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Review: Discover the New MG3’s Features and Performance

The MG3 has been reinvigorated at a time when many manufacturers are pulling small cars from the market. With the Ford Fiesta phasing out, the affordable MG3 steps in with new hybrid technology, aiming to capture a segment of the market. While maintaining a low price and plenty of standard features, the MG3 Hybrid+ boasts a 1.5-litre petrol engine paired with a 100kW electric motor, offering performance and efficiency. Though rivals like the Renault Clio remain more fun to drive and roomier, the MG3 offers compelling benefits such as good equipment levels, a comfortable ride, and slow depreciation. However, its build quality and rear seat versatility could be improved.

Introduction

What Car? says…

At a time when many manufacturers are removing their small car offerings from the market, MG has given the MG3 a whole new lease of life.

Now, that might seem a bit strange, but there is actually good logic behind it. You see, when the Ford Fiesta sells out, it’s the perfect time for a new generation version of the affordable MG3 to jump in and grab a piece of the action.

Better yet, while the MG3 has always been one of the cheapest small cars you can buy, coming with plenty of standard equipment, it now gets regular hybrid technology to help improve performance and efficiency. This should help it compete against rivals like the affordable Dacia Sandero, Suzuki Swift, and big names in the small car market such as the Honda Jazz, Seat Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, and VW Polo.

So, is the new MG3 a worthy alternative to the best small cars? Read on to find out…

Performance and Drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

There is currently only one engine choice for the MG3, called the Hybrid+, and it’s a 1.5-litre petrol with a 100kW electric motor and a small hybrid battery.

You’ll have to wait a bit if you want a non-hybrid petrol engine, but having driven the Hybrid+, we think it has enough performance for most small car users. The engine produces loads of oomph from standstill, and when you deploy the full 191bhp, the MG3 will officially sprint from 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds. That’s quicker than all its non-hybrid rivals, including the Hyundai i20 and VW Polo, and around a second quicker than the full-hybrid Renault Clio.

Even more, the Hybrid+ manages body lean surprisingly well thanks to its firm suspension setup and provides enough steering feedback to push forward. Nevertheless, the Clio is still more capable dynamically and more fun.

It’s a similar story when you drive relaxed. You can tell the MG3 is firmly sprung, but it’s never uncomfortable and you won’t find yourself swaying in your seat, unlike the much softer Citroën C3. There’s enough damping to easily handle larger holes and imperfections without much fuss.

The MG3 isn’t as smooth-riding as the Skoda Fabia or VW Polo, and the steering is quite slow and heavy around town, making it more effortful to navigate tight turns than the C3. However, it remains relatively quiet around town, thanks to the hybrid system allowing it to run on electricity at low speeds. Even when the engine kicks in, it’s not intrusive, and wind and road noise are low even at highway speeds.

Driving Overview

Strengths:

  • Fast in a straight line;
  • Comfortable ride.

Weaknesses:

  • Rivals are more fun to drive;
  • Slow steering.

Interior

The Interior Arrangement, Fit, and Finish

While the MG3‘s driving position is quite healthy, with a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, it’s not the easiest car when it comes to finding your perfect driving position. The steering wheel only adjusts up and down, and there’s no adjustable lumbar support. The Renault Clio is probably more comfortable on a long drive.

The MG3 does offer good visibility upfront thanks to narrow front window pillars, but rear visibility is slightly hampered by wide rear window pillars. However, the large rear windows ensure you can still see well.

To make parking easier, every MG3 comes with rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, while stepping up to the top Trophy trim upgrades to a 360-view camera.

Every MG3 gets a 10.25in touchscreen infotainment system. It’s much better than the previous generation and even a step up from the setup in the MG4 EV. Yet, the system is controlled almost entirely by touch, making changes on the move more challenging compared to physical controls found in the Honda Jazz, Renault Clio, and Vauxhall Corsa.

Internal Overview

Strengths:

  • A decent infotainment system;
  • Nice looking interior.

Weaknesses:

  • Build quality could be better;
  • Lack of lower back support in front.

Passenger and Boot Space

Despite its status as a small car, the MG3 isn’t too cramped inside. Though less roomy than the Dacia Sandero, it is roughly on par with the Hyundai i20.

The front offers plenty of space, with door bins large enough for big bottles, space for your phone, and two cup holders. There’s also storage between the seats. The rear can comfortably accommodate two tall adults, but things might get cramped with three people in the back seat. Unfortunately, the rear seat doesn’t split 60/40 and instead folds flat as one solid piece, with a step up from the boot floor to the seat backs.

The boot itself offers 293 liters of storage but could only fit three suitcases and a soft overnight bag.

Practicality Overview

Strengths:

  • Lots of front and rear space.

Weaknesses:

  • Poor rear seat versatility;
  • Small boot.

Buying and Owning

Price is where the MG3 really excels. It undercuts almost all small car alternatives, including traditional value-focused options like the Suzuki Swift. Only the Citroën C3 and Dacia Sandero will cost you less.

Moreover, the MG3 is set to depreciate quite slowly, retaining more of its list price after three years than all its rivals, including the VW Polo.

Don’t let the low price of the MG3 fool you into thinking it’s low on equipment. Even the entry-level SE comes with numerous features like 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, and touchscreen infotainment.

Regardless of the trim you choose, the MG3’s hybrid engine promises to keep running costs low, with an official 63mpg efficiency figure and CO2 emissions as low as 100g/km.

Buying and Owning Overview

Strengths:

  • Low list price;
  • Slow depreciation;
  • Low running costs.

Weaknesses:

  • Reliability score could be better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the MG3 a hybrid?

Yes, the new 2024 MG3 is initially available as a regular hybrid and can drive on electricity alone at low speeds. It will be followed by a non-hybrid petrol version.

Is the MG3 worth buying?

If you’re looking for an efficient small car, the new MG3 is definitely worth a look. Some rivals are more fun to drive and better inside, but the MG3 fights back with a low price tag, an efficient engine, plenty of standard equipment, and a comfortable ride.

Is the MG3 a small car?

Yes, it is. In fact, the MG3 is slightly smaller than the Dacia Sandero and about the same size as the Hyundai i20.

With its compelling mix of affordability, efficiency, and decent standard equipment, the new MG3 stands as a solid contender in the small car market. Whether you prioritize performance, comfort, or technology, the MG3 aims to deliver across the board.

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