1996 Rover - Austin 800 i 2.7 from UK and Ireland


Forget the new cars. Get one of these!


Absolutely nothing at all.

General Comments:

This car is the fastest car I have ever owned. A boy racer in his little Saxo tried it on this morning and I absolutely blew him away and more.

Seriously quick and grunty.

Very good on fuel (28mpg)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2004

8th Dec 2004, 03:27

What do you expect from a 2.7i V6 engine, when most boy racers have up to 1.6 engines?

The 800 is the most unreliable poorly built cars. They are also a right pipe and slippers car!!

Anyway, each to their own...

7th Jan 2005, 08:15

I agree, I owned a 1994 820 when I was 20 (three years ago), very good for cruising the 150 miles to and from uni, but the engines tend to fall apart, we had 3 rovers in our family and they all had problems with the head gasket! However this was the 2.0 litre. I ended up getting rid of it after a few months because of the ABS failing and a new pump would cost more than the car was worth! Now drive a volvo 440, which is A lot slower and more boring, with no refinements at all, but it has never let me down in the 2 years that I owned it (yet)

1996 Rover - Austin 800 Vitesse Sport 2.0 16v turbo petrol from UK and Ireland


Fast, comfortable, reliable and stupidly cheap!


Heated rear window relay.

Cam cover gasket weeping.

General Comments:

Cruelly underrated bruiser. Once you accept it's never going to have 21st century levels of refinement or dynamics, you end up with a cracking all-rounder that's available for peanuts (this cost me £1795 from a dealer last year!)

The last Sport models got an extra 20PS (224 in total) and thoroughly reworked suspension, and actually became very fast and capable cross country machines. The motor magazines had long since written the car off and as a consequence, this was never really publicised. It will match a BMW 330 in any accelerative situation, and said BMW will need to be very well driven to lose it in the twisties. As for hot hatches, well it's not even fair to mention them!

T16 turbo engine is a peach. It actually feels like a bigger naturally aspirated engine with virtually no turbo lag and a thumping midrange that squeezes you firmly into the seat. There's a bit of torque steer to betray the age of the chassis, but you soon get used to it. Overall it feels sharp and very agile for such a big car.

The interior is dated, but well built and well equipped. Seats are up to the usual unbeatable Recaro standard, and the driving position is good. It's a great car for long distances. I put 1400 miles on it one week whilst touring France and it lapped them up easily.

Reliability has been good. The heated rear window stopped working last winter and needed only a relay swap to get it going. There's a slight oil weep from the cam cover as well which apparently is pretty standard on these engines and not worth doing anything about until it gets worse. It's an easy and cheap DIY job when the time comes. Other than that it's as reliable as clockwork and at 25 mpg, not bank-breakingly thirsty.

The best value used car on the market today? Gotta be a contender, surely.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th August, 2004

4th Jun 2008, 15:07

Is this true that the last models received an extra 20 bhp? I have a 2000 Vitesse Sport, so I guess it has the around 220bhp; it feels like it anyway.

2nd Jan 2009, 04:33

Late Vitesses had 200bhp, not 220. Early cars had 180bhp, or 200bhp in the case of the Vitesse Sport, which came with 17" alloys. Circa 1994 Rover revised the range, dropping the less powerful variant and also dropping the 'Sport' designation. From that point on until production ceased all Vitesses had 200bhp and came with 17" alloys. The only variant that continued to be made available was the 'Lux', which came with full leather interior rather than the half leather Recaros.

Find a nice, late one that has been looked after and your only regret will be that you did not buy one years ago! Spend slightly more on a coupé and prepare to be surprised by the frequent admiring glances it draws.