Dream car or Budget, which comes first? Tell us your thoughts | No thanks

A Grand Monday: Honda Concerto

Published 14 January 2019

When is a Rover not a Rover? Answer: When it’s a Honda. The Honda Concerto was launched in 1989, a spin-off from Honda’s relationship with Honda. And while much of the engineering was carried out by Honda (the EF Civic and the Concerto had quite a bit in common, for example), all versions of the Concerto for Europe were assembled at the Rover factory in Longbridge, Birmingham, where they were constructed alongside the outwardly similar Rover ‘R8’ 200 and 400 models.

Unsurprisingly, the Concerto was a marginal seller here in the UK, where patriotic buyers generally voted for the home-grown Rover-badged models, but for those who bought a Concerto, there was little to disappoint. The Rover R8 was, after all, a thoroughly decent car, and here was a variant that came with the additional promise of Japanese mechanical reliability and Honda quality control - indeed, all Concertos that came out of Longbridge were taken to Honda first for quality approval, before being sent out to dealers. 

This example is a rare rust-free survivor and appears to be in rude health, with just 53,000 miles on the clock and an advisory-free MoT behind it. The cabin will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever driven an R8, but the driving experience is oddly different, with a firmer ride, lighter steering and the indicator and wiper column stalks swapped round. No, we’ve no idea why, either.

Honda Concerto (4)

At £995, it’s probably all the money. But this is a very rare car indeed, these days…                                        

Comments

leftfield lenny    on 14 January 2019

I had the 1.6 16v 130 bhp model in red. A very nice motor, A few very expensive issues under my ownership, which were common faults to the model, but I was lucky that the trader seller coughed up most of the costs i.e. the electric sunroof and intermittent wash wipe function for the front windscreen. I was able to get a ignition amplifier second hand from a breaker. The previous owner had a extremely expensive time trying to fix the rear handbrake set up for every service / MOT (on disc brakes, problem caused by incorrect and over adjustment of the handbrake adjuster). The 1.6 16v model seems to have been the weak link in the range. Although the odd 1.5 and 1.6 single cam models can be found for sale, I've yet to come across the 130 bhp version in recent years.

Edited by leftfield lenny on 14/01/2019 at 15:37

neil rapsey    on 14 January 2019

The 1.6i ex was the concerto equivalent of the Rover gti, loaded with all the toys of the day, twin cam engine, 4 electric windows, a/c , leather, red light illumination on each door.
Also there were only 2 body styles, 5 door and 4 door saloon. Rarity must play a part in that they are strong Money.

leftfield lenny    on 15 January 2019

Yes, now that you mentioned it, that was the model that I owned. I just haven't come across a 5 door EXi Concerto in years!

leftfield lenny    on 16 January 2019

Mine was a 1990 G reg model, and that didn't have aircon. In fact, I've never came across one with the aircon fitted, let alone the optional alloy wheels. I took my self purchased alloys of my old Integra EXi and they stayed on my Concerto to the end of my ownership in 2002. The car ceased to appear on any DVLA records in 2004.

Add a comment

 

Ask Honest John