A replacement for Australia’s best-selling light car, the MG 3, looks to finally be on the horizon.
The company has ruled out an electric powertrain due to cost considerations.
“Developing a small electric car is only marginally cheaper than developing a bigger car,” MG UK commercial director Guy Pigounakis told Autocar.
“Then half the price is battery so it becomes a £25,000 [A$44,000] car which is unaffordable”.
These cost considerations suggest the next MG 3 will offer either a mild-hybrid system or a hybrid powertrain, and not a plug-in hybrid set-up.
Closely related to the ZS, it combines a 1.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine with 80kW and 142Nm (similar to the base ZS sold here), a 70kW and 200Nm electric motor, and a 2.1kWh lithium-ion battery.
Maximum system power is 130kW, and fuel consumption is reportedly as low as 5.8 litres per 100km.
A similar hybrid option in the next MG 3 would give the brand a rival to the Toyota Yaris hybrid.
While the MG 3 is one of MG’s lower-volume models in Europe and the UK and is no longer sold in China, it remains extremely popular in Australia.
The MG 3 started as a recycled Rover following SAIC Motor’s acquisition of MG Rover assets.
It was a rebadged version of the Rover Streetwise, effectively a black plastic cladding-covered version of the Rover 25 hatch that was only ever sold here in hot MG ZR guise.
The current model replaced it in 2011, and has received two facelifts – the most recent being in 2018.
It has remained essentially unchanged since then, and overall is one of the oldest vehicles on sale in Australia today.
It’s also one of the cheapest, which helps explain its popularity here. It’s priced from $18,990 drive-away, just $500 more than the cheapest car in Australia, the smaller Kia Picanto S manual.
MG sold 13,435 examples of its entry-level hatchback to the end of October, more than twice as many as the second-place Suzuki Baleno (5863 sales) and good for a 37.8 per cent share of the light car segment.
Despite this, it’s still not the best-selling vehicle from the Chinese brand, with a SUV-hungry Australian market seeing the MG ZS family rack up 16,359 sales – enough to also make it the best-selling vehicle in its segment.
MORE: Everything MG 3