MG3 3Style – Stuffed Cat on Roof


I don’t know if its the pink door mirrors but my cat has taken to lying on top of the MG3. It’s the only car we’ve tested in the last 12 months that Hubble has taken a shine to – does this mean I’m missing something?

I spent 20 minutes looking at the MG3 as I ate my breakfast this morning. Yes, the cat was on the roof but I was more concerned with the styling than the possible affect on the  aerodynamics.

MG offer all manner of ‘personalisation options’ for the MG3, most of which are pretty dreadful. I think it will take a  lot more than that to make the MG3 appeal to young buyers who are more fashion conscious than most grown ups.

Maybe if they offered a ‘stuffed cat lying on the roof’ accessory that would win a few people over? A small puppy might make it the dog’s bollocks too..

MG3 3Style – Back Seat Driver


When was the last time you sat in the back of a car and I don’t mean a taxi? I think it was 18 months ago when I was a passenger in a Land Rover. Car reviews usually assess a vehicle from the front seat, so it was odd to be a passenger in the back of the MG3 today.

What I found surprising was the amount of leg and headroom on offer. It feels larger than a Ford Fiesta, mainly because the roofline is higher.  The boot is a decent space too and there are plenty of cubbyholes and spaces in the cabin, including extra wide door bins.

There’s no getting away from the fact the MG3 is a budget car though. The quality of the interior trim and fittings is average at best. Most of the plastic surfaces feel cheap and I imagine would mark quickly over the course of time.

As far as I can see, there is no sat nav option on the MG3 but there is a large, flat space on top of the dashboard. Perfect for propping up a TomTom…

MG 3Style – Harley Vs MG


Hottest day of the year and I’ve just ridden a Harley-Davidson to Henley and back across a very hectic Oxfordshire. I’m more used to retro Triumph motorbikes but the Harley was a chugging joy – it’s just a shame you have to be a banker wearing a bandana to ride one these days.

The MG and Harley share something in common, a heritage. Both were and still are iconic machines, except Harley has tried to retain some of the spirit of their old bikes in their latest range. MG doesn’t. The only similarity between and MGB and the the MG3 is the bonnet on the boot.

Of course, nobody would really want to drive a modern day version of the MGB but the MG3 isn’t even a sports car. It’s just a cheap runabout that happens to have an MG bonnet on the boot.

Such a shame that the new owners of MG couldn’t have built a desirable car that was affordable and fun. What would the designers of those first MGs make of this current car, I wonder…

MG3 3Style – On The Cheap


The MG6 was this year’s most disappointing car, so far. Low price is only a strong selling point if the product is competent and enjoyable – it wasn’t. So, how will the smaller MG3 city car fair?

It’s certainly cheap to buy and insure, although this is tempered by the fact that the fuel economy is average at best – and it won’t hold its value like a VW Polo, or a Fiat 500 for that matter.

There’s also plenty of room inside for four adults and they are protected by six airbags, stability control and even a tyre pressure monitoring system. Sounds promising.

After the MG6, I can’t help but feel the 3 is going to be a big letdown. If I could just look at it and not drive it, that might be the answer! Today I have to motor 180 miles across country to Norfolk in a heatwave. Find out how I get on tomorrow…

Wednesday – Contents of a Cheap Cracker


The original MG Magnette was a stylish saloon that became a common sight on British roads during the 1950s and 60s. With a special two-tone paint job it was rather pretty too.

Today is our last day with the 2014 MG6 Magnette. As you will have gathered by now, it’s not been a happy week. As I walked back to the car park in Stow-on-the-Wold, I eyed it from every angle and tried to conjure up some enthusiasm.

The MG6 isn’t a pretty car. The design has little to recommend it, although the front-end view is probably the most appealing. Otherwise, it’s as charismatic as a old Mitsubishi Carisma. And that might be insulting to a Carisma owner.

Unlike the original Magnette, this isn’t a sport saloon by any stretch of the imagination. It may be loaded with a lot of standard equipment but the basic car is deeply flawed in the way it drives, the cheap interior, poor engines and, need I go on?

Suffice to say, the final straw came when I came to pull the plastic key unit out of the dashboard for the last time. It looks and feels like something you might find in a cheap cracker.

As the engine grumbled to a halt, I suddenly found myself holding just the leather key fob and an empty keyring. The key unit had come apart, with the majority of it staying in the dashboard.

So tomorrow I will console myself in a modest Volkswagen Passat  and feel very pleased for myself – because I can’t get rid of the MG6 fast enough.

Tuesday – The Best & Worst of Times…


I feel like I’m counting down the hours until the next test car arrives at Car Couture. I keep expecting a moment of guilt that I haven’t found an awful lot I like about the MG6 but it hasn’t happened yet.

Three questions people always ask when they find out you are a motoring writer. What’s Clarkson really like (no comment), what’s the best car you have ever driven (Aston Martin Vanquish Volante) and what’s the worst (Rover Metro Vanden Plas – with electric front windows).

After 26 years of testing cars, the luxurious VP version (with electric front windows) of the little Metro was by far the worst. Fitted with an automatic transmission and 63bhp of power, it actually died going up a hill with four people on board and still cost £11k – a lot of money in the 1980s.

The Metro VP (with electric front windows) was an absolute dog of a car. Sadly, and I truly mean this, the MG6 is only a small skip’s length behind in second place. And it costs almost twice as much…

Monday – Jag-Powered London Taxi


If the MG6 parked outside cost £12,000 new then it could be argued as a much more viable proposition. Our top spec diesel model is £21,000 and, admittedly, it is packed with kit. Cruise control, auto dimming rear-view mirror, rear parking camera – the list goes on and on.

Unfortunately, the unavoidable truth is that while the car might be a winner for an aspirational family in China where it is manufactured, it falls woefully short of what we have come to expect in the UK.

The MG6 reminds me of the Skoda Estelle – an absolute dog of a car that was the butt of endless jokes in the 1980s. They tried adding all manner of equipment to the Skoda to make it sell here but it was like putting a Jaguar engine in a London taxi.

I can only hope for MG’s sake that they can ‘do a Skoda’ and one day build cars that compete head on with the likes of Hyundai, Mazda and Ford. Until then, a ‘basic’ BMW 3 Series saloon starts at around £23,000 and is light years ahead in every area, apart from equipment levels.

Sunday – MG6, Cigar Cutter As Standard


A car should wrap around you when you sit in the driver’s seat. Every control, button and driving operation should be intuitive. Sit in a new Skoda, Volvo, BMW and you feel instantly at home – like you have been driving the car for years.

Before you can push the keyless starter into the dashboard of an MG6, you have to check the car is in neutral, press the clutch and the brake at the same time and then wait for the pre-heaters in the diesel engine to kick in. Usually, it doesn’t work and it’s infuriating.

I started the car on five occasions today and four times it stalled. If the revs aren’t high enough, the MG6 refuses to move. Just me you think? Well, I had a quick Google and came across somebody called Jeremy Clarkson who suffered exactly the same problem when he drove the car.

And then there’s the handbrake. A lot of cars don’t have manual handbrakes these days but I actually prefer it, like the MG6. Except the release button for the brake is underneath the lever on the MG and not on the end, like just about every other car I’ve ever driven.

I’m sure I could get used to this but because the lever lowers into a neat slot, I promise you your thumb will get trapped time and time again! It bloody hurts and I curse the designer who put that idea onto paper. A cigar cutter couldn’t have been more effective. Band Aid please…




Saturday – MG6


I’ve been an MG fan since I was 17. I’ve owned three, crashed one and cried when somebody stole my beloved BGT GT (Reg. MUD 100E in case you spot it somewhere!).

Since then I’ve read the terrible reviews for the MG6 and couldn’t quite believe that it might be that bad. So when the day came for delivery, I was pretty excited at the prospect of seeing the MG badge parked on the driveway again.

Now it’s here I’m desperately try to find something good to write about it. I want the MG6 to be a great car that lives up to the reputation of one of the world’s greatest marques.

First impression aren’t good I’m afraid. A cheap cabin, dated noisy engine and total lack of refinement. The styling reminds me of an ancient Nissan Primera, the ride is all over the place and the whole car reeks of failure.

More tomorrow after I’ve had a lie down…