MG3 Auto – First impressions

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours with a new MG3 – an ideal opportunity for a quick photoshoot – and something different for this blog!

First impressions count but this is in no way and in-depth review and only my personal thoughts on the car after a quick drive over the mountain road from Hobart to Leslie Vale and back along the highway.

This is the smallest MG in their recent range – and the “Core” base model. It’s grill and front styling look aggressive but for me, the design fades a little as it goes to the rear with the sharp accents and angles of current styling. The roof remains high and the back hatch upright which gives it more interior space.

On entering the cockpit, I was immediately impressed by the feel of the leather stitched steering wheel. The dash was nice, clean and uncluttered with radio, phone and cruise controls on the wheel but missing many of the features of the more expensive base model 2019 Subaru XV which was in having 3 recall defects rectified, however, all the basics were there with a nice 8″ colour touch screen in the middle – which I didn’t play with other than to tune in to Triple J for some driving tunes.

(Sorry, parked with wheel upside down)

The subtle tartan stitched cloth seats were comfortable with plenty of leg-room, nice little Faux carbon accents and more subtle tartan in the dash looked good, but why – oh why do car manufacturers put glossy black finger-print magnet plastic bits right next to buttons you press? It did look good around the air-vents but not a practical choice for the area with buttons under the LCD screen with smudgy prints from a previous driver present.

On to driving, initially I thought the 82kW 1.5 litre 4 speed auto lacked a bit of punch being a bit sluggish to move off, though adequate around town and I put this down to MG going for economy over performance with a claimed 6.7L per 100km for mixed driving.

A little later, I discovered moving the shifter from D (docile) to S (sport or shift mode} with +/- semi manual, livened things up considerably and made this car acceptably nippy – and that’s when the fun began on a damp, twisty mountain road!

It handled very well, suspension firm enough to be sporty, but not hard enough to juggle your innards over the undulating tarmac. Cornering was good, I did discover the front wheel drive tended to under-steer a little if pushed hard enough into corners in the wet – but remained tidy with ESP and CBC.

So, would I buy one? Well, I haven’t driven many other new cars to compare it with and it’s a little small for my current needs – though it is a good size, it does have split folding rear seats and is actually quite roomy for those that don’t need to haul a 1.5m folded marquee around every week – which just fits into my ’07 Impreza. I didn’t check what type of spare wheel it has.

I prefer the grip and handling of my ageing Subaru along with a manual gearbox which is becoming rare choice now-days but that’s probably some personal bias seeping in. I did enjoy the extra leg room in the MG, however, my next vehicle will likely be electric or at least a hybrid.

While at a cursory glance, the build quality seemed good but being European, I would check out the cost comparison and wait time of spare parts in Australia before making a final decision.

The Core model sells for $15,990AU and a higher spec’d Excite is $17,990 AU. More info can be found HERE.

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