2002 Rover - Austin 45 iXS 1.6 petrol 16v DOHC
More than just a rebadged Honda. Buy one
Rear wheel bearing noisy at 74k. A common problem, but literally a 10 minute job to replace the bearing.
A/C not cold, but probably wants re-gassing. Not a fault of the car.
Chrome bumper trims become loose due to poor fixings.
I only acquired this one owner, low mileage, FSH car, because it was stupidly cheap. Previously Rovers were something that happened to other people.
However, I have grown to really like it. Now that the company is no more, these cars are practically worthless, which means you can get a very good one - and these were popular with older, careful drivers - for very little.
On paper the 0-60 does not look anything special at 10.7 seconds, but the mid range pickup is very good indeed. Get the engine on cam over 3000 RPM and it really does shift. 1.1 BHP per cubic inch is still a very good standard to set.
If you drive with economy in mind, there is ample torque lower down in the rev range to just pootle along, when the car can happily return well over 40 MPG.
It's quite well equipped; the iXS model I believe was at the lower end of the range, but still has remote locking, power steering, A/C, front electric windows, 15" alloys etc.
The cabin is a comfortable place to sit. The 45 benefited from the same seats as the more upmarket 75, and long journeys are no chore.
Handling is not bad at all. The car feels well planted and grips well.
Some of the fittings let the side down; the dash plastic looks a bit brittle and hard, the chrome strips on the front bumper have poorly designed clips, but on the whole, you could do a lot worse for the money.
It does feel slightly dated, originating from the early '90s as it does, compared to contemporary Focus and Astra models, but these are not without their faults either, and you'll pay a lot more for one in an equivalent condition.
Just be wary - the K series engine here has a well documented problem with premature head gasket failure, mainly due to sub-standard original equipment, so it is vital to look after the cooling system.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st October, 2012