Rover 75 – impressions

I’ve owned the Rover for just over a week, and a trip to south England has allowed me to clock up 531 miles in two days. That’s a total of about 12 hours at the wheel – more than enough time to get a feel for what is the first 21st century car that I’ve ever bought.

Classy Rover interior

Not a bad place to be, which is fortunate!

Generally, impressions are really rather good. They should be. With BMW’s money behind it, Rover engineers had the funds to do a decent job – something they’d not really enjoyed since the Rover P6 was launched over 30 years before the 75. Sure, there are one or two annoying rattles, but wafting along in the Rover is pretty close to bliss. It’s quiet, smooth and with the engine chugging along at a mere 2300rpm at motorway speeds, incredibly relaxing. Economy is good too – despite much time spent at an actual 70mph, and a bout of city driving in Croydon, the Rover returned 49mpg overall. That’s really not bad for such a large car – I can expect the BX to deliver that, and the 2CV if I’m gentle, but they’re much, much lighter and far noisier…

One feature I’m already enjoying is the automatic wipers. A positive boon for someone who lives in Wales and sure enough, our trip involved pretty much every strength of rain from drizzle to monsoon. Being able to adjust the heater output temperature separately for each side of the car has its advantages too…

In terms of handling, the Rover is very much a car that is competent but not corner-focussed. I was able to chuck it around a bit on some Welsh roads on the way back home – after I’d had plenty of time at the wheel to get a feel for the thing – but it doesn’t enjoy being driven quickly like that, and I didn’t really enjoy pushing it. That’s ok – the 2CV delivers plenty of cornering thrills! The ride comfort really is rather good though, and the seats are good too.

There are some issues to be resolved, one of the worst of which is badly juddering brakes. I shall look to replace the discs as soon as possible. This may have proved hairy for passengers as I was reluctant to brake too hard for bends. Sadly, crunchy third gear synchromesh meant my usual high standards of chauffer-ship were somewhat lacking as I attempted to operate all three pedals at once! By the return trip, I’d got the knack of double-declutching about right. Bye bye crunching!

I have discovered a hugely enthusiastic following for the 75 though, and this makes ownership much more bearable. It’s incredible just how much people do on their own 75s – the hype about electronics stopping DIY work is a definite myth!

4 thoughts on “Rover 75 – impressions

  1. Regarding the wipers – have you had a situation yet where you’d prefer not to wipe for risk of smearing (i.e. very light rain) yet the wipers have decided to do their job? Or am I just cursed with smeary windscreens?

    • Just the once, but the blades currently fitted are really cheap and nasty. They’ll be going soon. I do still turn the wipers off when I don’t think they’re needed. The Rover system is unusual in that it allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the auto-wipers while you’re on the move – must be for all the techno-phobes!

  2. Problems with Rover 75 Getrag gearboxes are as rare as cats with two tails, if 3rd gear engagement is crunching then most likely the mastercylinder resevoir generally needs topped up and bled —- access isn’t easy a syringe is required to top up.

    The electronics on these cars are pretty bullet proof provided the heater intake plenum drains are get clear od leaf debris — 5 drains 3 in the plenum + 2 for the AC. Failure to clear the 3 plenum causes the engine ECU to get flooded with water.

    The handling should be very good if the car doesn’t feel chuckable then check the condition of front wishbone void bushes (always buy top quality bushes the cheap ones only last a year) and check the rear coil springs for breakage,

  3. Thanks. The clutch has been bled and there is a problem with the master cylinder. However, I’d expect issues with other gears. 3rd is the only one that’s a problem (up and down the ‘box). Plenum drains have been cleared. I suspect some bushes are past their best, but it still handles more tidily than my Saab 9000 did. I’ve just sold the Rover though, so it is off to pastures new!

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