Curios: Rover Quintet
If someone asked you to name the first Rover that was created in collaboration with Honda, most folk would suggest the first-generation 200-series of 1984-on. Following on from the success of the Triumph Acclaim, the original Rover 200 showed the benefits of some obvious Japanese input. So you might be surprised to learn that Australia’s Rover division actually got there first via this: the Rover Quintet.
Launched in 1983 and running for just a couple of years, the 1.6-litre Rover Quintet meant Jaguar Rover Australia (as the company was then known) finally had a cost-effective entry-level model that would undercut the SD1 on price and expand the company’s line-up ‘down under’.
The Rover Quintet was, of course, a re-badged version of the Honda Quintet five-door hatch, which had been in production in Japan since 1980. The Rover model was a Japanese import but came with a few extra touches, including wood-veneer trim and upgraded moquette upholstery. In every other sense though, this was simply a Honda fitted with Rover badges, with not even a Rover-style front grille to add a hint of Britishness.
Still, the Rover Quintet at least gave Jaguar Rover Australia some much-needed extra sales, even if its demise came all too soon when the Honda on which it was based ceased production in 1985. In its place, however, came the new Rover 416i – a badge-engineered version of the first-generation Honda Integra. But that’s another story…
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