Hitting Two Honda Hatchbacks With One MG

Subcompact hatchbacks are a dying breed. The only contenders in the segment are the Mazda2 and the Honda City Hatchback, which replaced the Honda Jazz, a favored and popular Japanese nameplate. Meanwhile, the Toyota Yaris is now a crossover.

Despite this, MG Philippines opted to bring in the MG 3 hatchback, which made its global debut earlier this year. And, after its official local launch and after learning about its pricing, it’s turning out to be another market disruptor for MG, following the footsteps of the bestselling MG ZS. 

In the process of pricing the MG 3 competitively, MG Philippines has also upended two Honda hatchbacks – the Honda Brio and City Hatchback.

MG 3 STD MT vs Honda Brio S MT

The Honda Brio is close to my heart. In fact, I own a pre-facelift version in the top-spec Brio RS trim. But the entry-level MG 3 STD MT is priced lower than the Brio S MT, at P678,888 versus P735,000, respectively.

That’s in spite of the fact that MG 3 is bigger on all measures, which translates to more space in the cabin. Surprisingly, the Brio has a bigger trunk space at 258L with the rear seats up, but creature space definitely goes to the MG 3.

The Brio S MT and MG 3 MT are almost on the same ground on paper, but the latter has a few advantages. The MG 3 has LED DRLs and front/rear fog lamps, while its cabin has leather-style trims on the door and a 60/40 rear seat split – things absent in the base Brio.

I haven’t driven the MG 3 yet, but on paper, it produces 118 hp and 150 Nm of torque from its naturally aspirated 1.5-liter gasoline engine. That’s significantly higher than the 89 hp and 110 Nm of the Brio, but as an owner, I can tell you that its impressive handling would be a tough attribute to contend. I’ll know more which one’s better when I get to test out the MG 3, hopefully in its base STD MT trim.

MG 3 HEV CVT vs Honda City Hatchback RS

Honda has recently launched the facelifted City Hatchback RS, with a price tag of P1,189,000 due to the added Honda Sensing suite of safety features.

However, the MG 3 HEV CVT has a significant advantage over the incoming City Hatchback RS – a hybrid powertrain setup at lower price of P1,088,888. Not only does this make the MG 3 the first hybrid in its class, but it also makes the small MG the most affordable real hybrid vehicle your money can buy. And yes, that means it’s exempted for the dreaded Number Coding scheme in Metro Manila.

With its electrified powertrain system, the MG 3 HEV produces 188 hp and 250 Nm of torque – significantly higher than the City Hatchback’s 119 hp and 145 Nm. Whether the MG 3 would be more fun to drive than the City Hatchback would be another story for another time, but things are looking great for the MG based on numbers alone.

The City Hatchback has various things going for it, though. It’s bigger than the MG 3 sans height, which makes the Honda sleeker to look at. It also has a bigger cargo capacity at 289L and it has Honda’s ULTR seats for various seating configurations. These things make the City Hatchback more practical than the MG 3.

Another Market Disruptor

Obviously, there are more things to look at with this comparison between Honda hatchbacks and the newly launched MG 3. But this pricing is reflective of what MG Philippines did a few years ago when it brought in the ZS. Evidently, it worked as the MG ZS is one of the bestselling small crossovers in the market, enough for other automakers to introduce their own contenders.

And yet, we’re looking at another market disruptor with the MG 3. It just so happens to be gunning for the Japanese automaker upon its arrival.

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