*Sept 2012 - I have updated this review to be more detailed.
About 2 years ago I upgraded the little 1.1 T reg Peugeot 106 that I had to my Rover 25. I bought a 52 plate Rover 25 MG ZR to give it it's full title. This was an upgrade in both car size and engine size for me at the time. I am not a 'petrol head,' just your average driver, and this review is written from that point of view.
=== From the Outside... ===
From the outside the car looks nice enough. It has a classic hatchback style shape to it. I am personally a fan of the hatchback car - I think the shape looks much sleeker than, say, an estate car. Not that I'm putting the trusty estate car down, it's just not what I would go for. From the outside the car looks stylish and a little sporty without being too much of a target for the boy racer market.
The car comes in a variety of colours. It looks fine in most of the colours available, though I have to admit that I think silver is the best - but then I am biased in that respect! I will say though that I don't like the gold version of this car. But then I also think that no car looks good in gold!
=== From the Inside ===
Inside the car is pretty standard in the features that a car of it's age would offer. You have the standard heating controls, rear window demisting controls, the 'red triangle' button for the hazards, and controls for the fog lights. On the actual arms off the steering column, again you have standard controls for lights and windscreen wipers. The dashboard has your standard speedometer, rev counter, petrol level gauge, temperature gauge and various lights indicating any important status' of the car from whether the handbrake is on to the engine warning lights.
The cloth seats are comfy which is good for those occasional long drives. The front seats are shaped in order to be comfy and supportive of the driver/passenger. This is a 5 seater car, and there is enough room for 3 adults in the back - providing that none of the 3 are larger than the average person. I have travelled in the back of the car (my mum was driving it at the time) and found it relatively comfy. In fact I even managed to have a little nap. I think the actual being able to doze off part was partially related to the fact that I was very tired (hence why mum was driving!) but the fact I could actually do so tells us something about the comfort of the ride. Normally I can't sleep in cars no matter how tired I am.
The boot is larger than what I was used to before - very handy, however the seats don't fold down as flat as I would have liked. But then again, it isn't exactly very often that I would need to do that anyway. I am pretty sure the rear seats go in to a 1 / 2 split for folding down, but I had seat covers which didn't allow me to do this without removing them first.
I can't comment on the standard fitting stereo as my car had a different CD player in it when I bought it.
=== Driving the Car ===
Here's the part where I can't really get too technical. I am no Jeremy Clarkson!
In general as long as a car feels comfortable to drive, I am happy. I like the way this car drives and handles, and find it nice to drive in towns, on more open country roads, and on the motorways. The car can quite happily sit in traffic and will roll along at slow speeds, without struggling, if it needs to. If you need to pull away relatively quickly, then it can do that too - again with no issues. It might not be the fastest car from 0-60 but it is certainly adequate for what a driver on the roads should be doing. As for sitting at steady speeds - again I've had no problems.
In regards to handling (move over James May!) I feel as though the car handles well. It goes around corners easily and the power steering certainly helps. Safety features include the anti-locking brakes system and air bags (and of course seatbelts, but that should go without saying!).
The car does feel really different to drive when there are 5 people in it or when it is fully loaded up, but then this is expected with any car.
=== Spares and Repairs ===
I never really had to buy any major parts for this car in the almost 2 years that I owned it. Despite Rover closing down years ago now though it is still possible to get hold of car parts for these cars relatively easily.
As far as work that I did goes - I changed a couple of bulbs, and replaced the windscreen wipers myself. These were really easy to do. I did have the car serviced whilst I owned it in which I had the standard things done, oil change, filters replaced, etc. Although this strictly didn't 'need' to be done it's recommended to have any car serviced regularly to keep it in tip top condition.
The only other issue that I had with the car (which wasn't really the cars fault to be fair) was the leaky sunroof. Why did it leak? Because I took it through the monkey section of Knowsley Safari Park and a couple of the monkeys decided to chew on the rubber seal of the sunroof resulting in a couple of small holes (complete with teeth marks!). The monkeys also decided to bite off the jets for the windscreen washers so I also had to replace those. Compared to some of the other cars in there I felt I escaped lightly!
=== Known Issues ===
I have been warned that this car has a bit of a reputation of the head gasket going, but fortunately for me when I bought this car the guy that owned it before me had already done a number of things to the car including having the head gasket skimmed. I did make sure I check for any signs of the head gasket going every so often to be on the safe side, but never had any issues with it.
=== Last Words ===
I found this car to be in reasonable brackets for tax and insurance. In regards to petrol consumption, I would say the car was pretty much average. Not the most economical out there, but certainly not the gas guzzler that some cars can be.
I did really enjoy driving this car. It was perfect for what I was using it for at the time - run of the mill driving to uni/work/tesco/etc... If it wasn't for the fact that it got written off about a month ago (grr... silly woman drove in to the back of me when I was stationary at a red light - but that's another story) I would still be writing this review in the present tense.
Overall, I found it a nice car to drive and enjoyed having it to run around in. :-)
I don't know why I purchased my Rover 25, except that it was cheap and I needed a cheap low mileage car that would get me from A to B. To be honest, it did give me two and a half years of trouble free motoring before things started to go wrong, but it then started to suffer from some quite serious and expensive problems despite having only covered 52000 miles.
I did test drive the car but should probably have spent more time with it before buying.
I found the car to be quite unpleasant to drive, it was (for me) too lightweight on the handling and didn't "stick to the road" very well on corners, the steering was woolly and not very responsive. When there was a slight wind, the car got quite badly buffeted and I found it quite hard to get it to keep its line on the road, which actually scared me on some occasions. I got the shock absorbers checked out but apparently all was working as intended. I have driven many cars and this was the only car where I felt at times in some weather conditions that I was slightly losing control. It may have been my perception but I was not comfortable in the car, and despite many trouble free years of motoring I began to lose my confidence in my driving and look for excuses not to get in the car.
The car was not particularly comfortable to sit in, and the fixtures and fittings inside the car were quite plasticy and cheap looking. I removed the factory fitted cassette player and radio, and installed my own CD player to bring the car into the 21st century.
Fuel performance wise, it was not too bad but certainly no better than most small cars I have driven (with the exception of my 1.9l Peugeot 205GTi) and the road performance of the car was certainly weak, there wasn't a lot of oomph under the bonnet.
When things started to go wrong with the car, they certainly went very wrong, from constant issues with the lights on the dashboard appearing (minor but annoying) via over £1k of garage bills to a final and inevitable problem with the head gasket.
All things considered, from performance to driving experience to value for money and build quality, I will not be considering a Rover again in the future.
There's quite a bit to write when it comes to a car, my Rover 25 looks just like the one in the picture although mine is a three door. The wheels in the (Tiny) picture look like mine too which is unusual as I have bought a set of MG ZR alloys.
If you were to look in the auto trader for cars at a similar price to my 2002 (52) Rover 25 you'd find plenty of choice and as much as I can't make your mind up for you I can tell you what I like and dislike about my car.
Starting with outside, there are several colours available but in my opinion there are only two worth considering, the gold which I have and is by far the best and there is a nice, vibrant signal red too. Maybe black or silver isn't too bad but you'd have to be dafter than a parsnip to go for pearl white and the midnight blue and bottle green options are strictly for woodwork teachers as they go really nicely with tweed jackets and mock leather driving gloves!
When Rover went bust there became a vast amount of parts available on the internet and anyone who says to you "Don't by a rover, you won't be able to get parts." is probably the same person that would recommend holidaying in a caravan in Skegness. Parts are easy to get hold of and if anything have gone down in price, there are loads of Rovers on the road and plenty of manufacturers willing to make the parts and earn their cash.
With the abundance of parts on the internet it became possible to buy a set of factory alloys for under £100, without tyres, valves and centers. I settled on 16" MG ZR alloys and the extra grip and improvement in handling is easily noticed from standard steel wheels. I bought a service kit online for under £40 and fitted it myself and anyone could do the same. I got my brake pads and discs for £60 and again fitted them myself, not as easy as the service but still easy.
Now to the engine, the Rover K series engine has been around for ages and as such is pretty good, I wouldn't buy a car with an engine under 1.4l, I'd be bored too quickly! The acceleration is good and the car happily cruises at 80mph, it will make it to 100mph and a bit over but it's revving hard by then, best not to push it!
Some of you will regard the next bit as bad news but not me, my car has just hit the 61,000 mark and the head gasket has gone. Regular checking of the oil has revealed water, which I have been loosing slowly for a month or so and as I have kept my eye on it I have prevented catastrophic failure. So why not bothered!? Well first of all if you are thinking of owning this model then you should know that a head gasket at 60k is normal and as I expected to do the cam belt around 60k as well it's not that much more money to both at once. If you are changing your cam belt make sure you do the water pump at the same time. Parts for these two jobs are available for under £100 on ebay, the other £250 - £300 that I'll have to spend will be for labour, you can't do either for yourself.
The only other things that have gone on the car are bulbs, wiper blades and service parts, I haven't spent a single penny on the car other than for consumables and as such I don't begrudge it a major repair which will keep it going for another 60k.
Lastly the interior, well it's grey cloth! Not exciting! It is comfortable though, the drivers seat has lumbar support and good adjustment, there is plenty of room for rear seat passengers that are of average size and weight, if you are seven feet tall or weigh more than is healthy then maybe you should consider a Transit instead of a small car!?
You can fold the back seats down, not flat but enough to make room for most domestic tasks. I can fit a couple of push bikes in or do a trip to the tip, they supply a space saver wheel as a spare in the boot, throw it away and put in a steel one when you replace them for alloys.
The steering wheel has height adjustment and audio controls and all the buttons are within easy reach, my model has air conditioning and I'm told it's standard if you don't have a sunroof, I'm not promising that though! I've never understood the addition of mock wood panelling, even more so in this car as there's only two bits and it looks naff. It is not enough reason to stop you buying the car though.
I'll stop writing now as this review is getting a bit much but if you are making a large purchase then it's nice to be armed with as much info as possible.... Right!? I love my little car, it looks good and in my opinion the twin headlight model is the most attractive of the Rover 200 / 25 series.
I would like to highly praise this much maligned motor car. My rover has done 50,000 miles from new, and has never had missed a beat, or had any reliability problems what so ever. I understand the head gaskets can fail etc but have found on all my cars that I have owned, the trick is to get them warmed up before driving off. This ensures the engine is at the proper working temperature and this is imperative to longevity of any engine. The bodywork and fittings do not deserve the criticisms thrown at it, and all in all it is a crying shame that the british motorist did not appreciate a good all round vehicle. And I would not hesitate buying another rover if it were possible.
Up until last year I did not really have an interest in Rover cars. I liked the Land Cruisers but never really considered owning a Rover. I have been driving for only two years and passed my test last year. My first car was a Nissan Micra and it was in this car that I passed my test. A month later we were offered a deal by Rover whereby we were given 25% discount on any of the Rover 25 models. I could not resist the offer. It was not my ideal choice but the discount on offer was a good incentive.I chose this particular 25 because the price was good and I was given three years service and warranty. I could not fault that. A month after purchasing the car and while on my way back from a trip to Bristol I heard a terrible knocking sound in the engine. I slowed down for about a mile or so then decided I had better stop and call the Rover Assistance. They arrived within the hour only to tell me I would have to be towed back to my home as it was beyond roadside repair. The car was taken to Rover the next day and I was given a courtesy car until they found out what the problem was. On return to Rover the next day I was told they have to totally replace the engine as the camshaft was faulty! I was horrified to hear and Rover were really apologetic (and embarrassed). The engine was replaced and I picked up the car after a couple of days. A year later and I have to say the car has been brilliant. Many of you will be shocked that this could happen to a new car but I must have just been the unlucky one (unless you know of others this has happened to). All this been said, I am happy with the car. It is reliable, economical, comfortable (for the driver) and very smooth and quiet to drive. It is dark blue in colour and if I do regret anything, it is choosing this colour. I really wished I had chosen the champagne coloured one as that has a lot of appeal. The back passengers could also benefit from more leg room.The Stereo system is proabably
its worst feature. I have no real complaints about the car and given the circumstances, I would buy this car again. However, in saying that, I am looking to change it after three years as I want a Golf GTI. I did my bit to support Rover - ok the discount is what really influenced me, and I have had good year with it despite the major problem within the first month. This car has been all over England since changing the engine and I intend to take it abroad in the summer. It now has 10.000 miles on the clock and I have had to do nothing to it. It has just had its first year service and it did not require much attention. Just the usual yearly checkup. I would recommend the car for first/second time buyers but make sure you take your time to choose the features you really want. Mine has a cassette radio and now I want a CD player instead. I chose blue but want Champagne. These may be small issues but take them seriously if you intend keeping the car for a while. The Rover 25 is a good car and I would recommend it to others but only at the discounted price.