The Rover 45, what can I say about it? If you look at some of the reviews here, you may decide that it's an old mans car, or that it is an unreliable car. Indeed the Rover 45 looks like nothing more than a facelift of the old 400, and reliability can be hit and miss with them. If you look at my list of faults, your view of it being unreliable may even be reinforced. However what you have to remember is that my car is nearly 9 years old, and in my opinion is aging very well.
The styling was outdated when the car was first released in 2000, now it really is showing its age. It looks positively geriatric when compared to a Focus of similar age, and there is no way of hiding it. It's not surprising though as the car is based on the early 90's Honda Domani. Styling isn't everything however, and really I quite like it, more so now as it is becoming an increasingly rare sight on British roads.
So far mine has been quite reliable, and only minor niggly faults have appeared (soon most of them will be cured). My car is now firmly in the danger zone for the well publicised (and quite common) head gasket problem that can affect any (but does not affect all) K series engines. In my experience the car has proved itself to be very reliable, and it starts every morning (well it does now after I got rid of the Rover battery). On a recent trip to London the car was problem free; definitely better than the numerous other (some brand new) cars that I saw broken down on the hard shoulder!
I have never been in a more comfortable car! I drive from the north of Scotland to the London area several times a year, usually in a car hired by my work. Practically all of them left me with backache for a day or so afterwards. I had no such thing when I took this car with me instead; no sore back, no nothing. This was, of course helped by the large and extremely comfortable seats that have been put into this model. Seat height and steering adjustment also helped me to get my most comfortable driving position.
Rover seemed to have tried their best to make the inside of the car a very pleasant place to be, and it works. They used high quality plastics and swathes of 'walnut' trim to make the interior simply exude quality. That said, the switchgear, whilst well placed, is dated and an area that does let it down slightly.
This is where the Rover 45 really shines. The driving experience is at least as good as a similarly aged and equipped Ford Focus. Road holding is excellent and the car has bags of grip. The ride is comfortable on normal roads, but supple enough to provide an almost sporty B road experience. The steering is responsive and weighty though does lack some feel.
Acceleration is quite good for a car in its class (and for one its age), and it can definitely hold it's own against some more modern cars.
The K series engine is excellent, it's not the most refined of engines, but provides the correct balance of power, economy and responsiveness. While it can no longer compare to more modern and efficient engines, for it's age it still compares favourably to similarly aged cars. For me it provides an excellent drive, and I will miss the car if I ever decide to change it!
It really is a shame that Rover went down the pan, because they managed to produce this car on practically no money. I would have loved to have seen what they could have done with its replacement!