What's the used MG MG3 hatchback like?
Small cars can be expensive, with some costing almost as much to buy new as a family hatchback. And sadly, those that remain in the more affordable area of the market tend to be quite dull. Fortunately, the MG 3 dared to be a little bit different when it arrived back in 2013. A well-priced small car that drove well and looked sporty, it was positioned as a good-value alternative to rivals such as the Dacia Sandero, Kia Rio and Vauxhall Corsa when new.
On the face of it, you might wonder how MG managed to offer this car for such a low price. But when you delve under the skin, things start to become a little clearer. A 1.5-litre petrol is the only engine on offer, and while it offers a great headline power figure for the class (105bhp), this non-turbocharged unit isn’t as flexible as more modern offerings, and you really have to thrash it in order to make progress. When you do, it sounds a bit rough, and it buzzes away in the background on the motorway.
You’ll also notice that the 3's ride is on the firm side. This is great for handling, where the 3 feels fleet of foot and is rather good fun. But it crashes into potholes, is unsettled over rough roads and transmits plenty of road noise into the interior. The steering is heavy for a small car, too, making parking a bit trickier. It is accurate, though, enabling you to place the car through corners with ease.
The 3 is spacious inside, with plenty of head room. You can fit two tallish adults in the rear seats, thanks to a surprising amount of leg room. The steering wheel adjusts only for height, though, so the driving position isn’t as comfortable as it could be.
The quality of plastics inside isn’t great, but considering how cheap the 3 was when new, this is to be expected. What does really date the interior is that there isn't an infotainment screen on models made before the 3 was given a facelift in late 2018, with a very fiddly radio unit that has lots of small buttons. Post-facelift 3s have a much more up-to-date 8.0in touchscreen that's responsive and has an attractive layout. It only has Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, though, not Android Auto as well.
Speaking of pre and post-facelift 3s, there's a marked difference between the two in terms of standard equipment. Entry-level 3Time models are best avoided in favour of mid-range 3Form and 3Form Sport, because you get air conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, with 16in alloy wheels and some exterior styling tweaks exclusive to the 3Form Sport. Additional luxuries were reserved for the range-topping 3Style, which had diamond-cut wheels, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and rear parking sensors. The 3Style Lux came with leather seats.
The facelift led to a rationalisation of the range to just three models: Explore, Excite and Exclusive. Explore is a bit basic, with only 14in steel wheels, Bluetooth and central locking, so look instead for an Excite version with an 8.0in colour touchscreen, rear parking sensors, air-con and 16in alloys. Top-spec Exclusive models come with a reversing camera, cruise control, an upgraded stereo and sports seats.
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