Rover 25 (1999 – 2005) Review

Rover 25 (1999 – 2005) At A Glance


+Better-looking Rover 200 with keener steering and sportier suspension. Good value these days.

-Electrical niggles. K-series engines can blow their head gaskets. Looks and feels its age inside.

The last car of the millennium to go on sale, the Rover 25 was less of a new model and more of a repositioning of an old one. Based on the R3 200 of 1995, the 25 was Rovers attempt to cash in on its premium badge.

But a smattering of wood and leather does not a premium car make. And while the 200 might have cost more than a Ford Escort or a Vauxhall Astra, it was also smaller. So Rover and new owners BMW decided to shift the 25 into a different sector while they worked on a replacement.

The 25 was now an upmarket supermini with revised headlamps, wheels, grille and a few other trick bits. But while there was no escaping its rather old fashioned feel, it did surprise with a few gems in the range.

The plush iXL and Spirit S models, were often found with leather trim as older drivers who were used to larger, more luxurious cars downsized. And there was even a VVC-engined 25 GTi, which is probably the best hot hatch you’ve never heard of, before it was quietly dropped to make way for the cheaper-looking MG ZR.

Sadly, a replacement model never arrived. The Mk2 was badly hit by the post-BMW cost-cutting era, with poor rust-proofing and lower quality steel. Today, 25s are disappearing at an alarming rate so if you want one to enjoy and look after for years to come, don’t wait too long.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend an alternative to a Rover 25 for £5,000?

"My brother, who is 89, has a much loved Rover 25 (his fourth Rover) but it's getting less reliable and he uses it daily, so needs to change. Can you please suggest something no bigger, with a comfy ride and seating, reliable and excellent spares availability? Preferably 5 door. His Rover is a manual, but he's had several 'proper' automatics. Limit around £5,000. "
I would recommend a Honda Jazz or Suzuki Swift. Both are plentiful on the used market, comfortable and backed by strong reputations for reliability. If your brother is finding his Rover 25 difficult to get in/out of then his budget might stretch to a Suzuki Ignis. It sits higher from the road than the Jazz and Swift but is compact, easy to drive and well equipped as standard:
Answered by Dan Powell
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