Economical, practical, flexible family car
New clutch pipe. Due to poor fitment by the previous owner as opposed to any manufacturer defect.
I can't believe this car is 16 years old. And the design is even older. It has features that aren't available on most new cars. Full electrics. Power steering. Power/folding mirrors. Permanent 4 wheel drive. Sliding rear door. Fully folding and sliding rear seat for increasing rear leg room or boot space.
Front and rear legroom is huge. Even for the driver. I'm 6ft 2, but am all in the leg, and fully extending the seat rail, I can barely touch the pedals! I have never seen that in any other car I have driven. The seats are a bit Recaro like and very supportive, and due to the sitting up driving position, they are extremely comfortable over long distances. I would have got cramp or numb bum in other cars I have had, but not in the RVR. Only 2 seats in the back, but have extra armrests and a storage cupboard in which I intend to fit a fridge. I think there are 5 seat versions. 12v power sockets in the front, rear and boot. The sliding rear door is great for access in ever smaller car parking spaces, especially for getting baby seats and babies in and out. The sliding rear seat offers great flexibility over legroom and bootspace. Even sat in the middle, it offers a vast amount of both.
For a design nigh on 20 years old, it hides its years well, and compared to other cars of the year by the mainstream manufacturers, it still looks good. Matt black nudge plastics (like the the current jacked up Skoda's/VW's/Audi's/Volvo's) and chrome A-bar / nudge bar.
On the road:
The driving position is high compared to most cars, and I find that I am shoulder to shoulder with drivers of most 'soft roaders', although to look at, you wouldn't think it is that high. And even though it's a relatively tall car, body roll is minimal. Though this is no sports car, it does handle really well.
The engine is really quiet for a diesel and develops no smoke at all, even when I boot it - unlike modern Fords, Vauxhalls and VAG's. In gear performance is good as the turbo kicks in well, but away from the lights, I can't cause the boy racers any problems, and have been caught out a few times pulling onto a roundabout in second at low speed (my old petrol car would have been away), but with this there is hardly any power until the turbo kicks in. Bearing that in mind, I have altered my driving style and it is not a problem.
I am averaging 41 mpg around town, and that is with a varied driving style. Which for a fairly heavy car with permanent 4WD is amazing. I bet I could get even better MPG if I altered my driving a little. Not sure if it would be better MPG over a long motorway run, as it is quite low geared. Gets a bit noisy over 65 mph. Keeping it at 60mph on a motorway run would return decent fuel economy.
It performed faultlessly in the heavy snow we had back in Dec 2010, even with normal road tyres.
The modern equivalent would be the new Skoda Yeti. But save yourself £22k and get an RVR!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th March, 2011