1997 Rover - Austin 200 i 1.4 from UK and Ireland


A unreliable rusty wreck


Head gasket blew at 87345.

Clutch fell apart.

Track rod ends.

Engine seized at 86223.

Heating would not work on 1 or 2.

Would not start in wet weather.

Rust on wheel arches.

Exhaust fell off.

General Comments:

This was an awful car from the day I purchased it.

However, the car is quite nippy when it goes, and not bad on fuel consumption.

My Rover was dark green, so all the scratches showed up.

I would not recommend one of these cars again. I am now updating to a Seat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th March, 2010

1997 Rover - Austin 200 216 Si 1.6 petrol from Israel


If you like it, buy it! There is no other option for feeling like a king for almost no money


The gearbox housing is broken and has to be changed.

Since I live in Israel, my options are either to import one from the UK or search for a used one.

When I bought the car, it had many leaks in the engine compartment. I fixed everything for about 430 USD.

General Comments:

This car suffers from an image problem. It is said to be driven by old people exclusively and being slow. This just isn't true.

The 216 was faster than most cars with a 1.6 engines in the 1990's.

It also handles pretty well and had a great ride.

This is actually the second one I've owned. I've had another one when living in South America, but it was a manual one. I had to leave it there when I left.

One thing I have to add is the fact that you should avoid the automatic ones. They are filled with problems to be solved, but just keep coming back.

In manual version, it's a great car.

In addition, the interior of the Rover is pretty comfortable. The seats are in good order, the dashboard is nice to look at and it's a nice place to be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2009

1997 Rover - Austin 200 Vi 3-dr 1.8 VVC from UK and Ireland


The reason Rover went bust, possibly!


Rubber surround around sunroof detached.

Rear screen wash inoperable.

Interior fan fuse blew.

Rear brake light bulb blew.

Stereo display/clock not legible as fragmented.

Very poor cold starting, leading to the battery totally draining at least once.

Brakes judder on light applications from speed.

Nearside electric mirror inoperable.

General Comments:

I bought this car in a hurry after my last one was written off, despite all the bad things I'd heard and knew about Rover reliability and the K-series engine.

It had a full service history, had a recent cambelt change and recent head gasket, so I thought it'd be OK.

It was the most unreliable car I've owned, excepting an Alfa 33! This car just didn't like starting from cold, and it was a lottery as to how long I'd spend in the morning trying to get it going. It would just turn and turn, nearly catching, but not quite until, eventually it would fire up.

If I hadn't kept a jump box with me, it would've stranded me at least once. I had a service done, and they replace the (platinum tipped?) spark plugs as it may have helped, but did it? Er, no!

Apart from this it was OK.

These things do go like a rocket provided you rev the nuts off them, and feel pretty normal on performance if you don't; my wife drives a Saab 9-5 2.0t Linear and it could blow that out of the weeds no problem. In fact it was nearly as quick as my Nissan 300ZX Turbo, and regularly returned 32-34mpg. The gearchange is a bit like stirring soup though.

Handling was of the "lets make the ride hard as hell and then it might corner" variety; speed bumps were quite painful, especially after my last car, a Renault Laguna. Despite the ride, the handling was OK, ish, but the 200Vi is no Ford Focus or Pug 306, that's for sure.

Wet weather handling was quite fun, as long as you only used about 50% power; above that, it was hairy!

Didn't traction control exist when these things were built? Oh yeah, and the brakes were crap, my 20 year old Nissan 300's were far better.

Interior wise, the seat trim, in half leather and sort of suede/alcantara?, was nice, it had the obligatory bit of Rover wood stuck on the dash, and I think it still looked half modern. The driving position was comfortable, and it had very good all round visibility, with lots of glass area. However, Rover don't exactly build these things to last do they? It had as many squeaks and rattles as an old Lada (perhaps more!), and it strangely managed to feel solid and flimsy at the same time! Bonuses were a decent sounding stereo, not a bad sized boot, and decent rear passenger space for its size.

One more thing, why the hell are these cars so noisy at anything over about 75? I know they've got a cd factor of 0.35, which is crap for a modern car, meaning plenty of wind noise, but couldn't Rover have put some sort of sound insulation in so I didn't feel like the tappety VVC engine was in the cabin with me! Strangely, I never took it on a long journey.

Overall, I think these things probably suit someone who doesn't mind if their car is as unreliable as hell, who want something bloody quick and good fun, and don't mind the shame of wearing ear defenders whilst driving!

P.S : My neighbour has a 214 on an R-reg and the engine seized recently, and my mates wife had a 214 on a P-reg up til about 18 months ago and the head gasket went on it, what a surprise!! I'm not surprised Rover went bust; they sold these things new up til '05 as the 25 and the MG ZR.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th October, 2007

25th Nov 2007, 03:13

No company with decent products every goes bust. At worst it gets bought out and its products integrated into the line of a bigger manufacturer. Even the Chinese weren't interested in these cars.

25th Nov 2007, 12:50

Fed up with people bad mouthing rover in general, if you didn't like your car that is fair enough, but that is one engine type and one body shell. I have one of the diesel rovers (a ZR 115) and can honestly say that the engine is bulletproof, equally or more reliable than BMW + VAG diesels. It's a real shame they went bust, if not just for the pride of having british cars, then for the very promising G-series engine which never got into production. Share your experience, but do not try to generalise about an entire company.