The MG3

The Chinese Can Build Anything… Not!

When the iconic MG badge was rescued by the Chinese, there was a sigh of relief that the name would live on and with the Chinese reputation for being able to build anything cheaper, and better, than anyone else, all would be well. But it would appear there is a limit to their genius and l think l have just found it.

The MG6 that l reviewed a while back was the first time in many a year l had trouble filling the page with words as my old mums adage kept leaping into my head – “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing” which is a tad tough when you’re a journalist but l heroically managed to prattle on about the shape of the air vents for a page and breathed a sigh of relief when l got to the end. You see, in the main, l only review cars that l think l will like as l am not here to beat up manufacturers and slam their products but sometimes l make a booboo.

The MG3 is not all bad by any means as it is fun to drive, grips pretty well and there are countless personalisation options. And it’s as cheap as chips at an entry price of £8,399, although to add the options that you really need, you are looking at a smidge under ten grand.

But the engine is a dog! You have to rev it like hell to get anything out of it and when you do that, it develops a harsh raspy groan that only a mother could love. It is just like an MG engine – from the 60’s! The chassis is pretty good, the steering is direct and there is loads of kit but the power plant is a deal-breaker. Even the emissions are poor as at 136g/km, it pumps out 26g/km more than a BMW 3 series! Why oh why didn’t they contract out the engines and buy them in from VW or the like and focus all their attention on style and form. It would of driven the price up but better that than not selling any. The MG6 sold about 10 a year.

So what has the MG3 got going for it? Well, it’s cheap but with Dacia knocking out cars in the same price bracket even that has lost its sheen. So it’s down to the badge. A badge that most of us grew up with and have fond memories of but this is a little like seeing the gorgeous 15 year old love of your life when she is 70 – better left to memory.


Price as tested: £10,296.00
Engine: 1.5 litre petrol
Power: 104 bhp
Top Speed: 108 mph
0-60 mph: 10.4 seconds
Economy: 48.7 mpg
Emissions: 136 g/km