1996 Rover - Austin 400 SDi 2.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Super performance, ultra reliable - choose the diesel!


Nothing, runs perfectly.

General Comments:

This is a totally underrated car. I bought it to replace my 1996 Jeep Cherokee, as fuel prices have become too high to run it. I was averaging between 15-18 mpg.

I previously owned the cheaper Rover 400 Turbo D, which basically has mechanical fuel injection and no intercooler for the turbo. It was painfully slow, so I gave it too a family member.

I then decided to try the 400 SDi, which has electronic fuel injection and an intercooler. This takes the horsepower from 88 to 104, and the torque is 177.

The acceleration is amazing, especially in the higher gears. It pulls very well in 3rd, 4th and 5th. The MPG is never below 40, regardless of how it is driven, and reaches well over 50 on a long run.

The interior is fine, all electrics still work and it handles very well, although I would not push it too hard, due to the weight of the diesel engine up front.

So overall, forget the petrol engines, the diesel is a real gem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st August, 2008

1996 Rover - Austin 400 420 SD 2.0 turbo diesel from North America


Absolutely cracking, value for money runaround that is extremely economical!


Bit of surface rust appearing on one wheel arch, but a quick and easy DIY repair soon tidied it up and the car looks a whole lot better for it.

Only owned it for a short period of time so far so nothing else really except the usually wear and tear items, bulbs mainly.

General Comments:

After hearing lots of conflicting reviews regarding Rovers and their build quality, I decided to find out for myself exactly what the hype was all about. I have always liked the look of Rovers and it seems that you get a lot of kit for the money, so after my last Fiesta failed its MoT and I couldn't find another Mondeo Diesel I wanted in my price range, I turned to the Rover 420 SD.

It was advertised in the free ads for £350 with a full 12 month MoT and 6 months Tax, low mileage for this age diesel on an N plate. I viewed it, drove it and bought it. What an absolutly cracking car!

There are two versions of Rovers L Series Diesel engine, the ~85bhp none intercooled variant, and the ~103bhp intercooled version. Mine is the former, and even though it has the lower power output, has plenty of torque to haul it along at sufficient speeds, keeping up with other traffic and pulling you out of stick situations with ease. It is also very economical, returning on average 550 miles/tank, which is a combination of numerous, long trips on motorways, and numerous town journeys.

The cabin is an extremely nice place to be and the seats are very comfortable and supportive on long journeys. All the controls seem to be well within reach and easy to find. The only problem I do have is that, with this being the hatchback version, the control for the rear wiper is in a rather strange place (halfway along the stalk for the front wipers) and can sometimes be trick to get to, especially if you are on a tight road which requires lots of steering action!

On that note, the car does have some noticeable body roll in the corners, but then, this car wasn't made to be chucked around bends, but more for long distance motorway drives, which is absolutely loves and laps up with ease. I really cannot see why people slate these Rovers, as it is an absolutely fantastic car.

I know that the petrol engined models can suffer head gasket failures as a common problem, but from the reviews I have read, the L-Series Diesel is virtually bulletproof. Plenty quick enough for me, anyway!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th December, 2007