MG MGF (1995 – 2002) Review

MG MGF (1995 – 2002) At A Glance


+Practical everyday roadster with a surprising amount of luggage space for a mid-engined car, decent handling, plenty of used ones around

-Build quality problems, head gasket failure is common, fared very badly in customer satisfaction surveys

The MGF was the first all-new MG roadster since the arrival of the 'B in 1962. It also scored a notable production first for being mid-engined (the ADO21 and MG EX-E were also mid-engined, but didn't get near to going on sale). The MGF had superb weight distribution and brilliant roadholding thanks to its interconnected Hydragas suspension system. It was a clever little car that used many other off-the-shelf parts - not least a pair of Metro subframes, and its K-Series engine.

In summary, the MGF was greater than the sum of its parts, and remains a unique driving experience to this day. There are two engines available, the 1.8i K-series 1796cc 16v and the 1.8i VVC (Variable Valve Control), with power figures of 118bhp and 143bhp respectively which give a 0-60 time of 8.5 (1.8i) and 7.0 (VVC) seconds. Many bargains can be had, but shop carefully...

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Ask Honest John

Can I fit LED headlights?

"Are LED headlight bulbs a legal replacement option for H1 bulbs on an MGF? "
There are some exceptions, but generally speaking aftermarket LED headlight bulb replacements for halogen bulbs are not road legal on cars.
Answered by Lawrence Allan

Is a 1998 MGF Abingdon a rare car?

"Is a 1998 MGF Abingdon a rare car? Apparently, only 500 were produced. How can I find out the value?"
The MGF Register reckons there were about 1500 Abingdon special editions made, although cars fitted with a VVC engine are generally thought to be slightly rarer with an estimated 350 made. Genuine Abingdon's should be finished in Brooklands Racing Green with a HMM paint code and a tan hood. MGF prices tend to be lower than their peers, but a really good one on a dealer's forecourt is about £4k with a similar car selling privately for about £3500. Abingdon's don't seem to carry much of a premium, in fact the last one that sold on eBay went for £1250 (although that did have 90k on the clock). At the other end of the spectrum was an example for sale at Trophy Cars for £6k. Proving the old adage 'a car is worth whatever you want to pay for it.'. Reader and MG enthusiast James Thornborough adds the figure 1500 only applies if you include the Australia export market.
Answered by Keith Moody

Which budget two-seater classic sports car would you suggest?

"I am considering buying a two-seater sports car as a runaround for the summer. I have been looking at Mazda MX5's but I am also drawn to an MG TF. Unfortunately I only have a buying budget of about £2000. The car will be garaged all year round. Out of the two, which would you go for? Are there any other marques worth looking at for that sort of money. What should I look for in terms of potential problems and future servicing."
In terms of value for money, you'll probably be able to get more MG for your money - but if it's pure driving thrills your after with one eye on track days, then the MX-5 is the car for you. Both cars have strong club support and plentiful parts supply. Have you considered an MGF? Where the TF uses a conventional spring set up, the F uses hydragas. Try as many as you can to see which you prefer - and make sure you do your homework. You should be able to find an MG with a loving owner and full service history that has made the necessary upgrades to the head gasket within your budget. Winter is often considered a good time to buy but don't forget fewer cars will be for sale at this time of year.
Answered by Keith Moody

Has the price of MGFs bottomed out?

"I have had an 18 year old MGF almost since new and have had years of fun in what I consider to be the last true MGs. Do your think the price has bottomed out or will they continue to fall in value?"
Despite having strong club support, MGFs are still a bargain. We are however starting to see signs that prices might be about to move upwards. True, you can still pick up rough ones in the classifieds for £500-£800, and some go through auctions and don't sell, but specialists such as Trophy Cars regularly have stock for between £3k and £6k. In 2020, the MGF will be 25 years old so I'd expect the market to bottom out around then.
Answered by Keith Moody
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