Rover - Austin Ambassador Reviews from UK and Ireland

1983 Rover - Austin Ambassador HLS 1.8 petrol

Year of manufacture1983
First year of ownership1993
Most recent year of ownership1996
Engine and transmission 1.8 petrol 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 acquired105000 miles
Most recent distance141000 miles
Previous carFord Granada


Very good considering it was a British Leyland product


Tyres needed replacing at 111,000 miles and again at 136,000 miles.

Brake cable broke at 118,000 miles.

Clock failed at 122,000 miles.

Tailgate catch broke at 129,000 miles.

Cylinder head needed replacing at 135,000 miles.

Engine exploded at 141,000 miles and wrote car off.

General Comments:

A comfortable and spacious large family car.

Smooth to drive and cheap to run.

Well built and reliable for its age.

Finally came to an end after 141,000 miles and 13 years, when the engine blew up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2006

1982 Rover - Austin Ambassador HL 2.0

Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership1987
Most recent year of ownership1994
Engine and transmission 2.0 Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired80000 miles
Most recent distance130000 miles
Previous carBedford Camper


Good while it lasted


Where do I start?!

Numerous things went wrong, including the hydraulics for the hatchback, and when you switched the engine off, it would "run on". The gearbox gave no real indication of which gear you were in.

The final straw was when the brakes failed going down a hill in Northampton.

General Comments:

Nevertheless, the Ambassador was an underrated car. It was reasonably good to look at, and went well. Ours shook itself to pieces when pushed over 50mph, but I'm sure it's an isolated incident.

We got £50 scrap for it (with no brakes), and saw it in Tescos car-park the following week.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th August, 2000

15th Feb 2001, 10:04

I agree this was an underrated car, I've just bought a 2L Vanden Plas and I used to have a 2L HLS. Very roomy and comfortable. I am contemplating keeping this one until it becomes worth more than I paid - £250.00.

21st Mar 2001, 06:55

I've own one of the last Ambassadors - from March 1984 - a 2.0 HL Automatic. Usual problems on the body-work are evident (wheel arches and door rust, but all mainly surface not deep), but the interior is very spacious, as is the engine bay.

Automatic model works very well for it's age, and I've found the car to be surprisingly economical. Shape is striking (chap I know mistook it for a DeLorean at first!), and she'll still turn quite a few heads.

There can't be a huge number left - a good classic for the future, I think.

1982 Rover - Austin Ambassador L 1.7 petrol

Year of manufacture1982
Engine and transmission 1.7 petrol
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10


Starter motor, exhaust, carburettor, electrical faults causing engine to cut out, sheared driveshaft, repeated breakage of engine mountings, steering went stiff, failure to start in winter, failure of clutch master cylinder, difficulty or impossibility of engaging gears.

General Comments:

Despite being very unreliable, this car is very satisifying to drive when it works, being fast, quiet and comfortable. It is wise to check history and condition before buying - buying a bad one is a very bad decision.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th February, 1998

Average review marks: 6.4 / 10, based on 3 reviews