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Rover Reviews

Rover began car production in 1908, and did so with robust, middle-class vehicles that soon won it many friend. This image continued after WW2 thanks to models such as the P4 and P5, which earned the marque its ‘Auntie’ nickname. In 1963, the company went radical with the P6, which was expanded with a V8 in 1968 – the same year the firm became a part of British Leyland.

In 1976, the revolutionary theme continued with the SD1, but quality suffered and the company went into decline. Fortunes lifted by a series of Honda co-developed cars, such as the 200- and 800-Series cars, but it was not to be a permanent state of affairs. Rover (which now encompassed all of the old British Leyland) was sold to British Aerospace in 1988, which then sold the concern to BMW in 1994. The loss-making firm was broken up in 2000, with MG Rover struggling until 2005 before it went into administration. Survived today by Land Rover.

Good: Solid, beautifully made, traditional interior well-finished in high-quality wood and leather, excellent dynamics making this a much better car to drive than you might think
Bad: Upright styling looks a little staid, freewheel can take some getting used to
Good: Tremendous road presence, stylish despite bulk, wonderful 'club lounge' interior, silky-smooth six-cylinder, muscular V8, coupe is a styling masterclass
Bad: Younger people might find them a bit stuffy
Good: Comfortable, quick in V8 form, good for parts and specialists, still very capable in modern traffic
Bad: Single carburettor 2000 is no ball of fire, thirsty in V8 form, shiny body can hide a rotten base-unit
Good: Futuristic looks, modern steering, good handling, practical hatchback, excellent spares and specialist support, V8 performance, six-cylinder smoothness, still excellent value
Bad: Flaky build, rampant rust, unreliable electrics, lots of bodged cars around run by owners on a shoestring
Good: Sweet Honda engines, easy to drive, good visibility, an air of class and refinement, Vitesse surprisingly rapid
Bad: Rust, very low survival rate
Good: Good performance and economy in 827 form, very pleasant interior, 2.0-litre engines are surprisingly gutsy, excellent visibility
Bad: Electrical gremlins, rust in structural places,
Good: Banger money currently, but the best examples are now finding some demand, the 1.6 Honda engine is sweet and refined, but expensive to fix
Bad: Despite being so desirable new now tarred with unfortunate image, diesels are noisy and unrefined, head gasket failure on later 1.6-litre K-Series engines all too common
Good: A huge improvement over the original Metro, sweet-spinning K-Series engine, excellent ride quality, comfortable up-front
Bad: Cramped for four, suffers from more rust than the original car, banger status for all but the very best
Good: Stylish and fun, Honda engines willing, T-Series 2.0-litre quick in naturally-aspirated form; blinding as a turbo
Bad: Too many tatty examples still going round, late K-Series models unloved, targa roofs rarely water-tight
Good: Decent handling and willing engines. The beefed-up looks will appeal to some.
Bad: Tight for space inside. 'K' Series engines are prone to head gasket trouble.
Good: Smart-looking car, best with 2.3-litre engine, Honda Accord based and the most reliable Rover of its era.
Bad: Lacklustre ride and handling, prone to rust, especially the inner rear wings, 'T-Series engines suffer head gasket trouble
Good: A fine looking car from all angles, until the 2004 facelift. Destined to become a 'classic'. 2.0 diesels proving to be good long life cars with excellent clubs and spares back-up. Up to 4 stars.
Bad: Let down by cooling system problems of all K Series engines, particularly the 1.8.
Good: Very light on fuel. Reasonable amount of kit. Tidy looks. The later ones make the better buys.
Bad: Felt old and outclassed, even when new. Not that roomy. K-series engines can blow their head gaskets but many have been sorted by now.
Good: Better-looking Rover 200 with keener steering and sportier suspension. Good value these days.
Bad: Electrical niggles. K-series engines can blow their head gaskets. Looks and feels its age inside.
Good: Very cheap. Not a bad design back in 2000, but always miles behind everything else.
Bad: Tata Indica reheated at past its sell by date.