MG is a make with a very long and illustrious past behind it. Now made in China, the MG MG3 may not have quite the sporty style or prestige of its forerunner, but it’s a supermini that hits that sweet spot with a low price and a pretty well-equipped car that is far roomier than it looks.
Even a passing glance at the MG3 tells you that this is a supermini with sporty pretensions. Slightly flared wheel arches, alloy wheels all round and any one of a number of striking paint colours and decal options all add to the overall impression that this could zip around nicely.
There are also plenty of other stylish little touches too like the LED day running lights and the distinctive set-back headlights. Following a 2018 facelift, a bold upright grille was added that’s helped give the car an even more assertive look and features the classic hexagonal MG logo at its centre.
Even a passing glance at the MG3 tells you that this is a supermini with sporty pretensions
What’s it like to drive?
Even though this car is built in China, the MG3 has been specifically developed for driving on UK roads. This means that you’ll find the handling and steering is great for driving around town and even down those twisty, little country lanes.
The suspension is just good enough to soak up bumps in the road. The soundproofing of the car is what lets it down slightly. There’s very little insulation against wind and road noise. The 1.5-litre engine – the only option on the table – also has to work hard when you’re driving on the motorway. So, it’s here that it really starts to feel like you’re driving in a budget-priced supermini.
The MG3 has been specifically developed for driving on UK roads.
Before it received its 2018 facelift the MG3 really didn’t have much going for it when it came to its interior. It was a cheap and plastic-filled number with an outdated feel. MG obviously decided it was time to raise their game and so the recent models have a far more modern look with comfortable seats, great-looking dashboard and a good range of equipment on all but the most basic models.
Higher-spec MG3s enjoy an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen that may or may not have been modelled on a Microsoft Windows-style display. There is also connectivity for Apple CarPlay. You find a number of buttons on the steering wheel to operate cruise control and other features.
Even though it’s undoubtedly in the supermini class, there’s a surprising amount of head- and leg-room back and front in this motor. You’ll get three in the back seat, though it’s never going to be the happiest of experiences for the passenger stuck in the middle.
There are some less successful features to contend with in the interior and one of these is the cubby hole and USB phone charging point in front of the gear lever. It’s simply not big enough to hold some of the larger smartphones that we carry around with us today, which means you may have left devices dangling or on seats, while plugged in.
Just like the cabin offers a lot more space than you might expect, the boot does too. In fact, it’s only the utilitarian Dacia Sandero that does better in the class. This means you can go for that big shop, confident that you won’t be putting the bags that won’t fit into the boot on the back seat. Why not plan a weekend break away without having to travel light? Folding the 60/40 rear seats down gives you a pretty generous amount of space and the straight sides of the car’s interior make it very useable. Bear in mind, though, that if you want to carry a spare wheel this is going to reduce the space that you have available.
Running costs and reliability
For all of its good points, this is where we get to one of the main shortcomings of the MG3. Unlike most other superminis that have smaller engines turbocharged to boost performance, this model has one choice of engine – a 1.5-litre normally aspirated one. This results in a fuel consumption level of around 45 mpg, which compares badly with the 55 mpg plus that cars like the Dacia Sandero can achieve.
What we love
If you’re looking for sporty looks on a budget, along with a car that’s pretty well-equipped for the price then the MG3 could be your magic number. It’s not perfect, but it’s hard to think of any supermini that is. And, at least with the MG3’s distinctive styling, you’ll be turning a few heads as you go.
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The MG MG3 is the supermini for you if you’re on a budget and still want to turn heads. The higher the spec, the better the car you’ll get, but they all offer amazing value for money, as well as being fun to drive.
This review was