Product Type: Rover cars
Newest Review: ... better car, only that it looks better). The interior was very comfortable, very large cushioned seats that could move back, forwards, up, d... more
You can teach a old dog new tricks
Member Name: ShapeShifter
Date: 02/01/03, updated on 02/01/03 (3818 review reads)
Advantages: Equipment levels, Dares to be different, Reliable
Disadvantages: CD changer in glovebox, Rear legroom
Simple, this car has style and it has class and this is the return to where Rover used to be before even I was a twinkle in my mum and dad's eyes.
I've always admired the company and unlike many people, I've taken the trouble to read up on them rather than rely on what the man in the pub says. Rover based the 75 on the first post-war car it made called the P4 75, hence the styling cues from an era where Rover made well-engineered cars using the most modern technology available. Rover in the next thirty years made cars loved by royalty (The Queen had a Rover P5 that she drove herself) and government, again, the P5 was the personal favourite of no less than four Prime Ministers. Rover even dabbled with jet engines entering a car in Le Mans. Rover invented the Sports Saloon with the V8 Powered P6. Unfortunately most people remember them for strikes and dodgy cars made in the late Seventies than any other reason.
So why a 75? It dares to be different and it provokes something unusual about modern cars, an opinion. Cars are not homogenous lumps of metal, sadly all too prevalent in today's mediocre, same looking cars. With a 75, you love them or hate them. Ironically perhaps, they are somewhat exclusive, BMWs are quite common in comparison.
For me, the 75 isn't a copy of a Jag, it is a real Rover, back to the same values of the real Rover company not the renamed BL of the 1970s. The Rover 75 design project was tabled before the Jaguar S-type. The S-type is a car I've driven as well as a pool car and I'll make the comparisons as I go along.
After two test drives, a 2L and 2.5L I went for the Connoisseur 2.5 V6 which I bought from a very helpful dealership and I wanted to buy British.
, the exterior styling, the quarter view is perhaps it's most impressing aspect, it looks solid, statesmanlike. In terms of design, the people that designed it love cars, they understand what makes a car look good. The lines flow from front to back and it has gentle curves. Initially when it was released it looked odd to the other cars being made at the time. Over time, this car has really grown on me, when I came to buy one I was already hooked. Simply put, it is beautiful. No wonder the Italians voted it 'Most beautiful car in the world' in it's year of release, now that's a compliment. Everything is in the right place, from the four front headlights to the inobstrusive parking aid sensors. It doesn't look aggressive but it has a steely purpose. The Jag looks like a Jag but in all honesty the boot on the S-type really looks like afterthought.
Next, the interior. This is where the Rover wins hands down over all the cars in this sector and like many car journalists there are many that agree that the interior would not look out of place in a Bentley. They have used wood veneer and leather to great effect. The ergonomics are brilliant and it just looks right. My friends were sceptical when I said I was getting a 75 but after ferrying a few of them around they were won over without the need for me to extol the virtues of it. I'm asked if I'm driving to a party and if I can give them a lift, biccering has been known to break out. The seats are very comfortable, supportive and the driver seat is completely adjustable, the gadget are fantastic, easy to use and all well positioned. Simply, premium cars around the £20,000 have little in the way of an 'interior'. With the Rover, you get the full works, leather, climate control, great stereo, electric everything right up to the incredible Sat-Nav pack.
The only quibble is there isn't so much room in the back but compared to two of my friends 3-serie
s BMWs (Coupe and Convertible) is it on a par for rear legroom. The stereo is a 12 speaker Alpine unit and it is fantastic, the only gripe is the autochanger in the glovebox. As for visibility, the rear window is quite small and the high sides do make it harder than some other cars to see around you, however unlike some cars, the doorposts are not so thick to inhibit your perpherial vision. You also can't see much of the rear boot so if you are going to get a 75 make sure it has the parking sensors.
After the interior, the engine. This is one smooth lump, it is there when you need it and i
t will happily cruise for hours with no intrusive sound in the cab. It is too easy to cruise along without realising on the motorway that you are exceeding the limit. Economy is on a par with other 2.5 litres and 30mpg is the norm. The gearbox is precise and the travel isn't too bad either to select the right gear or depress the clutch. Compared to the Jag, the Rover engine is smoother, the gearbox is much more precise.
The drivetrain is better than the Jag put comparisons are a little unfair, the S-type is rear wheel drive, the 75 front. The 75 engine is smoother and gives a fantastic 'burble' at higher revs and it is capable if pushed, maximum torque at about 4,000 rpm means that progress is possible without too much noise.
Handling, well, this is not a sports saloon, if you want one of the those, there are plenty around including the MG variant of the 75. The 75 soaks up the bumps without any scuttle shake or any discomfort, this is one very solid car, it looks it and it is it. It can be pressed if needed and the body roll isn't so bad as you make you feel unsafe, there is some understeer but that is an acceptable way of telling you that you are pushing the car up to its normal envelope. In terms of safety features it only missed the 5-star NCap rating because it doesn't offer side airbags as standard.
Lastly, this is the one thing that everyone asks me about, reliability and build quality. Well, earlier models had a few glitches resulting a recall. Mine already had the suspension springs replaced owning to cold weather causing fatigue (not likely in damp Britain). Compared to the MINI for example, it's three to the Mini, two to the 75. Bearing in mind the 75 had been available for twice as long. My own car has had nothing go wrong, no niggles, nothing to disappoint me. The switchgear feel sturdy and well made, the trim has stayed put, the shutlines are precise and the doors slam with that quality 'thunk'. This is one very well screwed together car, it is quality. It's high rating in the JD Power surveys only confirms this.
I love it and I've put 11,000 miles on it and I really look forward to driving it everyday. This car has soul, you put on the miles and it's a pleasure and easy to drive. You arrive where you are with none of the discomfort of stiff legs. On one drive, a booze cruise to Calais, it was a doodle. Parking it up just outside Calais for a coffee prior to our shopping excursion it drew many admiring glances from the normally partisan French.
That to me, says it all.