1998 Rover - Austin 200 Si 1.6 from UK and Ireland
A should-have-been BMW 1-series
Typical K-series head gasket failure at 62,000 miles. An expensive lesson in why breakdown cover is necessary!
Intermittent hot starting problem which may be the crank sensor. It acts as though the battery is low, although it never fails to start.
These are great cars. Still good-looking after all these years, well-built, lovely handling and pretty economical as well.
My Rover 216 Si is a heck of a lot better in build quality terms than my old Peugeot 306. These cars were once the darling of lower-middle class housing estates all over Britain and it's a tragedy that they've been replaced by BMW 1-series and new MINIs.
The K-series engine is a bit of a paradox. It's light, revvy, powerful (0-60 in 9.3 seconds) and pretty economical - it put equivalent Ford and Vauxhall engines to shame. But the head gasket WILL fail unless the later steel dowels are fitted. As a rule of thumb, don't buy one with less than 60,000 on the clock. Rover never officially acknowledged the problem, and now they're dead and buried.
Parts are good value and widely available, and the 200 is great to drive. My example has lots of MG ZR parts on it and has 68,000 on the clock, which is pretty low for its age. But as its book value is now only about £1,000 I'm going to run it into the ground. This should be another 4 years at least, all being well!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 12th February, 2006