MG3 2013 review

4 Sep, 2013 4:30pm Luke Madden

We review new MG3 supermini, a Ford Fiesta rival with smart looks and a low price


The MG3 could really help the revived brand to get back on its feet. It has lots of charm, a very low price and a level of customisation that you just don’t get with many of its rivals. There are some notable flaws, such as the old-fashioned engine and poor cabin quality, but they only seem significant when you compare this MG to cars that are thousands of pounds more expensive.

THE MG6 was supposed to signal the brand’s return to the UK, but it’s fair to say that car hasn’t quite had the desired effect. So now we have the MG3: a Ford Fiesta rival the company hopes will kick-start its fortunes.

The most striking thing about the new car is its low price. We drove the top-of-the-range Style model, which comes in at less than £10,000. For that money, you get Bluetooth connectivity, air-conditioning, a DAB radio, 16-inch alloy wheels and cruise control all fitted as standard.

A Fiesta or Skoda Fabia kitted out with that much equipment would cost nearly £13,000. But price isn’t everything: the MG3 has to deliver on the road. And in some key respects, it does.

The car feels quite sporty, with an impressive amount of grip that allows you to tackle twisty back roads with confidence.

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But it’s not all good news. The steering is inconsistent and you can’t rely on its responses to the same extent you can in a Fiesta. It’s also a bit too heavy at low speeds, which, combined with choppy low-speed ride quality, makes city-centre driving a chore.

Only one engine is currently available for the MG3: a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol that produces 105bhp. It feels a little old-fashioned, and without the turbocharged hit you get from a Ford EcoBoost or VW Group TSI engine, it also seems a lot slower than its 10.9-second 0-62mph time suggests. We’ve been told there’s a range of small-capacity turbocharged petrols on the way, as well as a diesel – and they really can’t come soon enough.

The 3 loses out for running costs, too. In the Fiesta, Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost is capable of returning 65.7mpg and emits just 99g/km. Compare that with the MG’s 48.7mpg and 136g/km, although that £3,000 price saving will buy a lot of fuel.

On the plus side, the back seats are extremely spacious. There’s a nice high roofline and plenty of kneeroom, allowing the tallest adults to fit comfortably.

The boot will hold 285 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place, which is about the norm for this class, and it’s also nicely shaped for easy loading.

Cabin quality leaves a lot to be desired, though, with hard, scratchy plastics and some outdated switchgear. The steering wheel buttons are particularly poor, and none of the controls offers the kind of solid, high-quality feeling you get in a Fiesta, Fabia or VW Polo interior.

The 3 scores well in other areas, such as exterior styling. Simple, clean lines are matched up with LED running lights on all models, while our car had eye-catching decals. Plus, the wide range of customisation options means MG3 buyers can enjoy the MINI experience at a fraction of the cost.

So this car will make a lot of sense for young, first-time buyers. It sits in insurance group 4E, will cost less than £10,000 (unless you go crazy with options) and you can really make it stand out from the crowd. Although it’s not perfect, there’s no reason why the MG3 won’t succeed.

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Looks very much last generation.

Well done, you were the first mg bashing comment! I've liked it too so you are even cooler.

On the other hand, I think the British team responsible for this zr successor have done a fantastic job.

Its wheels look way to small for the car

That is just tediously grim. Good to see they wasted all that effort on HPAS, and its no better than a decent EPAS set up.

Pathetic car with no future or resale market.

Values will sink faster than defacation in a flushed loo and only the brainless, living in yesteryear MG fanbois will applaud this Chinese takeaway - because thats all it is.

And you know what you do with a takeaway after you have eaten it - it goes straight in the bog - right where this car and MG fans belong!!

You'd have to me mentally warped to part with even a penny on this POS car!

I don't think anyone should judge until you have driven one yourself. In this country we have such a vast open market and people here will buy anything without loyalty to british brands so i dont hold out much hope for it. SAIC have only been in this market for a few years where as VAG and ford etc have been making cars for the euro market for centuries so we should not pair them against the MG just yet. This is only their 2nd car here and in China i'm sure people are'nt as critical towards buttons on steering wheels so we need to give it a chance. There are worse cars out there that folk buy like Chevy Matiz's and Axiams. I'm not an MG fan either but i would like the brand to succeed as its history in this country is something we should be proud of. If it wasnt for poor management from the government and its previous bosses and owners we would still have a proper british car making company

So you're going to part with your pennies on this POS car? Surprise revelation, Homer.

I am not allowed to write what I want to in response to your comment as it would get removed.

Although, if you are a British man, you should feel ashamed.

16 inch wheels. What are the competition at £10K wearing? Mostly steel rims isnt it?!

So it gets 3 out of 5 stars and the British people, the same people that designed it and engineered it to our taste, start slagging it off?!

Finally, someone who is speaking without clouded judgement that relies on their own subjectivity. How refreshing!

I think it look fairly nice and is priced well. Why not a chinese car everthing else we own is chinese.

Its a bit rough around the edges and needs a decent engine but I like it. I can see this stealing some sales off the likes of the Mini/DS3 by offering much of the same at a significantly lower price point.

It might not compete with the Fiesta on emissions, but there are plenty of 1.0 Ecoboost owners who are getting far less than the 48.7 quoted for this car.

Plus this car has been on sale for two years in China already, so niggles and issues should be known and sorted by now.

The price could really help this car take off. No info on the warranty in the article though. One demerit there, AE journalist.

I'd like to try one out actually

I presume you have driven it to be able to know that its not worth it? otherwise you are just talking BS and hardly worth listening too.

Almost, but for the fact that the MG3 is designed at the SAIC European Design Studio, Longbridge, Birmingham. European (mostly UK) Design team led by Anthony Williams-Kenny. Consulting by Ricardo at Leamington Spa. These people really ought to know how to design a car for the Euro market. This car is more British than a Ford Fiesta or a Vauxhall Corsa.

Ignore the Homer Jayz posts, they come up regularly and seem to be designed to stir things.

Should only be compared against similarly priced cars, and bear in mind it is likely to be discounted further from its list price. Seems like a very reasonable value car and when the new engines arrive it will be up there with the good stuff.

Haha cheers. There seem to be a few people that do this on different car sites. Its a bit sad isnt it.

I'm hoping to test drive one in a week or so, with no pre judgement at all. I like the looks, price, specification levels and it's a bit different, especially with all the colour and decal options. Fingers crossed it's as nice to drive as it looks.... :)


This guy Homer JayZ Simpsons98 Yet again he speaks utter tosh poor fellow only seems to be able to deride must be a childhood thing from his past .This little Mg is cheap and really good value full stop

I think this is a good first effort and hope that enough people will give it a try. Lets just hope the dealer network put some effort into some sales and also that MG put some money into advertising it as so far their efforts with the MG6 have been dismal.

' A Fiesta or Skoda Fabia kitted out with that much equipment would cost nearly £13,000' - the Fabia is now on offer at £8995, with aircon, alloys etc etc, and decent residuals compared to this. Sorry, I wanted to like this car, but it's just too old fashioned looking. It looks like a 2007 Fabia (Good) mixed with a Proton Satria (Bad) and a dash of current Renault (Fair), but put together it just doesn't work. And for what it is, it is overpriced. I think they should test it against a Dacia Sandero to prove my point.

If it wasn't for trade unionists and lazy british workers wanting everything for nothing, and the lazy british designers who were always playing catch-up, maybe there would be a decent british car making company. Look at VW and Renault in the early 70's - Golf and renault 5 are launched, what does the UK do, wait 6 years to launch the already dated Metro. Instead, we carried on churning out old marinas, Itals, Maxis, Allegros, Princess/Ambassadors and the hopelessly old fashioned Mini etc.Trade union leaders worked AGAINST management, whereas german trade union leaders worked with management. Germany lost only 1 working day to strike action for every 10 days the UK lost. It's the brits own fault they went boobies up!

Why do you bother making pointless comments on A.E. You clearly no sweet F. A. about cars. The irony is you probably drive something seriously bad and have some real insecurities in life.

Totally correct. In addition there is no viable dealer network, only a 3 year warranty and the MG brand means very little to anyone under 50. In other words we have another MG lemon. The Skoda Fabia and Hyundai i20 are both far better buys.

It's basically Chinese and 3 out of 5 stars is a mediocre score for a mediocre car.

I very much doubt it.

Incompetent management and lack of investment are just as much to blame. There was very little in the way of product development, manufacturing facilities were outdated and inefficient and the importance of effective BAM (branding, advertising and marketing) was not understood.

It's hideous, and a disgraceful insult to MG's legacy....(oops let's not remember the MG Maestro / Montego debacle)

Yet it was designed and engineered in Britain, oh, and partially assembled. The future looks bright for MG.

"The future looks bright for MG".
Yeah, and the Earth is flat, right?

This car will probably be marginally less of a flop than the 6, nothing more. MG will muddle through for another couple of years and then move lock, stock and barrel to China and concentrate on making cheap cars for the Asian market.

Please try and see things as they really are.

Agreed. And the MG Metro, Maestro and Montego were objects of desire in comparison to this cheapskate dud.

You seem to be a bit of a 'glass half empty' kind of person.

This is MGs first attempt at a car in the UK that is in a large market sector, with a large sales potential.

I wish them well, not least for the jobs of the talented British workforce that created the car.

The 3 does not have a large sales potential and if this is the best a "talented British workforce" can come up with then we are doomed.

Well people like you already managed to ruin the British car industry once, and from the comments on here, it doesn't look as if much has changed. So yes, I guess we are doomed.

Nice looking car but yes I agree, with all the British bashers were doomed.

I love this car! I saw one in the flesh at the BTCC at Rockingham yesterday.

I guess being 24 I am MG's target market for this car.

If I had a spare £10k I would seriously consider buying one.

It is a shame that the engine is letting it down. If/when they start rolling it out with a better engine I will be down the showroom.

I don't

This is utterly grim, but it has some admirers in the MG owners' camp, so it looks like they will keep churning them out. Apparently they met their sales target for 2013. They registered 120 in December: that is about an hour's worth of production on a normal high volume production line. The business case must just be to lose money for a few years.
Why don't they bring out a properly sorted MG roadster instead. It cannot do any worse can it?

I have one and i have it for a year , i have got some issue with the electronic, once it does prevent me to revers and had to call for a technician to adjust the computer , and today it wont start , do not know what wrong , as soon i turn the ignition the bash board went crazy and the car do not start at all .

Key specs

  • Price: £9,999
  • Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
  • Transmission: Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 108mph
  • Economy: 48.7mpg
  • CO2: 136g/km
  • Equipment: Air-con, electric windows, DAB radio, cruise control, auto lights and wipers
  • On sale: Now