MG3 vs Skoda Fabia | Auto Categorical
Most additionally characteristic environment friendly, downsized turbocharged petrol engines and the type of superior infotainment methods that wouldn’t have regarded misplaced in an government saloon just some years in the past.
• Greatest superminis on sale proper now
One of many newest fashions to reach within the supermini market is the MG3, the small automotive that marked yet one more step within the rebirth of the well-known British model when it was launched in showrooms again in 2014. The refreshed model we’re testing right here guarantees much more, with improved infotainment, smarter styling and further know-how – and all with out compromising the affordability for which the automotive has grow to be recognized. It has value very a lot on its facet.
Nevertheless, if these are the metrics by which we’ve got to evaluate a automotive on this class, then the MG might want to beat the supermini that’s been scoring gross sales on this sub-sector of the marketplace for a number of years: the Skoda Fabia.
This bargain-priced, compact five-door hatchback is a recognized amount, and though a number of the know-how inside is older than within the newer 3, the Fabia has already confirmed itself to be greater than able to victory in an Auto Categorical twin take a look at. So let’s see how these two evaluate in a head-to-head battle.
|Mannequin:||MG3 1.5 VTi-TECH Unique|
|Engine:||1.5-litre 4cyl petrol, 105bhp|
|Check financial system:||30.0mpg/6.6mpl|
|Annual highway tax:||£140|
Revised styling and new tech imply the MG3 is again with a contemporary try at success within the supermini class. We’re testing the facelifted automotive in impressively reasonably priced £12,795 top-spec Unique trim to see if it’s a successful components.
Design & engineering
Regardless of its lengthy historical past right here, MG isn’t a large model within the UK in relation to gross sales volumes. Nevertheless, the corporate is presently rising at a reasonably speedy price.
It has shifted greater than 10,000 examples of its first MG3 supermini over 4 years, however with an increasing line-up, the model is aiming to promote that many vehicles in 2019 alone – and this revised MG3 goes to assist it get there, the corporate hopes.
Tweaked styling and improved infotainment account for almost all of the adjustments, whereas the MG retains its value-for-money attraction, with this range-topping Unique weighing in at £12,795.
Nevertheless, there are few adjustments to the MG3’s mechanical set-up; it makes use of the identical chassis and engine as earlier than. The large information is inside, as a result of the inside has had a reasonably thorough overhaul.
The plastics are nonetheless strong, which compromises high quality, however the design is sufficiently contemporary that it mixes it with rivals on this sector, which is reward sufficient. Additionally value mentioning is the automotive’s new infotainment system, since you get a good degree of performance for the value.
Though its eight-inch touchscreen nonetheless isn’t probably the most responsive and the tile-style menu structure could possibly be just a little extra logical, when you’ve labored all the pieces out, it’s pretty easy to function.
Apple CarPlay is fitted as normal, together with a reversing digital camera, parking sensors, Bluetooth, cruise management, air-conditioning and all-round electrical home windows; that’s an honest record of options, and ensures the MG is best specified than the Skoda as normal, regardless of costing £2,365 much less. Nevertheless, there’s far more to this than meets the attention, as we’ll see.
The spec is the place the positives for the MG finish, although, as a result of it’s poor dynamically. A lot of that stems from the engine, which feels breathless and previous.
Though the MG has extra energy than the Skoda, at 105bhp, its torque determine of 137Nm is way decrease, and what pulling energy it has is developed a lot greater up the rev vary – peaking at 4,750rpm – so the engine must be labored laborious to make progress.
This confirmed in our efficiency assessments, as a result of the heavier MG was a second slower from 0-60mph, taking 11.Three seconds. The baggier, looser five-speed field doesn’t assist, both, whereas the low torque means the three lacks the turbo Fabia’s flexibility. In fifth gear the MG took 14.7 seconds to go from 50 to 70mph, whereas the Skoda wanted simply 11.Eight seconds.
The ability supply can be inconsistent, with nice holes and steps within the energy curve, so it’s not good to rev out. However it’s a must to try this, and issues get noisy at greater rpm. Refinement isn’t nice, and neither is consolation; the journey is lumpy subsequent to the Skoda’s.
The dampers thump over huge bumps, and when the chassis is loaded up, these imperfections upset the automotive’s composure as a result of the physique management breaks down and the damping is corrupted.
The MG isn’t too cozy or all that nice to drive, then, whereas its restricted practicality means it’s additionally not as versatile because the Fabia. The steering is pretty weighty for a supermini, however doesn’t really feel as direct as we’d like. Regardless of that, there’s simply sufficient agility at average speeds. It’s simply that as quickly as you push a bit more durable, the entire bundle begins to disintegrate.
Boot house is suitable, at 285 litres with the rear seats in place, however the Fabia gives 45 litres extra – and practically as a lot as some household hatchbacks. Provided that the Skoda isn’t probably the most fashionable automotive within the class, this solely serves to spotlight how the MG is simply missing just a little of the usability you will discover in the most effective superminis.
Just like the Fabia, the MG3 is five-door solely, which boosts practicality. Room within the rear is suitable and entry is nice sufficient, but it surely’s not any higher than within the Skoda. The MG’s window line additionally means it feels just a little extra claustrophobic within the rear, and it doesn’t boast the Skoda’s extra considerate storage.
MG supplies a typical seven-year/80,000-mile guarantee, which exhibits the model’s confidence in its automotive’s reliability. Nevertheless, the agency recorded a poor end in our most up-to-date proprietor satisfaction survey, ending close to the underside of the makers’ chart in 27th out of 30 and effectively behind fifth-placed Skoda.
Security is equally questionable as a result of the refreshed MG3 nonetheless solely scores 4 Euro NCAP stars from its 2014 ranking. Autonomous braking doesn’t characteristic as normal and isn’t obtainable as an possibility, whereas the remainder of the security tech is restricted.
The MG solely returned 30.0mpg in our assessments as a result of its old-school non-turbo engine wants working laborious. In distinction, the Fabia managed 46.2mpg.
In consequence, you’ll must spend £2,278 a 12 months over a median 12,000 miles to gas the British mannequin. That’s £798 greater than for the Skoda, which works out at a value of £1,480.
Nevertheless, the Fabia will lose more money, as a result of our specialists predict it would retain 40.6 per cent, which equates to a residual worth of £6,152 and depreciation of £9,008. The MG is anticipated to carry onto 40.1 per cent or £5,124 in money phrases, which suggests a lack of £7,671 over the identical three-year/36,000-mile interval.
Testers’ notes: “MG has a downsized turbocharged engine at its disposal – the 1.0-litre unit from the GS – and that it’s not taken the chance to suit it right here looks like an oversight. This 1.5 is previous tech and feels it.”
|Mannequin:||Skoda Fabia 1.Zero TSI 95 SE|
|Engine:||1.0-litre 3cyl petrol, 94bhp|
|Check financial system:||46.2mpg/10.1mpl|
|Annual highway tax:||£140|
The Fabia excels in relation to affordability and practicality in a supermini. And though new fashions have been launched because it was launched, that is the automotive the MG3 has to beat to indicate it has improved. So how does it fare?
Design & engineering
Skoda’s third-generation supermini went on sale across the similar time because the MG3, but the Fabia was facelifted sooner and had extra tech added to maintain it aggressive. Most consideration went on the engines, with a brand new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo unit added to spice up effectivity.
It’s the 94bhp mannequin in £15,160 SE trim that we’re testing, which is pricier than the MG however doesn’t get fairly as a lot package. As we’ll see, although, that’s not the complete story as a result of the Skoda claws again factors in different important areas. Superminis must cowl a lot floor that this versatility is essential.
Whereas most VW Group superminis sit on the versatile MQB platform, the Fabia is underpinned by the older PQ26 structure. Nevertheless, its newer engine means 160Nm of torque – 23Nm greater than the MG. Importantly, it’s delivered decrease within the rev vary, from simply 1,800rpm, and the Skoda is 154kg lighter.
Each fashions have MacPherson struts on the entrance and a torsion beam on the rear, which is normal for small, reasonably priced vehicles like these. There are some similarities inside, too, in relation to high quality; each characteristic laborious plastics however a not impractical design. And though there’s an analogous degree of house, the Skoda’s cabin highlights the Fabia’s relative age. Its infotainment appears to path behind the MG’s as a result of the 6.5-inch display seems small.
SE trim additionally doesn’t get as a lot package because the MG’s Unique, but it’s fairly a bit costlier. CarPlay and Android Auto are normal, as are parking sensors, DAB, Bluetooth, air-con and a pace limiter.
It doesn’t sparkle in anybody space, however the Fabia nonetheless makes a convincing case for itself as a result of it’s higher to drive and cheaper to run.
The additional torque from the engine meant the Skoda was far more versatile in our assessments that replicate accelerating on to a motorway. For instance, the Fabia went from 30 to 50mph in third in 5.Three seconds, whereas the MG took 6.Four seconds. As with the three, the Skoda has a five-speed gearbox, however its change is nicer, with a tighter motion to the shift.
The Skoda’s journey can be higher. Though it isn’t probably the most comfy supermini, the Fabia nonetheless has a slight edge over the MG. Over bumpier surfaces its damping feels a bit unsophisticated as a result of the chassis bobbles about, however there’s a extra absorbent high quality to the way in which the Fabia tracks over roads that upset the MG. In fact, you continue to get crashes and thunks, however these are much less widespread than within the MG.
On prime of that, the steering is lighter and extra exact, whereas the Fabia’s common agility and the breakdown of physique management – and subsequently its composure – really feel extra linear than within the MG.
What meaning in actual phrases is that you could journey quicker in additional conditions and in additional consolation. Plus its turbo unit is far more refined than the MG’s naturally aspirated engine. It offers away 500cc and one cylinder, but it’s extra versatile and extra environment friendly, exhibiting the advantages of pressured induction.
A 330-litre boot means the Skoda simply has the measure of the MG3 with its seats up, however when you fold them down, the tables are turned. The Skoda gives 1,150 litres, whereas the MG boasts a 1,262-litre load bay. Nevertheless, neither automotive’s again seats fold down totally flat and most homeowners are probably to make use of these superminis in five-seat type, when the Fabia is extra sensible.
Inside, there’s much less distinction between the vehicles in legroom, though the Skoda’s greater roofline implies that it caters higher for taller passengers.
Skoda is understood for its ‘Merely Intelligent’ options and though the Fabia lacks the extra helpful touches of the model’s bigger and later fashions, the garbage bin, cell phone holder on the seat and an ice scraper within the gas filler door will all turn out to be useful.
Skoda is a usually sturdy performer in our Driver Energy proprietor satisfaction survey, and in our most up-to-date makers’ chart the model ranked fifth, whereas its sellers took eighth place. MG’s garages didn’t rank.
Like the three, the Fabia was initially examined by Euro NCAP again in 2014, when it scored 4 stars. Nevertheless, it’s been upgraded over its life, gaining further tech, with Skoda’s Entrance Help autonomous braking system normal throughout the vary. You possibly can add blind spot detection for £395, too.
The shortage of effectivity proven within the MG’s mediocre take a look at gas financial system is strengthened by its excessive CO2 output. Each fashions nonetheless appeal to the identical highway tax price of £140 per 12 months, however though solely a small proportion of consumers will run a supermini as an organization automotive, the MG will nonetheless be the poorer alternative.
Regardless of its low value, which clearly has a giant bearing at this degree of the market, the excessive CO2 emissions of 140g/km subsequent to the Fabia’s far more environment friendly 106g/km put the MG seven Profit-in-Sort tax brackets greater than the Skoda.
This implies the considerably cheaper British mannequin is definitely costlier to run as an organization automotive for enterprise customers paying tax on the decrease price. It’ll price £802 per 12 months in contrast with £750 for the Fabia. This isn’t an enormous margin, however mixed with gas financial system and insurance coverage it doesn’t assist the MG’s case.
Testers’ notes: “Skoda has simply launched its Scala mannequin, which is bigger than the Fabia, and its costs begin from £16,595. If you will discover just a little bit more money, this newer MQB-based automotive shall be a a lot better guess.”
First place: Skoda Fabia
The Fabia is feeling its age, but it surely nonetheless has the measure of the MG right here, because of its sturdy practicality in a extra comfy and refined bundle. That latter level is essentially right down to its nicer engine, which makes the Skoda higher to drive and much cheaper to run, offsetting its greater value (which is much less of a difficulty when shopping for on PCP anyway). The infotainment and high quality nonetheless aren’t the most effective, although.
Second place: MG3
Whereas the higher infotainment is welcome, MG hasn’t finished sufficient to raise its supermini to the summit of this ultra-competitive class. It’s low-cost, however isn’t very comfy or that good to drive, primarily because of the flat engine that it’s a must to flog to search out the efficiency, which in flip ruins the refinement. Lastly, it wipes out its value benefit with poor financial system.
Different choices on this class…
Mannequin: SEAT Ibiza 1.Zero TSI 95 SE
Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 94bhp
Even an entry-level Ibiza SE has loads of package, with CarPlay and Android Auto normal. However the 355-litre boot and roomy cabin imply it’s probably the most versatile supermini on sale, plus it’s good to drive, comfy and refined. It’s additionally very effectively priced.
Mannequin: Ford Fiesta 1.Zero EcoBoost 100 Zetec
Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 99bhp
Whereas each these rivals are pricier, we’ve seen how PCP offers may help right here, and the Fiesta is the category chief. It handles brilliantly, and its infotainment is even higher than the MG3’s. It’s additionally refined, punchy however frugal and extra sensible.
|Skoda Fabia 1.Zero TSI 95 SE||MG3 1.5 VTi-TECH Unique|
|On the highway value/complete as examined||£15,160/£16,690||£12,795/£12,795|
|Residual worth (after 3yrs/36,000)||£6,152/40.6%||£5,124/40.1%|
|Annual tax legal responsibility std/greater price||£750/£1,500||£802/£1,605|
|Annual gas price (12ok/20ok miles)||£1,480/£2,466||£2,278/£3,797|
|Insurance coverage group/quote/VED||9/£363/£140||8/£383/£140|
|Servicing prices||£342 (2yrs)||TBC|
|Engine||3cyl in-line/999cc||4cyl in-line/1,498cc|
|Peak energy/revs||94/5,000 bhp/rpm||105/6,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||160/1,800 Nm/rpm||137/4,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd handbook/fwd||5-spd handbook/fwd|
|Gasoline tank capability/spare wheel||45 litres/£110||48 litres/restore package|
|Boot capability (seats up/down)||330/1,150 litres||285/1,262 litres|
|Turning circle||9.Eight metres||10.Four metres|
|Primary guarantee (miles)/restoration||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||7yrs (80,000)/1yr|
|Driver Energy producer/vendor pos||fifth/eighth*||27th/N/A*|
|NCAP: Grownup/little one/ped./help/stars||81/81/69/69/5 (2014)||69/71/59/38/3 (2014)|
|0-60/30-70mph||10.3/11.1 secs||11.3/12.Zero secs|
|30-50mph in third/4th||5.3/8.6 secs||6.4/9.2 secs|
|50-70mph in fifth||11.Eight secs||14.7 secs|
|Prime pace/rpm at 70mph||114mph/2,800rpm||108mph/3,200rpm|
|Auto Categorical econ (mpg/mpl)/vary||46.2/10.1/457 miles||30.0/6.6/317 miles|
|Precise/claimed CO2/tax bracket||141/106g/km/25%||218/140g/km/32%|
|Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/digital camera||Six/sure/sure/£265||Six/sure/sure/sure|
|Auto field/lane preserve/blind spot/AEB||No/no/£395/sure||No/no/no/no|
|Clim/cruise ctrl/leather-based/heated seats||£305/£185/n/£250^||Air-con/sure/no/no|
|Met paint/LEDs/keyless/pwr tailgate||£595/£960/£325/no||£545/no/no/no|
|Nav/digital sprint/DAB/linked apps||£770/no/DAB/1yr||No/no/sure/no|
|Wi-fi cost/CarPlay/Android Auto||No/sure/sure||No/sure/no|