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Facelifted MG3 swaps manual for automatic

Seven-year warranty, more specification highlight automatic-only MG3 facelift

MG logo16 Aug 2018

MG MOTOR Australia’s facelifted MG3 light hatchback has ushered in a manual gearbox-replacing automatic transmission and a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, along with higher prices and more specification.
 
The flagship Essence grade has been axed, leaving the entry-level Core and next-up Excite in the revised range.
 
The Core is $2000 dearer, at $15,990 driveaway, while the Excite has jumped $2500, to $17,490. However, buyers are compensated with a longer list of standard equipment, including the new four-speed torque-convertor automatic transmission sourced from Aisin.
 
The seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty has been carried over from MG’s ZS and GS SUV siblings, and is coupled with seven years of roadside assistance.
 
This means the MG6 Plus mid-size liftback in the only product in MG Motor Australia’s line-up to solider on with a six-year term, although this is likely to change if its facelifted model is offered locally.
 
The 1170kg (tare mass) MG3 is motivated by an Atkinson-cycle 1.5-litre NSE Major naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine producing 82kW of power at 6000rpm and 150Nm of torque at 4500rpm, up 4kW and 13Nm.
 
Claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test is 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres (+0.9L/100km), while carbon dioxide emissions are 159 grams per kilometre (+23g/km).
 
The MG3’s new front end is punctuated by MG Motor’s now-signature London Eye LED daytime running lights and chrome-trimmed Exclusive grille with a satin-silver inlay, while the rear upgrades to LED tail-lights.
 
Standard equipment in the Core includes 15-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 185/65 tyres, dusk-sensing halogen headlights, rear foglights, power-operated windows and side mirrors, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control and tyre pressure monitoring.
 
Inside, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay support, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a 12V power outlet, a leather-trimmed flat-bottom steering wheel and gear selector, Tartan fabric upholstery with contrasting stitching, satin-chrome and carbon-look trim, and manual air-conditioning feature.
 
The Excite adds two-tone 16-inch rims shod with 195/55 rubber, body-colour side mirrors with integrated indicators, a rear spoiler, side sill extensions, a chrome-accented lower bumper, synthetic leather upholstery, front-row vanity mirrors and map pockets, and climate control. It also swaps the Core’s four-speaker sound system for a six-speaker Yamaha 3D set-up.
 
Five paintwork options are available, including no-cost solid Tudor Yellow and Dover White, as well as extra-cost metallic Regal Blue, Bristol Red and Scottish Silver.
 
The pre-facelift MG3’s three-star safety rating from the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) carries over to the facelifted model, with MG Motor Australia product planning manager Pavel Meck telling GoAuto that a tilt at five stars will have to wait until it possibly enters its next generation.
 
Mr Meck added that a request for advanced driver-assist systems, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), in all future models sold in Australia has been submitted to MG Motor.
 
Nonetheless, safety features extend to six airbags, anti-skid brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist, active cornering brake control, electronic stability and traction control, plus hill-start assist.
 
At 4055mm long (+37mm), 1729mm wide (+1mm) and 1504mm tall (-13mm) with a 2520mm wheelbase, the MG3 provides 307 litres (+51L) of cargo capacity, but this expands to 1081L (+143L) when the 60/40 split-fold second row is stowed.
 
The MG3’s suspension consists of MacPherson-strut front and torsion-beam rear axles with helical springs and hydraulic dampers, while its speed-sensitive power steering is hydraulic.
 
According to MG Motor Australia marketing and communications director Danny Lenartic, the release of the facelifted MG3 is the next step in the relaunch of the British-turned-Chinese brand.
 
“We’re focused on our goal of reinvigorating this historic, trusted badge by producing quality vehicles that are affordable, fun, and packed with a range of exciting features,” he said.
 
“Our continued growth is a testament to our rapidly-expanding customer base, and we’re delighted to provide a segment-leading seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and roadside assistance on the new product range.”
 

When questioned by GoAuto what the sales expectations for the facelifted MG3 are, MG Motor Australia sales and network director Scott McIntyre explained that the strength of the expanding dealer network will be the determining factor.

 

“From my point of view, we’d like to sell as many as we can, but it relies on the (dealer) network that we’ve got,” he said. “Our sales will be around the fact that we’ve got an auto, as opposed to a manual that we had in the previous car.

 

“We would hope that some good numbers will come from our metro and provincial dealers. We’ll know exactly where we are after a full month (of sales), in September, but we’re very optimistic.”

 

Mr McIntyre added that MG Motor Australia has been allocated a good level of MG3 supply from China, meaning it will be “market-ready” with no foreseeable delays to customer delivery.

 
Sales of the MG3 have significantly grown this year, with 72 examples sold to the end of July – a 148.3 per cent increase over the 29 deliveries made during the same period last year.
 
Nonetheless, the MG3 is last in the sub-$25,000 light-car segment, trailing the Hyundai Accent (9485 units), Mazda2 (6614), Toyota Yaris (5652), Suzuki Swift (4950) and Honda Jazz (4523), among others.
 

2018 MG3 driveaway pricing

 
Core (a) $15,990
Excite (a) $17,490

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