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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Big, cheap and good fun with the right engine

Against Styling might be too lairy for some tastes

Verdict A decent sports saloon for buttons

Go for… 1.8 ZT+

Avoid… 4.6-litre V8

MG Rover ZT Saloon
  • 1. If you go for the 1.8, keep the coolant levels topped up at all times because it’s prone to overheating and blowing its head gasket
  • 2. Suspension problems can be hard to fix, so steer clear of cars with signs of uneven tyre wear
  • 3. The boot is a bit small considering the size of the car, and visibility isn’t all that great
  • 4. The manufacturer’s warranty is worthless so you might want to budget for an aftermarket package
  • 5. There's plenty of passenger space and lots of kit as standard
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MG Rover ZT Saloon full review with expert trade views

The MG ZT is surprisingly good, especially since the Rover 75 it’s based on was such a soft and spongy drive. The ZT is grippy, stable and agile, with much less body roll in corners and sharper responses.

There’s a good range of engines to suit all tastes, most of which give strong performance. They do need to be worked hard, though.

The conversion from 75 to ZT also brought about styling changes inside and out, which may be a bit too garish for some people. What wasn't lost, though, was the generous passenger space and lots of kit that came as standard.

On the downside, the boot is a bit small considering the size of the car, and visibility isn’t all that great. However, buyers can take comfort in the fact that the ZT was built when BMW was calling the shots at MG Rover, so build quality is pretty good.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

These sell okay - at a price. CDTi holds value best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Your best bet by far is the turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine. Its 0-60mph time of 8.5 seconds isn’t too far behind the bigger 2.5-litre V6 engine, but you’ll travel an extra nine miles on every gallon of petrol.

The entry-level 1.8 is even more frugal, but it isn’t really fast enough to live up to the ZT’s sports saloon billing. The same goes for both the 2.0-litre diesel engines.

At the other end of the scale, the V8 is a bit over the top. It’s very quick, but 21.5mpg economy makes it very pricey to run, although, as V8s go, though, this one is extremely cheap to buy.

There are two trim levels for our favourite engine: ZT and ZT+. The standard car is well kitted out, with remote central locking, air-con, alloys, electric front windows, a sunroof and a CD player. You can get a ZT+ for a little bit more, which adds climate control, electric rear windows and a CD changer.

Trade view

James Ruppert

ZT+160 best petrol, but ZT+ 135 2.0 CDTi sells all day long

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Prices for these cars nose-dived when MG Rover went belly up, but have since recovered. Even so, they are slightly lower than rivals of a similar age.

Servicing was never steep - the costs for maintaining a ZT being comparable to those for a Ford Mondeo. But, thanks to the fact that there aren’t any main dealers any more, servicing is now even cheaper because you have to go to an independent.

Beware, though – no matter how young the car you find may be, the manufacturer’s warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. So, you might want to budget for an aftermarket warranty package.

Insurance costs are so-so. The entry-level car is group 10, while our favourite version sits in group 15, along with the 2.5 V6. The V8 lies in group 20.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

These sell okay - at a price. CDTi holds value best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Rover had its fair share of reliability problems, but this ZT was probably the best-built car the company ever made. The materials feel solid throughout and the fit and finish are much improved on Rovers built before BMW’s reign.

Although most owners reported trouble-free motoring, it has been known for front coil springs to break due to fierce corrosion. Also, check that the electric seat motor works.

If you go for the 1.8, make sure you keep your coolant levels topped up at all times because it’s prone to overheating and blowing its head gasket – not nice at all. Check the oil filler cap regularly for white gunk because this indicates there’s problem.

Suspension problems can be hard to fix on these cars, so steer clear of cars with signs of uneven tyre wear. Also, check that brake pipes aren’t rusty, and on diesel models check that the clutch is sound.

Trade view

James Ruppert

ZT+160 best petrol, but ZT+ 135 2.0 CDTi sells all day long

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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