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MG3. A Surprising Package

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  MG MG3

MG3. A Surprising Package

Geoff Maxted
October 8, 2013

Last week motoring writers descended on an hotel in Hampshire for a car testing day courtesy of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Many brands displayed their wares. It’s a fact that nobody really makes bad cars anymore but it is good news when a venerable old name is on the comeback trail - in this case, MG.

As recent history has proved it is possible to produce a reasonable car cheaply without it being an offence to the eyes. The MG3 shown in the images is the 3STYLE VTi-TECH version that comes in at a quid under £10k, although this particular car is loaded with options listed as ‘Cherry Bomb’ paint with white graphic, Piano Black interior with part leather and white caps on the wing mirrors. This bumps the asking price up to a still not unreasonable £11,231. If the budget has a ten grand ceiling you’ll have to do without these options but in any event it makes only a cosmetic difference to the car and there are other personalising choices.

One surprise is the amount of tech as standard. There’s Bluetooth, USB, DAB and basic air-con as well as the usual collection of those safety features known only by their initials: ABS, SCS, EBD and WBA. There‘s even hill-hold control. That’s a good deal at this price point. More good news comes with the knowledge that this car is new from the ground up so any connection with a murky past can be forgotten. And the good news keeps on coming. What you need to keep in mind at all times is the price because buyers on a budget who lust after, say, a new Citroen DS3 will have to be finding almost three thousand pounds more for a basic model.

For this money what you get is a roomy, five door hatchback with an attractively styled body. Sure, the plastics inside are hard and, compared to many cars, the interior looks a bit Spartan but it seems unlikely that this will come as news to potential buyers; especially when they know that the MG3 scores a money-saving insurance group of 4E despite having more power than many rival offerings.

The MG3 is well screwed together. It feels solid with none of the more unsightly signs of cost cutting. The 1.5L engine performs well but is clearly not of the very latest technology which means emissions of 136g/km, putting this car squarely into VED Band E. The traffic light sprint is achieved in a not too dusty 10.4 seconds although, out on the road, progress seems quicker especially if the driver keeps the revs wound up. MG say that 47mpg is possible but, given that many drivers will want to exploit the sporting nature of this model, is probably not achievable.

You know, the MG3 is a decent drive. The designers have certainly made it steer and handle well. On faster A-roads, the steering has plenty of feel and is responsive and quick. The ride is quite firm but not as bad as some. There’s tons of legroom and headroom in the back, better than many in this sector.

When the word gets out about the MG3 - publicity seems a little low key at the moment - we would expect MG to have a minor hit. The dealer network is small but growing so maybe the company has a policy of easy does it. It’s early days yet and the market will want to see how it fares on residual values, servicing costs and reliability before an absolutely final opinion can be voiced.

Without the special paint and graphics we can see this car appealing across the board. With the sporting trim it should appeal to cash-strapped young drivers, especially with the low insurance valuation. Fully worthy of consideration. Find out more here.

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