The 2014 MG 3 is something of a contradiction in terms, and a wonderful one at that. According to the Encarta dictionary, super is defined as exceptionally large or powerful while mini describes a smaller version of something. MG is rather contradictory itself – a British icon now under Chinese control. With the 2014 MG 3 hopes to regain footing in the UK by appealing to consumers in the same way your ‘made in China’ toaster does – by offering a low price. The entry-level Time model starts at £8,399, Form trim is priced at £9,299 (£9,549 for the 3 Form Sport) and the top of the line Style costs just £9,999. Even though it’s inexpensive, the 3 still offers attractive styling, a spacious interior and plenty of features. Under the bonnet, all models of the 2014 MG 3 get the 105bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox. So, if you want to make your 3 stand out from the others, you’ll have to do so by plastering on one of the many decals offered by the manufacture. MG feels these decals will attract young buyers, which is rather insulting to the under 30 crowd. Hey, youth recognises tacky too.
If you abstain from applying the gaudy decals, the 2014 MG 3 actually has some decent styling traits. The mini showcases LED running lights, distinctive square-edged exhausts, modern kinked tail-lamps and body-coloured bumpers. If you step up to either the Form Sport or Style model, you get 16-inch alloy wheels, as well as body-coloured door handles and sills. With the plethora of customisation options available, there are up to half a million ways to dress your 3, ensuring your ride won’t get lost in the mall parking lot. Inside the 3, low quality materials never cease to remind you that you’re driving a cheap car. The hard plastics, fragile switches and small, hard-to-use buttons are anything but inviting. 2014 MG 3 has attempted to compensate for the cut-rate interior by affording all models a generous amount of standard equipment including power locks and USB connectivity. If you shell out the “big” money for the Style model, you even get cruise control, parking sensors, air-conditioning and a DAB radio.
The 2014 MG 3 not only looks like a go-kart, it handles like one too. The steering is receptive and body roll is minimal. Don’t expect much from the ride quality though – be cautious of whatever dental fillings you have. The experience is a bit more comfortable on the motorway, but not having a sixth gear definitely impairs the car’s cruising ability. In addition, the little petrol engine makes a whole lot of noise without producing the power to back it up. A 0-60 time of 10.1 seconds sounds good on paper, but with maximum torque rated at 137NM and delivered at 4,750rpm, you really have to work the 3 to make it happen. On a more positive note, road noise is kept to a minimum thanks to decent insulation – or possibly due to the fact you can’t hear anything over the screaming engine. The driving position is comfortable and the gear-shifting action is smooth and precise, preventing the experience from being entirely negative.
It’s difficult to predict whether the 2014 MG 3 will be a reliable, road worthy companion or a fixture at the local repair shop. That’s because both the resurrected MG company and the MG 3 itself are too new to be featured in any reliability surveys. The manufacturer claims its engineering team has slaved over the 1.5-litre engine to ensure durability. However, if the visible portions of the car are representative of what’s under the skin, we don’t hold out much hope for the longevity of the mechanical bits. The fit and finish of the exterior and interior leave much to be desired. The good news is any repairs you may incur will be on MG’s tab for the first three years or 60,000 miles thanks to the extended warranty. You’ll be protected too by the collection of safety equipment including six airbags, stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring and a system that keeps the brake discs dry in the wet.
The 2014 MG 3 is practical if not refined. Its rock-bottom price keeps it competitive with other vehicles in the B-segment, while the space and ease of access make it extremely useful. For being a mini, the 3 is big on space providing amble headroom and legroom throughout. There’s plenty of places to store inanimate objects as well, including door bins, several cup-holders (you can never have too many), a large glovebox and a lidded container on top of the dash. The boot offers 285 litres of cargo space, which can be extended to 1,262 litres of luggage with the rear seat folded.
The 2014 MG 3 has a bargain basement purchase price that makes it appeal to thrifty individuals. It also sits in a low insurance group, adding to the low coast allure. Unfortunately, the far from sophisticated petrol engine delivers dismal fuel economy for a mini – 32.6mpg on a combined cycle and 136g/km CO2. The MG is also predicted to be worth only 32.5 per cent of its original value after three years. In other words, no one else wants it either.
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