MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

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    patpending

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    MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by patpending on Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:35 pm

    MG Sales Centre - intro




    For anyone who has never visited MG Birmingham at Longbridge, you may not realise what a nice area it is. The border between Greater Birmingham and sylvan Worcestershire runs very close to the factory on Lowhill Lane. In 2013, the formerly-derelict parts of Longbridge are finally being built on, revitalising the area in comparison with tumbledown ex-factory, and above all, cars are leaving the factory! I shall write a separate article about Longbridge including the “if Carlsberg did Travelodges” with its own pub attached! And lager at only £2.80 a pint!

    Since I last came to MG Birmingham in 2010, the layout has changed a bit to differentiate between the areas accessible to the general public and the factory/ engineering centre/ design centre. The round glass building, the Visitor Centre aka Elephant House, no longer displays classic and modern MGs but is now the MG Sales Centre displaying solely brand new MG6s and MG3s that you can buy. (The other half has become an auditorium). To get to the Sales Centre, you turn off through a white fence before reaching the security barriers and then drive parallel to Lowhill Lane to reach the Sales Centre.

    The Sales Centre is shiny and airy inside with lots of natural light. I read it served as a designers' office for a while in the 1970s but that the designers disliked natural light on their clay models, because it is changeable.

    As good as his word, David from the MG Sales Centre had a car ready for me to drive – not the demonstrator which arrived ready for use the next day, but a press car in Silver Fox. It was a 3FORM SPORT [thanks to David for the corrections, I am Lady Grey/ Silver Fox colourblind] so it did actually have the DAB radio which is a must for me, I just didn't command David to find La La on 6Music for me. The reversing sensors I am interested in are 3STYLE only.

    As I was driving the car with David, I didn't take any photos of the one I drove in various locations...(!)

    MG3 - Pat Pending's road test




    SUMMARY

    A great not-so-little car which combines lavish interior space with compact external dimensions, the MG3 is an attractive alternative to cars costing over twice as much – with a killer low price and consequent running cost! To me, if I didn't buy one, I would regret that far more than failing to buy a Volkswagen or a Volvo, presuming the ownership experience was as trouble-free as that of my MG3-owning Facebook chums around the globe.


    GETTING THE CAR SET UP FOR ME

    Unlike the Polo and V40 I recently test drove, I did not hit my head when getting into the car and there are no nasty sharp surfaces waiting to scratch me. There is plenty of headroom.

    The seat adjustment controls were explained by David – the forwards/backwards adjustment is on the left at the front of the seat as with the MG6.

    DRIVING POSITION

    My overall comment is that the driving position is excellent, better than the MG6, though I did not find the footrest for my left foot by the clutch.

    Ignition

    A key which is inserted on the right of the steering column. Brilliant! There is even an oddments tray for tolls etc. to the right of the steering wheel.

    Handbrake

    A standard design on my side of the seat. What a great feature! On the V40, at junctions, you could hear me touching the dashboard all over because I couldn't find the handbrake which was located at about ten o'clock and quite far down. What a journo! If I were Sid James, I would say the V40 was probably a good car to take on a test drive with a pretty girl in a miniskirt. But such sexist comments should be avoided. No problem with straying hands or inexplicably stalling on the MG3, it's an easy-to-use handbrake that is right where it should be.

    Instruments

    On the MG6, I criticised the size of the rev counter and speedo, and suggested the speedo should be marked "30, 50, 70". Bingo! On MG3 – big instruments and 30, 50, 70. The MG3 has nice big instruments which go “voom” around when you turn the key – a nice touch! - and that is exactly how they are marked.

    There is a little display telling you which gear you are in and when to change up. However, this is not paired with any kind of satnav to predict hills (no satnav on any MG3, it is presumed one can use a mobile phone instead) so you can find yourself in the wrong gear at the next hill. Compared with my 2.5l V6 the car is not so good from low revs as you might expect...

    Column Stalks

    The left-hand stalk works the lights and the indicators – the right-hand stalk works the wipers, which is exactly as it should be. There is a function to indicate three times which confused me a bit at first, trying to cancel it – it's still three times more than a B*W! Wink

    Radio

    The radio on the 3FORM and 3STYLE is a DAB one, which I would want. There is an option to play music from the USB (though there is a limit to the number of ringtones I would like to listen to), but no obvious standard slot for a cassette player. Wink

    Ventilation

    The weather was a coldish September day, but I had David operating the ventilation, which worked well. The system looked nice and simple, with very attractive red surrounds to the vents (extra cost option). I believe having a salesman travel around with you to work the heating is extra.

    Link to Mobile Phone

    Of course, it would be no use hoping to get anything of any use out of me in terms of how this works. I saw it demonstrated that you can somehow store LP records into a phone and that these can be played on the car's stereo system without the needle jumping.

    Space to sit Mascots

    On MG3 (unlike ZS) there are a number of places where a mascot could be sat under the windscreen without interfering with the operation of airbags. If you didn't use a mobile phone, the central cubby for mobiles would be an excellent place for one.




    BODYWORK





    (a bit drizzly and blurry but this Hello Yellow brightens things up!)


    Styling

    The MG3 is Tardis-like – small and sporty on the outside, big on the inside. On the outside there are a number of attractive graphic packs you can order for the roof and door mirrors, including a mod-style octagon which has been a sign of the new MG since at least 2008, a Union Flag, stripes, a tyre tread effect and a selection of yellow emoticons. The possibility of personalising the exterior in this way is also a feature of the far more expensive Mini, Citroën DS3 and Vauxhall Adam.


    Essentially the MG3s that leave Longbridge are the spiritual successors to the ADO16 1100s of long ago (even if the MG 1100s were put together in Cowley) but with far better performance, equipment and safety.

    Interior

    The ambiance is generally of a robust-looking medium grey which is very nicely set off by vent surrounds. I particularly like the red, but no yellow is planned.

    My car was a press car so, although I did not have the time to run my fingers all over the dashboard, I expect it would all have worn smooth from countless journo digits of dash discernment anyway.

    The standard cloth seats have an attractive little red chain pattern along them and offer good lateral hold. On the 3STYLE you can get all leather for £500 extra.

    Rear seats

    Bearing in mind that I had set up the driving seat, one test I always carry out is whether I could sit behind myself. This discounts many cars - and, in the not-so-little Citroën C3, there would not even be enough space for me to get in!

    It's far better than the Polo if understandably less than the 6.

    Boot space

    Boot space is far more generous than the Polo with a deeper and taller boot. The rear seat base does not tip forward (which it has done on all the cars I have owned) but, with the seat backs folded down, you get quite a good space.

    MG3 standard:



    with seat backs down:



    for comparison - Polo:



    All-round visibility


    Despite modern trends for squashed glass areas (think Range Rover Evoque as an extreme example of a car which looks as though a sky-diving hippopotamus crash-landed on it) the MG3 has generally good visibility and a light feeling to the cabin.



    The A-pillars of the car are rather substantial, and restrict the view to one o'clock, used for judging your line when exiting roundabouts with no other traffic, rather than to the side.

    Electric windows and wing mirrors

    As with the MG6, these controls are in the door.

    Bonnet

    As with the MG6 and 1980s Volkswagens, the release is on the passenger side.
    The bonnet is relatively easy to open and does have a little metal rod to prop it up. There is lots of space around the engine for future upgrades. However, as with ZS and MG6, you cannot see the level in the screenwash bottle though it is easily accessible. (The one bottle is used for both front and rear screenwash).


    Boot

    The boot is far more generous than the Volkswagen Polo – higher and deeper.

    I believe that a space-saver spare wheel is an extra cost option.

    Clutch/Accelerator/Brake

    The pedals were really responsive and easy to use – though I had to ensure the driver's seat was pushed far enough forward to operate them. This level of usability is rare on cars in my experience.

    ENGINE

    The engine is a 1.5-litre VTi-Tech petrol with 106PS. Official CO2 is 136g/km. It compares well with the 1.4 85PS in the £14k Volkswagen Polo, beating it in all significant categories. For me, comparing MG3 with my 177PS six-cylinder 2.5 ZS180 is like two kinds of cheese a lot of the time (and MG3 is perfectly good) but when accelerating e.g. away from a roundabout in second gear, it is more like chalk and cheese as the MG3 has far less voom at low revs. I would say the Polo scores here. The gears are easy to change so driving the MG3 just requires more forward thinking and selection of a lower gear before it is needed.

    WHAT ELSE WOULD I WANT?

    MG3 "Édition Pending"

    As per MG3 FORM plus:

    - sunroof
    - mudflaps
    - standard interface for cassette player
    - more-powerful engine
    - reversing sensors?

    These wishes from the MG6 have been fulfilled:

    - DAB radio
    - simpler handbrake
    - larger speedo and rev counter marked 30/50/70


    WOULD I BUY an MG3?

    Yes! MG3 is likely to be my next car.


    Last edited by patpending on Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:18 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : David just told me I had got the model and the colour wrong. (thanks!) Maybe it was a purple E-Type I was driving. AND there's a footrest! ;))
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    littlechicken

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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by littlechicken on Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:07 pm

    Nice review !

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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by Morris Motors on Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:50 am

    Sunroof would be good. In fact a full glass one that they have put in some of the prototypes or a full canvas one like the Fiat 500.

    I'm interested in trying one; I'm not a particularly 'press on' type of driver, so all the criticisms of having to rev it to get the oomph perplex me. I suppose it's been detuned to get the emissions down, but in that case they should also offer one tuned for power as an alternative.

    Did you get much engine noise?

    P.S. - 'without the needle jumping' -Laughing 
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    patpending

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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by patpending on Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:15 am

    My comment (not included above) was that the ride was refined and quiet. To reach 70 in a hurry, you stay in third, by which time the engine makes a nice vroom noise.

    Overall it is really nice and quiet except when accelerating hard. It does 3200 revs at 70 in fifth.
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by Windy on Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:02 am

    Looking at the graphics board; can you have tire tracks on the bonnet and a union flag on the roof?    And while we are at it, why not a from the emoticons on the wing Very Happy


    You appear to have cheated with the boot comparison - the luggage you put in the Polo looks at least twice the size of that in the MG Laughing

    "Compared with my 2.5l V6 the car is not so good from low revs as you might expect..." - you are going to have to wait for the turbo?

    "very nicely set off by vent surrounds. I particularly like the red, but no yellow is planned.", yellow sounds a good choice but maybe a blue option as well for use in the blue cars, although red would work in a blue car too and of course if you have other options than red then you need other colours for the seats etc.

    Cheers
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    patpending

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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by patpending on Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:50 am

    Windy wrote:You appear to have cheated with the boot comparison - the luggage you put in the Polo looks at least twice the size of that in the MG Laughing
    Yes, the Polo's boot is half the size of the MG's - I don't have Alice in Wonderland luggage!

    And space for all those balloons, too!

    The boot is bigger than the Polo on the V40:



    and cavernous on the MG6:

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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by Windy on Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:22 am

    patpending wrote:And space for all those balloons, too!
    On the Volvo all those balloons would have escaped, the high boot lip on the MG3 is a big advantage!   Actually I quite like the high lip, it might be inconvenient if I want to slide a freezer in there but I don't often do that!

    What is in the red thing in the boots of the MG3 and MG6? It's too small for snow chains...
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by littlechicken on Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:23 am

    Little red box is a warning triangle, now a legal requirement
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by docjunior2008 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:12 am

    Just got a brochure through the post....very excited to get mine now Smile
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by patpending on Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:34 am

    docjunior2008 wrote:Just got a brochure through the post....very excited to get mine now Smile
    What size is it? I got an attractive A5 one...
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by docjunior2008 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:58 am

    patpending wrote:
    docjunior2008 wrote:Just got a brochure through the post....very excited to get mine now Smile
    What size is it? I got an attractive A5 one...
    Mines square. Folds out Smile
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by patpending on Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:14 pm

    docjunior2008 wrote:
    patpending wrote:
    docjunior2008 wrote:Just got a brochure through the post....very excited to get mine now Smile
    What size is it? I got an attractive A5 one...
    Mines square. Folds out Smile
    Yep - that's the one I got...
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by Windy on Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:48 am

    I found the RAC review an interesting read:  a sporty-feeling engine all counting in its favour  while the Birmingham Mail is rather enthusiastic: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/lifestyle/motoring/three-magic-number-mg-6070284
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    Re: MG3 - test drive review by Patpending

    Post by patpending on Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:37 am

    "Sporty-feeling engine"? A lot of the other reviews seem to be copying off each other "coarse" and "dated"!Doh

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