MG3 3FORM SPORT VTi- TECH 106PS
MG, which is now owned by the Chinese company SAIC, launched the MG3 in the UK in 2013 & like it’s larger sibling the MG6 it is built in China with the final assembly taking place in the UK . However, it was styled in the UK & this perhaps gives us a clue as to where MG are going in the European market, because in the B segment that it competes in, it’s a rather appealing little number, only available with 5 doors & it looks like a cross between the cute Suzuki Swift & the more angular Skoda Fabia.
The B segment is the UK’s biggest market & is one that is still growing, so unlike the MG6 which sits in the D segment, a sector fast becoming redundant in the face of SUV growth, it’s a car that has the potential to grow the MG brand, especially with it’s main selling point, which is a low price, but with high spec, making it attractive to younger drivers on a tight budget.
What about that price ? Well, the range start’s at £8,399 & for this entry level model the 3TIME you get LED running lights, hill hold control & six air bags. If you want a bit more in your car then the mid-range 3FORM adds for just £900, air-con, Bluetooth, a DAB radio & audio streaming & for another £250, you can even get Sport trim, which my test car had which includes 16” alloys & sports body styling kit. The top of the range 3STYLE for an on the road price of £9,999 includes the Sport trim’s styling kit plus 16in “Diamond cut” alloy wheels, cruise control, parking sensors and auto lights & wipers. That is definitely great value for money.
The MG3 is a safe car too, with in addition to the 6 air bags & hill – hold control, ABS, EBD, EBA, SCS, tyre pressure monitoring & brake disc wiping. The interior is kitted out in black & grey , with nice touches of red around the air vents & audio controls on the dashboard lifting the colour scheme from the bland. The plastics used aren’t bad either & the simple dash board layout which consists of two dials, with the fuel gauge integrated in the speedo & a trip computer nestling between them is also quite appealing. The audio controls are easy to use & the Bluetooth connectivity also works well. The heater controls are a little bit fiddly & on full power there air con isn’t that powerful, but then neither is that fitted to my wife MINI Countryman & that costs twice as much as the MG.
There’s a useful cubby hole with roller-shutter lid on top of the dash, which contains both the USB & Aux in sockets & this also features Smart phone preparation as well. Further storage comes in the form of a small bin ahead of the gear lever & a single cupholder behind the handbrake.
Front passenger space is generous & in the rear, you’ll easily fit two large adults & the boot although hampered by a deep lip, offers a useful 285 litres of space. Fold down the standard 60:40 split rear seats & this increases to 1,262 litres of luggage space, pretty impressive in this small car sector.
The MG3 even drives well, especially on B roads. The MG engineers have managed to make this sub-10K car fun to drive. It’ been designed to offer well weighted steering,which means that turning quickly in & out of corners offers very little body roll & lots of grip, which is hard act to pull off particularly in it’s price bracket. The MG3 comes with a 5 speed gear box which is actually quite slick to use. However, the lack of real power from the 106 PS engine – peak torque is at 4,750rpm – means that you do have to change up & down quite a bit to get the fun factor going. And herein lies the only real problem with the MG3. Fuel economy & CO2 emissions.
Yes, it’s cheap to buy, personal PCP’s are offered from £99 per month or zero deposit, looks good, is very well equipped, offers low insurance from group 4E & is fun too drive, but with CO2 emissions of 136g/km & a claimed fuel economy of 48.7 mpg on the combined- driving 250 miles I averaged 34 mpg- it falls well short of it’s competitors real world economy of 50+ mpg. For everything else though, the MG3 is a winner & I can clearly see that the MG philosophy of making fun cars at affordable prices, has been met by it’s newest model. What I can tell you, is that the MG3 is miles better than the last range of MG’s, the MG Metro, MG Maestro & MG Montego & I should know, because I used to sell these back in 1988 !
Value for money motoring is to the fore with the MG3. When SAIC develop lower emission higher mileage engines they will have a real winner on their hands. For now, the MG3 is a really good start.
It left me smiling 3.5/5.