1997 Rover - Austin 600 620 Si 2.0 16v SOHC from UK and Ireland
Comfortable cruiser ideal for a runabout hack or budget family saloon
Drivers door electric window stopped working - the motor was still making a whirring noise- stripped the door panel down to find the "Scissor Arm" controlling the window had detatched - apparently a common problem and fixed easily.
Heater blower blew constantly hot and couldn't be turned to cold and you could not alter the setting to blow through the de-misters for the windscreen, causing the car to steam up. I stripped it down and found that the heater control panel was at fault, £3 for a new panel at the scrappy soon had the problem solved!
Backbox started blowing 115k and will be replaced shortly for the upcoming MoT but that's just basic wear and tear...
Having owned an R reg Honda Accord 2.0iS in the past, I knew what to expect from the Rover 600 as it is essentially the same car, albeit in a different bodyshell and with a different badge. I really liked my Accord but ownership was brought to a bitter end when it was written off by a Shogun - a shame as it was a 110k with a full history and absolutely immaculate.
I generally always run 2 vehicles - one a newer car that gets used for long journeys and is my "for best" car, which is currently a 2002 (52) Ford Mondeo 1.8 Zetec (review in the relevant section) and the 2nd is a cheap runabout vehicle for work etc. When my Rover 400 was due for change I spent a period of time looking for a cheap replacement and I stumbled accross this P reg 620Si, taxed and tested for £495 as a part ex bargain at a local garage. Some haggling later I drove it away £400 lighter.
The car itself is finished in metallic Nightfire Red with 15" Rover alloys (although have since been upgraded to the 16" Ti alloys greatly improving the look). The car recently went on a 1200 mile round trip to Cornwall and back as my other-half was using the Mondeo and it performed absolutly faultlessly.
The engine is the tried and tested Honda unit which provides adequate performance for a vehicle of this size. It pull extremely well in all gears although fuel consumption does suffer, returning around 30mpg combined. My daily commute is mainly dual carriageway, however, so it spends most of its time sitting in 5th gear at 70 odd, to which it copes exceptionally well and does my daily journey in extreme comfort.
The interior of the car is a bit bland compared to the Honda sister - my previous Accord had a black dash and black interior trim on the seats which looks a lot better than the grey of the Rover, but nonetheless it is still a very nice place to be.
The MoT is looming shortly, however looking through previous receipts it had £550 spent last year getting work done so hopefully it should sail through this year only needing minimal work. I've bought a replacement backbox for it which will be fitted soon, although apparently these cars have a tendancy to blow backboxes if used for short trips a lot? Maybe the previous owner was to blame for the failure...
Overall, if you are looking for a large runabout or cheap family car, then do not discount the Rover 600. The Rover badge really isn't ALL that bad (I've had 4 Rovers) and its basically just an Accord, without the Honda dress up. Parts are cheaper for the 600 also (if I ever went to a scrap yard for parts for my Accord, the Honda part was always more expensive than the Rover part - i. e £15 for an Accord electric wing mirror, £5 for a 600 electric mirror) - both the same part and my old Accord had mostly 600 bits fitted!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd November, 2008