1997 MG F VVC 1.8i VVC from UK and Ireland


Great fun, great looks, built to budget and noisy


Previous owner:

Minor electrical faults required new wiring loom

Radiator replaced

Battery and alternator replaced

Needed new brake hose.


Struggled with cold/wet starts, replaced spark plugs and leads - now starts every time.

Misfiring from above problem shot the catalyst to pieces replaced quite cheaply.

Exhaust fell off! Note that it was a sports exhaust, but the design puts a lot of stress on the mounts.

Loads of squeaks and rattles, particularly annoying one in drivers door,

General Comments:

Great Car. Not the most reliable, very noisy and rattles like anything, but realy fun to drive and looks the part.

Handling is good, but not the best in its class. Engine very responsive and smooth throughout the rev range - really shines above 4000 though.

Fuel consumption is OK if you keep your speed down and don't push it, but rubbish if your having a bit of fun.

Really noisy car, you can't hear the stereo on the motorway, but who cares - I like listening to the engine anyway.

I've heard a lot of problems with tyre wear; If its set correctly and you put a good set of boots on it then its fine. If your prepared to fix some of the minor problems yourself its really cheap to run too.

Shame on those drivers who keep the roof up in the summer!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 2004

1997 MG F 1.8i from Australia and New Zealand


A fun convertible, but costly and unreliable


Major engine overheating at about 45,000kms due to a "known design fault".

On-going engine/cooling problems ever since.

Loose wiring causing notable rattling while driving.

General Comments:

I fell in love with the F when I first saw one on holiday in Scotland in 1999, and absolutely had to buy one when I got home.

Much searching of local dealers later I had my prized British Racing Green MGF. Glorious!

The car handles very well, and is a delight to drive. It flies from a standing start and takes to the open road like it was born to it.

The F also has a stylish look to it - especially compared to the lacklustre appearance of competitors like the Mazda MX5.

For a convertible, it hardly ever leaks, even in severe storms.

It was great fun for a while.

Then the trouble started. Engine overheated on a long trip. Taking the car into the local Rover dealer I was informed that the F had a "known design flaw" relating to stud bolts attaching parts of the cooling system. However despite it being a "known design flaw" nobody was willing to take responsibility for this, and I was required to pay for repairs myself. Some NZ$6,500 (about US$3,000) six months, and many many returns to the workshop later the car still loses coolant on an irregular, but frequent basis, and the engine fan is now significantly louder than prior.

The dealers are completely incompetent and lacking in any real knowledge of MGs. They also drove a Land Rover into it during servicing.

The only saving grace was the excellent customer service from BMW New Zealand. BMW are of course no longer owners of MG (but were when the car was built), and they were very helpful - albeit not financially.

One final nitpick - the original tonneau design is ludicrous. Get the newer one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th February, 2004

14th Apr 2004, 16:35

As an addendum to my above review, the MG F now at 75000kms has suffered fuel injector leakage which makes the engine flood after standing over night. This makes the car impossible to start in the mornings.

Once this is fixed the car is going to auction - the complete lack of reliability of this car is unbelievable.

21st Aug 2007, 07:32

I managed to get my tonneau to sit on pretty good; takes a lot of patience, and I think there's a bit of a knack to it, but the clips under the door stops would never reach, though!!