it has ‘yoof’ appeal is the stance, which is largely dictated by the size and spacing of the wheels.

    If these fill the arches then job done. If they look like the Metro’s originals then it will be consigned to pensioner territory immediately.

    The market still doesn’t have a reasonably priced SAXO VTR, XR3, MGZR equivalent (the DS3 gets closest to my eyes) so MG have a real opportunity to fill that gap.

  16. I think the MG3 will be an almost uniquely involving drive compared to its immediate competitors. For a start its got a larger that class norm engine complete with VVC.

    Then its got a fully hydraulic power steering set-up. The valving has been calibrated racing, sorry carefully driving across Wales and then up the the Highlands of Scotland. No track days or smooth European roads to hone ride and handling.

    And while the ride has been lowered compared to Chinese spec cars, it still has a generous wheel travel. It retains a proper handbrake too……..

  17. well after the latest health and safety results from the inside ,i think ne one wiv a little bit upstairs will pass .mini it aint ,and i suppose after the major sales drive achieved by the mg6 diesel ,another mickey mouse advertisement disaster is in the offing ,do they advertise or just bring em over in cans wiv the customer given an opener to see wot there getting ,

  18. and the workforce has really expanded aint it ,no not engineers the shop floor .if there is one last count 20 .yes expanding as a company nicely ,when the pisstake is over and all those who were assessed 3 yrs ago and offered jobs perhaps we mite take ya seriously and not given a role cos ya face fit s

  19. So it’s being pitched as a car from someone who wants an audi or a mini but can only afford a fiesta? The public is bound to see it’s natural place as a ‘car for someone who wants a fiesta but can only afford a Dacia…’.

    Quite a convincing job of tarting it up MG, but you can’t hide the utilitarian emerging-market car that’s underneath- especially that 5-year old interior design!

    The MG3 really does show that the recipe of SAIC+ UK design team COULD work, if they were given the right base-product to tweak! I really hope they survive long enough to get to have another go on a 2018 MG3!

  20. The patterns I am seeing here more suit the modern day spins on classic designs like the aforementioned MINI and Fiat 500. The MG3 looks OK in itself, even if it is a pastiche of some of the other cars on the market, but the appearance packages make it look cheap and tacky. However, if they plan to go after younger people with it, MG will need to get serious about its advertising and marketing.

  21. Well, I like it. Rear end is my fav. They’ve done well brushing up the interior though it still looks basic compared to rivals. DAB should be standard on all models and I think they should ditch all this customisation malarkey and just go for the lowest price they can – with good offers like free insurance and finance.

  22. The more I see of the MG3 the more I like it. Keen to see one in the flesh to see if I do get an “oh yes, I like that!” reaction.

    Me thinks MG could be on to something offering MINI, Fiat 500 etc trendiness at a more budget price.

  23. Those electric window switches look like they have come straight out of a Daewoo Nexia, but overall not a bad looking car.

  24. This has a real chance of succeeding with a modicum of local press coverage and marketing (if there are local dealers to support it). There will always be a market for new, cheap, affordable runarounds (no-one buys a Hyunndai or Corsa for any other reason).

  25. Cheers Clive, that edit makes far more sense. I didn’t believe for a moment that the 3 could seriously take on the MINI or 500.

  26. I see it as a direct contender to the latest Skoda Fabia(same size + similar looks) which some dealers are offering @ £8995 brand new (with some discount). Therefore; For the MG3 to suceed, its got to be NOT “under £10,000″…But nearer £8000!..Say? £8495 + a min. 5 Year warrenty thrown in + Free Servicing and possibly Free insurance or contributions towards it. If not?…It dead in the water!. It has to get back to what the basic MG ZR did…With low prices,low insurance,some sporty wheels…and 1st -time drivers will buy them + give it some “street-cred”.

  27. On second thoughts…£8495 is still too dear!. Make it £7995, which is STILL £500 more than a 61 plate MG6 from a dealer (+before discount) + 5 year warranty + some low deposit/insurance / interest payment deal + some sporty wheels …and they will fly out of the showroom + “Be seen” on the UK roads!..which is its best advert,yet. It may also improve the MG6 image + 2nd hand prices of MG6’s may even start to rise?

  28. the colour of that MG3 above looks like the same as my two land rovers (venetian red). might have to get one for the Mrs. alex

  29. I like the MG3 its a great looking car and its looking better each time I see the photos. I still don’t like the MG6 styling though. alex

  30. “On second thoughts…£8495 is still too dear!”

    This substantial, well equipped, massively better than the things we paid £8K for when a house was £40K and we were lucky to earn £10K a year product is TOO EXPENSIVE!

    You realise that the list price of my economy-spec C3 Airdream was £15,000 three years ago, right? And it doesn’t even have alloy wheels. Loss-leading uber-basic 107/C1s are £7995. Stick the kit on a Sandero to match the MG3, and the Sandero would cost more if I’m reading the MG3’s spec right.

    There seems almost to be a feeling that MG practically need to give the cars away to compete. I swear the UK’s attitude to car values is skewed beyond belief.

  31. (as for used cars, my 300C cost less secondhand than a new Fiesta. But then I didn’t want a new Fiesta. The value of a new small car compared to a secondhand large car is irrelevant 🙂 )

  32. Some comments on here remind me of the football talk in the works canteen, guestimates,conjecture and downright lack of knowledge.

    Jettison the CO2 and engine size nonsense and here is a smart looking decent value car. For an decent spec/toys Focus new its the best part of £20k a Fiesta £12-14k anything cheaper in the showroom will be a decontented hack.

    The cabin looks cohesive and has simple functionality,its a small car it dont need buttons and telematics of an S Class.
    I can imagine the comments on this story if the badges said Suzuki.

  33. I think that MG have done right by starting the MG3 just under the magic £10k price point – any cheaper or dearer and people may have been put off, £10k starting price is just right.

    On the subject of what cars used to cost, my parents bought a nearly-new Fiesta 1.8DL for £8k (new list price £9k) and a ten month old Mondeo 2.0 Si for £12k (new list price £17k) back in 1994. This at a time when their three bedroom cottage with two garages and gardens to three sides was worth £50k. Yes, the equivalent Fiesta would cost about £12k and the Mondeo about £22k now, but wages have at least doubled in that time and house prices have shot through the roof. Plus cars are so much better equipped now – the Fiesta’s pop-up sunroof was a £500 optional extra and the Mondeo didn’t have air conditioning or electric back windows! (BTW, they kept them both for 16 years believe it or not, so they certainly got their money’s worth out of them!)

    The cost of the tiny city cars like the Pug 107, Citroen C1 etc is not realistic, as Richard so rightly said these are loss-leader cars, the main aim of which is to reduce the manufacturer’s overall CO2 figure and to make money from servicing, return custom, accessories etc. Plus the car manufacturers keep these city cars in production for a long time to recoup their development costs; the C1/107/Aygo is nearly a decade old now.

    Back to the MG3, I really think that this is the model that MG should have relaunched with rather than the MG6. Small cars are big business and the MG3 has the right kind of sporting overtones to wear the MG badge, certainly as much as the MG-Z range ever did.

  34. Re:#37 + #38 – Richard Kilpatrick

    Richard; Yes – I feel on this occasion that MG must almost “give these cars away”, as the damage has already been done with the MG6. Had the MG6 been launched at a price starting at £3-4k LESS than its launch price of £15,995? + also been offered with a 5 year or even better, a 7 year warranty,at the start…Then; im sure there would be more MG6’s on the road. Going back to Skoda,…They priced themselves as low/good value at the start,when they got taken over by VW..But now, its “acceptable” to have a a Skoda Superb at nearly £30k (Probably laughable, over a decade ago!).

    I really wish the MG3 + particularly the MG brand well (Being a committee member of the MGCC + owner of a ZT260+MGF,myself!).

    Clarkson wrote about the new Fiesta ST, the other month ..and started by saying the “sum of the parts” etc. + why is an Audi R8, at nearly 100k , still half the price of a Lambo etc.
    Similarly; How come a Louis Vuitton handbag can cost a zillion times more than some bag from M+S etc.

    We live in a world of image and branding, now…And unfortunately I feel MG have “nearly lost it” and cannot aim to start charging what the former MG Rover brands,once did…Or what they’re competitors currently are!

    They have to almost re-start from the bottom again…and the only way to get these cars sold, is to get people in the showrooms + buy themb (Remember the TF is no-more…so they dont have that car to attract them in)…and “Price” is their only hope,i feel?.
    And once people realise they arent too bad then ,slowly, prices can start to increase – like Skoda once did,for example.

    As for comparing to a 2nd hand MG6 – I know what you mean …But I wouldnt call a dealer sold,low mileage, 61/62 Reg MG6 as being a drastically different alternative to buying a brand new MG3.
    We’re talking about a “nearly new” MG6 vs a “brand new” MG3, whereby the MG3 is costing MORE than a, perceived?, “better” MG6?

  35. i do wonder at people who say the mg3 at under £10k is expensive ,when i remember purchasing a brand new zr 105 in 2005 which had a list price of £10k , bearing in mind that was 8 years ago and most prces have gone up on avarage 2-3% minimum every year since i have to say it is good value. i know comparing it with the dacia sandero makes it look dear, but, that cars technology has already been bought and paid for by renault several years ago and that really is the only way to make the price so low , mg have had to start from scratch ,so more costs have to be covered ,personally i lke it . if i was in the market for a brand new car it would be seriously considered.

  36. The MG6 isnt overpriced for what is on offer,its larger than a Focus,is specced to death,its only problem is marketing and what segment it sits in terms of car size,and maybe because its Chinese.

    @40,Wages have doubled for the few,but the cost of living,energy prices and fuel are stratospheric which means that more folk are out of pocket.Back in 1994 my gas bills would be Circa £275 a year. Today i pay £177 a month, or a MINI on contract hire.

  37. I think the 3 should sell better than the 6 (but that shouldn’t be difficult). The multi colour and graphics choice seems to follow the trend set by MINI, Citroen DS3 and Vaux Adam.

    Looks okay but almost reminds me of the late 70s/early 80s when many owners had colourful vinyl stripes applied to thir cars… sometimes OTT!

  38. I think this is more viable than the 6.

    Cars are still sold at this price bracket/size bracket.

    lets see if this minor brand can step up.

    Its about time.

  39. Francis 39
    “The cabin looks cohesive and has simple functionality”

    Yes indeed. The dash ultimately follows the modern theme but somehow manages to have a pleasant, simpler look of times gone by.

    Some may see the trim as too dark but I like it – the lighter sections on the seats along with the red graphics provide enough ‘up lift’. In a similar fashion, I like the largely dark interior of my ZR.

    On the outside, it’s all very pleasant and the side view, tall with small wheels, is surprisingly attractive, especially at the rear

  40. £7995!!!!!!
    I wouldn’t even pay £5995 for one. I’d rather take my chances with a Dacia Sandero!

  41. I reckon the market for these cars is patriotic older customers that don’t read Internet forums and want to buy British.

  42. Havent seen or driven one yet but its growing on me, am noticing more details that i likerather than dislike.

    Dacia’s are based on old tech and are clearly designed to reduce cost of manufacture. A pure and simple budget car., it looks it too.

  43. To be fair the dacia has the likes of the brilliant 900cc tCe engine which is hardly old tech.

    Compare that with what’s powering the 3.

  44. Michael Edwardes – I used to have an MG6, but because of the many faults & problems, I sold it at a loss & now have a British built Japanese car.
    MG Motors have some serious quality problems & to make it worse, they seem to think they can charge the same prices as other “established” manufacturers.
    Dacia are a budget brand, but at least they use tried & tested components from the Remualt/Nissan alliance which should guarantee reliability.

  45. Of all owners reviews in parkers price guide on the MG6 -5 reviews in total mind,the car recieved 5 stars.

  46. @56, Was they big problems or silly irritating ones? whichever car you buy nowadays its how those problems are resolved that make the difference,imagine if you bought a 308!

  47. Simon @ 49

    ” £7995!!!!!!
    I wouldn’t even pay £5995 for one. I’d rather take my chances with a Dacia Sandero! ”

    Is there really any need for such negativity?!

  48. Simon Satin – Further to my comment 60 –

    I appreciate that you’ve experienced an MG6 and had problems. However, were they really that huge, different to what you may have experienced elsewhere? MG may not be your choice anymore – fair enough. Like I said, though, is there really any need to be quite so harsh?

  49. Simon @ 56

    ” they seem to think they can charge the same prices as other “established” manufacturers. ”

    What is a ‘Brand’? Very often the premium price it commands is based largely on subjective or perceived factors – image. On this basis SAIC, Longbridge have an established brand which at least commands SOME premium.
    On more objective grounds, I think Longbridge are justified in charging more than a very budget price. There is a lot of tweaking going on for European drivers, consumers.

  50. Dont want to be consider negative, but expected more from the go faster stripes….first of all, they can use the rich MG racing heritage and not steal from classic mini (and consequentionally BINI) roof decalls (union jack and RAF roundell) and the white car with offset blue and red reminds me of some american livery…or the Gulf racing overall (like Steve mcqueen in 24h le mans…)

    ok want to see the car in real-cos on foto can be great-i remembel the Fiat grande punto-like a mini maserati on pics-but like a great shit in reality…..

    in my opinion they can do better, and can get inspiration from the MG F supersport if they want to play with heritage look or find new way but not coppy other brands

  51. Unfortunately it would appear that MG UK’s PR & Marketing team haven’t learned the basics. To rebuild confidence in the MG brand within these islands and the wider European market there needs to be serious investment in raising brand awareness through both traditional and more modern media channels. Some social media viral ads would be great to see, along with a focused campaign in the print media.

    MG badly needs some of the larger dealer groups on board such as Arnold Clark in Scotland & N England in order to get themselves up to a reasonable sales volume. The ‘3 may well be the car to help this (god knows the ‘6 has been a bit of a disaster – and I can personally attest to that), but none of them will sign up unless they have confidence that MG is here for the long haul and that they have models to sell and in development that are attractive to buyers – both private & fleet.

    Unfortunately, the botched handling of the ‘6 (wrong car, wrong launch engine) has opened the door to crushing depreciation and some reliability horror stories (granted, this has by no means been every owner’s experience), so MG is very much on the back foot.

    The media event last week had a number of respected magazines & internet blogs stating that MG were comparing the ‘3 to the MINI and DS3. Attempts have been made since then to adjust this to say that the ‘3 will suit those who want the MINI’s customisation but only have Fiesta money (see above). However, the association becomes this is a cheap, pretend MINI. And the ITV news piece did nothing to help this with it’s constant references to MINI and the suggestion that MG would prefer to call the ‘3 as such (Guy Jones refuted this, but the comparison was embarrassing).

    I really want the ‘3 to do well, and I want to see a resurgent MG as much as anyone. SAIC has deep coffers so why is it that we have to wait years for models to be launched, witness derisory attempts at marketing, and feel the whole sales (note sales, not design) operation is only here to keep a tenuous link to English heritage and the soul of the MG brand?

  52. I think there are two problems:-

    A. People think it comes from China (mosty right)thus expect a dirt cheap price.

    B. 107 bhp from a “Old” dog of an engine is not a lot.

    Getting there, but 3-5 years to go.

    Mega

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