Mini MG steps up to the marque

MG3

By Bill McCarthy

MG’s supermini has taken a quantum leap forward from the first version introduced back in 2013. Better in virtually every area, but still offering incredible value for money, an iconic badge and industry-equalling seven-year warranty – notot to mention low insurance rates, making it particularly attractive for younger buyers.

It’s also stylish and practical, with the largest boot space in its segment. The firm’s blurb says: “Designed to make a bold statement, the New MG3 is targeted at style-conscious buyers seeking something different from the rest of the market, offering a wealth of personalisation options.”

A typical sales pitch, but accurate in many ways. One of the first things that strikes you about it is the ease of entry and exit, the kind you would expect on a larger SUV.

It is a smart looking car, with the iconic MG badge set in the middle of a deep, wide grille flanked by LED daytime running lights, wit deep air scoops below.

 In addition there are body coloured door handles, powered electric door mirrors and rear spoiler, together with side sills with  body coloured with black insert, so it does have a funky, sporty look. 

Equally distinctive is the side profile where the body coloured side skirts lower the stance and it is all finished of nicely with 16-inch diamond-cut alloys.

“It’s quite a package and hard to argue about value for money, even the range topper is under £14k”

 if that’s not enough, there are also customisable options, with six distinctive colour variations.

It is well equipped, with many goodies found on much more expensive cars. It features all round electric windows, all versions come with Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming and AUX/USB as standard, plus an eight inch colour touchscreen and steering wheel audio controls.

The interior continues the sporty theme, but lacks some of the soft touch plastics sophistication of some of its competitors. But the harsh dark plastics are nicely offset with a tartan finish on this model, together with matching red stitching and graphic highlights. This model also featured sports seats and multi-function steering wheel.

The centrepiece is the screen, which features navigation, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay, DAB radio and also houses the reversing camera on this model. Other controls are functional, if looking slightly dated.

Underlining the easy access and exit from the car is the class-leading head and legroom, which accommodates  four people in comfort, with the fifth a  tight squeeze. No surprise really in this class of car. But it does have a roomy feel to it especially with the large glass areas allowing plenty of light into the cabin.

The 105 bhp petrol engine is a lively unit. Mated to a slick-shifting five speed manual gearbox, it hits 60mph in just over 10 seconds. It is refined enough and has just enough poke on the motorway for reasonable overtaking. Fuel economy is a claimed 47-odd mpg, but I struggled to get 40, while CO2 emissions are on the high side.

 Road performance is good with sharp, sporty handling making it an engaging drive, while the direct, responsive steering adds to the agility of the car. This can be at the expense of comfort through the firm ride. The suspension is  specifically designed for British roads and  can become uncomfortable over lesser surfaces.

In practical terms, it has one of the most spacious boots in its class, with an impressive 285 litres of capacity. Rising to 1,262 with the seats folded. A sizeable stowage space in a small car.

Versions include Excite at £12,195, Exclusive and Exclusive Nav and all featuring the single 1.5 litre petrol power unit. 

Safety features include twin front, side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control, corner brake control, hill hold control and traction control as standard.

It’s quite a package and hard to argue about the value for money, with even this range topper costing £13,840 on the road.

Oh yes, and there’s that warranty, seven years or 80k miles for extra peace of mind.

Factfile

MG3 Exclusive 1.5 

Price: £ 13,840

Mechanical: 1498cc, 105bhp, four-cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via five speed gearbox

Maximum speed: 108mph

Acceleration: 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds

Economy: 47.1 mpg (NEDC2)

Insurance group: 6

CO2 emissions: 140g/km

Warranty: seven years, 80,000 miles’

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