1991 Rover - Austin 400 Reviews

1991 Rover - Austin 400 416GSi 1.6 single cam from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1991
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.6 single cam Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired125000 miles
Most recent distance179000 miles
Previous carHonda Civic

Summary:

A reliable yet powerful and fun to drive underrated motoring gem

Faults:

Water pump at 126,000 miles, which weakened the head gasket causing it to blow at 176,000 miles, after what the garage said was a tiny hole that gradually increased in size until it caused a problem.

Both Out CV joints have gone, both around 150,000 miles.

The rear suspension bushes required replacement at 165,000 miles.

General Comments:

Overall a very capable yet very underrated car. The 1.6 liter Honda Engine is very reliable, always starts on the turn of the key, and incredibly powerful at higher revs for its size.

The automatic gearbox is very response, and the kick down feature works wonders for overtaking. It does, however, jolt at times when changing up at around 3,000 revs, but this has yet to cause a problem.

This car has done a remarkable mileage, and with this considered very little has gone wrong with it. The engine still goes like it was built yesterday, burns absolutely no oil, and sounds beautiful at higher revs, if a little like a diesel when it idles.

This car, is however, a Honda beneath the skin, and is remarkably similar to the Concerto, meaning the interior is a little boring and Japanese, the original stereo and speakers are completely hopeless to listen to anything however the lower lumbar support seats and the racing steering wheel in this model do make up for the faults mentioned.

This car has the single camshaft engine, which is good. However I am told that the twin-cam version fitted to the G-T-i is more free revving, and more fun as it is lifted straight from the Honda C-R-X which is more of a hot hatch than family saloon. I would like a 420 G-S-i Turbo however these are nowhere near as reliable as the 416 since the engine is made by Rover, so the head gaskets can go like clockwork.

Overall a great car, and now they can be bought for a real bargain, I would recommend one to anyone, even high milers, but service history is essential if this is the case.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th November, 2004

1991 Rover - Austin 400 416 GSi 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1991
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.6 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired99000 miles
Most recent distance101000 miles
Previous carVauxhall Carlton

Summary:

A fun car for not much money

Faults:

The ignition key/starter locked & I couldn't use the car until I wrecked the lock, so the key was jammed in the lock. This was an arm and a leg to replace from the main dealer... so I got one from a breaker, still not cheap.. I must state it's secondhand (old) & could pack up any time like the other one. This is sad.

More recently it's had starting problems. Once running, it's hard to believe there was a problem. I once had a motorbike like that, but at least you could run along & jump start it.

General Comments:

My main coment is to praise the econonmy. I first got the car & was getting the same mileage from this 1.6 that I was getting from my previous Vauxhall Carlton.. About 25 - 30 MPG.

I wasn't very impressed. But a little while later I found the mileage had jumped up. In fact in a good week I can get over 60 miles for a fivers woth of petrol.. that's twice what I was getting!!! It's stunning.. but you can almost see the fuel gauge drop to empty if you start to floor it. It's a shame as you may as well own a bigger car, cause once you get to 60mph, the poor engine's thrashing away like nothing. Oh & the economy at higher speeds is hopeless too.. so on a run I get less MPG!!

5th gear is OK, but it's not really a motorway gear. They should have stuck six gears in the box. I reckon it would have beat everything hands down with a 6th gear. It would have taken everything from a standing start.. & cruised with the best at 85mph.

Generally I'm very impressed. From the outside you get the impression that it's flimsy. When you drive it, it feels like it's being pushed to the ground.. not like it's sitting on tyres.. it's a bit like if you could imagine there's a big weight on top of the car.. it must be something to do with the centre of gravity.. The ride is soft.. not so good for cornering.. but not a problem.. due to a wide wheelbase..

In fact it feels more like a bigger car than it is. Very comfy.

The radio is crap. It's a factory radio & needs constant attention.. it won't stay where it was last left & wants to "search" all the time when you first start the car. It's OK once locked. It winds me up. I also replaced the factory rear shelf speakers for 2x8ins & the sound is big & fat, even from the standard radio. This is a good feature of a saloon.. I've owned a couple of hatches, & the sound was hopeless from those flimsy cardboard shelves. A neat car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th November, 2003

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 11 reviews