Words & Music by Benjamin ‘Benny’ Adams.
Ladies and gentlemen, a new blogging season is to be kicked off by none-other than our (formerly) resident bag of opinionated rage than Mr Benny Adams.
Far be it from us to be deterred by the fact this copy was met with radio silence from both Pinkstones MG (whom kindly supplied the vehicle tested by Benny thanks to his excellent relationship with the senior team there) and AROnline who simply ignored the submission (it is suggested by the writer that the key-holder and founder of that publication is “flying around the world writing articles about how to evade company car tax” and as such had no time for Benny’s musings). No, we have decided to publish this deep, insightful look into the inner-most nooks and crannies of the newest filly in the MG stable.
So sit down, relax and enjoy the words of Mr Benjamin Adams.
Just in time for its 5th birthday, the MG3 has been heavily refreshed and overhauled.
It has received a new ‘family style’ grille, mimicking its brother, the ZS , new LED headlights, a new front bumper with sporty re-positioned DRLs.
However it’s the interior where the money has really been spent, a completely new dashboard, a new steering wheel and dashboard clocks, just like the grille, these have been borrowed from the ZS, but they don’t look out of place.
All these changes make the car feel more mature, perhaps a little at odds with its youthful intentions but we all have to grow up sometime.
We have also lost the ‘3’ based trim level system, which was amusing the first time we heard it but in all honesty grew more irritating as time went on. It also didn’t help that MG tinkered with it twice during the last 5 years which only served to confuse buyers who just wanted to know what their budget covered. One might even say the old system was rather trite….
Following the lead set by the GS and ZS models, the 3 has three levels; Excite, Explore and Exclusive. All models get the new headlights, DRLs, central door locking, 4 power windows and a 4 way adjustable driver’s seat. Go up to an Explore and you get the new colour touchscreen infotainment system, climate control, remote locking and 16” alloys replace the basic 14” steels fitted to the Explore. You also get a rear spoiler, parking sensors and a DAB radio. Top of the line Exclusive, (which costs £12,795) gets 6 speakers, cruise control, reversing camera and part leather sports seats.
Jump inside and the driving position is much the same as the previous car, you still sit just a little too high bearing in mind the sporting overtures the car makes.
Under the bonnet remains the original 1.5 petrol NASP unit which MG tell me has been retuned to meet the new EU6D regulations, it still provides 104 bhp and does 0-60 in just over 10 seconds. MG claim it can return 47 mpg and it emits 140 g/km. My test car was showing an average of 36 mpg during my use, although it being the ex MG UK Press car and having completed over 1500 miles in a handful of days might explain such low returns.
Whilst on paper it looks reasonably swift, it has to be worked rather hard to make lively progress, which dents the economy. The CO2 figures aren’t brilliant but with the current VED system its less of a concern to the average buyer as now all I.C.E cars under £40k are £140 a year. Where the engine wins is that compared to a base model Corsa, Fabia or Fiesta it’s a peppier, more lively unit. However it’s quickly sidelined when you realise that those cars all get quicker, more economical offerings once you jump up to a mid range example.
When the GS and ZS models were launched, with a choice in engine and gearboxes, the general consensus was that eventually one or both would filter down to the 3, so its disappointing to see the UK market gets neither a turbo charged engine or a self-shifting transmission. The argument that it’s a limited choice because it’s a value proposition is a non starter really. Natural comparisons are made to the Dacia Sandero, which gets a healthy choice of engines, and 3 types of transmission.
Visually its a much improved car and its nice to see MG finally get a family look to its cars (which should be complete when the GS is replaced by the HS next year) the fun side of the model still exists with the many customisation choices and a plethora of paint colours available to select, the bold yellow becoming the ‘free’ colour.
The introduction of Apple Car Play brings the car broadly into line with its contemporaries and more appealing to all those tech savvy millennials, who should also appreciate its low Group 4 insurance.
But the car is still writing cheques it can’t cash. It merely looks sporty, fresh and modern and should appeal to many buyers, it even drives well, being front wheel drive with the MacPherson struts up front and a twist beam at the rear, a classic but worthy setup, erring towards stiff in line with the sporting heritage of a ‘Morris Garages’ product. Out on the road it handles well with a nice weight to the steering and the 195 section tyres give good honest grip. Honest John claimed it handled better than the current (lardy) MINI. He may well be right but it’s certainly not as planted as the predecessor R56.
In conclusion, I must stress that whilst this car does so many things to an acceptable standard, until its gets a better engine it’s never going to be a leader in this market and that’s a shame because it’s matured into quite a decent supermini.
2019 MG3 Facts and Figures
On Sale: Sept 2018 onwards
Prices; £9495, £11395, £12795
Warranty: 7 years/80k miles
With grateful thanks to the team at Pinkstones for the loan of their demonstrator.
So there we have it, we’ve no idea which trim level Benny was driving, how many miles he covered and under what circumstances, we also have no pictures from his road test and instead have had to rely on stock images, but never-the-less he’s been thorough.
In summary it seems that Benny has found a car that is largely unchanged (aside from a few cosmetic exterior changes and a redesigned dash and infotainment unit) drives the same and is pretty much the same.
Good work Benny, I think I speak for everyone when I say we look forward to the next instalment of your adventures with the senior team at Pinkstones.
Sod the other publications, they don’t now what they’re missing.