We’ve paid MG Motor the compliment of ranking its new supermini alongside the best in the class below – because, as it stands, there isn’t really a class to slot this car into.

The sub-£9000, full-sized supermini market consists of the Proton Satria Neo and Dacia Sandero – and neither offers anything like the sporting appeal of this car.

It's a good-looking car: subtly sporting, modern and anything but cheap

For the record, the MG 3 beats the Dacia in our book – and makes it look pretty ordinary in the process.

MG wouldn’t expect the 3 to rank higher than a Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio or Volkswagen Polo or probably even appear in a top five.

It would definitely make its way into the top 10, though. And it would be there on merit, not just because it’s five grand cheaper.

Its powertrain isn’t up to European standards, and it isn’t as refined as a volume-selling supermini must be, but it’s big enough, good-looking enough and seems sufficiently well built to stand comparison.

With a better engine, some upgraded interior materials and priced at the same point as it is now, the MG 3 would earn itself a place higher up the rankings.

On handling and driver engagement alone, however, it’s an outstanding buy.