1997 MG F VVC 1.8i from Australia and New Zealand


The best car in the world, bar none


Rear window zipper slider broke.

General Comments:

I feel in love with the MG-F after a quick test drive in Jan 2006 but the dealer wanted a ridiculous price for a 1996 1.8i. I bought one on an auction site and it's the best. Drove it 200km home after buying it and no fatigue. I drove a Mazda 323 (Neo) with 17" alloys, but always got sore shoulders. Not so with the comfort of the MG. It is simply a dream car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th June, 2006

1997 MG F 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Avoid an MGF at all costs


Head gasket 3 times.

Cam-belt many times.

Wiper motor 4 times.

Radiator three times.

Suspension many times.

Electrics constantly.

Brakes constantly.

Cooling system constantly.

Alloys wheels crack many times.

All tyres deflate because of under-engineered alloys.

Constant rust everywhere - no evidence of galvanizing.

Lights fault all the time.

Brake lights constantly faulty.

Constant coolant loss.

General Comments:

For its size this is a stunning looking car. But it is extremely under-engineered and very dangerous to rely on where very reliable performance is essential.

The seats and driving position are beyond awful. It was bought from a car supermarket and it has had repairs in excess of £13k in 4-5 years.

A very consequential, indeed, life-changing mistake - £30k for 4-5 years of misery, constant tension and utter unreliability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th October, 2005

17th Oct 2005, 06:27

I sympathise with you mate, I owned one of these - 1997 as well. Cost me a fortune, I, d fix one problem, drive it for a few weeks then something else would break, not minor problems either (although I had my share of those as well). Sorry to hear it cost you as much as it did, I managed to offload mine in part-ex at below book price, happy to just cut my losses and let someone else have the heartache. Driving a bland, but utterly reliable and stress free Nissan now and loving it.

Anyone reading this, you have been warned. Avoid an MGF at all costs...

27th Jan 2006, 03:52

You just have to face the fact that you got a lemon. Could happen to anyone with any make of car.

11th Feb 2006, 01:49

Hard lines Buddy.

Just last night my head gasket went for the second time in 12 months on my MGF.

Devastated. Now looking around at options to either get rid of the thing, or price up a repair myself.

It could have been such a GOOD car, not a constant worry like it has been. MG, with more care towards quality of product, could have survived-maybe even prospered.

5th Sep 2007, 13:40

I've read the reviews of the 1997 MGF and they all pretty much say to keep well away from it. Yet the comments on the 1998 MGF are all good. I'm confused. Does this mean its OK to get a 1998 MGF? As this is the year of the one I'm looking to buy.

12th Jun 2009, 18:08

How much is it to fix the head gasket?

Thanks, Mel =)

22nd Mar 2010, 05:34

Spoke to an MG specialist at Nepean Sports Cars Sydney Australia. He said don't touch the MGF as they are a "ticking time bomb". A head gasket replacement can cost over $3,000.

22nd Mar 2010, 15:38

Head gasket failure is more common than on most cars, but it only costs between £250 and £500 on average at most decent local garages.

There are people who will come out and do it for you, who specialise in Rover K series head gasket repairs. It's best to get the Landrover MLS replacement as it's a bit better.

1997 MG F VVC 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Whenever I see one now I can't stop laughing


Head Gasket Blew at 48000 miles.

Starter Motor Replaced.

Oxygen Sensor Replaced.

Fault on VVC system prevented Revving past 5000RPM (expensively fixed by dealer, finally after 3 attempts)

Complete Failure of VVC unit causing shearing of Valves. Complete new cylinder head required.

Numerous Hydragas Suspension Problems, the car was often lopsided.

Coolant pipe leaks.

Assorted rattles and squeaks from dash area.

General Comments:

This car looks quite appealing at first glance. Nice styling especially with the half leather interior. That I'm afraid is really all it has going for it.

Performance is adequate, but by no means quick. Handling is OK, but not sharp, my old Mk1 Mr2 was superior.

The main problem with this car is the ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL reliability and build quality. Buy one of these and expect to spend a lot of time and money trying to keep the heap of junk on the road. Its not just me, do your research (I didn't!!) they are renowned for their awful track record. The head Gasket is an accident waiting to happen, it WILL go (if it hasn't already, and even if it has already been replaced it will probably go again).

My MGF was without doubt the worst car I have ever owned (and i, ve owned a Metro! Why I went back to Rover I will never know).Don't let the pretty looks fool you, after you've owned it for 12 months you will come to despise the sight of the thing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th December, 2004

18th Feb 2006, 14:13

I'm afraid this person is spot-on - I had an MGF for a while and while I admit it was great in the summer (not difficult for a convertible!!) and though I didn't have head gasket problems the amount of small things that went wrong quickly are frankly too long to list here - from leaks to brakes to build to everything. Whether the TF was better (possibly as cars improve toward the end of their production line) I don't know, but this heap of rubbish is, for me, the worst of Rover. Cheaply put together (the 'spang!' of the doors closing still makes me wince), and just...awful. Totally unreliable. I needed all of my dozen years' sales experience to flog it to someone to get my money back. A lucky, lucky escape and a lesson: if you buy cheap you'll pay more in the end. Get an MX5 instead - it's on a different planet in every way, and is one of the most reliable cars ever built.