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MG3 Review

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MG MG3
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MG MG3

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MG MG3

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MG MG3

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MG MG3

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MG MG3

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MG MG3

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MG MG3

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2013
      Body type
      Small hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Good value and fun hatchback

Best bits

  • Sheer value for money
  • Smart looks
  • Long warranty on newer models

Not so great

  • Poor engine
  • Interior feels cheap
  • No reach adjustment for the steering wheel

Read by

MG3 frontright exterior

Overall verdict

MG3 front interior

On the inside

MG3 backright exterior

Driving

MG3 backleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

MG3 rightside exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The MG3 stands out because of its value for money. You get a lot of bang for your buck as they say. It’s also quite a pretty car in latest 2018-on guise, and keen drivers will be surprised by how well it handles. It’s a pity the engine is so weak and thirsty, though, and the MG has increasingly started to feel its age in some key areas."

MG3 frontright exterior

The MG3 has proved to be a bit of a breakthrough car for the revived MG Motor brand here in the UK. Before its launch, the MG range comprised a single large hatchback (and rare saloon) called the MG6. This was well-priced rival to the Mondeo, but felt dated, and was in a sector that has been in decline for years.


The most popular type of new car now is the small hatch. If MG really wanted to demonstrate it was serious, it needed to bring one to market. In 2013, that’s exactly what it did, with the neatly styled and contemporary MG3. This rival to the Ford Fiesta showed the brand meant business.


Sensibly, it is a thoroughly conventional and straightforward car. Just the one petrol engine is offered, along with one body style and a small line-up of variants that all feature good equipment levels. Crucially, MG didn’t forget one key selling point that was central to its offer: exceptional value. The MG3 costs thousands less than its direct rivals. You can buy one new for around £5,000 less than the price of a Fiesta.


Unlike the MG6, even the earliest cars don’t feel obviously dated or off the pace. The interior is nice enough, and looks fairly modern at first glance (spot the high-mounted central touchscreen). The driving position is comfortable and there’s a good amount of space in the rear.


The MG3 is even quite fun to drive, with surprisingly nimble and eager handling, plus excellent feel through the steering. Ride quality is a bit more average, but it’s still OK. The biggest letdown is the engine. It’s a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, which is quite large for this class of car, but it never really feels that lively, despite a 106PS output. It needs revving and becomes loud when you do so. No automatic gearbox option is available.


MG gave the car an extensive facelift in 2018. This is not an all-new car, but a heavily revised development of the original. It can be identified by its sharper styling, including a bold new grille at the front. Onboard touchscreen tech was also improved, with many versions getting an 8.0-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built in. A five-year warranty was also introduced, later improved further to seven years.


Disappointingly, fuel economy is little better than the original MG3. The official WLTP economy figures are well off what most rivals return, and this results in higher CO2 emissions as well – placing the MG3 in a surprisingly high first-year VED tax band.


The MG3 is a bit off the pace when it comes to safety, too. In 2014, it scored only three stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, with just 69 percent for adult occupant protection. The firm hasn’t bothered to retest it to the newer, even stricter protocols. Safety assist features are also lacking; something to bear in mind if you’re seeking the safest small car in the sector.


However, if you’re after one of the most affordable superminis, the MG3 has a lot going for it. Prices are very keen and it neither looks nor feels particularly bargain-basement. There are compromises, of course, but for sheer value for money, the entry-level MG has a lot to recommend it.

Is the MG3 right for you?

If you’re after a great value supermini, the MG3 could be right for you. It’s not the absolute cheapest five-door hatchback on sale – that honour falls to the Dacia Sandero – but MG achieves an impressive combination of standard features and cost-effectiveness. Those who baulk at the thought of spending more than £17,000 for a basic five-door Ford Fiesta will love the fact an MG3 is available for less than £12,000.


It’s a practical car too. Five doors are standard, it has a roomy and well-designed interior, and the boot is a decent size. After extending cover to five years in 2018, MG also now offers a superb seven-year warranty – way better than anything offered by Dacia and Ford. Only Kia is able to match it.


There’s no denying the driving experience is starting to feel a bit dated, though, particularly the wheezy engine. If you want the most sophisticated new car, look elsewhere.

What’s the best MG3 model/engine to choose

You only have a choice of one engine with the MG3: a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol. It’s called VTI-Tech, but don’t let the impressive-sounding name fool you. There’s not much tech in evidence here. It doesn’t have a turbocharger for starters, so lacks the effortlessness (and fuel economy) of more modern rivals.


Until recently, the latest MG3 was sold in three varieties: Explore, Excite and Exclusive. Even Explore is pretty well equipped, with body-coloured bumpers (you don’t get them on a basic Dacia), 16-inch alloys and a colour touchscreen. Excite has since been dropped due to lack of demand, but Exclusive does have some useful extra features – so we can see why the decision was made. 


Better still, we’d add just £200 to the price tag and get the Exclusive Nav with built-in sat-nav. It’s a worthwhile convenience feature that will cost hardly anything on a monthly finance payment. And it means you don’t have to rely on your mobile phone for navigation.

What other cars are similar to the MG3?

In the price stakes, the MG3 is often compared to the Dacia Sandero, another car with value for money core to its appeal. The Fiat Panda is also an affordable five-door, although it’s a fair bit smaller than the MG3 or Sandero.


Cars such as the Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio are a bit of a step up in price, particularly if you want to get a similarly well-specified car as the MG. The same is true for the Skoda Fabia, which is a great car to drive, but surprisingly basic at the lower end of the range.


Mitsubishi might try to convince you the Mirage is a worthwhile rival to the MG3. Don’t be fooled: it’s a dreadful car. We’d much rather have something like a Suzuki Swift, which is bigger, far superior and sells for a similar price.

Learn more

MG3 front interior

On the inside

MG3 backright exterior

Driving

MG3 backleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

MG3 rightside exterior

Prices, versions and specification

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