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!!

1997 MG F 1.8i from UK and Ireland


Great fun, great ride, great handling even for a hairdressers car


When I first acquired this car, I didn't realise that the ride height was too low, and when I first took it to the dealer about another matter the mechanic exclaimed that my MG was 'on its knees'. It cost about £30 to pump the Hydragas suspension up a bit. Unfortunately I had driven it for about 1000 miles whilst it was too low and this led to excessive wear to the front tyres, which is a common problem of too low a ride height.

The car also needed a new rear brake pipe which had become corroded. This was identified at it's first service in my possession.

Also identified at this first service was a worn track rod end, and top ball joints to the rear. The service and all of the repairs mentioned above cost me £600.

More recently, the central door lock solenoid on the drivers side broke, but I think this was caused by myself, removing the inner door trim whilst the battery was still connected...

Just last week I needed a new radiator fitting which was also badly corroded. That was £280.

Whilst the car was at the dealers, I got the to look at excessive play in the gear stick. They remedied that, but took £100 off me...

General Comments:

Ride is fantastic, not too hard, but you do learn where the pot-holes are on roads you use regularly!

Handling is great, this is the first car that not only gets me from A to B, but gets me there with a smile on my face!

Being rear wheel drive, the car is extremely predictable. If I had to fault the handling, I would say that it tends to under-steer a little now and then, but nowhere near as bad as an Audi TT!

It really is a fun car, I often find myself smiling when I am driving. It isn't the fastest thing on the road, but open top motoring is not about getting there fast! If you get one, get some sun cream for your face, I have gotten sun burnt a few times!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2004

28th Jul 2016, 18:22

Unfortunately, garages have often contributed to this car's bad reputation for being expensive. Not sure what was done to the sloppy gearstick, but usually it's no more than removing the stick's gaiter and tightening a couple of bolts.

Can well believe that the average garage would assume you didn't know this and charge you £100 for 10 minutes work though...