Is MG reliable? An objective look into the brand

Are MG as unreliable as people say? We take a look...

MG are very much making a comeback as of late. Once known as MG Rover, MG Motors was founded in 2006 under Nanjing Automobile, a Chinese company. It was in 2011 that MG launched their first model for 16 years and, after a few mis-steps, MG were on their way to becoming a common sight on British roads.

In fact, it was reported this year that MG are seeing a 5% increase in year-to-date sales, bucking the trend of a slight downturn the car market saw at the start of the year.

Though MG are seeing a real increase in sales and are becoming more common, they are yet to shake off their reputation for unreliability. Are MG reliable?

In this article, we look at whether MG are reliable, and how this compares to their rivals.

Are MG reliable?

When we look at some of the reviews and surveys, the results are pretty underwhelming. Some are average, others quite disappointing, but overall MG’s dependability is nothing to shout about.

In a Telegraph survey in 2013 about engine reliability, MG actually came out as the worst car brand for engine reliability. They found that 1 in 13 MG’s failed. However, it should be noted that they have said this was MG Rover, and not MG Motors. Which could explain why they scored so low.

ReliabilityIndex place MG around the middle of their reliability table at 17th out of 39. They gave them a reliability index of 105 which is just about above the industry average of 118 (the lower the reliability index the better). So they don’t score too badly when it comes to ReliabilityIndex.

Blue MG3 driving on the road

In the 2016 Driver Power survey by carbuyer, the MGS came 5th out of 32 for customer satisfaction but an average 12th for reliability. This is by no means terrible, but it’s not something to shout about.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the MG6 which was placed 112nd out of 150 cars for dependability. This also faced recalls when it was first launched, but has been discontinued in the UK due to poor sales.

How reliable is the MG3?

The MG3 however, did much better. It finished 33rd for dependability and also had high customer satisfaction. This is backed up by owner reviews on carbuyer, who gave the MG3 an average of 4.6 out of 5. Many have given the model 5 stars for reliability.

The MG3 was also voted the ‘10th Best Car to Own’ in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey in 2015.

The results are mixed when it comes to MG’s dependability. It comes down to the model you choose. The MG3 has scored highly, but the MGS and the MG6 not so much. As a brand, MG are positively average. 

Why are the results so mixed?

Why are some MG models reliable, and some aren’t?

Well, one of the reasons MG models are more dependable than before could be because they are under new management. The Telegraph survey had MG Rover down as the most unreliable brand for engine failure, not MG Motor. MG Motors is the new brand that sells the MG3 and MGS and the MG XS

This is an important distinction because they are two different companies under two different managements. Under the new management, there is a good chance that MG have become more reliable. This can often be the case with brands, and it is common for brands that were once failing when it came to reliability to suddenly see success under new management.

Another reason MG cars are more reliable is because they are cheap to repair, and don’t spend that much time off the road when they do need to be repaired. This increases dependability.

However, there are still models that aren’t reliable. While MG Motors may be more reliable in the long term, there are still issues that need to be ironed out. This is quite common with brands that have undergone new management or are a brand new manufacturer. The MGS was one of the first models MG Motors launched, the MG3 is the most recent, this backs up the theory that MG’s unreliability is down to the fact that they were ironing out a few problems in the beginning.

How reliable are consumer surveys?

So how reliable are consumer surveys?

Consumer surveys are a very good way of knowing how reliable a car is. After all, the owners are the ones driving the car every day and therefore know how reliable, or unreliable, the car is.

man doing a survey on a laptop

Surveys carried out by the likes of WarrantyDirect are also accurate, as they can access a huge pool of data to pull samples from. However, in this instance, when a brand has undergone a huge change and is under new management, they aren’t as reliable as they could be. This is because they would have taken into account models under the old brand rather than the new brand which could alter the results. Particularly if there has been a bit of a jump as there have been for MG.

Another issue with consumer surveys is that you cannot always determine the long term reliability of a car. This is simply because the car might not have been around long enough for this to be determined accurately. If the brand is quite new, such as MG Motors, then this will be even harder.

Generally, though, consumer surveys are an accurate way of telling how reliable a model is, particularly when it comes to day to day reliability.

MG vs. Dacia vs. Renault; Which is More Reliable?

So how does MG compare to some of its rivals?

Again, the results are underwhelming. Dacia have gained a reputation for their dependability, coming 3rd in the 2016 AutoExpress Driver Power survey with a score of 96.17 out of 100. Both the Duster and the Sandero have received an average rating of 87.83% or higher on AutoExpress from customers, with reliability coming in as the highest ranking. Reviews on carbuyer are very much the same.

Renault are also very well known for their longevity. They have consistently been on the reliability lists for years, including a survey by the Telegraph and AutoExpress. ReliabilityIndex have placed Renault 10th for reliability, with a reliability index of 89, which is much better than the industry average, and MG. There were also 10 Renault cars included on the Top 100 Reliable Cars by ReliabilityIndex, including the Clio and the Scenic.

Orange Renault Scenic driving on the road

While MG isn’t unreliable, it isn’t as reliable as some of its rivals. Renault have been consistently reliable, and have been like that for some time. This is opposed to Dacia and MG, who have risen in the reliability ranks very recently. Therefore, if you do want to choose a car based on their long term dependability, then Renault is your best bet. That said, MG and Dacia aren’t unreliable by any means, but they might need a bit longer to prove themselves.

In conclusion, MG are average when it comes to reliability. This isn’t great, but it’s also not terrible, particularly as they were last for reliability when they were under the MG Rover umbrella. Now they have undergone new management it appears as if their reliability is improving, seen by consumer reviews and surveys. Compared to their rivals, they still have a long way to go, particularly to catch up with some of their more established counterparts such as Renault. Though as MG sales continue to rise, we’re sure that the reliability will do so as well. If you are looking for an affordable car that is good to drive, is practical and more reliable than many brands, then you won’t go too wrong looking at an MG.

Our sales expert Joe Waller spent the weekend with the MG3, find out how he got  on here! 

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

8 Comments

  • Nomalinge Vanga| 2nd October 2019 at 7:12 am Reply

    How ma mm y kilometre’s does MG 3 have to cover for it to go full service?nomavanga2@gmail.com

    • Rachel Richardson| 2nd October 2019 at 9:17 am Reply

      Hi Nomalinge,

      It is recommended that you get your car serviced once per year. However, this does depend on how often you drive it and the driving conditions. The alternative recommendation is once ever 12,000 miles (around 19,000km). We hope that this helps you.

  • Beverley Rinehart| 25th September 2019 at 9:26 pm Reply

    I had a 70 mg midget still to this day, my favorite car out of my twenty. Contrary to the above, they are always breaking down . very expensive w lengthy repair times, and parts were astrnomical ! Either 500. For the smaller repairs or 1 to 2,000.00 for bigger fixes, can’t wait to own a 70 again. !!! Great times ! Especially riding around wbab10 foot stuffed bear ias my passenger in Bellflower, Can.

    • Rachel Richardson| 27th September 2019 at 8:54 am Reply

      Hi Beverley,
      It sounds as though the 70 MG was your perfect car. MG has experienced a resurgence in the last few years, with the introduction of their newer models (and this year their electric vehicle). We hope that you find your next 70 MG.

  • JC| 25th August 2019 at 2:07 am Reply

    I have a new MG ZS Essence it has an intermittent fault with the key fob and push start, dealer has been unable to replicate the fault or fix it. The car will refuse to lock, unlock or start in combinations of this and the only commonality is parking in an above ground carpark in close proximity to a large mobile phone tower. Apparently I am not the only Australian customer experiencing this fault. MGs response has been to instruct me not park in these locations. Very very disappointing.

    • Rachel Richardson| 28th August 2019 at 12:07 pm Reply

      Hi JC,
      Many thanks for your comment concerning the reliability of your new vehicle. I am sure that anyone in Australia looking to purchase this vehicle will be interested to hear of your experience. If you are still looking for advice we would recommend you search Australian forums. Hopefully you will find a more helpful resolution if this is an issue that many others in your market are experiencing.

  • Tom| 22nd August 2019 at 12:13 am Reply

    2cnd owner of a 72 MGB. No problems after a carburetor rebuild. Very reliable vehicle and a blast to drive

    • Rachel Richardson| 22nd August 2019 at 9:22 am Reply

      Hi Tom,
      Thank you for your feedback regarding the MG, they are definitely upping their game at the moment, with the new EV and their success with the MG3. It sounds as though you have found a car that you enjoy and this is always good for our readers to hear from motorists driving the vehicle they may be considering.

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