Review - MG MG3 Auto

By Alexi Falson on 21 Jun 2021
image for Review - MG MG3 Auto The return of the MG brand has seen some of the arrival of some of the most affordable cars on the market. The MG3 is a prime example of MG’s strategy to undercut its competitors with a feature-packed offering, but one big question remains: is it any good?

While it is no doubt attractive to have some of the cheapest drive-away prices on the Australian market, the fact remains that the MG3 needs to hold its own against major rivals from Japan and Korea, so let’s find out how it performs.

Starting Price: $17,490 drive-away

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MG MG3 Auto (CORE) Specifications

Model Date 2021
Make MG
Model MG3 AUTO
Series SZP1 MY21
Variant CORE
Transmission 4 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive FWD
Engine DIRFI
Engine capacity 1498
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6000 / 4500
Cylinders 4
Torque 150
KW 82
Fuel tank size 45.0
Fuel usage specs 6.7 / 0.0
CO2 159
ANCAP security rating Unrated

For more details and other variants, check MG MG3 Auto car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The MG3 lineup kicks off at an extremely affordable $17,490 driveaway for the base model MG3 Core variant, and is also available with a satellite navigation package which brings the price tag to $17,990 drive-away. The range-topping MG3 Excite is priced at $19,490 drive-away, making it one of the most affordable compact hatches currently on sale in Australia.

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What Features Does the MG3 Have?

The base model MG3 Core comes jam-packed with features for a car at this price point. As standard, MG has fitted the MG3 with 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic halogen headlights with LED ‘London Eye’ daytime running lamps, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, air conditioning, electric mirrors, 8-inch touchscreen media unit with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is not available, unfortunately) as well as a four-speaker Yamaha audio system, rear parking sensors and rear view camera and a space-saver spare tyre.

Satellite navigation can be optioned to the MG3 Core for a premium of $500.

Stepping up to the MG3 Excite adds electronically controlled air conditioning, larger 16-inch alloys with a two-tone finish, body colour door mirrors with integrated turn signals, a rear spoiler, side sill extensions, synthetic leather upholstery, as well as a more powerful six speaker Yamaha 3D sound system. Satellite navigation comes as standard on the Excite variant.

Range Features:

  • 15-inch alloys
  • 8-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay
  • Halogen headlamps with LED ‘London Eye’ daytime running lights
  • Cruise control
  • Leather steering wheel
  • 16-inch alloys (Excite)
  • Six-Speaker, 3D Yamaha Sound System (Excite)
  • Synthetic leather upholstery (Excite)

MG MG3 Auto (CORE) Colours

Tudor Yellow Dover White
Regal Blue Metallic Skye Silver Metallic
Tartan Red Metallic Pebble Black

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

The MG is powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, which throws 82kW and 150Nm to the front wheels via MG's four-speed automatic transmission. Translated to plain-english, this means that the MG3 is not a powerful car, but neither are its pint-sized competitors.

Its small proportions mean that the MG3 is the perfect companion for the urban environment, with a compact turning circle that makes light work of tight maneuvers and small car parks. The steering rack is extremely light, meaning you won’t be working hard on three-point turns or while parking. Once you’ve picked up speed, the MG3 offers a reasonably comfortable ride, but absorbs more of the bumps and irregularities in the road than its rivals do. This means that at times, the ride can be unrefined, but overall, the MG’s suspension strikes a nice balance for this particular price point.

When you leave the urban jungle, the MG3 is well behaved at highway speeds, and surprisingly entertaining when you throw it into some corners. All up, MG has done a great job at ensuring the MG3 is extremely easy to drive, but confident enough to handle some speed.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

It’s important to remember that the MG3 sits in the compact hatch segment, and as a result, isn’t the most spacious or practical hatch on the road. For its size, though, the front of the cabin offers an adequate amount of space, and has a more premium feel than you might expect for this price thanks to its leather wrapped wheel with in-built controls. Front passengers will not complain about the space on offer, however, the rear of the cabin is more suited to children and teenagers than full-sized adults, where leg and headroom is problematic. The rear seats offer dual ISOFIX anchoring points for child seats.

In terms of practicality, there’s a single cup holder up front and some small storage spaces in the central console. Each side of the front cabin has a small compartment for water bottles and loose items, but passengers in the rear don’t receive the same storage compartments, and are forced to make do with a pocket on the seat in front. Cargo storage in the boot is rated at 307L, which is competitive compared to its rivals; this extends to 1081L with the rear-seats folded down.

Is it Safe?

The MG3 is yet to be officially rated by ANCAP, and is less competitive when it comes to safety equipment compared to its rivals. Safety equipment as standard includes six airbags, active cornering brake control and emergency brake assist, however major features like autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warnings and blind spot monitoring are sadly unavailable in the MG3 range.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

The MG3’s 1.5-litre petrol engine is officially rated at 6.7L per 100km, which means it is not the most economical pick of the compact hatch range. Real-world driving will likely see this figure reach the mid-7L per 100km mark, depending how patient you are when it comes to picking up speed.

Our Verdict: Is the MG3 Worth it?

Despite what its price tag might suggest, there are no major sacrifices you’ll have to make opting for the MG3 over some of its rivals. With an impressive cabin and generous features list, the MG3 represents one of the best value for money propositions in the segment, so long as you’re willing to forgive its lack of safety equipment and absent ANCAP safety rating.

It’s no wonder the MG3 is often the monthly sales champion of its respective segment, as it offers an extremely attractive package, especially when you factor-in the seven year, unlimited kilometre warranty. If you’re interested in the MG3, click here to get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. No official ANCAP Safety Rating
  2. Satellite navigation not included on base car ($500 optional extra)
  3. Seven-Year, Unlimited KM Warranty with capped-price servicing & roadside assist
  4. 307L of boot space
  5. 8.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay (No Android Auto support)


  • Class-leading ownership package (warranty, servicing, roadside assist)
  • Feature-packed offering for the price
  • Surprisingly fun to drive through corners


  • No ANCAP rating, lack of smart safety features
  • Slow engine performance in the city
  • Fuel economy is thirstier than key rivals

OnlineAuto Rating: 7.5/10

MG MG3 Auto Competition

MG MG3 Auto

Kia Rio
Mazda 2
Honda Jazz
Kia Picanto
Skoda Fabia
Suzuki Swift


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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