MG was given a new lease of life when it came under the ownership of the Chinese automotive giant SAIC Motor Corporation Limited.
The famous two letters form one of the best known names in motoring, famed for its sports cars and to this day the early cars are much sought after and on our race tracks in Ireland, MGs often are still seen in competition. William Morris’ Morris Garages in Oxford was the Oxford agent for his Morris cars and one Cecil Kimber joined the dealership as its sales manager in 1921. He was promoted to general manager in 1922 and he began promoting sales by producing his own special versions of Morris cars. The first cars were rebodied Morris models, using coachwork from Carbodies in Coventry, and were known as Kimber Specials. They and had Morris and “MG” badges and the rest, of course, is history.
The MGs of the modern era are very different from what has gone before, SUVs and hatchbacks with very attractive pricing making them available to a wider audience. Will we ever see another MG Midget? Who knows? I spent a week with the MG3, and I found this hatchback a pleasant experience. My eyes were drawn to the dynamic new front-end with the “star-rider” grille which frames the brand’s famous octagonal logo and expressive headlights and LED daylight running lights completing the look. This model is now aligned with the MG-family appearance, as seen on the MG ZS compact-SUV and the X-motion concept car. You certainly will not fail to recognise the newcomer with its much bigger MG badges front and rear, and a refreshed rear treatment with electronic tailgate switch. Peace of mind comes courtesy of a seven year/80,000 mile warranty, which creates a true value-for-money package. The version I had to try was the range topping Exclusive, surprisingly packed with equipment for the money. Keeping up with the current trend, the range comes with a comprehensive technology package which we now come to expect with the modern car. All models feature Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming and AUX/USB as standard, while some versions feature an eight inch colour touch screen with Apple CarPlay, DAB radio and steering wheel audio controls. The model I tested, had the much appreciated reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, this is another feature which is becoming more popular.
Power is a DOHC VTI-TECH four cylinder normally-aspirated engine allied with a five-speed manual transmission. Performance is certainly far from being startling; however 100kph (62mph) from rest is reached in 10.4 seconds and can be best described as modest. Safety is key and there are a number of inclusive features, each model in the line up has twin front, side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control, corner brake control, hill hold control and traction control as standard. MacPherson struts remain at the front while torsion beams support the rear, aided by a spring which helps deliver high frequency dampening and these features have been seamlessly integrated with the hydraulic power assisted steering system, the end result is an average ride. I did find that the road noise was a little more than I had expected, but in terms of handling, responsive and good with good stopping ability.
Taking all into account the MG3 would suit quite a wide audience of drivers, from the learner to an ideal second car. Living with a car is important; the MG3 certainly looks good when you compare it with many of its competitors costing considerably more. I found it practical with its popular hatchback format, five doors and a reasonable sized boot. Around town it proved ideal, especially with parking, just too many parking spaces are so cramped, not a problem for the MG3 and those who remember the MGs of old were inquisitive to see the famous badge back on our streets and roads.