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Car Reviews, Hatchback

MG3 Review – Bargain hatch?

31 Jan , 2014  

MG3 Review - Front Angle - carwitter


MG was relaunched in 2011 with the MG6 saloon, 2 years later and we finally have the MG3 hatchback. Starting at £8,399 in base spec 3Time trim its certainly cheap for a 5 door car, but is it any good?

We tested the top of the range 3Style model, this starts at £9,999.

Ours had ‘Cherry Bomb’ paintwork – an extra £395, white Trophy stripes £199, white mirrors £39 and part leather seats at a whopping £500. Bringing the total to £11,132.


MG3 Review - Front - carwitter


I’ll make no bones about this…I like the MG3’s looks. From the front it looks quite menacing, especially with its hockey stick shape DRL’s beaming brightly.

Opal shape headlights are set at the very outer edges of the sloping bonnet, a large lower grille helps make the front look lower and wider. Wheel arches bulge out from the flat slab sides, and a smart fold moves from front to back.


MG3 Review - Side- carwitter


At the rear you find a deep faux diffuser cutting up into the rear bumper, the whole back end actually pinches in quite a lot making the rear window rather small. Up top a spoiler finishes off the roof line nicely.


MG3 Review - Rear - carwitter


Curves, straight angles and lines all amalgamate into a very fresh, good looking car. It certainly doesn’t look cheap.


MG3 Review - Engine - carwitter


The MG3 is powered by a 1.5 litre petrol lump, making 104 BHP. 0-60 is a rather slow 10.6 seconds so it’s not the sportiest of machines.

However if you rev it hard enough you do find it picks up pace rather well, but you can tell this isn’t an engine that likes to rev high, it’s no Suzuki Swift Sport.

Work the gearbox hard enough and you can find a nice pace, overtaking is achievable when you kick it down to the right gear…but beware that the MPG will nose dive if you drive it in this high revving manner.

We only managed 30 MPG over 140 miles of mixed driving conditions. MG quote an urban figure of 37.7 MPG.

Along B roads at speed the ride is a little soft and bouncy in places, it’s not as planted as we would have liked and sometimes skips about when things get bumpy. Around town and on A roads its much better, feeling smooth but with a good amount of feedback through the wheel.


MG3 Review - Headlight Detail - carwitter


Grip through the corners is good, you can have a decent amount of fun and really feel there is a sporty little chassis trying to shine through, the suspension just needs honing for UK roads.

Turn in is slow to start with, around 10/15 degrees of turn from straight is rather dead. Once you pass that point everything is fine and it gains lock nicely.


MG3 Review - Steering Wheel - carwitter

MG3 Review - Dashboard - carwitter


Now this is where we loved the MG3, the kit you get is superb for £9,999. DAB radio, Bluetooth hands free, iPod and aux sockets, auto lights, rear parking sensors, cruise control and steering wheel controls.

All of that is standard on the 3Style model.


MG3 Review - Dials - carwitter


And the stereo…well.

Audio clarity is just amazing, it has to be the best standard stereo we have tested in a small hatch. 4 door speakers and two A pillar tweeters make up a crystal clear audio setup, real car shaking bass is present in bucket loads – if you so want.

Crank up the volume and everything stays crisp and clear.

We were utterly blown away by it, so much so we had to make a video – check it out below.


MG3 Review - Dashboard Plastic - carwitter


Dash plastics are hard, but look better than they feel, they are far superior to the ones found in the Dacia Sandero or even a 107/C1/Aygo triplets.


MG3 Review - Center Console - carwitter


The centre console is uncluttered with the stereo situated within easy reach of the driver, lower down the heating controls and door locks are found.


MG3 Review - Heater Control Hot - carwitter

MG3 Review - Heater Control Cold - carwitter


Temperature is changed via a very cool red/blue bar style dial, something we haven’t seen before but works well and is aesthetically pleasing.


MG3 Review - Front Seats - carwitter


Front seats are comfortable enough, a little more grabbing would have been nice. Don’t opt for the leather either, there is no heated seat option for the MG3 so they just end up being rather chilly.


MG3 Review - Rear Seats - carwitter


Rear leg and headroom is excellent, it’s better than both the Ford Fiesta and the Dacia Sandero on that front.


MG3 Review - Boot - carwitter


Boot space is reasonable at 285 litres, if you need more space the rear seats fold down nearly flat.


MG3 Review - Front Angle Scene - carwitter


We love the MG3, its superb value for money. Its main rival is the Suzuki Swift…but when you spec that up with the same kit as our MG3 had you are looking at almost £1,500 more.

Its price is comparable to the 107/C1/Aygo trio, but again when you spec those to a reasonable level they are often more than £9,999 and the MG3 is bigger with more practicality.

There are a few things to consider when buying one though, the 1.5 litre engine is quite an old design therefore it emits 136g/km of nastiness. Tax is £120 a year, the same as most family sized hatches…

Another thing to bear in mind is that the car hasn’t actually been Euro NCAP tested. It was tested in the Chinese C NCAP and scored the highest ever rating, we would like to see it Euro’d too though.




The MG3 has now been crash tested by Euro NCAP, unfortunately it only scored a lowly 3 stars.

One comment from the crash test report that was a little alarming:

The passenger compartment remained stable in the frontal impact. The airbags of both the driver and the passenger were not sufficiently inflated to prevent the head ‘bottoming out’, through the fabric of the airbag, against the steering wheel and dashboard, respectively..

The full report can be read here, it looks as though the MG3 would have scored better if it wasnt for the under inflated airbags, the poor whiplash protection also didn’t help.

Hopefully both of these issues will be resolved in future models.

As a car for around town, a second car for the wife, or even a first car for new drivers it’s excellent. Personally we would opt for the top of the range 3Style model, it has so much kit that some hatches double this price don’t even have as standard.

Carwitter Summary:

MG3 – Good looker, superb kit levels, engine could be better, awesome stereo.

MG3 Review - MG3 Rear Badge - carwitter

MG3 Review - Side CP - carwitter

MG3 Review - Rear Angle Scene - carwitter

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Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Freelance writer and car journalist I've turned my passion for cars into my livelihood.