New small five-door hatchback, due in UK from 2012, is on show in Shanghai
19 April 2011

MG's new small hatchback, the MG3, is on display at the Shanghai motor show in China.

See pics of the MG3 at the Shanghai motor show

Styled under the co-ordination of MG’s studio in the UK, the MG3 looks like a neat production development of the Zero concept car. It's just under four metres long, 1.728m wide, and 1.517m tall; that makes it as long as a five-door Fiesta, but slightly narrower and taller.

SAIC seems keen to push the car's 'Britishness' - witness the Union Jacks displayed prominently on its stand - and personalisation, with contrasting roof colours and plenty of body stripes.

Information about just one engine spec has emerged from China; it's said to be a 1.5-litre petrol unit producing 109bhp at 6000rpm, and 99lb ft at 4500rpm, enough to get the MG3 to a top speed of 113mph. Those figures would put the car up against a 1.4 petrol Fiesta.

The other engines in the line-up are likely to be a 1.3-litre petrol, with around 67bhp, a diesel (SAIC is still in talks with potential suppliers) and a turbocharged version of the 1.5 petrol, with 156bhp.

The car is being aimed at buyers aged between 18 and 28. Top-spec models will get a CD player-based sound system, but more lowly specs are understood to offer just a USB socket and perhaps a solid-state memory-based MP3 player.

It's unlikely to reach UK dealers before 2012, particularly given the delays that have hit the on-sale date of its bigger brother, the MG6. Once pencilled in for a late 2010 release, it's now unlikely to reach buyers until the spring.

John McIlroy/Leon Zhang, Autocar China

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