2000 Rover - Austin 75 2.5 from Australia and New Zealand
Up there with the best of the European cars
SRS warning light remained on.
Leak from heater.
Rattle at idle from the inlet manifold.
This was a purchase from the heart not the head - a Rover 75 with cream Connolly hide upholstery, pseudo-wood dash in British Racing Green for the price of a Toyota.
There were a couple of mechanical issues, which I think disillusioned the seller, but neither were major to fix. The heater core required NZD800 to replace; the SRS air-bag warning light required cleaning the connectors under the front passenger seat, and the manifold rattle at idle I have learned to live with (caused by wear in the butterfly valves).
Comfort and ride are excellent. The seats and seating positions are a class above. The quality of finish is top notch - even the hidden body surfaces are fully painted and properly finished. Rattle-free. I wash and dry the car weekly, and it comes up better than most brand new cars.
What I use to consider a "poor man's Jaguar" I now consider a "poor man's Bentley".
Parts are still available via the mechanic's network. For example the new heater core was shipped in within a week from Australia at a cost of AUD200.
Performance is not great. Excellent at high speed (quiet, glides along like plane at 150km/hr) but it takes a long time to get there. Likewise on hills or with a full compliment of passengers - use the gears or it will struggle.
The gearbox is very good. At 3,000 rpm the supercharger kicks in (that's what it feels like anyway), so by working the gears you can make the car go respectably fast.
Petrol is typically 11l/100km (25mpg) for a 50km commute. Around town 12l/100km (23mpg).
I think I'll hang onto this for a while longer. I rather like it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd April, 2011
The rattle in the manifold as you describe is often caused not by wear in the butterfly valves, but by the motors that control them, called VIS motors.
Easy way to test, is to just unplug them one at a time, to see when the noise stops (they're on the top of the manifold, so you can't miss them). They're about £90 each in the UK, and transform the car if you have one that has failed. The power that you describe as kicking in at higher rev's, is returned to the lower rev range.
If you still have the car, check out the forums at MG-ROVER.ORG. It's got detailed write ups on all these issues.