MG 3 (2013) Review
MG 3 (2013) At A Glance
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On average it achieves 85% of the official MPG figure
The MG3 is probably the best hatchback you haven’t put on your shortlist. Launched in 2013, then facelifted in 2018, the MG3 might be long in the tooth, but it remains a credible alternative to the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Not only is it surprisingly good fun to drive, it’s also well-equipped, stylish and, in recent times, backed by a seven-year warranty. It’s let down by sub-standard interior quality, a mediocre safety rating and a dated 1.5-litre petrol engine. None of this stops the MG3 from being a very likeable car.
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Launched in 2013, the MG3 competes against the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio and Skoda Fabia, with prices that pitch it against the Dacia Sandero and Mitsubishi Mirage. In truth, it's a much better car than the Mirage, so the MG3 is the small hatch to buy if you fancy something a little different.
There’s nothing fancy or outlandish about the MG3. It’s a straightforward, five-seater, five-door small car, with new models backed by a seven-year warranty. Not bad for a car that costs less than £13,500, even in its most lavish trim level. The entry-level MG3 is around £12,000, although you can buy an early used example for £3500.
Post-facelift cars cost more, but the reward is a much-improved cabin, an upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a completely new look. Sure, the styling of the newer model is likely to be more widely accepted, but we rather miss the individualism of the earlier MG3. We also think the pre-facelift car is marginally nicer to drive.
Not everyone will appreciate the way it performs on the road. Take the 1.5-litre petrol engine, which feels like it would have been acceptable in the 80s. High CO2 emissions, barely adequate fuel economy, and a need for it to be revved hard – these will all come as a shock to small hatch owners accustomed to the punch and efficiency of a small turbocharged petrol engine.
Then there’s the ride quality, which is firm, bordering on crashy. We happen to like the steering feel, tidy cornering and grip, but others might prefer a little more suppleness to go with their small hatch. We think it’s one of the best driver’s cars in its class – good enough to rival the last-generation Ford Fiesta in terms of raw appeal.
We should also mention the equipment, which is generous, even on the entry-level version. The new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system is excellent, with a crisp and clear display, plus a host of neat features. When you consider the most expensive MG3 undercuts a basic Fiesta or Corsa by around £3000, you start to wonder if there’s a catch.
Well, there is. In fact, there are a few. Take the three-star Euro NCAP safety rating, which was mediocre in 2013, but poor in 2020. Modern driver assistance features are conspicuous by their absence, too – the MG3 lacks the safety net you’ll find in many small hatches.
Then there’s that 1.5-litre engine, which is outmoded in an era of electrification and turbocharging. And although the interior impresses with its equipment and styling details, especially following the facelift, it lacks the quality of its nearest rivals.
But none of this detracts from what is a surprisingly easy car to love. It has its faults, but the MG3 is a stylish, well-equipped and enjoyable take on the standard small hatch recipe.