1988 Rover - Austin Maestro City X 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Not bad for its age


Stereo failed to pick up radio signals at 51,000 miles.

Head gasket blew at 56,000 miles.

Tyres needed replacing at 58,000 miles.

Cylinder head needed replacing at 63,000 miles.

Interior trim was very rattly and easily breakable.

Engine ran rough and was difficult to start when cold.

General Comments:

Had more problems than my previous three cars, but was still fairly good considering its age and mileage.

Fuel bills and repairs were cheap.

The interior was comfortable even though it wasn't very well built.

Engine didn't have much performance.

A bargain buy at £3,250.

Kept the Maestro until it was seven years old, when I sold it for £2,000.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2006

1988 Rover - Austin Maestro Van Den Plas 1.6 (S Series) from UK and Ireland


Cheap, fast and roomy. Outruns BMW's!


Faulty thermostat.

Crash damage to near side front wing and bonnet.

Head Gasket is just developing a leak.

General Comments:

I had an Austin Maestro 1.3 CITY x before this one, and it lasted 4 years and 50,000 miles without hardly a problem. It was economical, reliable and it wasn't exactly fast, but it kept up with most cars. and even though it is now 14 years old it still has no rust. Yes, I still have it! Anyone want it?

Now I have a 1.6 Van Den Plas, and I am very, very impressed with it. It's quick, responsive, economical, roomy, comfortable, and for a 1980's car it's quite luxurious.

The head gasket is just starting to leak, and yes that is a pain, but you have to expect these things with a 13 year old car, and after I've sorted it I'm hoping it will see at least another 4 yrs of life in it.

If you are looking for a cheap, fast car, then this is the one for you!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2001

30th May 2001, 16:47

I had a Vanden Plas and it had a top speed of 101mph and 0-60 in about 11 seconds, so what sort of BMW's did you beat? 20 year old diesel models?!

16th Aug 2002, 14:22

I'm inclined to agree, the maestro in VDP form was not a quick car, my brother had one and once got burned out of the lights by a Toyota Corolla, not fun.

2nd Sep 2002, 11:23

Well 0-60 in 11 seconds will put it ahead of E21 and E30 316's and the early E21 320, given they are the most common BMW's then yes it probaly does.

20th Mar 2006, 16:02

If you are in a basic BMW and find yourself viewing the vanishing backside of a Maestro, keep going, because at some point the Maestro will conk out.

1988 Rover - Austin Maestro L 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Seriously underrated piece of great British engineering


Exhaust blown.

Small patch of welding needed for the MOT.

General Comments:

Amazing little machine, cost me just £100 to buy, with no trouble since I bought it.

It needed just £60 to go through the MOT meaning I had bought a car for £160 for 1.5 years running.

Great value for money with huge amounts of practicality, loads of space within sitting 5 adults comfortably.

Performance is great coming from the acclaimed A-series 1275 cc engine from the Mini, only needs a fifth gear for better motorway cruising. Although ride is still very smooth at 70 mph.

A lot better than a Fiesta!!!!!!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd December, 2000

26th Aug 2004, 16:01

I bought one of these (used) for 700 quid and it ran for 6 years. ugly as hell, but great engine.

10th Apr 2005, 14:49

A fifth gear seemed like a good idea to me too, when I had my E-reg Maestro. After it was written off by a welder's van, however, I got the F-reg with sunroof and a 5-speed box... and it's surprisingly sluggish. I am about to give the alternator some attention in the hope that this will fix the problem, but all the gears seem to be taller in the F-reg car. You would expect 4th to be higher in a 4-speed box than in a 5-speed, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

I realise that Austin bought the gearboxes from VW, rather than producing their own, so maybe the odd gear ratios are indicative of something that happened in the Golf rather than the Maestro.

PS. The welder's van was written off too.

17th Mar 2006, 17:22

The 5 speed gearbox linkage is particularly vague and unreliable too. When it broke I managed to stick it in 3rd and drove it 20 miles in the one gear, five up. Strange beast, the Maestro L, but I look back on it with fondness, not so the SIERRA Ghia 3 speed auto, I was running at the same time. Probably because although it was rubbish, a hammer and a set of molegrips were all you needed to get you home. Oh dear, I've just remembered that bleeding awful engine management system.

19th Mar 2006, 17:03

I've owned a Maestro and two Fiestas, and unless accommodation is your top priority I really can't see how the Maestro could be considered superior.

The A series versions were also desperately underpowered by anyone's standards.