In a four-model line-up, starting at around £8400 for the lightly equipped 3Time, no 3 will set you back more than £10,500.

That makes the range-topping 3Style – a car with cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and reverse parking sensors – appear better at face value than not just the Polo, Clio, Fiesta, Ibiza, Corsa et al but also much of the opposition in the city car segment below.

The 3 will shed at least £1000 more over three years than the class average

It is tempting, given the price, to opt for the range-topper. However, MG reckons the 3Form Sport will be the most popular option and, given the decent kit list, that's fine, too. Avoid the lairy graphics packs if you ever plan to resell the car, though.

If alloy wheels are important to you, it’s also worth noting that the MG 3 gets 16-inch examples at a cheaper price point than just about any car currently for sale.

Clearly, the rub is that buyers will not encounter quite the same standard across the board that they might expect from an established brand. Leaving aside the obvious differences in interior finish and sophistication already covered, the 3’s unsophisticated petrol motor is going to make it more expensive to run.

Where some of the opposition can offer a likely tax-free three-pot capable of keeping combined economy in the 60mpg region, the Chinese chugger is stuck fast at 48.7mpg (we managed just 41.4mpg on a gentle tour) and emits 136g/km of CO2 from the back – about the same as an entry-level petrol-powered Volkswagen Passat.

It’s quite possible that this fact, as much as the likely onerous depreciation and potential badge snobbery, will be the reason why some punters are put off the otherwise eminently affordable MG.

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