MG3 Thailand-03

It’s not an eco car, but the MG3 hatchback has been launched in Thailand with prices starting from just 479,000 baht (RM54,002), matching eco cars with tax breaks such as the Toyota Yaris. The Rayong-assembled MG3 is the second MG to be introduced by SAIC Motor-CP Co – a joint venture between Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation and Thailand’s CP Group – after the MG6.

Three trim levels are available, the base C, 509,000 baht (RM57,360) mid D and 559,000 (RM63,023) range topping X. There’s also an SUV-inspired Xross (no, that’s not a typo) variant going for 595,000 baht (RM67,082), undercutting top-spec variants of B-segment classmates Honda Jazz and Ford Fiesta.

The MG3 Xross sports chunkier bumpers, body cladding and roof rails for a crossover look – à la Volkswagen CrossPolo and Hyundai i20 Active. It rolls on 16-inch alloys, an inch bigger than the D and X hatchbacks. The base C gets 14-inch steel wheels.

Making its local debut (China, not England) in late 2010, the MG3 is slightly larger than a Fiesta. It is powered by a “DOHC VTi-Tech” 1.5 litre engine with 106 PS and 135 Nm of torque, mated to a five-speed “SeleMatic” AMT gearbox. Dual airbags and electronic stability control are standard.

Now that it’s launched in Thailand, the next destination for the five-door hatch is Malaysia. SAIC Motor-CP plans to export the MG3 to right-hand-drive countries within ASEAN, starting with Malaysia in 2016, Bangkok Post reports.

Back in April 2013, Volvo dealer Federal Auto and SAIC entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a first step towards reviving the MG brand in Malaysia, with a view of CKD local assembly. No update on that front, so we’re guessing that both parties didn’t manage to strike a deal.

With the Proton Iriz and Perodua Myvi as benchmark, how do you think the MG3 will fare here?


UK-spec MG3

MG3 at Auto Guangzhou 2010