Road Test: MG3
MG has injected some much-needed modernity into its entry-level model, says Alex Grant.
SECTOR Supermini PRICE £9,495-£12,795 FUEL 53.8mpg CO2 140g/km
Considering its heritage and the might of its Chinese owner, SAIC, MG has kept quite a low profile in Europe over the last decade. But change is coming; three SUVs with plug-in versions by 2020, re-introduction into other European markets next year, and plans for a five-fold increase in UK volumes, to 25,000 units, between 2017 and 2022.
So fleet is back on the radar and the MG3 supermini – updated with the new family grille introduced with the ZS SUV last year – is expected to find a wider customer base as new products and dealers make the brand more visible. Assertive styling and a bold colour palette with optional graphics should help, but it’s the cabin that’s improved the most, swapping monochrome LCDs for patterned dashboard inserts and a cleaner layout around a central touchscreen.
The mid-spec trim strikes the best balance in terms of value and equipment, featuring built-in navigation with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, air conditioning and the larger wheels that the spartan entry-level model misses out on. Top-spec Exclusive versions add luxuries rather than essentials, but it’s good value in either guise.
All UK cars feature a 1.5-litre petrol engine, like its predecessor, producing 105bhp if you’re prepared to wring it out to 6,000rpm. Performance is adequate, if not as quick as it sounds on paper. The livelier 1.0-litre turbo from the ZS would perhaps feel better aligned to MG’s sporty brand heritage, not to mention the 3’s firmly-sprung suspension setup.
Overall, it’s mainly ironing out some of the old car’s most obvious niggles, particularly inside. But it means those new SUV customers – fleets included – might discover there’s another good fit in the range.