1992 Rover - Austin 200 214Si 1.4 16v from UK and Ireland


The 'British BMW'


The driver's side rear lamp cluster leaked in when I first got the car, but it was replaced on same day by the dealer.

Rear exhaust box replaced at 5 years old, front pipe at 7 years old, middle box at 8 years old.

Brake pads replaced at 70,000 miles, rear shoes at 92,000.

Battery replaced at 5 years old.

General Comments:

This car is Rover's 'British BMW', the one which caused BMW to buy Rover.

I've owned this car for 9 years since it was 28 days old and have been seriously impressed by it. It's a banger now and I see no reason to change it as no new cars I've driven come close to the package of driveability, build quality, solidity and performance.

It has the handling qualities of a Mini, coupled to a class leading 1.4 16 valve engine, all bundled up in a very reserved package. I have embarrassed so many hot hatch and performance car owners over the years that I've lost count. It easily accelerates as fast as an old XR3i and Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI, and can out-handle both of them.

Build quality is Japanese, as it should be as a Rover engineered Honda Concerto.

The cabin is nice, simple and functional, no gimmicky styling, and the clear dials, chrome door steps and walnut dash add that extra 'touch of class'.

Full dealer serviced from new, but they lost interest and I gave up when it got to 8 years old.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th September, 2001

2nd Apr 2003, 09:28

A Rover 200 will not outhandle a 205 GTi. Sorry.

22nd Apr 2004, 15:26

"A Rover 200 will not outhandle a 205 GTi. Sorry"

So am I... having driven both, I'd say there's not much in it, if at all... and I've yet to hear of the 200 series having a reputation for the back end letting go, unlike certain other vehicles I could mention.


7th Apr 2006, 20:47

"Japanese build quality"... Hmm, it was built at Longbridge.

8th Nov 2007, 05:32

A Rover 200 shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as the 205 GTI when it comes to handling. If you think they are even close, your 205 was badly ill, or you weren't trying hard enough.

The tail happiness of the 205 was an asset once you mastered it. It gave a level of agility that nothing at the time, and very little since can match. You could drive a 205 GTI 10% beyond the limit of its mechanical grip, and keep it on the road using timely throttle and steering inputs to manipulate that mobile tail into keep the nose pointing roughly in the right direction. A Rover would simply understeer off into the hedge if you tried the same thing. No way can you steer it on the throttle or balance it in a long slide like you can the Pug.

The Rover is a competent handler of course, but the Pug is in a different league. I would even go so far as to say a 1.4 XS 205 would destroy a 214 in the twisties. Assuming the person in the 205 knew how to get the best from it of course. And a lot of people do not. It has no safety net this car. It assumes you know what you're doing, and if you don't, and you try and take liberties, you're heading for a valuable life lesson. The tail can be snappy, but familiarisation and respect turn it into a hell of a car.

Nothing against the Rover, it was a nice car in its day, but it's no 205 GTI. Really.

1992 Rover - Austin 200 GSi 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland


A low profile car capable of embarrassing some hot-hatches


Water pump replaced at 89000 miles.

Minor welding needed on the rear wheel arches.

Absolutely nothing else!

General Comments:

I've owned the car for just over a year now and it is very difficult to fault. The 16 valve Honda engine is excellent and sounds fantastic - quite a surprise for what is essentially just a family car.

It's fast too, quicker than any XR2/3 equivalent, but to get the best performance out of the car it needs to be revved higher than 4000rpm. I fitted a K+N air filter to mine, significantly improving engine response.

Handling and grip do not disappoint, although there is quite a bit of body roll when cornering hard (to be fair mine is only on the standard springs and is not meant to be a sports car).

The interior has worn really well and looks immaculate. As a standard car, though, it doesn't really turn heads which may or may not be to your taste.

There are loads of them about and they aren't really that sought-after so prices are really low. If you are thinking about buying a car of this size for around £2000 or less, I definitely recommend that you try one of these.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2001