Great ride and performance, awful service, build quality and reliability.
Tailgate Hinges found to be badly rusty at only 18 months old. Severe problems getting dealer to recognise it as a Warranty issue.
Nasty squeaking from rear (suspension).
Bits of interior door trims fall off when the doors are closed firmly (note: NOT slammed!).
Serious-sounding and very loud metallic rattling between 2000 and 2500 rpm (going to get it looked at tomorrow!). I've checked and I don't believe it to be the Heat-Shield on the Catalytic Converter, which I believe is a common problem.
This car is, to me, seriously quick with handling to match. All the 25's have the "sports" suspension which was fitted only to the top-spec 200 models, as I understand it, and it shows. I don't often drive it hard, but when I do it never comes seriously unstuck, and is always predictable. Slight downside of this is the firm ride, but that's the trade-off.
Air-Conditioning (I believe it was an option, not standard on mine) is a nice feature, and doesn't detract too much from the performance or economy.
Good fuel economy - with a mix of motorway driving and round-town stuff I get about 40mpg. If I'm being sensible!
That's the good part. Now the rest.
The driving position is off-centre. The steering wheel is noticeably (about 2 inches?) to the left of centre, when sitting comfortably in the driving seat. Long journeys like this lead to back pain.
As many people have mentioned, the stereo fitted to these as standard is nothing short of appalling. It got replaced with a SONY on the 2nd day I had it. I couldn't stand it any longer.
The service I have had from my local dealer has been particularly poor. With the above-mentioned tailgate-hinge rust problem, they tried to argue that this was "seam-bleed" and therefore not covered by the anti-corrosion warranty. My exclamation that an 18 month-old car should not be rusting around it's hinges at all seemed to fall on deaf ears. The warranty seems to cover things that stand no chance of failing at all! After many threats of legal action, they eventually and grudgingly agreed to repair it. Now (6 months on) the rust has re-occurred, so it's going back again this week.
It would seem that the rusty tailgate hinges are a common defect, as I've now spoken with many others who have the same issue. And the dealers' courtesy car I got while they (reluctantly) fixed mine had the same rust problem - and it was only 12 months old!
As with every Rover I've owned (3 - and I think this will be my last!), it is a total nightmare to fill with Petrol. I have tried many, many petrol stations up and down the UK (I travel a lot) and not one petrol-pump-nozzle has fitted in the filler cap of the car. Fueling has to be done with the nozzle half way in the filler, and at a particular angle to avoid the air coming back up the pipe from confusing the pump and causing it to shut off with only a few litres of fuel in the car. I have not yet managed to fill it up without it either stopping half-way or spitting a couple of litres out the filler cap at me. Even when I'm filling it very slowly!
Generally the level of internal trim is cheap and plasticky. I disagree with some others here that the wood-effect ages it, if anything I prefer it to the plastic / carbon effect, but the rest of the plastic fascia looks and feels cheap and nasty. And bits of it keep falling off - in particular the internal door handles, part of the centre air-vent, the glove-box mountings, and the centre console around the handbrake (it split badly). The level of trim, and the build quality, was better on my 1990 Rover 414 SLi. I had hoped for some improvements in 11 years.
As you may have guessed, I'm looking to offload this car very soon. Any takers...?!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 19th May, 2003