1997 Rover - Austin 400 416i 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Budget motoring with Rover class


Only a couple of issues with the car, namely:

- Noisy cam belt tensioner at 75,000 miles, but was still fine when sold at over 80,000.

- Small coolant leak, never really found where it was coming from. We're only talking 100ml in 1,000 miles.

- Air con never worked, but as to be expected on an older vehicle. There was a leak somewhere in the system.

General Comments:

This was my first Rover, and did me very well.

I'd come from a 1.8 diesel Fiesta, an absolutely hateful car, and was so glad to finally have something roomy, quick, and most importantly, reliable.

This car never let me down, went pretty well for a 1.6 and also was very comfy on long trips. Happy memories of doing a Preston to Cornwall trip with a 5 minute break in the middle - 400 miles and I was stationary for a total of about 5 minutes.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th November, 2010

1997 Rover - Austin 400 420 SDI Turbo 2.0 diesel from UK and Ireland


From a Porsche to a Rover, to a Rover and a Porsche


Battery went flat when it was left standing for 2 weeks. Jumped it, started straight away.

General Comments:

The story goes, I sold my 911 and had ordered my newer Cayman through the Porsche dealer. Once they part ex'd my 911, they then told me there was a 6 month waiting order and offered a courtesy car while it was in process of being manufactured etc. The fact I had a heavy night out before hand, and was still half intoxicated from my excessive amount of alcohol, I told them they had their heads stuck up their backsides and to stuff their courtesy car the same place their heads were. I stumbled out of the dealers and called my daughter (who was in the middle of a lesson at the time) and demanded to take me home.

After half an hour of lingering outside awkwardly in the drizzle, she finally came and took me home, after which I collapsed on the sofa in front of the TV. After a good 5 hour sleep, I realized what I had done and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be eating humble pie and go apologizing to the poor dealers; I'll buy a banger whilst I wait for my order.

It took me 10 minutes on Autotrader on the under £500 option and I found this Rover just 5 miles from where I live; brilliant I thought, let's give a em a ring. I spent 10 minutes on the phone trying to understand this old man with a deep south welsh accent, I managed to get his address and said I'd pick it up the next day.

After a short argument with the wife, which I won, she took me to address of the car, and there she was, parked in the street in all her glory. I knocked on the door, no answer, I booted the door and I heard a familiar voice "I'll be there in a second boy", OK then.

I knew nothing about cars, so I walked around it pretending to be interested "hmm rust by the back wheel I'll knock him down on that”.

The old man came out finally and handed me the key, which I put in the door and boof! The horn came on, everything lit up, making a hell of a racket. The old guy snatched the key off me and pressed the fob making it stop. After a brief induction on how to open and lock the car, he then said it needed to be jump started. I didn’t have a clue what that meant; I just agreed, he then explained what it was, and made me feel like a bit of a T***. OK, so I got the wife’s Golf and he connected it up, and she fired up straight away. After looking at the engine running and pretending to listen for things, he then went on to explain it had a recent service; all belts replaced and oil and stuff like that. Oh and 7 months tax and 8 months MOT. Brilliant I thought, I can scrap it when I get the new car, all mine for £480.

I’ve come this far, so I thought might as well, signed it over to me and paid in cash out of my wife’s wallet (she was going shopping).

After getting it insured and driving it round (and completely forgetting to 'knock him down') I thought, not a bad car this.

I kept thinking the fuel gauge was broken, because it wasn’t moving and I was getting 420ish miles out of it for a full tank. I then took it out and raced these boy racers with their fart can exhausts, and beat them all in a Rover - A ROVER! I'd love to have seen their faces.

Compared to the Porsche, it was practical, comfortable, easy to drive, had 4 electric windows and didn’t rattle your teeth out when you hit a rough surface, it was brilliant. The only thing the Porsche could do better was going faster and looking better.

4 months passed and I was in love with this simple white diesel Rover, it was just perfect really. I admit I didn’t drive it slow, but it never blew up or anything, or make any weird noises or refuse to work like the 911 did sometimes. It just cruised where I wanted it to go; no problems, no issues and no crap fuel consumption. I started to get into cars; I even looked up the performance, I didn’t care if it did 0-60 in 10 secs, and the Porsche did it in 4, I just couldn’t give a flying...

Anyway 6 months now and I got a phone call, the new Porsche had arrived, I turned up to the dealers in my Rover a bit red faced; I think they forgot about my last visit, and took out the Porsche for a test. I admit I loved it so I bought it, but I still wanted that simplicity and comfort I got with the Rover.

So now a year on I have a Porsche Cayman and a Rover 400, it is the butt of all jokes with the group of overpaid yobs I call my friends, but I like it and will never get rid of it.

All I can say is if you find one BUY ONE. (The diesel one with the turbo)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th January, 2010

22nd Jan 2010, 06:44

I really enjoyed reading that review. Thanks.

9th Aug 2010, 15:57

I totally loved reading your review. It's so true to this car. I used to have an 06 Vectra SXi CDTi, and thought after driving this, I would hate an old Rover 400d. I was looking for a cheap 50 mpg car for under £500, and struggled until seeing my Rover. I had to go a fair distance for mine, but finding a cheap diesel with 12 months MOT and some tax is not easy.

I've now had mine for 4 months and done 9000 miles. All I have spent is £18 on this car; £3 for some oil, which it doesn't need topping up constantly, just once in 9k, and £15 on a tyre.

I love everything modest about this old banger, and it keeps on going, as this is a stop gap until I can have a better car. I will now be buying an MG ZS or ZT diesel instead of a Mondeo or Vectra, just because it keeps on going, and no, mine is not for sale; my dad will use it until the newer car packs in, and I need it back, because even though it's done 182k, I would edge a bet on it doing another 182k.