1997 Rover - Austin 400 420 SDi 2.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


I couldn't have asked for more :-D


The car has been fantastic with no faults so far, not even a squeak in fact.

General Comments:

This is my first car and I am in love with it.

The equipment is exceptional: Electric Windows x4, Electric/Heated Mirrors, Electric Sunroof, Air Conditioning, Remote Central Locking, Airbags, Alarm, Immobiliser etc.

The engine is very powerful and frugal, I can easily achieve over 50 mpg and a frequently drive like my hair is on fire.

Had to replace the standard Radio/Cassette as It was rubbish and I don't own any Cassettes. I replaced it with a Clarion CD/MP3 player and it sounds great through the standard speakers.

Handling is quite good and has much more feel than the 1.3 CDTi Vauxhall Corsa I learned to drive in.

All in all it is a wonderful car and I couldn't be happier and I would suggest to anyone looking for a used car to seriously consider a well maintained Rover 400 Diesel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2006

1997 Rover - Austin 400 SLI 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


The worst car on the road - without a doubt


My exhaust middle box needed replacing shortly after I got the car as it 'rattled' off on the M1.

The car pulled to the right when braking - even though I had new disks and shoes.

The head gasket went in May. I had it repaired and it went again in August.

The rear arches are pure rust.

I had to have a new gearbox as the bearings collapsed inside, again on the motorway.

The immobiliser used to get stuck on, I got stranded many a time with this happening.

General Comments:

One word describes this car - RUBBISH.

This must be the worst car on the road. It's OK if you want a car just to sit in, but if you actually wanna go somewhere in it, you will come across problems as the damn things just breakdown all the time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th August, 2006

3rd Sep 2006, 17:36

This can be bettered by the car's predecessor - the Maestro - without doubt a total joke of a car with appalling build quality and reliability. You name it, it either broke, fell off or exploded! Big Ends knocking after 9,000 miles, Cylinder Head Gasket 16,000, squeaks and rattles and leaks since the day I bought the thing. After 56,000 miles I had had enough, it ate it exhaust valves and that was it, it had to go. Bought for £5000 and sold for £60! An utter disgrace of a car that also guzzled petrol like no tomorrow. Replaced by a Volvo 440 that was 500ccs bigger yet returned another 10 mpg and twice as fast and 100% reliable and lasted until 173,000 miles.

9th Sep 2006, 19:17

I have had my Rover 400 (Rover engine) for 7 years and it has been so reliable. The most reliable car I have ever owned. Not one problem. An absolute pleasure to drive and will not hesitate to get another.

1997 Rover - Austin 400 420SDi 2.0-litre turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Cheap and surprisingly cheerful


As usual with '90s Rover/Hondas, the driver's side window doesn't slide in its runners.

Top intercooler hose burst, a new hose was almost £40 from the Rover dealer - £40 is an awful lot for a piece of rubber.

General Comments:

This car is serious value for money, mine was £700 and for that you get a perfectly respectable saloon car with a good specification - mine has air-conditioning, steering wheel radio controls, electric windows all-round, electric mirrors, remote central locking etc. Someone I know recently bought a similarly aged, mileaged and specced Peugeot 406 TD for twice the price - the Pug is nicer to drive and better inside, but still nowhere near twice the car.

The L-series 1994cc turbo-diesel is an excellent engine - despite being a dated design (it's based on the 1985 Perkins MDi engine which is in turn based on the 1978 BL O-series petrol engine). I've never had the fuel consumption drop below 40MPG and 50MPG+ is easily attainable, despite my heavy right foot. Running it on vegetable oil reduces costs even further! Performance is very good once you're up to speed, but getting there seems to take an age. It's still pulling well when you're up to 100MPH.

The interior is pretty poor, though seems decently built. The basic dash design is from 1990 (the mid-90s Rover 400/Euro Honda Civic is based on the Japan-only Honda Domani of 1990) and it comes as a shock to realise that they were still making a car with this dashboard until 2004 when they upgraded the Rover 45. Room is good in the front, especially with the sunroof deleted - the 416Si (with sunroof) I owned before was cramped. The accommodation in the back is pretty poor though. At least the boot is big.

Driving is easy and the handling is good, despite the worn dampers. I've added original manufacturer alloys with 55-profile tyres from a Rover 25 which improve handling even more. The gearbox is pretty horrific though, when it's in gear you wouldn't even know it with the play you get in the gearstick and it's sometimes difficult to select some gears. However it's nice and high geared, which makes motorway driving quiet, with a good 85MPH at 3000rpm.

The styling is subtle, but quite attractive - if only for the saloon version (the hatchback is basically a Honda Civic - hardly a looker). You can see hints of the Rover 75 in the tail and from the side it looks almost BMW. The alloy wheels and clear side repeaters I've added definitely sharpen it up though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th November, 2005

7th Mar 2010, 17:38

I'm sort of skeptical of reviews from people that have owned the car for a month.. Most of these reviews are positive, of course.