The next generation of one of Australia’s best selling cars, the MG 3, has been spied testing on European roads.

    The current MG 3 has been in production since 2011, making it well overdue for replacement.

    While the spied model has not been confirmed to be an MG 3 replacement, the model has appeared in a European patent filing wearing an MG badge and sporting MG design language.

    Images by Daniel Balogh for SH Proshots depict a light hatch featuring aggressive body lines, a more aggressive front fascia and tail lights more reminiscent of the MG ZS crossover.

    Also visible through the windscreen is an active safety module, likely housing cameras and sensors.

    In addition, the new model features rear disc brakes and a sunroof.

    Currently the ageing MG 3 doesn’t feature any active safety driver aids like autonomous emergency braking, and features rear drum brakes.

    While the interior of the spied model isn’t visible in these shots, another recently spied prototype gives more direction on the new model’s interior.

    The active safety module is again visible behind the rear-view mirror, while there’s sharper creasing on its door trims and diamond-patterned cloth upholstery. Unfortunately, the prototype’s dashboard was completely shrouded.

    The next-generation MG 3 will offer a hybrid powertrain but won’t offer a fully electric version.

    Details on the hybrid drivetrain are yet to be published by MG, however it does offer a hybrid version of its ZS-based VS SUV in Thailand.

    The VS marries a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 80kW and 142Nm with a 70kW/200Nm electric motor and a 2.1kWh lithium-ion battery.

    The hybrid crossover has a combined power output of 130kW, with claimed fuel consumption as low as 5.8L per 100kms.

    Speaking about not developing an MG 3 EV, Guy Pigounakis told Autocar that “developing a small electric car is only marginally cheaper than developing a bigger car.”

    “Then half the price is battery so it becomes a £25,000 [A$44,000] car which is unaffordable,” he added.

    The new MG 3 is set to offer more safety kit, as hinted in these spy images. However, MG Motor Australia CEO Peter Ciao says it’s unlikely to earn a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

    “It will definitely be a hybrid and it will have a lot more safety equipment, too, but it won’t get a five-star safety rating,” Mr Ciao told CarExpert.

    “It’s important that MG Australia offers some of the most affordable cars in the segments we compete in and we want to continue that with the new MG 3,” he added.

    Autonomous emergency braking will be standard, as it has been mandatory on all new cars in Australia since March 2023.

    It’s unclear what other active safety tech will be offered, as the larger MG 5 has been launched locally without aids like lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring.

    Despite its age and the lack of an ANCAP rating (only an expired three-star rating from Euro NCAP in 2014), the MG 3 has grown in popularity. It’s far and away the best-selling vehicle in its segment.

    It’s also the second cheapest vehicle in Australia, behind only the base Kia Picanto.

    Though it entered production all the way back in 2011, the current generation only arrived here in 2016. It received a facelift in 2018.

    MORE: Everything MG 3
    MORE: 2023 MG 3 review

    James Gelding
    James Gelding is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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