1997 Rover - Austin 800 Reviews

1997 Rover - Austin 800 820i 2.0 litre 16v from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.0 litre 16v Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired110000 miles
Most recent distance113000 miles
Previous carVauxhall Vectra

Summary:

Rattle, squeak, rattle, squeak, more rattles and squeaks!

Faults:

In cold weather sometimes starter wouldn't engage, just makes a click noise.

In cold weather only fires on 3 cylinders occasionally until warmed up.

Engine rev idle erratic.

General Comments:

Big, and very comfy are my overriding impression of this car. Bought to replace a Vectra, so the seats were like sitting on an armchair!

I'm afraid this car had the most squeaks and rattles of any car I've ever owned, and although these things are big, they don't have any feeling of solidity, I've just bought a Saab of a similar age and it feels immensely more solid.

Steering feel is best described as the wheels are there somewhere, but it's hard to tell if they're connected!

Ride is OK, but a bit floaty and barge like, and handling is alright until you go that tiny bit faster than normal, then it's not, I won't even mention wet weather handling.

The performance is pretty good for such a big car with a 2.0 litre engine, but I always felt you had to rag it to get anyway really quickly, and then it starts sounding all harsh and nasty, I was getting 30 mpg on average, which I think is OK for one so big and heavy.

Lastly, we come to the interior, mock wood galore, with Rover tastefully plastered in gold fancy italics on the doors. What the hell were they thinking? These cars, when new in '97, were up against, supposedly, BMW 5-series, Merc E-classes and Audi A6s, and obviously the other mass produced stuff like Omegas, Scorpios etc. None of these cars had an interior that would've been tasteful in 1978 but not in 1997!

In the end, I think these cars were fine in '86 when they were launched but very outdated by the late 90s when mine was built, and come across as virtually obsolete in 2008.

However, I paid £600 for mine, all the electrics worked, the climate control was spot on, and it was very clean and tidy, maybe that's why you still see the odd one floating around.

I moved it on as I couldn't stand the amazing amount of rattles and squeaks, which shows just how much the British workforce gave a monkeys about the quality of the job they were doing, or was it just the assembly equipment was crap?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd July, 2008

1997 Rover - Austin 800 Sterling from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired56000 miles
Most recent distance61000 miles
Previous carFord Sierra

Summary:

Trusty old Lard Barge

Faults:

Window switch pack (common fault on these).

Boot light doesn't work (not bulb or switch).

Some minor temperamental electrical problems.

General Comments:

It's been a good, reliable and comfortable car, which was very cheap compared to similarly specified cars such as BMW, Mercedes etc. Having said that, it is tired and dated in comparison, and the ride is not as smooth as it should be for an executive car. The build quality isn't too good either, the dashboard and interior squeaks and rattles although in fairness the car is ten years old now.

Today I enquired about the cost of a cam belt service and was told it would be "just short of a thousand pounds". This is a job which cannot be done without special tools and is a point worth considering. I will probably run it until a cam belt breaks as the car is worth a fair bit less than a grand.

Overall though, I enjoy owning and driving it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd March, 2007

1997 Rover - Austin 800 Sterling 2.0i 16v-DOHC from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.0i 16v-DOHC Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired84000 miles
Most recent distance103000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin 400

Summary:

Good value for money - you get a lot of car for what you pay

Faults:

ABS sensor on front left wheel gave false readings when damp.

Driver's window switches not working on 'up' position (rectified before I bought the car).

Catalytic converter smashed.

Auto gearbox is starting to show some signs of clutch slip on the change from 3rd to 4th gear when warm.

Reliability has been good so far; auto boxes on most makes tend to die around 100K miles so it is expected. Everything else has been minor or due to abuse.

General Comments:

This is a BIG car! Even parked next to BMWs', Volvo's, etc. it seems to be longer, though it isn't as wide as other cars in this class.

For almost a ton and a half, and an auto gearbox, it's VERY fast off the mark - surprising many boy racers :-) Pity it doesn't seem to have much of a top end, reaching 100mph is leisurely and I doubt it would go much above this.

The steering is very light and responsive; unlike Vauxhalls it provides driver feedback. The large body does roll when flung round bends, but what do you expect!? My only criticism is the suspension seems a little firm - not soft as you would expect on a car of this class.

The interior is comfortable and wears well, though I would have expected more toys and gadgets on the top spec model - it doesn't even have cruise control (unlike later Granada Ghias)! It also seems to squeak and rattle a little on rough roads.

If I could choose a car to spend all day in, it would probably be this - provided I wasn't paying for petrol (it only gets around 24mpg in town, and maybe 32mpg on a long motorway run)...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2003

1997 Rover - Austin 800 SLD 2.5 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1997
Engine and transmission 2.5 turbo diesel
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10

Faults:

Absolutely nothing.

General Comments:

This is my 5th Rover 800, although it's my 1st diesel. As with all the others of which my last 2 were Vitesse Turbos, 100% reliability goes without saying.

Couple this with 40 mpg around the town and 55 on a run, and all the usual Rover refinements i.e air con, plus all electics inside.

I paid £12,000 for this one, try and match that with a similar Omega.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 1999

19th Sep 2003, 07:38

Yeah? and how much is it worth now?

-disgruntled 800 driver.

9th Apr 2004, 14:43

I have a 1998 rover 800 diesel. Economy is excellent and it has a quality interior. With all this direct injection tech happening right now which is supposed to result in better economy I think the indirect injection VM engine takes some beating... and no cam belt to worry about!

Anyone that wants a big comfy car with economy will`not go far wrong with a rover 800 diesel.

I have had a diesel vehicle since 1978 and in those days people thought I was mad running on smelly fuel. In my opinion the only advantage of the latest diesels is performance, but you buy a diesel for reliable plodding power and relaxed driving due to the high torque.

In my opinion the 800 is superior to the 75 as it has more room and a bigger engine and is a better looking vehicle.

16th Feb 2005, 14:41

Try chipping the engine. Diesels see most power and torque gains.

Average review marks: 7.4 / 10, based on 4 reviews