1998 Rover - Austin 400 SLi 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Very reliable and good runner


Head Gasket Failed at 81,000 thousand miles & Water Pump.

General Comments:

Lovely car very comfy, Bit of body roll has a lot of features air con & alloy wheels.

Very good on fuel I am trading in for a MG ZS of the same make.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th April, 2004

1998 Rover - Austin 400 414i 1.4i from UK and Ireland


Nearly a very good car. Scandelously short engine lifespan


Cylinder head cracked.

Electric mirror motor failed.

Exhaust tail pipe rusted off.

Rear door lock sticking.

Power steering fluid leakage.

Boot carpeting studs fell of leaving the carpeting hanging out all over the place.

Boot seals leaking constantly, leaving a nice in-car pond in the spare tyre well.

General Comments:

The car is one of the quickest 1.4s I've driven.

Not much good unfortunately if the the cylinder head is only going to last 42000 miles.

The handling and feedback is fantastic, especially from the perfectly weighted power steering.

The gearing seems to be very unevenly spaced making it difficult to pull away without a nasty judder or a squeal from the front tyres. Fine once you get out of 1st gear though.

The interior is a bit old fashioned, but very comfortable.

However, the build quality of the interior is very suspect in places, such as the sunglasses bin on the right of the steering wheel and the boot carpeting.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd July, 2003

1998 Rover - Austin 400 LX 1.6 injection from UK and Ireland


A quality motor


When the car is slowing down in the lower gears, first and second gear, the clutch needs to be put down early in order to keep control of the car and stop it running away.

General Comments:

The car is very quick off the mark with a 1.6L engine.

The power steering is very smooth and helps a lot when parking.

However the leather seats can be quite uncomfortable over along duration.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2003

1998 Rover - Austin 400 LX 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Rover should recall all Rover 400s and replace the head gaskets free


Head gasket blew at 92,000 miles, car is ex fleet, 3 years old and has been well serviced. This was caused probably by the water pump seal "popping" (a common problem) or a thermostat type device inside the engine. Normal practice apparently is to replace both plus the head gasket and manifold gasket. This cost in excess of £550.

One week previously I had the car serviced and new front brakes which cost £350.

The rear light bulbs need replacing every 2-3 months. Why?

The cam belt needs replacing every 50000 miles.

The passenger door opening mechanism occasionally loses the ability to open the lock. This is due to the internal arm popping out of the little plastic hole.

When having trouble with the head gasket / water pump the heater failed to work, the air conditioning has never recovered following the major repair and the electric windows judder down.

General Comments:

I wrote to Mr John Towers, Chairman of MG Rover complaining about the in built design problem of the head gasket (it's a series of thin rubber rings on an alloy plate) This gasket blows every-time the engine slightly overheats.

He wrote back personally and said he would investigate. After 3 months without hearing I wrote back asking for his report. I got a reply from Customer (dis) Service who couldn't give a toss.

I even sent the Chairman my old head gasket to assist his investigations. What a waste of time.

Don't buy a Rover 400 with the K series engine unless you like spending lots of money to repair it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th December, 2002

8th Apr 2003, 18:26

I also have just bought a '97 Rover 400 1.6 which has only done 60,000 mls, and, as is not an unknown problem, the head gasket has gone, as it is losing water, which can be seen dribbling down the rear right-hand of the head. I had a rover 214, a few years ago, which did 145,000 mls, without a problem, and I was forever being told by friends in the mechanical trade, "don't buy a Rover, the head gaskets go, and the head warps, they are known for it!" and other comments even less complimentary!

On various occasions I have read that the 'stretch bolts', that run through the engine, expand at a different rate than the engine head and block, which is alloy, also the coolant tank cap, if faulty, allows coolant to boil away, and as this engine holds very little coolant, overheating can happen very quickly! Again, warping the head!

To sum up, there MUST be a problem with the K series, I know of 4 other people who had the same problem, so, unfortunately, I am stuck with a car that I now have an expensive repair to do.

I used to stick up for Rover, but as this is such a common problem and I know of no other make that is renowned for this, also this engine has been in production for 13-14 years, so Rover group MUST be aware of it, I cannot recommend purchasing a Rover car again (I used to work for Rover, by the way)

Does anyone know what is the cause, and is there a fix?