New MG3 launches down under

EARLIER today, MG Motor Australia gave the media its first look at the all new MG3 Auto, a compact hatch that’s feature packed, affordable, and has its own style and personality, and some pretty handy performance numbers too.

Starting at $15,990 drive away, the MG3 Auto (if you haven’t guessed already it comes with an automatic transmission, a 4-speed, lifted from the base model MG ZS compact SUV) also gets a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 7-year roadside assist.

Exhaust Notes Australia had the chance to get up close and personal with the good looking little hatch, and we like what we saw, especially when it came to front and rear leg and head room – it’s really impressive.

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It’s loaded with tech too, including a fantastic infotainment system (you guessed it, from the ZS), and comes bundled with a leather steering wheel, satin chrome finishes, a carbon-look centre console, and uber cool tartan stitching.

That personality we spoke about earlier comes from not only it’s groovy chrome-filled look, but the fact a range of decals are available to put on your car, designed to let you give it that personal touch.

Personally we like the decal idea, it’s something different (seen before on the Kia Soul), and it reminds us of the days when people used to airbrush art works on their Sandman panel vans.

The MG3 Auto comes in two specifications, Core and Excite. The Excite hits the road at $17,490 drive away, and both variants are available in Tudor Yellow, Dover White, Regal Blue, Bristol Red (pictured) and Scottish Silver.

The Excite variant gets a 6-speaker sound system (4 in the Core) with Bluetooth, USB and full Yamaha 3D surround sound, a rear spoiler 16-inch alloys (15-inch on the Core), and a synthetic leather and tartan fabric trim combo (fabric only on the Core).

Both options are powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine (the same one that sits in the base model MG ZS), that pushes out 82kW of power and 150Nm of torque. It could do with a 6-speed auto potentially, but that’s unlikely to happen.

On a positive safety front, the MG3 Auto features a reversing camera, rear sensors, emergency brake assist, cruise control, traction control, ABS, brake disc wiping and remote central locking. It only has a 3-star NCAP safety rating though.

As part of the launch event, held at CarriageWorks in Sydney, we had the chance to talk to some of the team from MG Motor Australia, including product planning manager Pavel Meck and Marketing Director Danny Lenartic.

At the top of our list of questions were the potential for a sports variant, a hot hatch option if you will, and our concern about that 3-star NCAP safety rating that has haunted the MG3 since 2014.

The response to the performance hatch question was an interesting one, and a case of never say never. But right now the brand is looking to appeal to the widest audience possible, hence the automatic transmission, so it’s focused there.

As for the safety rating, Pavel and Danny confirmed that their had been very fruitful discussions with parent brand SAIC Motor in China in regards to engineering safety enhancements including AEB, to improve safety.

The 2018 MG3 Auto is on sale from tomorrow.

Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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