2005 Rover - Austin 75 Connoisseur SE 1.8 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Solid and comfortable executive car

Faults:

Footwells filled with water the first time it rained after purchasing from a local trader. The problem was traced to both drains from the bulkhead plenum chamber being blocked, allowing water to fill there, then seep into the car. The root cause of this was found to be that the trader had not done the servicing we'd paid for (not at all; they'd just reset the service indicator), where the plenum drains are listed on the service schedule.

General Comments:

Generally lives up to the 'executive' image. In terms of driver comfort, it feels a premium car throughout, and is well put together. The experience from the door handles to the driving controls feels good, with components that are solid and well made. I'll add one exception here for the rear seats, both base and seat-back. These are quite thin, and on this car the mechanism to fold down wasn't working, due to what I see as basic under-engineering of the latch mechanism. However having had the carpets up to look for the leak, I can attest to the near-excessive padding and soundproofing inside the cabin itself!

With full leather, heated, electric-memory seats and climate control, it's not hugely specified with toys, but there's enough to make it comfortable. This car is a Connoisseur SE, but seems to have no extra options on top.

On the road it's an easy drive - one of those cars where everything feels right and I don't have to adjust myself to any oddities (which, for me, has the car joining the Focus and S-Type!). The ride is as near to the "magic carpet" I've heard discussed in forums as I've experienced. It's really very smooth and quiet inside, even on budget tyres. Mentioning the S-Type, I'd put the 75 marginally over that for comfort. Lovely smooth and progressive clutch (night and day to the near-vicious clutches most of my non-75 Rovers tend to have) and a decent positive action on the gear shift.

For handling, I wasn't particularly confident throwing it into corners, it rolled somewhat, the steering gearing seems to have a few too many turns lock to lock, and I think the budget tyres did not help.

The 1.8 K series motor is well suited to pottering about town, and is even quite happy to sit at speed on the motorway. It is however underpowered for such a large car if you have any pretence to driving fast. Not sure on specific MPG figures, but seems okay. I'd guess in the 30s, though the car is used for 95% short local journeys.

At current prices (we paid around book) these cars are true bargains. They can be bought from traders at about 2/3rd the cost of a similarly specified Mondeo, but are far more substantial cars (this replaced such a Mondeo).

In summary, the car is cheap to buy, fairly cheap to run, comfortable, solid and a nice car to drive. It's not fast or specced to drive fast, but then I guess that's why there are other engine options and the ZT. I suspect I'd be happier in a ZT190.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th December, 2012