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New MG3 hopes to disrupt the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa’s supermini dominance

New MG3 features the company’s first full-hybrid powertrain; pricing to be announced in March

The all-new second-generation MG3 has finally been unveiled more than a decade after the current model was launched with hopes of disrupting the supermini class and challenging the Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris and Vauxhall Corsa

Revealed at the 2024 Geneva Motor Show, the new MG3 looks to make several huge leaps forward from the original. Among them is the use of MG’s first full-hybrid powertrain, similar to those used by the Yaris and Clio E-Tech. 

The ‘Hybrid Plus’ system, as MG calls it, uses a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor to drive the front wheels. Combined power output for the MG3 is 192bhp, with up to 250Nm of torque available from the electric motor alone.

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A separate generator motor is used to feed energy to the MG3’s 1.83kWh battery, or directly to the main e-motor if need be. Meanwhile, the petrol engine is mated to a three-speed automatic transmission that MG touts as being more responsive than the CVT gearboxes often used by hybrid cars.

The main benefit of the Hybrid Plus powertrain is efficiency, with the new MG3 officially capable of returning up to 64mpg, with CO2 emissions of 100g/km. This is aided by the car’s ability to drive on pure-electric power for short periods, and up to 50mph in EV mode. 

But with the electric motor alone producing 134bhp – more than the petrol engine, in fact – MG says it handles much of the heavy lifting, including accelerating, before the engine has to lend a hand or take over. 

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As a result, the new MG3 boasts impressive performance stats for a hybrid supermini. The 0-62mph sprint is taken care of in eight seconds, compared with more than nine seconds for its Clio and Yaris rivals, or 10.4 seconds in the current pure-petrol MG3. The new model also needs just five seconds to get from 50-75mph – as required when joining the motorway, for example.

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Drivers are offered the usual trio of Eco, Standard and Sport drive modes, while the car automatically selects one of its five possible powertrain modes depending on whether it wants the engine focused on providing drive, energy for the e-motor, charge for the battery, or to remain dormant.

Design-wise, the MG3’s front end is defined by the gigantic grille stretching across the face of the car, flanked by a set of similarly large air intakes, with a ‘carbon fibre’ splitter below. By contrast, the rear end is a much simpler affair.

Sprinkled throughout are elements shared with the all-electric MG4 hatchback and MG Cyberster sports car. Like those models, the new MG3 features swept-back LED headlights, flowing bodywork, pronounced bonnet lines and large chrome MG badge on the sharp nose. 

The interior of the MG3 features twin floating displays, similar to the MG4 as well. Every model gets a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, while a 10.25-inch touchscreen sits atop the dashboard. MG says graphics and responsiveness of its iSmart infotainment system have been improved for the MG3.

The bank of piano-style switches on the dashboard provides some controls for the climate and media volume, and there are more buttons and control pads located on the slightly square steering wheel (also from the MG4). The MG3 uses the brand’s familiar rotary gear selector on the centre console, but unique touches like the check dash pattern, quilted seat upholstery and bright orange contrasting stitching set this car apart from its siblings.

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The new MG3 is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor, which MG says has freed up more space for passengers, and increased boot space from 285 to 293 litres – seven litres more than the Yaris offers, but eight litres shy of the Clio E-Tech’s load bay. 

The MG3 will be available in two trim levels – SE and Trophy – with even base models getting those dual displays, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, sat-nav, air-con, four USB charging ports, rear parking sensors and reversing camera. These cars also get an array of driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane-keep assist.

Higher-spec cars add leather-style upholstery, keyless entry, heated front seats, heated steering wheel and a 360-degree parking camera. 

UK pricing for the new MG3 is set to be announced in March. The outgoing model is among the cheapest cars in UK showrooms, starting from just over £14k, but we expect the new, more advanced MG3 will receive a starting price in the region of £18,000-£20,000. That would still allow it to undercut the hybrid Renault Clio E-Tech, however, which is priced from £21,295.

Now read our list of the best superminis...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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