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I have never been a person to chop and change my cars, mostly because of my financial commitments. I have only owned three cars since 1998, and two of them have been Rover's. Many people laugh at Rover vehicles, sometimes being termed "the poor mans BMW', or unfairly joked on how they may fall apart, or that they are always driven by, shall we say 'older people'. I never found this, or any other major design or production flaws with my two little gems, the first being a 200 SD and the second, a 416 Si. (But I do see a lot of older people driving them though!)
I'm writing this so I may provide a little insight to my personal experiences with my current Rover 416 Si, a car which I sold in 2007, only to re-purchase back in 2009. (I was given a company car with my then employer, and didn't require it.) In my two years apart from it, it didn't alter much, and just needed a fresh service and a little TLC. I have found owning and driving this car an enjoyable experience. None of the pre-conceptions of unreliably, shoddy build quality and cheap or delicate parts materialised. Having kept other cars but not owned, (Focus, Sierra, Mini, Polo, Corsa, Mondeo, Astra), this Rover stood up well to them on many factors.
A Sad Demise
Most people know that Rover vehicles are no longer built, due to the company being liquidated in 2005. The slow and painful demise of Rover was very complicated and drawn-out, so I'll try and simplify it a smidge. Originally the company was founded as British Leyland in 1975 (becoming infamous for it's vans and lorries), and became Rover in 1986. Along with the MG branding, it was then sold to BMW in 1994, who in turn after separating the Land Rover and Mini brands, sold the remaining assets to the Phoenix Consortium in 2000. The company was renamed MG Rover Group up until 2005, where it sadly was liquidated and all remaining assets were sold to the Nanjing Automobile Group. In 2008, Ford (who bought the brand rights from BMW previously), sold the redundant brands to Tata Motors. Attempts were made to resurrect the brand, but to no avail. Some MG models are still in production at Rover's old Headquarters at Longbridge, Birmingham.
My particular Rover was built in 1997, during BMW's reign, and was based off the body shape of the then Honda Civic. Rover and Honda collaborated in 1990 to produce cars based off the same layouts, but released with different drive trains, trim, names etc etc.. primarily for the European market. The Civic shape was nice, and with Rover adding their touch, I think made the car look very nice indeed. It came across clearly as a smaller family friendly car, without looking to dull so not to put off the younger drivers.
Boomerang 416! My Story...
I bought my Rover 416 Si in 2002 for the sum of £2,995. It is a metallic Tahiti Blue 5-Door Hatch back, 1.6 injection engine. The first time I got behind the wheel, I felt really comfortable with how well it drove. It was, (and still is to a degree) comfortable on the road, pulled away quickly, held the road nicely, easy to maintain and quite economical. It could do 38 to 39 mpg then, and I did travel all over Britain in it, certainly stretching its legs with no major breakdown or bodywork issues. I was regularly servicing it and kept it in great condition, but suddenly one day in 2006, POP! The head gasket suddenly gave up. I did seriously consider scrapping it at this point, but as I was in need a car desperately at the time, I had this repaired at the cost of £250. The engine recovered well enough, but never regained its former power and economical attributes. I believe now it can produce around 30 to 32mpg. It's original Bhp was 109, but due to the engines major repair, it now pushes out a mere 80 or 85 Bhp. Shortly after this, I sold it to a friend for £600, and thought I would never see it again. It had served me well, and I knew it would see it's days out with it's new owner, who needed it as a run-around to and from work. I then was driving a 2008 Focus estate which was a company car. I found this a terrific vehicle, but that's another story. Suddenly in the summer of 2009, I was unexpectedly made redundant (thank you Speedy Hire!), and therefore lost my lovely Focus. I needed a car again, and discovered my friend had bought a Corsa, and as he no longer needed the Rover I sold him, I offered him £250 for it back. He agreed, and low and behold, my 416 came back to me, so I knew exactly what to expect of it. I have now still got it, but it won't be long before it leaves me again, with an expanding family and the slow deterioration of the tough old workhorse, I will need something more reliable and more spacious.
Looks and Quality
I think this car looks lovely. I doesn't have any course or obviously ugly lines to the details. Its headlights are well spaced and of a good size, and the blub separation is good. The chrome grill looks good too, and the front generally has a nice symmetry to it which I like in all my cars. It has a large coloured bumper, which is surprisingly sturdy, and has taken the odd bump without damage. The windows all fit well, with quality rubber surrounds, as does the door sill trim and rear bumper. The back lights are my favourite design Rover came up with, the later models put the indicator lens on the inside of the cluster, which never looked as nice as the quarter-circle shaped affair on this model. There is a matching chrome surround on the number plate recess, which again looks tasteful and not to overblown. I wouldn't say this car stands out at all, it certainly doesn't turn heads in the slightest, but I don't think that is the point. As the car it was designed to be, a small family hatchback, it fill's all the requirements. The paint has held up to the punishment over the years, as has the general bodywork. There are a few rust holes appearing now, in the door sills where they meet the rear arches, and a small spot under the filler cap, but come on, it is 13 years old! It certainly hasn't rusted to a shell in 8 years, like some Fords I could mention, and it has at least 2 or 3 MOT passes until this bodywork needs a serious repair job. Rover must have got something right then because it keeps fighting on for me, even after I recently had a low impact front end bump. The bumper and bonnet got a little bent, but I repaired this without problems and there was no mechanical or important structural damage at all. So, to have put up with all of this, I feel it was built solidly and to last for quite a while to come.
It's build quality on the inside is good and strong, albeit with a few plastic-ish bits tacked on, and the imitation wood does look a little daft. Feeling rather spacious, it has a mostly dark grey, light grey and black colour balance, with an amber display (I like this colour more than others) and matching switch backlights. There is a centre mounted clock above the console, were all the usual heating controls are. It's de-mister takes about two minutes to get going, but does clear all the windows quickly and produces a fair amount of warmth. The steering wheel has two buttons for the horn, which is a nice loud boomer to boot. Again though, I have had no issues with switches or buttons falling out, seats breaking or handles snapping. I have made upgrades to the music system without problems, installing new door speakers, head unit, amp and twin sub-woofers. I found this really quite easy, and although getting the door inlays out was a tad awkward, they returned to fit perfectly back as before. Also, I have had to replace one of the electric window motors, as it was worn out. (Of course, drivers side!), and this again was done in 45 minutes. So, a modest interior yes, but functional, sturdy and stylish if maybe a little basic.
Features and Faults
This 416 is not the most affluent with the number of toys and gadgets it has to offer, but for a car manufactured in it's day it doesn't come bottom of the pile. ABS, Drivers Airbag, Tinted Glass, Heated and Electric Door Mirrors, Remote Boot Release, All-Electric windows and a rear wiper. That's your lot really, apart from my favourite, an Electric Sunroof, which doesn't appear a lot on today's cars due to the popularity of Air-Con, but I find this a great touch to any hard-top car. Most of these features are in fully working order, even after thirteen years, with only a problem with the door mirrors. It's security features are child-locks for all doors but the drivers, remote central locking, and an alarm and immobiliser with an entry time reset. All of which work fine even now.
Of course, with any car of this age, faults have happened. Most of these are more annoying than serious, and do not effect the cars performance or drivability. Notable problems are that the near-side door mirror no longer heats up, the clock sometimes becomes unreadable (an LCD fault), the interior light switch on the drivers door is temperamental and one of the lock remotes acts up a bit, that's all really. The only true design fault I have found is that the fuel gauge doesn't read correctly sometimes depending on whether the car is on the level surface, which is a rather odd thing to happen to a car made only a decade or so ago.
Yes, this I know this isn't the most desirable car ever to be made, I'm under no delusions there. Some people may say it looks dull and boring, but I don't agree. Of it's time, it was a nice car to own, and many people thought so too. Before the popularity of the VW's and Peugeots of this world, it was a top selling car in the UK. If you need a small cheap run-around, you can pick a decent one up from sellers like Ebay from as little as £200. Parts are always available this way too, but you may find that finding a specialist Rover mechanic to be a little hard, and some certain parts maybe have to be specially ordered from Rover fan-sites.
I just thought I'd give this car a thumbs up and a little defence of all the criticism and negativity that it, and Rover, have received over the years. It is such a shame that Rover are no longer around, because they did produce good vehicles on the whole, and they were an original British car manufacturer too. As far my 416 has gone, it has held up well to the daily riggers of my single days, my travels around the country, and now my busy family life, so it wasn't a bad buy in the end, and will always have a little place in my heart as the car that came back to me.
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I was genuinely over the moon to be given a Rover 400 as my company car in 2006 (don't ask - the company was very tight!) it was a huge upgrade from my K Reg Fiesta that I was driving at the time. The Rover had everything - it was a nice size, VERY comfortable, looked very classy and was practical. It was a T reg 416si with air conditioning, ABS, 4 electric windows, AIR CON, etc. The ride quality was unbelievably smooth, and I genuinely couldn't fault it. My only gripe came not from the car itself, but from the image - not exactly a 'cool' car for a 19 year old to be driving is it?
The model is of course based on the Honda Civic of the 90s, which in itself is based on an earlier Honda model (can't quite remember which one) but in my opinion still looks reasonably fresh in the 21st century, helped mostly by the revised bumper and headlights.
I did end up having a few faults with the car - namely the head gasket going (VERY common fault on the earlier 400 models). The overly generous company that I was working for did not want to shell out a few thousand pounds to buy me a new car, instead they paid £400 to have the engine 'skimmed' (a process which I think involves reshaping the engine but I'm not entirely sure). A few months later, the gearbox seized which was the final nail in the coffin and the company finally replaced it.
To my knowledge, the gearbox has been replaced and is still going strong to this is day.
All in all I'd say if I wasn't driving a company car (working for a different company now so I have a much better car!) I'd buy a Rover 400 or 45 as my personal car for value, size and ride comfort.
Had a white 'S' reg Rover 414 which had a bit of poke for a 1.4 once you got it moving but still no sports car. Had the car in total about a year or so and bought with 75,000 miles on the clock.
had 2 previous owners, Really comfortable and clean, good condition interior, not too sure about the walnut dash though! touches of chrome about the place and a good driving position. Should've bought a 1.6 I feel, because I feel with needing to give it the extra oomph to get it going, i wouldn't have lost anything in fuel economy from having the 1.6.
Fairly reliable however the notorious head gasket went on mine which is a common problem on the K series engine. Get a Honda engined Rover.
After a while I noticed that one of my front arches had, had some work done on it, so had been in an accident, but didn't drive funny and tracking was always fine. No major rust worries, couple of spots and fairly solid panel work. Not a bad car but the engine problem needs sorting. Handling a little better than the 95 civic i had but still not great.
I've been put off Rovers because of all the problems i've heard about head gaskets going on them, but these cars are cheap too pick up and you can find yourself a real bargain with some of the sportier ones, just research the costs before you invest
I bought a P reg, 1996 Rover 416 Si 10 months ago and I have to say it's the worst car I've ever had the misfortune to own. It has a few good points, and lots of bad.
Good - Nice look. I know 90% of people hate the look of it, but I think it looks very classy. I like the fake wood interior etc. The seats are very comfy to sit in. Boot space is great.
Bad - Where do I start? Oh yeah ... the engine. From the day I bought it, it always ran hot, and the tiny radiator reservoir needed constant checking. I forgot to check it for 3 days and it overheated badly. But it seemed to right itself within a few days but from then on it drank lots of water - about 2 litres a week. Two months later it died on the motorway at midnight. Cause, either engine warp or blown head gasket when it overheated, water was then pouring into the engine and mixing with the engine oil, and voila, chocolate mousse is now right through the whole engine, including the air filter. Yep, the air filter ... how did it get in there??????
I now have a 1 ton piece of garbage I have to arrange to be towed away by a scrap car place. It will never start again. It needs a new engine.
From the day I got it, the heater only worked on settings 3 and 4. It turns out that this is the first sign that there is a problem with the engine, and the head gasket is about to go. If you're dumb enough to be looking for one of these things, look out for this. You'll find most Rovers for sale have this problem. These cars will be dead within a year.
The Rover factory-fitted alarm never worked properly. I discovered this when I first got it home, locked it, then went out to take it for a spin an hour later. I couldn't get the immobilizer to turn off. It took 2 hours to figure out how to turn the immobilizer off to get it to start. Funny how the super-secret immobilizer-deactivation security code was written in pen all through the manual, as if a previous owner constantly had the same problem with it.
The alloy wheels might look great, but they will be so well corroded that you'll have to pump up the tires ever 2 days.
If the car wasn't started every 2 or 3 days, the battery went dead. I have since discovered this is yet another sign the head gasket is about to go. (How this is possible, I have no idea. How is the head gasket and the battery dying related?????)
Conclusion - I bought this car because I liked the look of it, and because I thought it was a Honda Civic, and Hondas are great, reliable cars. BUT ... the engine is a British, Rover engine, not the original Honda engine. Be warned, the Rover K engine would have to be the worst engine ever designed by man or beast.
It will be a great day for the buying public when the last Rover 400 series dies, as they all eventually do. The classy looks hides a monster. (Think of me broken down on the M11 at midnight, taking 6 hours to get home in Cambridge from London that horrible night, only to find out the car is worth £25 in scrap.)
What would you rather have, a dodgy old non-turbo diesel Volkswagen or Peugeot with a spec-list only Spartans would be happy with, or a newish 104bhp turbodiesel Rover 400 with 12mths MOT and lots of features for similar money? I know which I chose...
The only disabling problem I had with this car was some corroded wiring in the starter circuit, an easy fix. Despite incredibly hard use (driving through fields, rivers, up dirt tracks, thrashing it mercilessly) it never faltered. It shrugs off 1000-mile road trips with no fuss at all. Modern Rovers have a fragile reputation, but with the L-series turbodiesel and Honda underpinnings this beast is indestructible!
Rover's L-series turbodiesel is noisy at idle or when accelerating but once on the move it's quieter than the petrol K-series motor. I'm surprised at how quick this engine is though, despite being a pretty old design (the basis of this engine, the O-series petrol was launched in 1978) - I was keeping up with 6-cylinder BMWs and Mercedes on the motorway. There isn't much turbo-lag compared to some modern turbodiesels and economy is superb, with 50MPG+ when cruising. The engine is even tough enough to run unmodified on vegetable oil. It has some novel features compared to contemporary diesels, such as drive by wire (no mechanical link from the throttle pedal to the throttle assembly) and direct injection, but it's a pretty simple motor really. If you can, go for the intercooled versions of this engine (not "SD" or "Turbo D" versions) as they're faster and more economical, but the intercooled versions may have more to go wrong with the complex Electronic Diesel Control and drive by wire.
Not the 400's best attribute - it's cramped inside, especially in the back. If you're tall (6ft+) try to buy one without a sunroof as it really impedes headroom. The dashboard looks very dated, as it's basically a Honda design from 16 years ago (the '94 Euro Civic and Rover 400 are based on the 1990 Japan-only Honda Domani). If you like hard plastics and fake wood you'll love it, though. Oh and the boot is cavernous on saloon models, but the hatchback would probably work out more practical.
My car was the second up from the base model and came with ABS, electric windows all-round, electric mirrors, air-conditioning, remote stereo controls, driver's airbag, etc. Not at all bad for £700!
The controls are light and easy to use, and the pedals are well-spaced. Handling is fool-proof and it's a surprisingly nimble car to chuck around - only issue is, as with most cars really is the tail is apt to kick out if you push it hard enough. For a decently powerful fwd car it doesn't understeer much. Lower-profile tyres help, I put a set of Rover 25 alloys with 55-profile tyres on and it felt a lot more chuckable. Visibility is adequate, with deep windows apart from the rear screen on saloon models. Only major issue is the rear pillars are quite thick and they create a big blindspot.
The styling job done on the 400 saloon by Richard Woolley (now at Land Rover and responsible for the Rover 75 and Range Rover) is very good given the constraints of the basic car - it has elements of the E34 BMW 3-series and the (later) Volkswagen Bora in side profile and Rover 75 from the rear - the hatchback is bland in comparison, because it shares everything style-wise but the front-end with the Civic.
Image, not that I care, is poor - these are seen as old age pensioner's cars. I liked the subversiveness of a teenager driving an OAP-mobile though, which is one of the reasons I went the Rover way...
Welcome to my first review since the beginning of March! I'm sure you're all glad to see me back (stop stifling the laughing at the back). As you've probably guessed through reading my other reviews, I manage to get through a lot of cars (on number 12 now, not bad for someone who has only been driving 7 years). So I thought I may as well write my big comeback masterpiece on my latest pride and joy, my beloved Rover 414SLi. Before I plough into this, I should warn you that it is based entirely on my experiences with this car, and a 416GSi I owned a few years back, which are both Mk 1 'wedge' models. I don't like the newer curvy, girly ones anyway! Brief History: Brought in to replace the ageing Montego in 1990, the 400 series was a collaboration with Honda (nearly identical to a mid-90's Civic in fact!). A mixture of Honda's design and reliablity, and Rover's quality K-series engine, made for a great compact saloon with a 'big car' feel. Available with 1.4, 1.6 & 2.0 petrol, and 1.8 diesel engines, there were several models ranging from entry-level 414 Si, to the awesome 420 GSi Sport Turbo which boasted 200bhp and a boy racer beating 0-60 in under 7 seconds (I want one!). The 'wedge' was replaced in early 1996 by the still-Honda-like curvy model which is still around today as the Rover 45 (although they claim it is a completely different car!) Reliability: This is a big plus point for the 400 series. Due to the added input from Honda, these cars easily rival Japanese cars for reliability. In fact, the main concerns with these cars is the huge amount of worn out high milers that are on the second hand market. Many have been neglected and wear & tear have taken their toll. I know many people may have heard the head gasket horror stories about the Rover K-series engines, but they really aren't any worse than other
engines. I suppose it has a lot to do with the likes of Jeremy Clarkson taking digs at Rover at any given opportunity! Servicing and repairs can be expensive through Rover dealerships, but your local mechanic (or cheapo grease monkey) will sort it out for a lot less. Surprisingly, many major repairs are cheaper than you may think due to the well designed engine bay giving easy access to the likes of the gearbox and clutch! Driving: Now here's the bit I really enjoy. The 1.4 models produce a surpising 103bhp and are very nippy as a result. You do have to push them slightly though! 1.6 is probably the best all-rounder (and is a Honda engine, so bulletproof) and strolls in calmly at 111bhp. As I said before, if you're lucky you can get hold of a 2.0 turbo version that'll give you whiplash if you're not careful! Diesel models come in at 67bhp for non-turbo, and 88bhp for turbo. Pretty damn respectable if you ask me. The 1.4 can be a little noisy at high revs, but you can't really blame it can you? The overall ride is very smooth. The little fella will happily ease itself in and out of a dip in the road with nothing more than a slight bounce. Only complaint I have is that road-noise tends to be a little higher than with similar cars. Easily solved by turning up the radio! The steering is very responsive and light and, as an added bonus, the handling is superb. The car sticks to the road, and there is no noticable oversteer (gotta love frotn wheel drive!) or understeer when heaving it around a roundabout. Be sure to go for one with power steering though, early non-PAS models had horribly heavy steering. I suppose you might want one, if only to build up your biceps! The brakes are perfectly adequate, but tend to wear quite quickly. ABS is available on most newer 1.6 and 2.0 models. Quite a few owners have opted to upgrade their front discs and pads to vented versio
ns, which are far superior and not much more expensive than the standard equivalent. Now to the most important bit, comfort! The interiors are very nicely trimmed, and seats are soft but supportive. You can easily take on a 200 mile trip without worrying about knackering your back. Fuel economy is very good in the 1.4, and almost as good in the 1.6. The 2.0 is quite thirsty, but who cares when you can out-accelerate a rocket ;) Features: Driving - Power steering as standard on all models from June 1993. Safety - Side impact beams on all models from June 1993, Drivers airbag on GSi SLi and SLD turbo models from 1994. Security - Alarm as standard from 1992, Immobiliser system from 1994 & remote central locking from 1994. My particular car (414SLi 1994) has power steering, airbag, alarm & immobiliser. The interior is very pleasant, with it's wood trim, and chrome 'Rover' kickplates under the doors. The drivers seat it fully adjustable (height too) and someone of over six foot would easily fit into it! There are some good, but pointless additions, such as a coin drawer and a rubber non-slip mat on the dashboard! Safety-wise, I don't feel threatened by mini's in this car (see my Escort review!), and I feel confident that myself and my family would be protected if we ever had a smash in it. Room-wise, it'll hold five adults comfortably (six if you put one in the boot!) and won't be down in power too much if fully loaded. The boot is pretty big considering the size of the car, and can easily hold anything we've thought about putting in it (even a fold-down table) Buying a used wedge: There are only a few main things to look out for... Rust - Many of these will have rust spots by now, but don't worry about anything that's just on the surface. Be sure to check around wheel arches (behind plastic mouldings if
you can!) and along the top of the windscreen (can cause leaks). One place you MUST check is where the pillar meet the sill on the drivers side. If this is rusted, it'd be an MOT fail AND a possible safety issue. This is the point where the seatbelt is fixed to the car! Engine - check the oil filler cap for mayo-like gunge. This would indicate a head gasket problem that'd be around £200 to fix. Also, check the coolant system for cloudiness and leaks (radiator especially...look for flaking 'fins'). Listen for any loud ticking coming from the camshaft (not the injectors). It'll get quicker with higher revs, and can spell a new engine! Gearbox - Listen out for any whining noises, and check for any problems putting in and out of gear. The gearboxes on these cars can wear out quite suddenly with high miles. Also listen for any clicking from the driveshafts when steering at full lock either way. Clutch - Beware of clutch judder. You will feel it when pulling away in low gears as a shake coming from the engine. This can be caused by a leaky gearbox or just a worn out clutch. Not hugely expensive to fix (~£100) Costs (the important bit): You can pick up a good M reg 414SLi for around £600, and a similar 416 for around the same price. 420's are dearer due to them being less common, and more sought after. If you're lucky you can get hold of an older low mileage car for under £300 which will last you for years! Tourer (estate) models are roughly twice the price simply because of their rarity and popularity. Personal experience summary: I bought my 414SLi for £520 back in March from eBay (a risk I know), and am very pleased with it overall. It did need a little work, but didn't cost an arm and a leg. Radiator and exhaust replaced for £150, front brake pads £38, and a new tyre (chump before me had one of the front tyres too small!) There's a co
uple more bits that I'd like to do, but nothing major really. Just a bit of a service etc. It doesn't use a lot of coolant (anymore), and the engine runs as smooth an anything. Also, it is costing us quite a bit less in petrol than my old Peugeot 4051 1.6, but is surprisingly more expensive to insure! It has served us well so far, suits our family perfectly, and looks quite 'respectable' too. I much prefer it to the standard slightly older type with the bog standard grey bumpers. In fact, I think I'll post a photo or two of the wee motor. Security is excellent I have found, alarm works faultlessly, and the immobilser really does immobilise the car! I've had no break-in problems since owning this car (perhaps the blinking red LED scares them!). The only thing that does bother me a little is the longstanding 'grandad' image associated with Rovers. I really cannot see the reasoning behind it! Overall, these are perfect family cars, and also suit those just looking to transport themselves just as well! Good reliable engines with more power than you'd think, and plenty of room inside, makes for a great small saloon car. What more can I say? Thanks for reading Marc
I owned a 1990 version of this car from 1995-96 and it was used predominently as our 2nd car, however as a result of a catalogue of problems with our other car (Ford Orion - see other review) the Rover proved to be much the better car. We bought the car for £2500 as replacement for my girlfriend's old Fiesta. It was red in colour, had covered 76,000 miles, and comfort-wise was very well equipped, with electric mirrors, windows & sunroof, and central locking. There was extremely comfortable seats, and nice wood trim on the dashboard, which was very logically laid out. Sadly, there were a couple of glaring ommisions on the spec side - it had no power steering, and in a car as heavy as this Rover, that was a huge problem - it was later added to newer cars, but in my opinion, a high-range car like this even in 1990 should have had that as standard equipment. Also there was no ABS, and it was not difficult to lock the wheels up! To drive the car was beyond belief. The 1.6i 16v engine just produced so much torque that it would simply go the minute you pressed the accelerator. The power it delivered was quite something, and would easily beat my 1.8i Orion in a race. Its cornering & handling was ok for what it was, nothing special, but the suspsension cossetted you beautifully over imperfect road surfaces. To say that they produced even more poweful 400's in the high output 1.6GTi, 2.0GSi, and high output 2.0GTi, not to mention the fact that they also did all those engines plus a turbo version of the lighter 200 series, these cars must have had serious performance. I did drive a 216GTi and that was seriously quick - again, the 220GTi Turbo must have been some motor... In it's day, comparing the 200/400 with the comparable Escort/Orion, Astra/Belmont, Peugeot and Renault 19, it was far and away the class leader in terms of quality and refinement. The boot was quite simply huge, but the hatchback configuration of the 20
0 is perhaps a little more practical. The 200 has also proved to be a better looking car, as the 400's rather square boot has dated a little quicker. The car proved to be a fantastically reliable motor. Started every morning first time, and sailed through it's MOT with only a bulb needing replacing. In the 2 years we owned this car, we added 25000 miles, and the only money we spent bar servicing, was to replace a lost wheel trim, and to repair the mechanism on the sunroof, which failed on us. Considering the pain we were going through with the almost new Orion, it was a joy that we could always rely on the Rover not to let us down! The bodywork seems to be the weakest point on these cars. The mechanics are excellent, and the Honda engineering really shows through. The bodywork did start to show signs of wear, and rust was evident on the roof, and the wheel arches when we sold it on. Mind you, the car fetched £2550 when we sold it, meaning we had actually made a profit of £50, and had 2 years motoring into the bargain! You still see plenty of these 200/400 motors on the road, and the condition seems to be generally very good. As a first car, the 200 makes a sound choice, and the 400 is a great economy family motoring car, which will also put a smile on the face of the driver! Sadly, the newer Rover's aren't built to the same standard as these older one's - BMW saw to that by asset stripping the company, and leaving it on it's knees to fester away. It is enevitable in this situation that companies have to cut costs to make them viable, and this seems to have had a knock-on effect on the quality and reliability of the cars, which is a shame.
The 414i was the best we could affort on the company car scale back in 1997, so the decision was relatively straightforward. As it turned out, it was not a bad one, either... Design/image This car was the last to be engineered jointly with Honda and is therefore visually very similar to Honda's Civic model of the time. I always felt, however, that the Rover was the classier of the two. For example, it featured body-coloured bumpers, chrome grille and rear number plate surround and rosewood effect fascia inserts. Whilst the Honda now looks decidedly out of date, the 400 series still looks the part. This is obviously partly due to the fact that its overall shape lives on in the current Rover 45. Personally, I feel the 5-door hatchback has aged less than the 4-door saloon. Reliability and Quality Whilst I cannot fault the car for overall quality, we had one annoying and recurring feature in the form of starting problems in wet weather. It all began with a trip to Centre Parcs where the car was stationary for a couple of days after which it refused to start, despite ample battery power and an intact fuel supply. We managed to get going with some help and didn't give it more thought until... my wife could not get the car started one wet morning. The AA was called who diagnosed dampness inside the distributor and solved the problem with nothing more than a bit of WD40. The car was eventually taken to the dealer who resolved the problem to our satisfaction. Other than this, the car was reliable and did not give us any problems. In fact, we still get the occasional glimpse of our old car (it has obviously remained local), and it still looks as smart as it did back in '97... Performance The car is certainly not underpowered with the 1.4 16V engine (103 bhp/123Nm). Whilst not providing storming performance, the 103bhp are adequate in most situations, although it needs to be worked harder at times. Tr
y and get a 1.6 if you can - it will be worth the extra expense and will provide a more rounded performance profile. Ease of driving No problems here, mainly thanks to the standard power assisted steering which has a good balance between lightness and directness. Visibility is also good all round, and all instruments and controls are laid out tidily and easy to use. Space The car offers a more than adequate amount of space for all passengers and luggage. It can accommodate a small family with all belongings and a pram and other baby equipment comfortably. In terms of flexibility, we prefer the 5-door hatchback variant to the 4-door saloon; you can take better advantage of the 60/40 folding split rear seats. Comfort This is the area where the Rover 400 really excels. The ride was said to be the best in its class at the time, and certainly left a lasting impression with us. The atmosphere inside is enhanced by nice touches such as rosewood effect insets and chrome door levers. All passengers benefit from comfortable seating. Noice insulation is impressive and makes for relaxed long-distance travelling. The basic 414i did not offer many luxuries apart from electric front windows; this is one of the areas where the current 45 model outperforms its predecessor. Economy and value for money The Rover 400 is economical to run and maintain. The 1.4's fuel consumption is in line with what can be expected from an engine that size. £12,500 for a new 414i in 1997 now looks decidedly inflated - compare this with the £9,995 price tag for today's entry level 45 which offers far more safety and other features as standard. One case where you certainly can't complain about car prices... Safety Not much here - driver airbag only on the base model, and no ABS. The current Rover 45 offers driver, passenger and side airbags as well as ABS all as standard, even on the ent
ry models. Summary One of the best riding and (arguably) best looking small family cars at the time, and still not out of place next to the current Rover range. 416 16V the best compromise between performance and economy. Hatchback more practical than saloon. Highly recommendable.
Well, my Rover 416Si has many good and bad points. I might as well list them as it will easy for you to read: Good points: 1.6 injection engine is great! Not many people beat you at the traffic lights! Its quite a comfortable ride. Body work is nice. Feels good and handles quite well. Bad points: To replace a headlamp requires removal of the bumper! Not particulary efficient. Engine can warp easily. Depreciates quickly, but that is good for 2nd hand buyers. Make up your own mind! I like it, but it is expensive to fix when it has gone wrong.
I?ve just sold my Rover 400 after owning it for the last 5 years so it?s an ideal time to reflect on owning this car. If you are thinking of buying a Rover 45, then this will also be applicable as it?s an updated version of the 400. Two weeks after starting my first time job after university, my old university runabout car, an E Reg Astra decided to blow up on me. So with a proper job, came proper money and the urge to buy a new car! Well I didn?t buy brand new, opting for a nearly new car instead (the most sensible option in my opinion). At the time, a lot of the newer cars such as the Focus, new Astra, and Mark 4 Golf (which is my current car) weren?t out yet. So there were Escorts and old shape Astras and Golfs, which I wasn?t fond off. The only medium size hatch that appeal to me was the Peugeot 306, which was at the time, the best car in its class but due to the more expensive price, I couldn?t afford one. My budget would only stretch to £8000 and after a lot of consideration, I decided to buy the Rover 416SI. I think at the time, there was all the hype surrounding the takeover of Rover by BMW so it was like buying a cheaper BMW. Well in theory anyway! We all knew what happened to that relationship! Looks ===== Right, the Rover 400 series won?t turn any heads at all, its rather conservative looking. I?ve personally seen a lot worse. There are 2 versions, the 5 door hatchback and the 4 door saloon, which is the better looking of the 2. The hatchback, which is the version I opted for, was based around the Honda Civic 5 door at the time, sharing the same body shell with minor alterations to the front and rear lights. This was mainly due to the fact that Honda and Rover were in partnership when the 400 was developed, hence the similarities. The 400 hatchbacks reminded me of a shorter version of its bigger brother, the 600 (also based on the Honda Accord) and it does actually look like a saloon until you open the hatchback. The gr
ill does actually look quite good with its chrome look which gives it a slight prestige look about it. Interior ======== The borrowing from Honda is also reflected in the interior, which is identical to the 5 door Honda Civic apart from the patterns used. Rover are infomous for using wood effect inserts in their cars, which can a first look like they add a touch of class until it becomes apparent that its only fake plastic wood. In fact the major criticisms with rovers are their use of cheap plastics, which with age begin to look tacky and creak at every opportunity. It?s not well put together and with age this is more than apparent with bits falling off left right and centre. The layout is actually quite nice though a lot of people think it?s rather conservative. I didn?t have any gripes against its design as I found it quite easy to navigate around the controls and switches. The seats are quite well design with good side support, but aren?t the most comfortable for long journeys as the back support leaves a lot to be desired. Rover later addressed this problem, putting in new seat designs in the Rover 45. What really lets the interior down is the lack of space for anything! For a car that was released in 1995, you would have expected better storage space. The glove compartment is minute because of the passenger airbag sitting right on top of it. The top of the dashboard is just one solid bit of plastic with no recess, so putting anything on top is a impossible unless you want it sliding everywhere when cornering (but I think most manufacturers are guilty of this with new cars). Even the side pockets were limited for storage space. Don?t even think about cup holders! On the car that I got, it also came with a centre armrest, which offered some extra stowage space. Specification ============= The car comes standard with driver?s airbag, power steering, adjustable steering wheel, electric windows and sunroof. ABS w
as an optional extra but the car I bought was fitted with it. Some models are fitter with air conditioning in lieu of the sunroof. Security comes in the form of remote central locking as well as an engine immobiliser. Apart from the above, there are a few nice features that I have to give Rover credit for. First of all is the door warning system, which alerts the driver if the any doors or the boot are open whilst the engine is running. Now you wont need someone in the next lane passing you making loads of funny gestures at you when your doors are not closed properly. Even more impressive are the automatic rear wash wipes, which activates themselves if it?s raining and you are reversing the car. Drivability and Handling ======================== The Rover 416si uses a 1.6 Twin Cam 16 Valve Rover K Series engine which provides 112BHP doing 0 to 60 Miles in about 11 seconds. Though not the fastest engine around, it does have good acceleration and mid-range and it really only begins to lack power at the top end. I would have to point out the K series engine do sound very harsh and unrefined. OK some people might call it grunt, but upon starting the engine, it reminds me of a Taxi! In other words it sounds like a diesel, but without the padding. With age the engine sounds even noisier especially when driving over 80mph. Acceleration is moderate to start off with but working through the gears and the mid-range, it does pick up speed quite quickly. I must admit this was the best range to drive the Rover. Generally the ride quality is very smooth, soaking up bumps and potholes effortlessly with its soft suspension. However because of this, the car handling suffers when it is chucked about and the backend looses it. This is true of both 14 and 15 inch wheel as I changed from the former to the latter in the time I?ve had the car. I think the main reason for this is down to the suspension being too high hence making it a bit too top heavy w
hen cornering. So just take it easy around those corners! The Rover 416i typically does about 340 miles on one full tank of unleaded petrol, but I have got 370 miles of it before. A realistic figure would be around 320 miles though. Insurance ========= Another minus point for this Rover is the fact that it sits in Group 11 in terms of insurance. Considering that its a 1.6 and its not overly desirable, I found this to be quite steep. Typical example for someone with about 3 years No Claims Bonus living in Bedford was about £600 for Fully Comprenhensive. When I first bought it with no NCB, it cost me nearly £900! Value For Money =============== When I first bought the Rover 416si in 1997, it was 2 years old and cost me £8000 pounds. I didn?t think it was bad value considering it was relatively new and had the level of equipment that it did. It was certainly a lot cheaper than buying new, which was a whopping £14000 at the time. It may seem a bit excessive but at the time, the Rover 400 series were pitched at the Mondeo size market hence the higher price tag. This was an idea by BMW to up the Rover?s residual values and image, but this majorly backfired and when Rover was sold off, residual values really slumped on these once expensive cars. One minute £14000 from the showroom, when driven out, only worth £10000, and that?s no exaggeration! BMW were accused of severely price fixing with these unrealistic values. As a second-hand buy however, it made sense. The car was indeed bigger than your Astra?s and Escorts and when buying second hand it was the same price as the older rivals and had more equipment to boot. It was because of this that a lot of people bought nearly news instead of brand new making it one of the most popular second hand buys at the time. The only thing I would say is that Rover never tend to hold their values at all, which made the whole exercise by BMW to up Rover prices more absurd. Curr
ently Im seeing P and R registered Rover 400?s for about £3000, which is nothing short of a bargain for the specification you get. So my advice is to not buy too new as it devalues really quickly and shop around for second hand bargains Servicing costs are moderate at around £170 for a full service going up to £290 for a service with timing belt change. Generally though, Rover parts are quite expensive. These may be due to the fact that there aren?t a lot of third party parts. An inexpensive way to get parts is to buy second hand from scrap yards; you?ll be surprised at the savings! Reliability =========== Right, this is main area of the Rover that I?ve been disappointed with. I?ve always heard people say how reliable Rovers were but in the last 5 years, I?ve had quite a bit of trouble with it. I?ve always serviced it on time and at Rover garages. During the first 2 years I had it, the ECU (chip that manages the engine) went haywire and needed to be replaced. Luckily that was under warranty. I had to take the car back several times due to the electric windows not working properly. Again under warranty. But nothing prepared me for when it turned 4 years old and then everything started to go on it, from the clutch to the gearbox and then the engine packed in at 82000 miles! I couldn?t believe it but the engine blew a hole! Naturally most people will see this as a write off and the insurance company never pay for engine failures, but I had contacts in the trade and refitted a nearly new engine from a Rover 45 for about a grand. What caused it? Well I?m quite a high mileage driver, so I did something in the region of 25K miles a year up and down the country for work and personal purposes. Obviously this put a strain on the engine, but I would have never thought that the engine would pack in at 82000 miles though! I can accept the fact that my driving style may have caused the clutch and gearbox to go, but I was certainly no boy racer!
After the engine refit, I decided to pass on the car to my mum and she?s been driving the car for one and half years and she hasn?t had any trouble. The difference being she mainly does town driving! I guess it just highlights the Rover?s inability to handle wear and tear. Rover 45 ======== Just to finish off, the Rover 400 series had a facelift in 2000 and got re-badged Rover 45. Naturally, I went for a test drive! The main differences were a new front end with new grille and Rover 75 round lights (if that?s your cup of tea!), new seat designs which were much more comfortable, and improved handling with stiffer suspension (hooray!). Apart from that its still pretty much the same car with the same chassis and interior. It?s starting to look very dated now in light of all these tardis like MPV-style hatches such as the Focus, Civic and 307 but there are no plans to change it until at least 2004. So if you can afford a Rover 45, then buy one instead of the Rover 400 just for the better seats, suspension and ever so updated looks. Conclusion ========== So would I recommend it? Well if you are thinking of buying new (with the Rover 45) then I would definitely say a big No! Its not worth the money and it devalues too much and too quickly. If you do a lot of motorway driving, then once again I cant recommend it due to its suspect reliability. If on the other hand you are looking for a decent second hand buy for mainly using in town and some moderate motorway driving for around £2000-4000 and equipment levels are important, then it?s worth considering. There are plenty Rover 400 on the second hand market so look out for better and newer examples. Some models even have air conditioning in lieu of the sunroof and leather interior, so look out for these. I personally wouldn?t pay more than £4000 for a Rover 400, as there are better cars out there for the price such as the Ford Focus and Mk4 Astra. Above all, it?s a Rover (
So don?t pay too much for it!)
I purchased this used car from a main dealer over a year ago for just under £5000, it came serviced and with a 12 month Mot, it had a genuine 17000 miles on the clock Within a week it had refused to start a number of times with a starter fault. This was rectified by fitting a new starter free of charge by the main dealer who I couldnt fault for there service. A couple of weeks went by and a violent knock developed at the back, this was easily diagnosed as a leaking shock absorber, the dealer refused to change this as it was fair wear and tear, (I think not as it had just been serviced and had an Mot by them) so I changed that myself for a fraction of the price. As the nights began to get longer so I noticed a problem with one of the head lights which was suffering from a very poor beam, it was apparent that the lens was covered on the inside with condensation so disrupting the beam. I again approached the dealer only to be told that this was very much a natural phenomenon,It didnt matter that it was down right dangerous, they said it would probably evaporate after half an hour, pity that my average journey time was less than that. This is now also starting to affect the other head light and both tail lights. I also had an oil leak from the power steering system which was repaired free of charge. Having listed the faults I have to say that the car is extremly economical, comfortable to drive and spacious enough to accomodate my six foot son in the back in comfort together with two noisy daughters on a comfortable back seat.The trim and paint again cannot be faulted, my only reservation is the engine! I work in the motor industry and I know only to well the failings of this power unit. The problem being the plastic water cooled inlet manifold, which is prone to leakage which causes failure of the cylinder head gasket and posiibly the demise of the whole power unit if not detected in time. Rover will not admit to this problem but
they have had to release a modified manifold gasket and studs to overcome this problem, but there has been no product recall. Also on a recent visit to a supplier of reconditioned engines I was shown a pallet load of K series cylinder heads for reconditioning and told that they were a best seller. Rover also released a batch of vehicles from the factory with cylinder heads made from a sub standard material which was in effect being eroded from the inside by the coolant. I have now had this car for over 12 months and am very impressed with it. The car returns an excellent mpg, 29 to 30 mpg around the doors and over 45 mpg at between 70 and I shouldn't say this 105 mph. Also for some reason the car has kept its value, but I see of no need to replace it as of yet. Thannks for reading~~~~~ hon4m
I had my Rover 418 GSD Turbo for nearly a year and it was a great car. It was well equipped with gizmos like Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Electric Sunroof, Power Steering and Remote Control Central Locking/Alarm and Immobiliser. If was a 1991 H Reg, British Racing Green/Over Gray, It had quite high miles at 127,000, but it ran nearly perfectly. I liked the car a lot, as it was very comfy. The seats were great with all the extra lumbar supports and height adjustable seat and also a height ajustable steering wheel. Spare parts were expensive, especially engine componants as the engines fitted (Diesel) are Peugeot. Once the rubber Turbo hose from the Intercooler burst and it was £50 for a replacement, so I fixed it myself using a Jubilee Clip, a Coke Tin and Duct Tape and it never gave me any trouble again. Spare parts like Front Brake Pads were around the £30 mark and Rear Shoes £20-£25, early Petrol GSI models were fitted with Rear Discs, but luckily the Diesel models weren't, as the Rear Pads were expensive. But I found this strange, as the Diesel models are significantly heavier than a Petrol equivelent. The handling was great. It was quite fast when it got going, after 1900 rpm's the Turbo started to kick in and after 2100 rpm's the engine picked up rapid, as the boost on these cars is quite high as standard cars go. It had bags of torque, even at tickover. It was almost impossible to stall as most Diesels are, unless you are a complete arse! Apart from high prices for parts the Rover is a great car, despite what the car critics say, as not everyone thinks the way they do. I would definitely have another one and I would recommend them 100% to anyone. One other good fact is the fuel consumption is excellent. I used to get around 50 mpg! Not many, if any, Petrol cars can achieve this unless you are talking about a stupid little 900cc thing.
I have only had my Rover 414SLi for a month and already it feels like I've always been driving it. A M reg 1995 model, it just feels so comfortable to drive, easy to operate controls, sunroof. The walnut trim gives that air of luxury, it hugs the roads both good and bad ones, and the Honda engine is very quiet. It starts first time and delivers about 39m.p.g, I drive about 650 miles per week and rate it's economy and comfort as first class.I was also drawn to the Volvo 440, but on comparison found the Rover superior in every way.A real good solid workhorse of a car that feels special.
I bought my 1992 Rover 420 GSi Sport in May 2000 since then it has covered 20,000 very enjoyable miles with me, for the money i could not find a car that could compete with the performance and specifacation, how many £2500 cars have full leather interior, electric roof, electric windowsx4 and alloys. The first time I took it out for a proper blast I could not believe the power the car had, the performance was amazing in a straight line, although handling could be better, this could be sorted by lowering the car a bit. As for reliability all that i've done in 20'000 miles of motoring is 1 cambelt change and full service at main dealer, and a couple of oil changes, plus 1 set of tyres I have not had to spend a penny on the car, if you can find one of this fine automobiles for sale at the bargin price they go for I would not hesitate in buying it, you wont be disappointed
I drive a 414 SLi 5dr and I was very impressed when I first drove it. It was bought second hand and at a good price back then before the price cuts. It is comfortable to drive and in the front there is good space, in the back there is not. The engine is very good for its size, though, as it can pull strongly when revved hard and adequately when not. The interior build isn't too good, some plastics feel a bit cheap and don't look too good. The ride is fairly decent but it is proan to float on bad roads which leave the steering a bit detached. The handling is less good. The steering is just too numb and in general the car struggles to stay planted when pushd hard on bumpy roads. It can corner flatly on good roads but I don't have the chance to drive on many of those. Since then I have driven a Ford Focus and this little delight was so much better that I was amazed. I have written an article on this car as well, by the way.