MG3James Batchelor

Resurging British marque MG is readying its Ford Fiesta rival, the MG3 – and AOL Cars has had an exclusive poke around a Chinese-spec example.

Slated for launch next September, Chinese-owned MG Motor UK has high hopes of claiming a slice of the popular supermini market.

It's Britain's best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta, which will be the natural rival for the mini MG along with the Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Fabia, but not more premium cars such as the Citroen DS3.

The MG3 will have a 1.5-litre petrol engine under its bonnet and will be built at the firm's UK headquarters at Longbridge.

The 3 features its bigger brother's face but incorporates a Ford Fiesta-like upturned grille, while a strong waistline leads up to a set of high-mounted tail lights.

Inside the dash is simple, accentuated by iPod-like white gloss trim, and MG says there's more space inside than the Blue Oval's best-seller; the MG3 can easily cater for four six-foot occupants.


But, in the Chinese spec car we looked at, the fit and finish was not up to European standards, and lacked any form of sat-nav or multimedia screen.

"I can promise you there will be some form of smart phone integration, and we are aware the fit and finish is lacking," an MG Motor UK product manager told us.

The MG3 got its official debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show in December 2010, and show cars featured a black roof which extended down to the waistline.

"We don't think we'll be offering that in the UK," said the product manager. "The Chinese cars had their wraps crudely applied."

The MG3 has been designed and engineered in the UK, but "productionalised" in China. Part-built cars will be shipped to Longbridge for final assembly in July 2013, with an official launch earmarked for September.

What do you think of the MG3? Would you consider buying one? Let us know by posting your comments below.