Rover - Austin 400 Reviews from Portugal

1995 Rover - Austin 400 414 Si 1.4 i

Model year1995
Year of manufacture1995
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 1.4 i Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired50000 kilometres
Most recent distance80200 kilometres
Previous carFord Mondeo

Summary:

Rovers are good cars, if well maintained

Faults:

My head gasket blew at 55,000 km.

My brake discs had to be replaced at 70000 km.

The air conditioned doesn't work... The gas goes somewhere. Have to find the leak.

The car was totally abandoned by previous owner, and seems that dogs had slept inside of it... The interior was full washed several times to reach its brightness.

The varnish is getting out, because it seems that the previous owner had the idea that not washing the car keeps it OK...

Some plastics lost its colour due to intense sunlight exposure.

General Comments:

The car is very comfortable. I can do hundreds of km without stopping.

The engine is very nice. After being in the right temperature, revving it to 4000-5000 rpm is a pleasure. However, you can use it from 2000 up, and it has enough torque.

Doesn't handles like a sports car, but it is nice to use it in any road. Engine response doesn't get you embarrassed in any way.

Immobilizer/alarm is very good, for a 14 year old car.

Electric sunroof is nice in winter.

Its exterior lines are beautiful, even after 14 years passed from its release (but that's just my opinion).

How much you spend in petrol depends on your driving. I can do from 6l/100km to 10l/100km. The more you rev, the more you pay. However, it is not difficult to make 7l/100km.

Brakes could be better, but if you change the disks to vented ones, it brakes better.

Interiors are nice, but driver seat could go lower than it does.

It is a good car, sometimes unfairly underrated.

Its engine is a bit sensible, mostly when driven cold. Be sure to warm it properly before revving it up. Avoid more than 3000rpm before it is in good temp.

Keep an eye in fluid levels and check water and oil at least once a week.

If you experience head gasket failure, find someone who do the job well done and change all kit: Gaskets and head bolts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th August, 2009

1997 Rover - Austin 400 414 Si 1.4

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.4 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired180000 kilometres
Most recent distance220000 kilometres

Summary:

User friendly and powerful

Faults:

Major:

Head gasket overheated.

Minor:

Dead battery.

Some problem with the ignition, something minor has been replaced (before the car was in my hands so I don't really know the full story)

Some commands for the ventilation stopped working.

A/C has a very low output even though it has been recharged (this still haven't been looked up by a mechanic)

Tissues from the car's interior are now starting to fall off, after 10 years of existence.

General Comments:

Even though I've driven other cars in my life (not my own), this is my first car so read my review with that into consideration.

Apart from the now famous head gasket overheating problem on the Rover K Series engines, it really had no major problems after all the 220000 kms it drove through. I bought it with 180000 kms from my father, it has more 40000 kms by now and I still use it daily to get to work (the route is 50% urban and 50% highway) without any issue.

The engine is very good (apart from the obvious head gasket issue), the performance is above the average (even though the average isn't that high here in Portugal). The acceleration is quite good, I can outrun most competition and I reach a steady daily speed between 160 and 170 km/h on a short section of highway. I never tried to get closer to the engine's max output due to the car's age, and because it starts to feel a bit unsafe above those speeds (as any other car I suppose).

Handling is superb, I never felt unsafe at any curve at high speeds. The only time after years of driving that I felt the car's back wheels sliding a bit was at rainy conditions at high speeds, and that wasn't the cars fault, only the driver's.

Brakes are reliable and competent. I've never had an accident and they've avoided 2 sure crashes by now. I know some criticized Rover's brakes, but I have a hard time understanding that, they do their job pretty well and I was never surprised negatively by their behaviour while I was very surprised a couple of times by the positive.

Overall it's a very comfortable car to drive in for the time it was made. If I had to define it in one word, it would be "user friendly" (alright, 2 words). It sets a big difference to the roughness of a VW or Seat of the same time period, and has a feel of a very recent car to it while driving. It's all very soft, the pedals, the handling and the gears. Changing gears in this car can be done very quickly and effortlessly, and everything in the car's behaviour is very predictable.

I noticed most of this "old" Rover's comfort by driving my father's newest car, an Honda Civic. The Rover is more pleasant to drive and my father agrees.

I'm writting this review because this Rover's lifetime is slowly expiring, so I'm searching for a new car and this is a last testimony of my experience with my first actual car. I'm even considering getting a "new" used Rover or MG, one of those small 25 Turbo Diesel with the L series engine to avoid the head gasket failure.

Anyway, to all potential buyers of second hand cars, this is a very good choice. Just make sure you're aware of the head gasket overheating problems and take into account its fixing cost with the car's actual price, just to be safe.

Other than that, it's reliable, very comfortable, feels new, feels very safe (I'm unaware of its official safety ratings) looks updated on the street and the engine's performance will still put you on par with most of today's newest standard cars.

Also, prices are down because of Rover's bad reputation (the overheating issue and the fact that it's been sold out) so it's actually a good time to buy one of these very user friendly cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th April, 2007

1992 Rover - Austin 400 416 GTi 1.6 petrol

Year of manufacture1992
First year of ownership1992
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.6 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance95000 kilometres
Previous carVolkswagen Amazon

Summary:

A great, reliable, high performance family or single person car. Will not be sold!!

Faults:

Not many, after six years the exhaust back box had to be changed and the rear silent O-blocks were changed 10.000 km ago.

Nothing more except the usual maintenance with oil, spark plugs, oil and air filter and brake pads. Everything done at the dealer.

General Comments:

An excellent car with a excellent engine. You can drive it like a family car with our friends doing 9 litre/100km or drive it like a maniac with great security at outrageous speeds doing less then 13 litres/100 km.

For me it is the best of its class (in 1992), even better then the BMW 316i!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th December, 2000

13th Jun 2001, 15:01

I also have a 416 gti and it has been the most reliable car I've ever had (6 years) I will never part with it!

31st Oct 2002, 04:20

I have my 416 since 1997, 2nd hand and never had problems with it, just regular maintenance. I even transformed it to LPG and it has even better handling. I have bought an MG F some years late, but I still maintain the Rover. No point in selling. Excellent car with a superb engine!

1994 Rover - Austin 400 418 SLD Turbo 1.8 turbo diesel

Year of manufacture1994
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.8 turbo diesel Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired102000 kilometres
Most recent distance125000 kilometres
Previous carCitroen BX 14 TGE Breack

Summary:

Power in a comfortable and beautiful diesel

Faults:

The motor is always very dirty because it loses oil from everywhere.

The brakes are too smooth and I can't burn tires when I brake. The brakes have already been fixed.

The motor makes too much noise.

General Comments:

Almost 90 horse power in a 94 diesel without electronic devices? What a machine (it's french!).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th September, 2000

1st Feb 2001, 11:51

The oil leaks and the engine noise are very common on Peugeot engines.

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 4 reviews