2003 Rover - Austin 25 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


A dull and tacky motor


I only drove this car occasionally as it belonged to a company. Therefore I never experienced any major problems.

However, I have heard that the head gasket blew within a few thousand miles. This totaled the engine because the oil pressure light never illuminated, thus allowing the engine to seize.

General Comments:

The interior is rather dull. The wood effect of the center console looks very tacky.

General city driving with this car is a disappointment. Performing hill starts requires thrashing the engine. This is due to the maximum torque being high up the rev range at 4000RPM.

Only good thing about this car is the visibility.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th September, 2005

12th Sep 2005, 04:00

Blowing a head gasket won't necessarily cause oil pressure to drop.

8th Nov 2006, 17:02

I appreciate that. However, blowing a head gasket can result in excess oil consumption thus resulting in an eventually excessively low oil level. This in turn, will result in the oil pump unable to pick up any oil, and distribute it to essential parts such as big ends, mains, cams etc. Hence loss of oil pressure.

30th Apr 2015, 23:08

If you can't see the contents of the sump exiting via the exhaust, then you can't see well enough to drive.

"Thrashing the engine", are you sure you have driven one?

Would you buy another... no. You never bought one in the first place, just used it from time to time...

2003 Rover - Austin 25 iXL 1.4 from UK and Ireland


The most underrated car ever


Very little. The FOB broke once, resulting in me having to do the emergency immobilizer sequence which is in the handbook.

The Blaunkpunt radio kept resetting itself, now to the point that I must wait an hour before I put the code in - no matter how long I actually leave it!

General Comments:

Superb car. I love the interior, its a very cosy aplace to be. The dashboard is excellent, despite what the critics say. It's a very artistic dashbaord, with lots of great curves, especially when compared with the practical uninspiring dashboards of the german rivals.

The 1.4 K-series is a gem! The turn of pace is absolutely fantastic for a 1.4! I reckon the 1.4 25 would give a 2.0 a ruddy good thrashing. It really is that quick.

The gear change is nice, as is the clutch. Unfortunately no ABS, and I find that the brakes are quite weak compared with my partners Rover 75's brakes.

The 25 has great steering, very lively with good feedback - however at a little expense of the ride quality.

I also love the feature that the 25s corporate - the back wiper will automatically come on when you're reversing, if the front wipers on. Only a small feature - but a great one!

All in all, I love this car. In her British Racing Green paint, her factory tinted windows and her 15" alloys, nothing in the same sector comes close to looking as good as the 25.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th June, 2005

2003 Rover - Austin 25 iL 1.4i 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Dated-feeling, poorly built and unreliable disappointment


Clutch judders after long periods in traffic.

Vibration through steering between 50 and 70 mph. Wheel balance checked out OK and no suggestions from dealer.

Squeaks and rattles from interior.

Air conditioning hardly does anything - normal according to dealer.

Leather trim looks 20 years old already.

Alternator failure.

All before it clicked past 6,000 miles!

General Comments:

Really disappointed with this car. I've always thought the 25 is quite a good looking little car, and I know the K-series engine is a corker, so in a fit of misguided trust and even misplaced patriotism, decided to buy one.

The engine is the one part of the car that has met my expectations. Ridiculously punchy for a 1.4, it gives acceleration which matches my old 1.6 Fiesta, and makes a lovely growl at high revs. Frugal too - 35-40 mpg however it's driven. Totally reliable too, although at less than 7,000 miles, I would expect it to be. It's a world class engine alright, and rivals anything comparable from Honda.

Unfortunately the car its bolted into is not world class, and harks back to the 80's Maestro / Montego era. It quickly becomes apparent that the smart "corporate nose" facelift is but paper over the cracks of an outdated and uncompetitive design. I have never known a car in which the "new" feel wears off so quickly. After just 500 miles, there were squeaks from the interior and the clutch was juddering. After running the car in and starting to push on a bit, I also discovered handling which was lifeless and dull, and steering which gave little clue as to what the front wheels were up to. My biggest moan dynamically though is the brakes, which are some of the spongiest, least responsive stoppers I've ever experienced. I'm sure they weren't like this when I picked the car up.

Switchgear is low rent, and the whole car feels dated. These two items were noted on the test drive, and alone wouldn't have bothered me, but as the car is proving to have 80's quality and reliability to go with it, they are perhaps more galling than they otherwise would be.

Dealers are very polite and usually try hard, but I get the impression they are overwhelmed by the problems they are getting with the cars.

Sorry, but as much as it pains me to say it, if this is what MG Rover consider to be a class-worthy small car, they may as well give it up now. It's an embarassment to the little union flag badge on the tailgate. Disappointing beyond words.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th September, 2003

22nd Feb 2004, 20:18

I have to agree with this review. My mother drives a 25 (bought basically because we could get a new car cheap on their family discount plan - grandad worked at Rover) and it superficially seems like a decent car. However you could see it as something built almost to be a build-upon-able chassis for the MG variants, but without being their rival. Having not driven it myself I can't comment on the handling, brakes, etc, BUT...

The power's there, but the torque doesn't seem to be. The gears seem too high and close set even for a high-tune 1.4 version being driven "normally" (instead intended for sporty driving?). Around town she's normally putting in relatively high revs in 2nd gear where I'd manage 3rd or even 4th in my old Polo with minimal throttle, and it's not driver error, just a lack of poke if you don't rev it - it wallows badly on hills too.

Also she rarely manages a completely clean getaway. The juddery clutch? Mine gets a bit like that with a complicated uphill reversing maneuver causing overheat, the Rover seems like it all the time.

The suspension... can't really comment as it never gets pushed.. but it's a very comfy ride that probably wouldn't stand up to being caned.. at the same time as being comfy in most conditions though, show it a pothole even a millimetre too deep and it hurts!

There's all sorts of niggly naggly problems wrong with the car that are sending her nuts, and its barely covered 7000 miles yet. Mostly parts and build quality. The hatch catch and locking parts have come loose and are handing by one bolt, which makes closing it a bit tricky and it rattles - luckily it stays shut firmly.. at the moment. If the other bolt lets go the boot won't stay closed any more! (Contrast this 52-plate car to an H reg Volkswagen whose biggest structural problem is the front seat bearings getting loose from 70000 miles of abuse). The centre rear seat belt somehow managed to have a malfunction with the tensioning mechanism that pulled it very tight and locked it there, which she thought was causing the rear seats to be pulled out of place and rattling/squeaking. She took it in to be fixed and loosened off... sound still there. Now seems to be one of the pneumatic cylinders responsible for damping the hatch opening/closing, and its impossible to fix without replacement.

And, though the engine *does* make a nice noise on the odd occasion that it's actually revved in earnest (like, accidentally catching 3rd on the motorway, seems to happen a lot - crappy gating), it's hella noisy most the time.. plus road noise that if I closed my eyes would again make me wonder whether I was in the 21st Century "Supermini" Rover, or late 80s "Mini" 'dub..

Not impressed with the garage staff either at the rover dealership - they seem to try to get her to pay for everything despite it being not even a full year into the warranty. Even for diagnosing a worrying burning-plastic smell as being a carrier bag stuck to the top side of the catalyst (that would eventually burn off safely), they tried to charge, despite saying looking it over would be free on the phone.

All in all I suppose the problems listed aren't *that* bad, and its got a fair level of passenger comfort, good driving position, and aircon that does actually work if you give it a chance... but when you put them in the perspective of a motor that's barely a year old, questions have to be asked. Just wondering what's the next to go.

4th Nov 2005, 13:41

I purchased my 2001 Y-Reg Rover 25 1.4 Impression, in June 2005, since then I have done nearly 8, 000 miles. And not one problem!

I am 19 and my Rover is my 3rd car in almost 3 years, and I have to say it's the best car I've driven.

I have always been a fan of Rover's just by there looks and comfort. When I purchased my 25 I have to say it's a dream to drive. Its quiet and smooth to drive. Yes the Dashboard creeks, but when you see past that, you see a well built, comfortable small car.

I did find something under the bonnet with a BMW logo on it, so its not all that British!

In the 4 1/2 years of it's life, it has done nearly 42, 000 miles, and I'm sure it'll do a lot more 42, 000 miles.

8th Jan 2006, 13:05

The dashboard creek is due to cost cutting in the 200 to 25 rearrangement, as the price of the car brand new was lowered significantly so to compete with Fiestas and Corsa, which have even worse interiors.

Hence the reason why I would always choose the 200 series over the 25, the dashboard doesn't creek in a 200.