1995 Rover - Austin 400 SLI 1.6
A pleasurable drive ruined by expensive running costs
Recently failed its MOT on the usual Rover problems.
Driver and passenger sills excessively corroded.
Rear suspension mountings severely deteriorated.
Anti roll bar showing signs of deterioration, resulting in excessive movement.
Warped brake disk, resulting in steering judder.
Exhaust back box corroded and rattling from the catalytic converter.
This car has more good points than bad ones. Rover were never renowned for their build quality, but a few good ones did come off the production line, just not the one I owned.
The car drove beautifully on the motorways and was surprisingly comfortable, however high running costs and parts don't come cheap with these cars, and when the faults start cropping up, you are in for an expensive wallet denting experience.
As for fuel economy and performance, the twin cam 16 valve Honda engine gives some serious grunt and pulling power, however you are torn between listening to that beautiful 16 valve engine grunting at you, and watching the fuel gauge start to slide down to the red. Even though you are still looking at a good 30 mpg, with petrol prices being so high in the UK, you may feel a smaller engine would be a better option.
To summarise, if you want a good reliable motorway runner, but are not worried about the running costs, then this is your car of choice. If you are looking for economy, you are better off looking for a smaller engine 1.4, which is just as good and gives that bit better MPG.
Finally, be aware that these are not cheap to insure, and these cars still have the stigma of being a pensioner's car, and boy racers just shouldn't buy one of these at all.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 16th September, 2010
For a vehicle to be in such poor condition after such a low mileage, it seems like it hasn't been looked after.
As far as I knew, only the R400 automatic transmission model came with a Honda D series 1.6 engine, all manual transmission R400 1.4 and 1.6 engines use the Rover K series. The 2.0 model is not the K series, but is a Rover engine nonetheless.
The car in question here is 15 years old at the time of the review, so I would reasonably expect it to be rusting by this age, despite only having done a low mileage - although the R45 seems to fare better than the R400 in the rusting problems. I have noticed no rust on my 2001 R45 on the rear sill arch area where the R400s normally suffer.
Like any car, rusting is dependent on how the car is looked after and whether it is garaged, not to mention where it is used - A Rover used all its life by the NorthEast Coast and never garaged is going to rust worse than one living in Cornwall that's garaged every night.