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.

General Comments:

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These cars were once the darling of lower-middle class housing estates all over Britain and it's a tragedy that they've been replaced by BMW 1-series and new MINIs.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

1998 Rover - Austin 200 Vi 1.8 VVc from UK and Ireland


Head gasket just went with 48k miles on the clock. Costing a lot to fix, but I took it to a few garages, and they didn't know what they were talking about with the VVC. Take it to someone who does!!!

General Comments:

The car is like a pocket rocket, rips straight through 1st and 2nd, but still pulls well in 3rd up to 97mph.

Great how no one knows of a 200Vi. I've surprised a lot of people, and been in good races with a Civic Type-R. A Scooby couldn't pull away from me till 110mph, though I had got on the gas first, but still, it's a 2.0 turbo!!!

I previously had a 1.4 8v 200, and I can honestly say I get better mileage per gallon in my Vi than in the 1.4, thanks to the VVC system, and that's not with crawling around everywhere either!!!

Highest I've seen on my clock is 141mph, and it wasn't going to go better than that; it was slightly downhill, but always gets 135mph ish!!!

With my exhaust/induction kit, I reckon it's about 153bhp or thereabouts, but I'm in plans with a garage to take it to 180bhp!!! 0-60 timed is about 7s now!!!

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

Review Date: 14th June, 2005

1998 Rover - Austin 200 vi 1.8 vvc from UK and Ireland


One you have to buy


No real problems so far, only had car a month though.

Suspected head gasket, garage recommend K-seal rather than having to cough up for a hefty bill, seems to have done the trick.

General Comments:

1.8 that does 0-60 in 7.5 and on to 130mph, and looks like a 1.4 bar the alloys.

Only 1.8 I know that's better is the Honda Integra Type R. The car shifts when kept above 4000rpm - an RS 1800 tried to keep up with me, I lost him within a mile and he had a Superchip. Overtaking is a breeze - drop a gear and say goodbye.

Watch for lift off oversteer if pushing hard. In the wet there's no point in nailing if you're in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd as it wheelspins so easily.

Seats could give better support.

Other than that, it's a pocket rocket.

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

Review Date: 10th May, 2005

1998 Rover - Austin 200 Vi 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Hot hatch for low bucks - shame about the badge


Absolutely nothing.

General Comments:

A great little car for £4k - can pick one up now for £3k. Performance is excellent, engine is super smooth, handling is also good. Front seats are excellent. Steering wheel is one of the best I've seen. Economy is superb.

Some bad things - Rover build quality - interior trim is achingly cheap (see handbrake lever). Badge - Rovers are just not cool. Even so, they still look better than the atrocious MGZR - crass and totally overblown.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th October, 2004