I love reputations. People get all sheep-like about cars at times and some very dumb theories abound. Believe the hype and you’d think that Volkswagens never break down (tell that to someone who’s six-speed gearbox has fallen to bits), any K-Series engined Rover is a headgasket failure waiting to happen and that an Alfa Romeo will only lead to heartache.
Today, I swapped one reputation for another. My Range Rover had the OMG SHYTE ENGINE VM turbo diesel. Believe what you read on forums and you’d think it is the worst engine ever built, only a matter of minutes from complete failure. Sure, having four separate cylinder heads can be a pain, but I thought the engine pulled really well, and never suffered any head gasket woes.
I swapped it for a Rover 75. These are seen as desperately uncool and only fit for grandads. Well, Grandad might well be on to something because the Rover 75 is great! Developed when BMW was in charge of Rover, the no-expense attitude meant that here was a Rover that WAS nailed together properly, and which proves very reliable in use. Yes, there are issues with the K-Series engines, which are very likely to blow head gaskets, but the BMW diesel is the natural choice. Ironically, this engine is actually more reliable in the Rover than it was in BMW’s own 3-Series. In the Beemer, it proved very problematic with all sorts of induction woes. So, BMWs aren’t always problem free either. Another myth busted.
The drive home in my new motor was very pleasant indeed. Don’t get me wrong, I was quite sad to wave goodbye to the Range Rover. I had a lot of fun in that car and it proved very useful at times, such as when collecting my Citroen BX project. However, with a non-working heater, it wasn’t quite the ideal winter vehicle it first seemed.
Contrast that to the Rover, which has (almost working) air-conditioning, with different temperatures possible each side of the car. It also has gorgeous, heated leather seats, electrically operated and heated door mirrors and rain-sensitive wipers. I think that latter item will be especially useful in Wales!
Does it have any issues? Well, naturally, as is almost always the case with sub-£1000 ‘bangers,’ there are some faults. The not-cold air conditioning is one, the gearbox that crunches into third is another – I’m hoping gearbox oil will help here. The brakes feel slightly juddery too, so new discs may be in order fairly soon. I like it a lot though and hopefully it’ll prove to be an ideal winter vehicle. If I’m feeling flush, I might even consider some winter tyres…