First Drive - MG3

What is it?

MG have confirmed that an all-new MG3 will arrive in 2022, so with four years of life left in the current generation they’ve given it a hefty facelift for 2018, with a completely new look, inside and out.

On the outside…

Personally I think it’s a great looking car, and the biggest tweak that you’ll notice over the outgoing model is the front end and the way the headlights are now integrated into the enlarged, full frame grille.

Equally distinctive, as MG were keen to point out, is the side profile where the body coloured side skirts lower the stance of the car, and hint at a fun driving style. A longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs also give new MG3 a sporty stance.

On the road

Performance wise, MG have stuck with their old 1.5ltr petrol engine, the same you get both in the GS and ZS. It has a lovely little rasp when you push it, but with a 10.4 sec time to 60mph it lacks omph when you need it, and can feel a little lethargic. I’d like to see the difference a couple of thousand miles has on its willingness to pull, as my example had delivery miles on it and felt a little restricted.

Having said that, it isn’t meant to be a performance car or super-mini, and when you do get it up to speed you can have fun. The 5-speed manual gearbox is accurate enough and its MacPherson struts at the front rear torsion beam gives the MG3 tight body control and good grip.

Interior

Getting inside the new MG3 was quite easy for someone of my stature (tall’n’fat), as was finding a comfortable driving position, though I still found its front seats a tad narrow for my girth.

The interior has been completely updated with a new dashboard and new steering wheel, and I think I’m right in saying that it also has one of the most spacious cabins in its class.

MG really wanted to make it one of the best value cars on the market, and it looks like they’ve succeeded with the amount of kit they include, like the new 8” touchscreen infotainment unit, equipped as standard on mid-range Excite and Exclusive models.

On the road for just over an hour, and I found the interior quite a pleasant place to be, sound levels were good up to 70mph, but it could do with and extra gear, and as I mentioned earlier, grip levels are good for when you want to drive a little more spirited!

In the back, rear passengers have a good amount of leg room too, even if those up front are over 6ft.

The MG3 will be offered three trim levels:
The basic ‘Explore’ starts from £9,495 and goes without the new infotainment system. However, standard equipment does include body coloured bumpers, LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, electric mirrors, a four way adjustable driver’s seat and fabric upholstery.

Priced from £11,395, the ‘Excite’ gives you a rear spoiler, side skirts and 16-inch alloys instead of steelies. Inside you get a leather steering wheel, the infotainment system, air conditioning, a DAB radio and parking sensors.

From £12,795, the range topping ‘Exclusive’ is finished with part leather sports seats, and builds on the ‘Excite’ model with a six-speaker audio setup, reversing camera and cruise control.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, MG are offering the 3 with plenty of customisation options with six external colours, colour contrasting wing mirrors, and roof and bodywork graphic packs.

Engine

As I touched on earlier, the MG3 is still powered by a 1.5ltr 4-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that develops 105bhp and 137Nm of torque and has been tweaked to meet Euro 6D emissions regulations. MG reckon that it’ll achieve 47.1mpg and gives off 140g/km CO2.

If I’m being totally honest, this is the only weak point of the car. It isn’t a bad engine, far from it, but I can’t help imagine how the 3 would be transformed with a modern, 3-cylinder turbocharged engine that appear to be the norm in this class. With that investment I reckon MG would see their sales double quite quickly.

Conclusion

Although it lacks some of the autonomous city braking features other cars in its class have, overall, with its extensive facelift, there’s plenty to like about the new MG3 and it remains immensely affordable. I haven’t even mentioned their fully transferrable 7 year/80,000-miles warranty yet, which proves that MG have a lot of confidence in their build quality and reliability.

Website: www.mg.co.uk