Don't expect sports car performance, this is a modest petrol-engined car with adequate rather than lavish pace ...
An MG badge is a trip down memory lane to a past era of British sports cars. At least, it was. This is the car that brings an MG badge bang up to date, worn on the bonnet of a chic little supermini that looks good and drives better than its budget price invites you to expect. Last year’s resurrection of the MG marque, with the large and modestly-selling MG6, kicked off its return to the motoring scene. Now here is the MG3, the car that re-establishes the brand as a serious contender for your money.
Re-born MG, now owned by SAIC of China, is back in the motoring mainstream with this car. It seeks to steal sales away from popular models like the Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500, and it is aggressively priced to woo buyers. Prices start from £8,399 and the most expensive version is £9,999. Four levels of specification, all with the same 1.5 litre petrol engine and all under £10,000, make up the range. There is a choice of 10 body colours, four solid shades and six metallic (£395 extra), and factory-fitted personalisation kits are available. Our test car came with a pattern of emoticons adorning the roof.
All versions of the car have electric windows, USB and Aux connection, stability control and hill hold control. The MG3 Time is £8,399 and comes with steel wheel and a modest kit list. The MG3 Time is £9,299 and has extra kit including Bluetooth and DAB radio. The MG3 FormSport at £9,549 adds alloy wheels and side skirt body trim. The range-topping MG3 Style has another layer of extra kit that makes it a well-equipped car for the money.
At the time of the MG3’s launch, in September 2013, there are only 30 MG dealers around the country, but MG has expansion plans to increase this to 50 by the end of 2013 and to 100 in 2014.
Don’t expect sports car performance, this is a modest petrol-engined car with adequate rather than lavish pace. The engine is a 1,488 cc four-cylinder unit that drives the front wheels, and is teamed with a five-speed manual gearbox. Power output is 105 bhp at 6,000 rpm, and maximum torque is 101 lb ft at 4,750 rpm. The car’s top speed is 108 mph and its 0-62 acceleration time is 10.9 seconds. The exhaust emissions are 136 g/km of CO2, putting the MG3 is band E for VED, meaning a tax disc costing £125 a year. The average fuel economy figure is 48.7 mpg.
To get the car moving at any pace, you need to work the gearbox, and the performance does not feel especially lively. Once you get it going, though, it seems to settle into a groove and feels a willing mile-muncher.