25th May 2010, 16:52

Sold my ZR 160 3 years ago and regretted it ever since, so just bought another one. 51 plate, FSH, 70k on the clock, less than 1k. There is nothing else anywhere near that value for money. It has its issues, but what performance car does not. My mate who dropped me off to get it in his remapped Type R could barely believe how he couldn't take me till he hit top of fourth and five, so to anyone looking for performance on the cheap, you've got get one, and I've gotta say the ZT 180 is well worth a look also; bombproof V6 engine and handling that has to be experienced to be believed.

26th May 2010, 12:16

The 180 MG is a ZS (the ZT is the Rover 75, whereas the ZS is the 45). Also the V6 engine is not bombproof; it also has its faults, and I have heard of some real horror stories. However, it is less likely to have head gasket failure than the 1.8k series, thanks to being less stressed (180bhp from a 2.5 V6 is hardly groundbreaking).

7th Jun 2010, 08:16

Head gasket failure in all K series engines is due to wrong procedure being followed by dealer's garages when changing coolant. It shall be done using coolant vacuum system fillers to avoid airlocks; and warm up the aluminium alloy engine before rev it up to minimise the difference in heat expansion in between the cylinder head and engine block.

7th Jun 2010, 12:08

Head gasket failure in the K series isn't purely due to those two things. Thermostat failing is just as likely, and the small tank makes it so that there's not much water in reserve, or it can just be drivers not checking the coolant often enough. The original head gaskets aren't upto the job either, hence why people tend to opt for the Land Rover MLS if fitting a replacement.

3rd Sep 2010, 06:36

I also own an MG ZR 160, and have done for the last four years now. Personally I have not experienced HGF in all that time.

From purchase, the miles were 38000, and now on 81000 miles.

The only problems I have experienced was small things like coil packs and rocker cover leaks; all easy fixes. And yes I do rag the car about.

I also had a coolant leak, which I could not detect till I noticed a slight leak when cold on the thermostat housing. Did not realize they have 3 O-rings fitted, and they were the cause of my leaks.

All I can personally say is don't listen to all the scare stories, and use your own intuition on the car, and ask the seller lots of questions, and then provided that you regularly service them, they can and will last. Like most have said, it's the idiots who drive their cars for months without checking water and oil levels.


21st May 2011, 18:22

It is a fact there are dodgy garages changing coolant without a vacuum pump, leaving air in the cooling system. The dealer my ZR was originally sold by was going to dilute the out of date concentrate with tap water. In Adelaide Australia, the water is one of the hardest in the world, and asking in the only two other garages in Adelaide, it is a common practice. I have no other option but buying a vacuum refill kit and an air compressor to do the timing belts, water pump and fresh long life orange coolant with demineralised water by myself. Warming the engine up before moving the car is mandatory to avoid head gasket failure due to different aluminium expansion coefficient in between head and block. Crossed fingers though, it is a British kettle!

1st Jul 2011, 20:33

You bring your Golf to me then and we'll film it on you tube. My ZR 160vvc would eat your Golf for breakfast.

Also to the guy who got thrashed by a Clio 182. I don't know what he's driving, but it's defo not my 160. Type Rs, ST170s, 172, 182, bring em all on.

6th Jul 2011, 07:29

A ZR 160 won't get thrashed by a Clio Sport or a CTR, but will lose as it's down on power compared to the others. I had a 160 years ago, and it would stick with these cars to around a ton, but past that they will be pulling away!

17th Jan 2012, 16:03

Excellent review buddy! I have the MG ZR 160 myself, and love the car. Obviously though I'm getting paranoid checking for leaks every single day, as I've heard all about the head gasket failures etc. I've also been told like yourself, that if you look after the car and get the oil and coolant serviced every 8k or so, there's no reason why the gasket will ever go. The gasket doesn't just blow, it's always something that makes it blow like a water pump, cooling fan failure or thermostat. Happy driving buddy!!

7th Feb 2012, 14:50

For some reason, people people think the Clio 182, Type R etc are super cars. I've had a go in a ZR 160 and a 172, and I couldn't tell the difference in performance. What's the difference? The Clio is 7.2 and the ZR is 7.4 to 60; hardly any difference.

The VVC is a cracking engine. I would say better than the Clio when pushed to the limiter, and more fun to drive. Also, the Clio's steering wheel is too big.

8th Feb 2012, 10:57

I agree there isn't too much in it, but it's more than the 0.2 book figures suggest. Check car reviews on the Internet and owners forums, and you will read that the Clio's and Type R's can consistently pull 0-60 in sub 7 seconds, and the ZR cannot, and to be honest it's only going to get more noticeable from there on in.

It's simple power to weight ratio. The ZR has less BHP, but weighs more than the Clio, and the Civic has far more BHP, meaning power to weight is also greater. Driving the three you might not notice TOO much difference, but whereas the Clio and CTR are neck and neck, the 160 is somewhere between them and a Fiesta ST. Same goes for the old Focus ST170 and the MG ZS180, and many others I'm sure.

10th Feb 2012, 07:03

One of my old work mates has a Type R, and the engine sounds great, but it's vastly overrated performance wise. The ZR160s are cracking little cars, and they only weigh 1090kg.

14th Feb 2012, 16:22

I have a 160 ZR, and my mate has a 172, and there's very little in it. Half a car's length, if that. Both are top cars, but the Clio is better in the bends.

9th Apr 2012, 14:10

I use to own an MG ZR 160. One of the best cars I've had. Very brutal acceleration.

I now own an Audi TT 3.2 DSG; very smooth engine and a great cruiser. But a different type of car. But the Zed was more exciting.

Very powerful little car. Would recommend to anyone.