21 December 2021

MG3 AUTO Core 2021 Car Review

The AA review all sorts of interesting new vehicles but this one is a rather unique new model; it brandishes an old English brand – MG, a brand better known in the sixties for its MG roadsters. Now the MG is Chinese owned and their models, like the MG3 AUTO, are designed in the UK.

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MG MG3 Auto 2021
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MG MG3 Auto 2021
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MG MG3 Auto 2021
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MG MG3 Auto 2021
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MG MG3 Auto 2021
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MG MG3 Auto 2021
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MG MG3 Auto 2021

Model: MG3 AUTO Core
Price Range: $19,490 - $21,490 Driveway
Body Style: Hatchback
Status: Currently on sale

Aside from its interesting back story, what will stand out most for buyers is its incredibly sharp price point of $19,490 drive away including a competitive seven-year warranty.

Sharp looks

With a refreshing next-generation design and a host of exciting new features, the new MG3 AUTO is certainly a new trendsetter. Some of the sharp new features are the modern signature London-Eye LED daytime running lights along with projector halogen headlamps, a dramatic front grille with satin silver inlay highlighting and two large bold faux air intakes on either side of the angular bumper.

The clean lines and low accent swage line delivers a compact yet sporty profile. As for footwear there are 15-inch alloy wheels in the standard kit. If you purchase the Excite model you will receive the larger 16-inch two-tone machined alloy wheels, plus side sill extensions and a spoiler that enhances that stylish look even further. However, we think the MG3 AUTO is stylish enough to please most tastes.

The Tudor yellow on the MG3 AUTO Core is a great stand out colour but there are two more reserved colour options available if yellow isn’t for you - Dover White and Pebble Black.

Interior impact

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The entry model – Core, includes a four-speaker audio system featuring an 8-inch touch screen. The system includes Bluetooth and Apple Car Play and what MG refer to as “Front Yamaha Sound Field”- it just really means a decent sounding audio system.

You can also control the stereo with euro feeling switch gear functionality on the steering wheel. The interior is full of modern touches like the satin chrome highlights on the door handles, air vents and the steering wheel.

There are stylish new tartan-patterned seats, dash accents and a stitched leather steering wheel, which all add to the more premium look. Being stylish doesn’t mean practicality is compromised, with the addition of storage bins with bottle holders for added room in the front.

Safety wise the MG3 AUTO is packed with the latest safety features including six airbags, Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Active Cornering Brake Control (CBC). There was no ANCAP safety rating published at the time we reviewed the new MG3 Core model.

Cruise Control is another nicety we weren’t expecting but yes even the entry model gets conventional Cruise Control.

The new MG3 AUTO was far more than what we expected, with the odd feature missing - we would have liked a vanity mirror on the passenger side for example, but if you opt for the Excite model you get that too.

What’s under the hood?

The MG3 AUTO only has one engine option available which is a 1.5-litre, and it produces 82kW @6000rpm. Fuel economy is 6.7L/100km combined - slightly thirstier than we imagined from a small car, with a CO2 emissions output of 159g/km.

The gearbox is an older style four-speed automatic that works well with the level of power available. During our road test we found that with two adults and two children it was spryly off the line, and at motorway speeds the performance surpassed the other small cars in this class due to its extra power. The four-speed automatic was also eager to kick down a gear when necessary and the cabin was quieter too.


If you are keen on purchasing a new car under the $20k range, at the same time wanting a smart modern car that doesn’t feel quite as cheap or dated as the price tag might suggest, then the MG3 AUTO might be worth checking out.

MG Motor will donate $5 for every test drive taken in December 2021 to New Zealand Red Cross, with money raised to be directed towards Meals on Wheels support for vulnerable and isolated people.


  • Great driveway price for a new vehicle.
  • More quality feel than price would suggest.


  • No ANCAP rating yet.
  • A bit thirstier than we would have thought.

At a glance






$19,490 Driveaway

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque



Four-speed Automatic

Fuel economy/CO2

6.7L/100km, 159g/km

Towing capacity

200kg unbraked



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload


Safety systems

  • 6 Airbags
  • ABS with electronic brake force distribution
  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Active Cornering Brake Control (CBC)
  • Side impact absorbent door padding (front doors)
  • Pretension and load limiting front seat belts
  • Three rear 3-point seatbelts
  • Hill launch assist 
  • Rear seat child restraint anchorage points
  • Automatic door unlocking in accident
  • Automatic activation of hazard lights under emergency braking

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