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MG3

Get FIVE years’ 0% finance on an MG3 or MG6

MG3Looking to own car for half a decade and are keen to find the best deal going? Then head to your local MG dealer between now and the end of September: the firm is offering FIVE YEARS of 0% finance on the MG3 and MG6.

The 0% finance deal is spread across the full range of MG3 supermini and MG6 large family car models too – even the £8,399 entry-level MG3 3Time.

This means that you can pay £111 a month for the next five months and find you own outright a handily-sized five-door supermini at the end of it. And not have spent a penny extra on interest in doing so.

You have to find a 20% deposit but, given such low list prices, this can be as little as £1,679. And you can have three years’ or four years’ 0% finance if the idea of spending half a decade in the same MG is too much.

Other finance deals are also available, such as affordable PCP schemes and free insurance offers. But for penny-conscious buyers who feel they shouldn’t be spending anything on interest given how low the Bank of England’s base rate is, we’ve yet to see anything that beats the MG offer.

It runs until the end of September too, so your five-year 0% finance MG can wear the new 66-plate registration when it goes live on 1 September if you so wish.

Find out more in the MG offers section – where you’ll discover the firm is even offering you goodies simply for taking a test drive: it seems Ford isn’t the only car company incentivising people for having a spin in one of its cars.

2016 MG GS review: can an MG be an SUV?

2016 MG GS review: can an MG be an SUV?

2016 MG GS review: can an MG be an SUV?

‘Can an MG be an SUV?’. It’s almost like Matthew Cheyne, MG’s sales and marketing chief, was reading our lips. But at a time when upmarket Brit brands such as Bentley and Jaguar are selling SUVs, and most mainstream manufacturers have had a crossover in their line-up for years, the question is more like ‘why has it taken MG this long?’.

Since the MG6 was launched as the brand’s first new car under Chinese ownership in 2011, the firm’s had a slow start. Last year it sold slightly more than 3,000 cars. In 2016, it wants to sell 5,000 cars. That’s almost a healthy number – at least, it is compared to the 782 it sold in 2012. By 2017, it wants to be at 7,500. The future? Who knows – it could be looking at the dizzying heights of tens of thousands (for context: Skoda registered roughly 75,000 cars in the UK last year, Nissan 154,000 and Ford 335,000).

The firm is being realistic about its sales expectations. But how is it going to grow? Much to the anger of enthusiasts, it needs its own Nissan Qashqai. And that’s where the MG GS comes in.

Haters gonna hate

Haters gonna hate

As Cheyne pointed out in the press conference ahead of our drive, MG founder Cecil Kimber described his cars as affordable and fun to drive – but, crucially, didn’t mention anything about them being two-seat sports cars. So if you’re reading this review ready to light up the comments about how the GS ‘isn’t a real MG’, that’s how the firm’s justifying it in terms of its heritage.

It’s not enthusiasts that the brand needs to chase, however – not if it’s going to sell in serious numbers. It’s Qashqai man on a budget. Qashman, if you will (OK, let’s not).

If Qashqai man feels strongly about buying a British car, he should head to his Nissan dealer. Ironically, the Qashqai is built at the firm’s plant in Sunderland, while the MG GS is produced entirely in China. Previously, MG has tried to sell itself as British by bringing in the 3 and 6 as knocked-down kits and putting them together at the old MG Rover factory at Longbridge, Birmingham.

That pretence has been dropped with the MG GS. Although designed in the UK in cooperation with China, and developed for European roads, the MG is made entirely in China. Haters gonna hate. But is that such a bad thing?

You can’t get a diesel

You can’t get a diesel

Straight-talking Cheyne is open about the GS’s approach: it needs to be cheap. There’s no talk of premium aspirations here (refreshingly) – it needs to offer more for less. One way they’ve tried to achieve that is by keeping the options to the bare minimum.

There are three trim levels: entry-level Explore, mid-range Excite and range-topping Exclusive. All come with the same engine, a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit, and all are front-wheel drive. By limiting powertrain choices, MG says it’s making savings that it can pass onto the buyer. Why spend money developing a suitable diesel engine when diesel’s popularity is in decline – and why offer four-wheel drive when very few crossover buyers need that?

It’s a strategy we’ve seen before with the MG6 and MG3. Interestingly, at launch you could only buy a 6 with a petrol engine. Some blamed poor sales on the lack of a diesel offering – so they eventually introduced one, and quietly dropped the petrol. They’ve reportedly this week given up on the MG6 entirely.

There are two gearboxes available: a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. On its launch in Oxfordshire, we only drove the GS with the automatic gearbox. It’s not the premium experience we’d expect from a top-spec SUV, even if it is only £20,995. The gearbox is jerky and easily flustered.

The engine, however, is a bit more likeable. Once the gearbox untangles itself, it’s happy to make progress, although an uncomfortable amount of engine noise makes its way into the cabin. There’s also a degree of vibration passing through the throttle pedal, while the steering is lighter than we’d like and has a bit of a dead-spot around the straight ahead.

Ride is OK – but no more, especially on the 18-inch alloys of our test car. On broken rural roads, it gets flustered easily, struggling to smooth out imperfections in the road surface. Things are better on the motorway. At 70mph, the GS cruises well and wind noise is adequately dampened.

It’s a bit cheap inside

It’s a bit cheap inside

We drove the top spec Exclusive, meaning our test car had electrically-adjustable electric seats, DAB radio and satellite navigation. But it still didn’t feel remotely premium.

There are lots of hard plastics inside, as well as an overwhelming number of buttons. The dash looks very old fashioned – it wouldn’t have been out of place 10 years ago. The infotainment system feels like a cheap, own-brand iPad – but it functions fairly well, and is simple and intuitive to use. It’s a step in the right direction for MG.

It’s easy to get comfortable, with plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel. People buy crossovers for their commanding driving position – and they’re not going to be disappointed here. Visibility is very good, meaning family buyers will feel safe driving the GS – and kids shouldn’t get car sick.

Space is good, too. The boot is bigger than a Qashqai, while rear legroom is brilliant – no doubt helped by the GS’s lengthy wheelbase. Those with longer legs might find the seating position in the rear slightly awkward, however.

MG GS: Early verdict

MG GS: Early verdict

MG is a little late to the party with the GS. There are plenty of crossovers to choose from, and most are better. The engine is a bit unrefined and the interior is adequate at best.

It makes the most sense, we feel, in entry-level Explore trim. As a practical, family crossover for £15,000, it represents fair value for money – especially when you consider its five-year warranty. It’ll stand out in a car park of Nissan Qashqais, and also offers decent practicality. You might want to keep hold of it for a while, though – residual values will probably make it look less of a bargain if you sell after a few years.

For:

  • Good value for money
  • Rarer than a Nissan Qashqai
  • More convincing than previous MGs

Against:

  • Feels very cheap
  • Automatic gearbox is poor
  • Ride is easily unsettled

2016 MG GS Exclusive auto: specification

Price: £20,995

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol

Gearbox: seven-speed dual clutch auto

Power: 140hp

Torque: 166lb ft

0-62mph: 9.6 seconds

Top speed: 112mph

Fuel economy: 45.5mpg

CO2 emissions: 141g/km

The MG GS is going to be like a Nissan Qashqai but much, much cheaper

The MG GS is going to be like a Nissan Qashqai but much, much cheaper

The MG GS is going to be like a Nissan Qashqai but much, much cheaper

MG is set to reveal its new crossover at next week’s London Motor Show – and the firm’s sales and marketing chief has revealed the biggest hint yet that it should massively undercut the family-favourite Nissan Qashqai.

Speaking ahead of the unveiling, Matthew Cheyne said: “We’re extremely proud of the GS, so we’re looking forward to unveiling it and speaking to attendees of the event about how easily it will fit into their lifestyle. I can assure potential customers that it will be consistent with the MG-family pricing strategy.”

That ‘MG-family pricing stategy’? As product manager, Andrew Lowerson, told us at the launch of the facelifted MG6: “when you sit in the MG6, it won’t be as good as a Skoda Octavia. But it’s £7,000 cheaper than the equivalent Skoda Octavia.”

So how cheap will the MG GS be?

Stacking it up against rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, as well as the £8,399 MG3 and £13,995 MG6, the MG GS is likely to start at less than £15,000. That’s phenomenally cheap for a fashionable crossover. The Qashqai starts at £18,545.

We’ll be seeing the MG GS in the metal for the first time at the London Motor Show, but first impressions based on leaked pictures suggest it might not offer quite the compromise on quality that the slow-selling MG6 does.

Cheyne added: “Next week will be a really exciting moment for us, as we’re getting closer to launching this fantastic car into the market. Members of the public are finally getting the chance to get their hands on the UK model and see for themselves what an outstanding car this is.”

The MG GS is going to be like a Nissan Qashqai but much, much cheaper

What else do we know about the MG GS?

It’s an exciting car for MG. No, that’s not marketing hype – the firm is finally delivering a car that could meet demands from car buyers. Based on a scaleable SUV platform, we could also see a smaller Nissan Juke arrival as soon as next year.

Despite being cheaper than mainstream rivals, the dimensions of the MG GS (4.5m in length) mean it will sit at the larger end of the segment. Like the MG6, that could mean it aces on practicality.

In terms of powertrains, we’re expecting a 1.5-litre petrol (from the MG3) and the same 1.9-litre turbodiesel as the MG6. A hybrid version is mooted for the future. Most models are likely to be front-wheel drive, although the GS is already on sale in China as a four-wheel-drive. That could be offered here, but it won’t be cheap.

93-year-old man trades skateboard in for MG3

93-year-old man trades skateboard in for MG3

93-year-old man trades skateboard in for MG3

A 93-year-old man from Cardiff heard that his local MG dealer was offering a guaranteed £2,000 towards any part exchange featuring four wheels – so traded in his skateboard for a new MG3.

Mr Edwards visited MG Cardiff last week and told staff he was hoping to trade the skateboard in – and ended up driving away in a new MG3 the same day.

Jack Dunn, who works for the dealership, told The Lad Bible: “I only met Mr Edwards briefly, but he was delighted that he could swap his skateboard in for £2,000 off a new car. He bought an MG3 and drove it away same day.

“He said he hasn’t used his skateboard in a couple of years, and he heard that we had an offer on where you could trade anything with four wheels in for the discount, so he took us up on it. It was a genius idea!”

What is it?

MG3: Two-Minute Road Test

What is it?

This is MG’s bargain-basement take on a supermini. It’s the second car launched since the brand was reintroduced in the UK under Chinese ownership. Following in the footsteps of the grown-up MG6, the 3 majors on offering quirky looks and fun customisation options for an affordable price.

What are its rivals?

The MG3 is Fiesta-sized, but with prices starting at £8,399, it’s a value-for-money alternative that some will consider alongside the likes of the Skoda Citigo and Dacia Sandero.

Which engines does it use?

Which engines does it use?

You don’t expect a choice of engines for that kind of money, do you? All MG3s come with the same old-fashioned 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine.

What’s it like to drive?

The engine isn’t great. It’s unrefined, needing to be worked hard to make progress. If you do wind it up, however, it’s uncomfortably noisy and not particularly rewarding. It’s a stark contrast to the modern, turbocharged engines we’re used to in small cars.

There is a pleasant surprise, though. The MG3 handles beautifully. Its hydraulic power steering takes us back to a time when steering feel was a thing, while the chassis loves to be chucked around. This does come at the expense of the ride, though, which is on the firm side.

Fuel economy and running costs

Fuel economy and running costs

With such an old-fashioned naturally-aspirated engine, the MG3 won’t return the same impressive eco figures as rivals. The outgoing EU5 model tested here returns 48.7mpg on the combined cycle, and emits 136g/km CO2. With the addition of stop-start on the new EU6 model, this improves to 51.4mpg and 124g/km.

Following our weekend with the car, the MG3 was showing just below 40.0mpg on its trip computer. Tax for the outgoing model will cost you £130 a year, compared to £110 for the EU6 version. Rivals will be cheaper to run.

Is it practical?

All MG3s come with five doors, and interior room is reasonable for a car of this size. The boot has quite a high lip, which can make loading heavy items tricky, but all models come with 60/40-split rear seats.

It’s not difficult to find hard plastics in the MG3’s interior, but for a budget car, most of these can be forgiven. Touches like the red stitching and splashes of silver brighten up the cabin.

What about safety?

What about safety?

Despite all models coming with six airbags and a myriad stability control systems, the MG3 scored just three stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP last year. Some of this is down to it lacking the technology you’ll find in more expensive rivals – such as a speed limiter or lane-assist function, so it shouldn’t concern you too much.

Which version should I go for?

Even if you splash out on the top-of-the-range 3Style, you won’t spend more than £10,999 on the MG3. For that you get 16-inch alloys, cruise control and parking sensors – none of which succeed in making the MG3 feel premium, but are some nice touches.

Should I buy one?

Should I buy one?

It’s far from perfect, the MG3. It desperately needs a new engine, and we’ve heard of a few quality control issues. Our own test car suffered from a slightly sticky throttle – a characteristic of the car, owners’ forums tell us.

But it does represent good value for money. For a good price, you get an interesting supermini with lots of customisation options and amazing handling. It’s essentially a cut-price MINI. A very cut-price MINI.

Pub fact

Production of the MG3 starts in China, at MG owner SAIC’s factory. It’s shipped across when it’s about 65% ready, and assembly is completed on the old MG Rover production line in Longbridge, Birmingham.

Retro Road Test: British Motor Heritage MGB

Retro Road Test: British Motor Heritage MGB

Retro Road Test: British Motor Heritage MGB

The MGB is arguably the nation’s most popular classic car. It’s a victim of its own success, though – owners love them, but their popularity means some enthusiasts turn up their noses when they see yet another MGB turning up at a classic car show. We’ve put it through our rigorous retro road test to find out whether it’s deserving of the love it gets, or whether it’s overrated.

Retro Road Test: Skoda Octavia vRS
Retro Road Test: Austin Metro

This example is owned by British Motor Heritage (BMH). The firm was originally established in 1975 as a subsidiary of British Leyland, in an attempt to support owners of classic cars by providing parts created using original tooling. BMH was acquired by BMW as part of its £800 million Rover Group takeover in 1994, before being sold by the Germans in 2001. Since then it’s operated as a private company.

What are its rivals?

What are its rivals?

In its time, the MGB would have been a rival for the likes of the Fiat X1/9 and Triumph Spitfire. The MGB is a more appealing proposition in our eyes, but these rivals will certainly be a rarer sight on the roads. Buyers today might even consider newer classics such as the Mazda MX-5.

What engine does it use?

What engine does it use?

Apart from the special V8 version, all MGBs used the same 1.8-litre B-Series engine. It produced 95hp at most (power was reduced in some versions) – not a lot by today’s standards. Although it was considered a heavy car at the time, 95hp is plenty for a car weighing less than 1,000kg. This example isn’t entirely standard either, using fuel injection rather than the standard carburettors.

What’s it like to drive?

What’s it like to drive?

This is a subject that’s divided opinion in the Motoring Research office. If you’re used to modern cars, the answer is: not very well. The brakes are, naturally, hard work – requiring a big shove of the middle pedal to lose speed, and you soon get into the habit of using gears to slow down.

For a car that can trace its roots back to 1962, however, it handles very well. The rack-and-pinion steering provides the kind of feedback drivers of modern cars can but dream of. It’s a proper sports car driving experience – you sit low down, and its four-cylinder engine creates a pleasing rasp.

What’s really surprising is how torquey the B-series engine is. Most of the time, you can leave it in fourth-gear, flicking the overdrive on and off using the switch on the gearknob. If you do need to change gears, the gear change is a smidgen on the notchy side, but a short throw means it’s not too much of a chore.

Reliability and running costs

Reliability and running costs

Being such a popular classic car, there’s a huge amount of support for the MGB in both the club scene and specialist companies. While there’s no reason why an MGB should be unreliable if it’s looked after and serviced regularly, parts are readily available and you’re unlikely to encounter an issue that isn’t covered in depth on internet forums.

Although the 1.8-litre engine isn’t the most powerful, it will be thirsty by modern standards. Don’t expect to see it easily returning more than 30mpg on a regular basis.

Could I drive it every day?

Could I drive it every day?

Despite this, you’d have to be very committed to drive an MGB every day. Even this very tidy example could soon become a chore: our man Tim tried it on an M25 commute one November evening and complained about how noisy it was on the motorway – not to mention the lack of radio and heavy steering. On the plus side, it’d be easy to make an MGB easier to live with – whether it’s by fitting power steering, a radio, or comfier seats. The overdrive makes things quieter, too…

How much should I pay?

How much should I pay?

MGB values vary dramatically. The GT model is less desirable than the roadster, and people are happy to pay more for the earlier examples with chrome bumpers. You can pick up a ropey rubber-bumpered GT for a couple of grand, but you probably shouldn’t. £6,000 will buy a tidy roadster, or you can double that in the hunt for a restored example.

What should I look out for?

What should I look out for?

Rust. A few minor bubbles on the wings or sills can be hiding much more serious rot – and that can be expensive to sort out. BMH can provide new panels – they’re brand new, made using the original tooling so should fit perfectly, but they’re not cheap. To give you an idea, a steel bonnet from BMH will cost £427.27 (and that’s not including painting or fitting). An aluminium one is more than £700.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the regular classic car precautions. Has it been looked after? Serviced regularly? Are there any modifications – if so, have they done to a good standard, and are they the sort of modifications you’d want? Track day mods won’t be ideal if you’re looking for a car to pootle around in at weekends.

Should I buy one?

Should I buy one?

It depends what you want in a car. If you get your thrills from driving flat-out on country roads, or are looking for a track day car, there are better, newer options out there. If you want a rare classic that’ll get lots of attention, there are lots of slightly leftfield options available. But if you want a British sports car that’s brilliant at pootling around on a sunny day, with a huge support network, the MGB is ideal.

Pub fact

Pub fact

In 1967 MG launched a 3.0-litre straight-six version of the MGB, known as the MGC. It was intended to replace the Austin Healey but soon developed a poor reputation – the heavy engine and new suspension meant it didn’t handle as well as the MGB, and journalists at the time criticised it. It was axed after just two years.

MG3: now more economical (but it'll cost you)

MG3: now more economical (but it’ll cost you)

MG3: now more economical (but it'll cost you)

The 2016 model year MG3 supermini goes on sale next week – with a revised Euro6 engine, tweaked to offer better fuel consumption.

The change is partly down to a new stop-start system, not previously offered on the MG3.

Exact fuel efficiency figures are yet to be confirmed, but the MG3’s 1.5-litre engine will now emit 124g/km CO2 – a reduction of 12g/km. That means you’ll now pay £110 a year in road tax, compared to the outgoing model’s £130.

Rivals such as the popular Ford Fiesta are available with CO2 emissions below 100g/km, resulting in free road tax.

Other changes include new colour combinations, says MG – as well as a new chrome grille.

MG’s head of sales and marketing, Matthew Cheyne, said: “The MG3 has continued its success from the day it launched in 2013 and, with all that it offers, it’s easy to see why so many people have fallen for our fun-packed and stylish supermini. Now we’re giving customers a little bit more, with the addition of some great features, but still keeping the price low; making it great value for money and setting us apart from our competitors.

“Those looking to give their car additional style and edge will love our new roof combinations, as they give customers the opportunity to mix up the personalisation options even more.”

The range starts at £8,399 for the MG3 3Time – going up to £10,999 for the MG3 3Style Lux, which includes leather seats.

Previously MG had proudly advertised that its entire MG3 range was available for less than £10,000 – although the start price remains the same. The Birmingham-based manufacturer points out that the 2016 MG3 is available on 0% finance.

MG3: now more economical (but it'll cost you)

MG3: now more economical (but it'll cost you)

MG3: now more economical (but it'll cost you)

The 2016 model year MG3 supermini goes on sale next week – with a revised Euro6 engine, tweaked to offer better fuel consumption.

The change is partly down to a new stop-start system, not previously offered on the MG3.

Exact fuel efficiency figures are yet to be confirmed, but the MG3’s 1.5-litre engine will now emit 124g/km CO2 – a reduction of 12g/km. That means you’ll now pay £110 a year in road tax, compared to the outgoing model’s £130.

Rivals such as the popular Ford Fiesta are available with CO2 emissions below 100g/km, resulting in free road tax.

Other changes include new colour combinations, says MG – as well as a new chrome grille.

MG’s head of sales and marketing, Matthew Cheyne, said: “The MG3 has continued its success from the day it launched in 2013 and, with all that it offers, it’s easy to see why so many people have fallen for our fun-packed and stylish supermini. Now we’re giving customers a little bit more, with the addition of some great features, but still keeping the price low; making it great value for money and setting us apart from our competitors.

“Those looking to give their car additional style and edge will love our new roof combinations, as they give customers the opportunity to mix up the personalisation options even more.”

The range starts at £8,399 for the MG3 3Time – going up to £10,999 for the MG3 3Style Lux, which includes leather seats.

Previously MG had proudly advertised that its entire MG3 range was available for less than £10,000 – although the start price remains the same. The Birmingham-based manufacturer points out that the 2016 MG3 is available on 0% finance.

MG Motor UK sells 234 cars - says 'thanks'

MG sells 234 cars – says ‘thanks’

MG Motor UK sells 234 cars - says 'thanks'

MG has launched a marketing campaign to say ‘thanks’ to customers who have bought its vehicles, as it enjoys the best June for sales since production restarted at Longbridge in 2012.

It comes after the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals registrations of British-built cars are up for the 40th month in a row.

Revealed: June’s bestselling cars

Last month, MG took 0.09% of the market share of UK car registrations – putting it behind niche manufacturers Subaru, SsangYong and Alfa Romeo.

But that isn’t stopping the Chinese-owned company from celebrating – as it points out that it’s sold 21 more cars in the last six months than it managed in 2011, 2012 and 2013 put together.

MG’s head of sales and marketing,  Matthew Cheyne, said: “We’re so grateful for the support our customers give. Without them, we wouldn’t be making the progress we are. Each month we’re watching our sales figures improve and it is fantastic to see.

“Every time a customer drives off in their new MG, we obviously say thanks and wish them all the best; however, those who don’t get a chance to meet the customers, but play a fundamental part in producing their new car, also want to have the opportunity to give their thanks.”

The manufacturer sold 234 cars in June, more than the 196 it sold at the same time last year. That brings its total year-to-date registrations to 1,670.

100 of these have been the revised MG6, which we drove earlier in the year.

At the time, product manager Andrew Lowerson, told us: “when you sit in the MG6, it won’t be as good as a Skoda Octavia. But it’s £7,000 cheaper than the equivalent Skoda Octavia.”

As part of the #mgthanks campaign, MG will be releasing videos of its employees thanking customers for their support.

MG Motor UK sells 234 cars - says 'thanks'

MG sells 234 cars – says 'thanks'

MG Motor UK sells 234 cars - says 'thanks'

MG has launched a marketing campaign to say ‘thanks’ to customers who have bought its vehicles, as it enjoys the best June for sales since production restarted at Longbridge in 2012.

It comes after the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals registrations of British-built cars are up for the 40th month in a row.

Revealed: June’s bestselling cars

Last month, MG took 0.09% of the market share of UK car registrations – putting it behind niche manufacturers Subaru, SsangYong and Alfa Romeo.

But that isn’t stopping the Chinese-owned company from celebrating – as it points out that it’s sold 21 more cars in the last six months than it managed in 2011, 2012 and 2013 put together.

MG’s head of sales and marketing,  Matthew Cheyne, said: “We’re so grateful for the support our customers give. Without them, we wouldn’t be making the progress we are. Each month we’re watching our sales figures improve and it is fantastic to see.

“Every time a customer drives off in their new MG, we obviously say thanks and wish them all the best; however, those who don’t get a chance to meet the customers, but play a fundamental part in producing their new car, also want to have the opportunity to give their thanks.”

The manufacturer sold 234 cars in June, more than the 196 it sold at the same time last year. That brings its total year-to-date registrations to 1,670.

100 of these have been the revised MG6, which we drove earlier in the year.

At the time, product manager Andrew Lowerson, told us: “when you sit in the MG6, it won’t be as good as a Skoda Octavia. But it’s £7,000 cheaper than the equivalent Skoda Octavia.”

As part of the #mgthanks campaign, MG will be releasing videos of its employees thanking customers for their support.