- Max Speed
Odd advice this, but you need to initially ignore a lot of things if you're considering the new MG3. Forget all your preconceptions of the image, the badge, the botches of the ill-fated MG Rover group. And remember just this one stat - the top-spec car is £9,999. In these days of value-driven, Dacia-loving Britain, this is clearly a good thing.
And what's even more surprising is that it gets a decent amount of kit - the 3 isn't just a four-wheels-and-a-shell car. Mid-level versions, from £9,299, get DAB radio, auto hill-hold, iPhone connectivity, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights and 16-inch alloys. Add £700 for the top spec, and you get nicer-looking alloys, parking sensors and auto lights and wipers. There are even damped grabhandles. The downside is the pun-heavy nomenclature - 3Time, 3Form and 3Style.
There are also personalisation options, but steer clear, because these are largely naff. Just because it's a fad with other manufacturers doesn't mean you should follow suit, MG - a 3 with a roof covered in emoticon stickers is not something to be proud of.
The sole engine is a 1.5-litre petrol, MG's own unit, with 105bhp and 101lb ft. And with a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds, it's no worse than rivals. But where it is worse than rivals is refinement. It's quite a peaky powerplant, so it needs hard work to drag any sort of acceleration out of it. Above 4,000rpm it gets very harsh, rasping away like someone swallowing sandpaper.
And what's even worse is that it's not economical or clean - the claimed figures are 48.7mpg and 136g/km CO2. There are mid-sized petrol saloons trundling around more efficiently.
The real pity of all this powertrain mediocrity is that the chassis is great. The steering is accurate, the MG corners flatly, there's plenty of grip - you can actually have fun driving it. And the negatives? The ride is on the firm side, but we'd sacrifice a little bit of comfort for the way this thing drives.
But you can't escape that engine. We're all for naturally aspirated, but only when it injects some character. Change the powerplant, MG, and you'll give Dacia something to worry about.
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