MG is a brand with a reputation that spans almost one hundred years and its latest models are some of the most affordable today.
Take their smallest offering, the MG MG3, for example. Priced from £12,195 it may well be significantly more expensive than a Dacia Sandero, however, a like-for-like trim wouldn’t see the competing brands far apart with their pricing.
The same goes for the Mitsubishi Mirage, which is much closer in pricing to the MG at entry level, but when you get to the equipment level of the MG, the Mitsubishi is slightly more expensive at a glance.
The MG is also for me, the best looking of all within this small hatchback category and, unlike many, Chinese maker MG do not offer a ‘poverty spec’ trim amidst a vast and confusing array of available choices.
Instead, offering just two trim levels, the more affordable of which is of a specification realistic for buyer’s demands with a new car today.
Thanks to this you get air conditioning, leather multi-function steering wheel, full colour coordination on the exterior with heated and electrically adjustable mirrors, 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, an 8-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, Bluetooth telephone with audio streaming with USB connectivity, and remote central locking.
All this comes in a trim named ‘Excite’ which really doesn’t look like terrible value, priced at just over £12k. An ‘Exclusive’ is priced from £13,295 and adds sports seats, cruise control, and a reversing camera with dynamic guide lines. There is an ‘Exclusive Nav’ listed also for an additional £200.
The MG3 comes only with a 5-speed manual gearbox and a 1.5-litre DOHC VTI-tech petrol engine which produces 106ps. Seeing 0-60mph in a reasonable 10.6 seconds, the MG3 offers more than enough for nipping to the shops or doing the school run and should return around 40mpg.
The MG3 looks very grown up and offers a lot more practicality than its size would allow you to believe. Load space in the boot is more than capable of absorbing four weekend bags, a couple of schoolbags with additional sports bags, or in fact all of my camera and lighting equipment.
Leg and headroom within the cabin is class-leading and more than capable of coping with a primary aged family’s needs. With the front seats moved a little further forward than would be comfortable, a pair of swivel child ISOFIX seats fit reasonably well, which is the biggest shock for me.
With the children’s seats removed, a realistic driving position offers decent comfort and the half-leather seating is supportive, if a little hard-wearing. Dashboard controls are simple and within reach whilst the steering wheel looks and feels surprisingly sporty.
If you use an Apple mobile device, the infotainment is more than plenty, although a lack of Android Auto is quite disappointing, especially as the two phone operating systems share an almost equal percentage within the UK market.
When it comes to driving the MG3 it is light and nimble around town, it’s handling and power acceptable when traversing our wide network of B-roads, but it may prove a little noisy and unrefined for those doing a lot of motorway driving.
With a dwindling number of cars being produced that are as small as the MG3, it is almost in a class of its own and for me sits where Suzuki once sat, offering a good amount of affordability with generous amount of standard equipment.
A choice of six paint colours, as well as a baker’s dozen of graphics options, many of which will brighten up the darkest of days, along with a 7-year warranty, makes the MG3 worth a look surely?
A quick check on Used Cars NI highlights that a pre-registered model with delivery miles can be snapped up for a snip over £10k with some three to four year old models coming in around £6k.
Fact File for model tested
Make : MG
Model : MG3
Trim : Exclusive
Engine : 1.5-litre petrol
Gearbox : 5-speed manual
Cost : £13,840