2024 MG3 Hybrid Review

2024 MG3

Toby Hagon

Posted June 20, 2024

The new 2024 MG3 comes with a hybrid engine, more technology, better driving dynamics and improved safety equipment to offset its higher pricing.

The MG3 is MG’s smallest model and a car that plays at the entry level of the market. Whereas the previous MG3, the cheapest car to own in 2023, wore a sub-$20K price tag, it missed out on some key equipment. The new MG3 does come with a healthier stash of standard gear including safety kit, but the price has increased.

The higher price tag means it’s no longer MG’s most affordable car, with the larger (but sparsely equipped) MG5 undercutting it.

While the MG3 was known for being affordable, occasionally cheerful but flawed, the new 2024 model has addressed many of those concerns with modern safety systems and a more convincing driving experience.

The new MG3 is also available as a fuel-sipping hybrid for the first time.

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The new MG3 has moved up in price and specification. Image: Supplied.
The MG3 has a new hybrid powertrain

How much does a 2024 MG3 cost?

There are four models in the new MG3 line-up, including an Excite and Essence trim level that are both available with a petrol engine or a petrol-electric hybrid set-up.

The MG3 Excite costs $23,990 plus on-road costs for the 1.5-litre petrol engine and $27,990 for the hybrid.

The MG3 Excite gets 16-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch central infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There are also three USB ports up front including one integrated into the rear vision mirror for powering dashcams, and one in the rear.

Key changes for the MG3 Essence ($25,990 with the 1.5-litre or $29,990 as a Hybrid) include some synthetic leather trim, smart key entry, a 360-degree camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear map lights, sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, digital radio tuning and some additional storage elements, including a sunglasses holder in the roof and rear seatback pockets.

There’s also iSmart, which is MG’s remote activation by an associated app. It includes connectivity for three years, allowing MG3 owners to check the status of the car from their phone and lock and unlock the doors.

Across the MG3 range there are two standard colours – white and yellow – with metallic hues costing extra.

Petrol-only MG3 models get a space saver spare wheel whereas the hybrids replace that with a repair kit.

All MG3 models are backed by a seven year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

How much does it cost to service the new MG3?

Servicing the hybrid MG3 costs about 5 per cent more than the petrol version and needs to be done every 12 months or 10,000km, the latter meaning many MG3 drivers will need to take the car  back earlier than the one-year time limit. Total servicing costs add up to $2045 over the first five years or 50,000km.

The new MG3 has more tech than ever before.
There's decent room in the second row of the new MG3

MG3 exterior design

The 2024 MG3 has a generic five-door hatchback shape, but incorporates an angular nose. Distinctive character lines and an assertive front-end give the MG3 some visual personality, and some black details work well.

Made in China, the MG3 has a clean but stylish design, albeit one that doesn’t stand out much among more familiar five-doors.

What is an MG3 Excite Hybrid like inside?

The 2024 MG3 presents well, at least in its core cabin components, but delve into the tech and it’s a different story.

By entry-level hatchback standard, the MG3 has some upmarket touches, including faux leather with stitching on the lower section of the dash and metal highlights that break up the dark hues.

Flashes of orange stitching around the cabin and seats add some visual interest to what is otherwise a generic look.

But there is evidence of cost cutting in the MG3's interior, predominantly in the hard dash and upper door plastics.

The steering wheel has a flat top and bottom. In the MG3 Excite we tested it’s plastic, albeit with a thick rim for a solid feel in your hand, but it only adjusts up and down, with no ability to slide it forward or back.

The MG3's front seats are snug and supportive and cosset nicely on longer trips.

Despite its diminutive dimensions, those in the rear are well looked after with decent headroom and knee space.

The raised central section of the rear bench and hump on the floor make life less pleasant for the centre occupant in the MG3, although three across the rear is a stretch in a light hatch anyway.

While there are no seatback pockets in the MG3 Excite, fresh air finds its way to rear occupants via vents.

How big is the boot in the MG3?

The MG3's boot is a useful-by-city-hatchback-standards 293 litres, but expanding on it is tricky.

The back seat folds as a single unit, so with three people on board there’s no option to pack in bulkier items.

How does the technology work in the MG3?

The MG3's digital instrument cluster bowls up most of what people expect, although it pays to familiarise yourself with the functionality of the steering wheel buttons.

Toggling the right-hand menu between trip computer readouts and energy flow meters (among others) first requires a press of a menu button.

You then use the right-hand joystick to filter between the various readouts, and at that point the only way to adjust the volume is with the buttons below the central infotainment screen. A dial in the MG3 would be so much easier and user friendly.

Similarly, the MG3's main 10.25-inch main screen has some quirks. Without physical buttons to adjust the ventilation controls including commonly used functions such as recirculating of the air flow, you need to dive into menus.

If you’re embedded in the smartphone mirroring (Apple CarPlay or Android Auto) you have to make at least four actions on the screen to get to the desired menu.


The new MG3 hybrid promises fuel usage of 4.3L/100km (ADR Combined)

The new MG3 hybrid has a claimed fuel usage figure of just 4.3L/100km (ADR Combined).


Is the MG3 good to drive?

The new 2024 MG3 is a big step up from the budget priced model it replaces, especially in the way it steers and deals with imperfections on the road.

Fluid steering and predictable manners make for a sensible around-town hatch, while on the open road, the MG3 is relatively refined.

Through corners, the MG3's Kumho Solus tyres do an OK job but don’t have the grip some may yearn for.

They MG3's tyres are also prone to some roaring at speeds, which on more degraded road surfaces impacts comfort in an otherwise well-hushed cabin.

How does the new MG3 hybrid perform?

The MG3's hybrid system is hit and miss. The modest 1.5-litre engine makes just 75kW and 128Nm, which are tiny numbers, even for a 1.3-tonne car.

Add in the electric motor and the combined claimed power surges to a far more meaningful 155kW. That puts the MG3 near hot hatch levels.

Interestingly, though, we never saw that figure on the digital power readout on the MG3's instrument cluster; maximum torque (or pulling power) happens in second gear at 50km/h, although it’s at higher speeds when the power peaks that the MG3 feels most lively.

Occasionally that power peaked past 140kW, at which point there’s no shortage of thrust.

The MG3's hybrid engine drives through an interesting three-speed automatic with widely spaced ratios. It may sound underdone, but it works with that flexibility of the electric motor to provide useful pulling power.

However, the drivetrain responds in two stages. Take off and it’s the electric motor doing the early work, with an effortless surge and good response.

If you’re calling on maximum pull then the MG3's engine fires to life and adds to the acceleration, although it can be inconsistent in the way it delivers power with petrol propulsion.

A Sport mode sharpens responses slightly, although the regular mode works fine, even when you want the most from the MG3's drivetrain.

There are also three different levels of regenerative braking to choose from with the MG3. Frustratingly, though, the car wants to default to the middle level (2) every time you start up.

We set one of the programmable star buttons on the steering wheel to allow easy access to the regen adjustment, rather than having to go through the menus in the main screen.

There are more obvious inconsistencies to the MG3's power delivery in some specific conditions, especially when hills are involved. Keep the system working hard up a sustained hill and it’s easy to drain the 1.83kWh battery. At that point you’re down to the modest petrol engine alone, sometimes with 40kW of power - or less.

Of course, in most driving around town and shorter drives, running the temporarily-depleted battery and the corresponding lack of power is unlikely to occur often.

But it did happen to us in the suburbs, and it was easy to replicate on country roads or freeways where sustained hills were involved.

Not knowing how much power you’ll have when you push the throttle can be disconcerting.

What is the fuel consumption of the MG3 hybrid?

The appeal of a hybrid system is having it not use much fuel and on paper the MG3 looks terrific.

The MG3's claimed average fuel consumption is 4.3 litres per 100km, (ADR Combined), although it does call for premium unleaded.

That claim was never achieved during testing, instead hovering around 5.5 litres per 100km, whether in or out of town.

MG also claims it’ll sip just 0.9L/100km around town, something that was not even remotely achievable during the test. It’s a mystery as to how or where such low fuel use would (or could) be realised.

Expect to see somewhere around 5L/100km during normal driving.

The updated interior of the 2024 MG3 Essence

The updated interior of the 2024 MG3 Essence. Image: Supplied.


What safety features does a MG3 have?

The new MG3 makes a big leap forward with safety, although it hasn't yet been independently verified by ANCAP.

It comes with six airbags: dual front, front side and side curtain.

There’s also autonomous emergency braking (AEB), speed sign recognition, lane departure warning with lane keep assist and a driver monitoring system.

Both variants also pick up blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, the latter handy when backing out of angle parking spaces.

The MG3's driver assist systems generally do what they’re supposed to, although the bonging speed warning can be annoying if you indicate 1km/h over the limit.

The new MG3 hatchback

The MG3 hatchback has a decent boot capacity for its size. Image: Supplied.


How does the MG3 compare?

The MG3 has diluted one of its big appeals through its price increase, something that now pits it against more serious light hatch segment rivals.

The MG3 now competes with more expensive city hatchbacks, including the Toyota Yaris, Mazda2, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and Suzuki Swift.

The Suzuki Swift is now available as a mild hybrid, and the Toyota Yaris a proper hybrid (now on all models), more in keeping with what the MG3 offers.

While both vehicles lack the outright performance of the MG3 – at least when its hybrid system is delivering the maximum thrust – there is better consistency with the power delivery.

Should I buy an MG3?

The new MG3 will appeal to a different buyer group to the previous version, and it all comes down to the price.

Whereas the MG3 was previously a way to get behind the wheel of a new hatchback for the price of a used one from rivals, the 2024 model has now stepped up to more seriously take on the best in the class.

As with key rivals, the new MG3 will appeal predominantly to younger singles and empty-nesters.

Those who take the plunge will be buying a car that can deliver on performance, with the occasional hiccup.

The newfound substance means the MG3 is worthy of shortlisting, but shoppers also shouldn’t overlook similarly priced alternatives.



The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678

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