1990 Rover - Austin 800 820e 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Good looking, excellent value big car. But can suffer with fairly major electrical problems with age


A lot has gone wrong. Starting with the rear screen de-mister, which was un-noticeable until Winter.

One problem that I thought was an inactive temperature gauge, which I ignored for over a year. It turned out to be the thermostat in the engine which had jammed, causing the engine to permanently be in "warming up" mode (ie choke out). The temperate gauge WAS correct, the engine had just never warmed up in over a year.

Had to replace the engine management computer due to internal corruption causing erratic behaviour. It got to the stage of taking your foot off the accelerator, and the engine would die - VERY dangerous as it is a large, heavy car, which relies on servo brakes and PAS. When this happened to me at speed on several occaisons on the way to the dealer, I came into some rather un-nerving situations.

The mechanism on one of the rear doors has broken irrepairably. The other rear door lock won't unlock on the central locking system during cold months.

Condensation in the front indicators.

Radio cassette wouldn't play cassettes without chewing them up.

Paint has begun to fade, most noticeably on the plastic boot-lip spoiler.

Big 195/70 HR14 tyres can be difficult to get hold of in some areas.

Alternator went defective, resulting in the engine getting no charge whatsoever. Really confused the breakdown call-out guy in Tesco's carpark. Only managed to start it with a LARGE power pack, and then when it was disconnected, the engine stopped.

General Comments:

Being the single point injection model, whenever the battery gets disconnected, the fuel computer loses its memory and the car needs to be taken to a Rover dealer to be reprogrammed (which costs).

Aside from all the problems, it is a great car. It is nice to look at, being the extended bumper model. In flame red, all shined up, it looks really snazzy.

The engine still purrs (albeit quite loudly now - and after initial ticking) and it can pull quite readily.

Loads of internal space in the fastback model. Managed to get a full size Single Divan including mattress into the load area (front seats moved forward a bit, and couldn't quite close the back).

Measly specification as it is only one model above the basic 820.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th December, 2000

1990 Rover - Austin 800 827 Vitesse 2.7 V6 24v petrol from UK and Ireland


The best executive car of its era bar none, makes a very good buy even today, also has the best V6


Nothing, touch wood, it's very low mileage for the age and regular oil changes shall keep that beautiful Honda motor tappet rattle free and sweet for anything up to 400,000 miles (common occurance with owners present on the Rover 800 mailing list).

General Comments:

Having owned an 820Si and 820e I would say I know these cars very well. People will criticise the handling but driven correctly the Vitesse handles remarkably well and can keep up with much smaller items on the B road.

Performance from the manual box and 2.7 V6 is sensational, real tarmac ripping stuff, it can easily embarass RS Turbos, BMW 535's etc off the lights.

Build quality steadily improved on the Mk1's until their demise in 1991, 1990 was a very good year, 1989 was the start of good quality, early ones were not very well built but still make good cars if looked after.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd October, 2000

26th Sep 2001, 09:26

As an update to this review I did on my Vitesse, I now have a Sterling, doesn't handle quite as well as the old Vitesse, but has lots more toys, and having owned the 820Si and 820e, which were both saloons, I decided I prefer the saloon shape, also I have an 820 Turbo and 825 Sterling, Jaguar XJ40 3.6 and a BMW 528i (free).

1990 Rover - Austin 800 820 SLI Cat 2.0 from UK and Ireland


Good cheap comfortable motor


Front wheel bearing.

Disks needed replacing.

Wiper arm bush.

Heater motor failed.

Electric windows.

Central locking on rear door.

Clutch pin wear.

Stepper motor failure.

General Comments:

The faults seem a lot, but most were fair wear and tear and all were easily repaired with most parts coming from the scrapyard.

I've owned four 820s over the years and found them to be cheap luxury cars with a good ride. They are not a fast car and fuel economy goes down hill fast if you thrash them. I get 35mpg from one of the first CAT models introduced. Having a CAT means I don't have to worry about emissions come MOT time :-)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th August, 2000

1990 Rover - Austin 800 827 Vitesse 2.7 V6 petrol from UK and Ireland


In 20 months of ownership, only part of the exhaust replaced and a CV boot.

My CV joints are knocking slightly now, but I can get these done for £80.

General Comments:

Honda V6 engine is a dream - nothing gone wrong with it yet (phew!).

Tyres are £100 a corner (ouch!).

A very comfortable and fast car (0-60 in 7.6s), but on cornering it handles like a whale (it's no sports car).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th August, 1997