Feisty and fun
The ECU had to be re-programmed as the car when I bought it had been running with a perforated exhaust which "confused" it.
The alternator was replaced at 47000.
The ABS ring had to be replaced at 63000.
The resistor pack for the heater blower motor went at 65000.
You need to stoke the revs to over 4000 rpm to make the car shift, but please do it as it really flies. It also makes a great sound at these revs! below 4000 though the engine especially in the higher gears is a bit flaccid, due to the lack of torque.
Fuel economy is excellent though. I managed on my journey to my holiday destination of 400 miles, travelling on the motorways at 85 - 90 mph and loaded to the gun-whales 42 mpg!
The handling through fast sweepers and through left / right flicks is excellent. Motorway stability is good. However on sharp bends it does understeer on the wide 15" wheels. The ride on the large wheels is stiff, but I like that.
The steering is possibly the best aspect of the car. The feel for a powered system is good, but the turn in is superb.
The interior is OK although I am glad that my wife and I are only 5' 7". I consider the cabin to be snug, but if I was any taller it would be a bit tight. The dash itself is a bit shiny by modern (VW) standards, but everything is laid out well and nothing has fell off or rattled. No air con though is a bit of a pain in the summer.
My wife thinks the seats are very uncomfortable after my previous Citroen ZX. The seats are a bit thin and cheap, but it is not the most uncomfortable car I have been in. Why Rover didn't fit the seats from the previous generation Rover 200 (R8) though I will never know.
The ABS backed brakes are awful and easily the worst aspect of the car. They are spongy, lacking in feel and the ABS cuts in too easily, especially if you hit a pot-hole / man-hole cover when braking.
The paint is prone to scratches and stone-chips, but there has been no rust. The tailgate lock mechanism did seize due to corrosion (causing the tailgate to pop open which is an "interesting" experience when on a motorway.
Overall though an excellent car and one I would recommend, though I would go for the MG version for a bit more excitement.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th October, 2005