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2023 MG3 detailed: Australia's most popular small car's days are numbered but is there a replacement on the way?

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The MG3 has bubbled to the top of the small car segment off the back of bargain pricing, strong supply, and surprising longevity despite its age. But it looks like its days might be numbered.

Now 12 years old with its most recent deep facelift in 2018, the MG3 is one of the oldest new cars on sale in Australia and is rapidly approaching its global expiry date, with some reports suggesting it has 12 months left in production.

Currently the entry-level Core starts from $19,490 drive-away, making it one of the most affordable automatic new cars on sale in Australia.

Losing the MG3 would be a rather large blow to MG, which has used the model alongside the ZS small SUV as a springboard to its current position of seventh in the market, between Mitsubishi and Subaru.

It currently makes up 45 per cent of the small car segment, and had moved 2970 units year-to-date at the end of February.

The MG3 is showing its age, however, with a lack of modern safety features like auto emergency braking, no safety rating from ANCAP, and an ancient four-speed automatic transmission.

MG confirmed it would keep the MG3 on sale in Australia as long as the current car is being built, with MG marketing director, Rick Wade, telling media at the Fully Charged Live show in Sydney: "It's still serving Aussies. From our perspective we still need products like that to give people a brand new car with a seven-year warranty."

SAIC’s joint-venture with General Motors for the Chinese market, Wuling, does reveal one potential electrified replacement, the Wuling Bingo.
SAIC’s joint-venture with General Motors for the Chinese market, Wuling, does reveal one potential electrified replacement, the Wuling Bingo.

"We're at an interesting point in the brand's history in Australia. We're seventh in the market, and we've done it [entered the top 10] at a much faster pace than our Korean competitors. We'll never walk away from value, but it's not the focus of the brand anymore," he said.

Responding to speculation and previous comments that the MG3 might become an EV for its next generation, Mr Wade said: "There's a high likelihood" the MG3 would become electrified, and that there are other models under consideration to replace the MG3 from the brand's global model line-up.

Interestingly, the MG marque in China doesn't include anything of the same size as the current MG3, nor do its sister brands, Maxus (known as LDV in Australia), or Roewe (more like MG's luxury spin-off) all under the SAIC banner.

SAIC's joint-venture with General Motors for the Chinese market, Wuling, does reveal one potential electrified replacement, the Wuling Bingo, a similarly-sized fully electric hatch with a claimed 333km of driving range on a single charge.

The MG5 will be available with the choice of a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine producing 127kW/275Nm.
The MG5 will be available with the choice of a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine producing 127kW/275Nm.

It is too early to tell if MG will draw on its joint-venture partners for such a model, or if there is a new MG3 yet to be revealed, but for now the brand's next move will be to provide two options to plug a gap in its current line-up, the Toyota Corolla-sized MG4 fully electric hatch, or what looks to be another 'value' offering, the MG5 sedan.

The MG4 will be offered with two battery options for either a 350km or 450km driving range, debuting new technology, a new platform and design ethos for MG.

The MG5 will be available with the choice of a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine producing 127kW/275Nm paired to a dual-clutch automatic transmission, or a non-turbo 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine matched with a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Price and full local specs for the MG4 and MG5 are due imminently.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
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