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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's excellent over long distances and smoothes out bumps like a luxury car

Against The rear seats are cramped and you get a much sharper drive from its German rivals

Verdict It's a comfortable, refined motorway hauler with a superb, supple ride

Go for… 2.0 CDT Club

Avoid… V6s

Rover 75 Saloon
  • 1. There’s a wooden dash and big, inviting seats, with plenty of retro touches, such as sepia dials
  • 2. The 1.8 petrol engine can overheat and blow its head gasket if the coolant isn’t kept topped up
  • 3. It’s not uncommon for the motor that operates the electric seat adjustment to fail
  • 4. Look for uneven tyre wear. It may show suspension problems that can be hard to fix
  • 5. The 75 is the best-built Rover. Early cars had their problems, but these were sorted out reasonably quickly
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Rover 75 Saloon full review with expert trade views

Think of it as a comfortable, archetypally British take on a German small executive car. It was conceived when BMW ran the show at Rover and there was no way it was going to tread on the toes of any existing BMW. So, while the 75 grips well in corners, there’s too much lean and the steering is too blunt for it to be as thrilling to drive as its German rivals.

However, it absorbs bumps and potholes supremely well – almost like a limo – and is a relaxed, effortless long-distance motor. If you want to shrink distances while sitting comfortably in the surroundings of a gentleman’s club, look no further.

There’s a wooden dash and big, inviting seats, together with plenty of retro touches, such as sepia-tinted dials. You’ll have no problem getting settled behind the wheel, but expect to hear complaints from rear passengers about the lack of space. Rear vision for the driver isn’t great, either. Still, the boot's a good size, although the rear bench doesn't fold.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Has to be priced right, diesel the pick over petrol and must be clean

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The best engine, in our view, is the BMW-sourced 2.0 CDT turbodiesel. It just suits the 75’s character so well – smooth, punchy, frugal and extremely quiet. In fact, you can barely hear it, unless you take it to maximum revs, which you won’t because there’s so much pull long before you get there.

The rest of the line-up are all petrol engines: a reasonable non-turbo 1.8, a much keener 1.8 turbo, a 2.0 V6 that feels underpowered and a 2.5 V6 that seems to have sourced its 174 horses from poor stock. Of these, the 1.8 turbo gives the best all-round balance of performance, economy and refinement.

Classic trim goes without air-conditioning, so we’d upgrade to Club spec, which also adds electric rear windows. Connoisseur brings electrically adjustable leather seats and chrome door mirrors and any car badged SE should have cruise control and a CD multi-changer.

Scour the classifieds for a cared-for privately owned 75 or check out car supermarkets, which have plenty.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Cooling problems bring big bills. Otherwise a good buy

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Prices got a good kicking when Rover went down the pan and they’ve never recovered, so you’ll be able to snap up a 75 for a keen price. But, because the 75 is already pretty cheap, any loss of value in the future is likely to be comparatively modest.

Bear in mind that no 75 will have a manufacturer’s warranty – that died with Rover – so you may want to budget for mechanical breakdown insurance to help cover any remaining teething troubles on newer 75s.

Servicing costs are pretty reasonable – not far off the cost of maintaining a Ford Mondeo and less than more upmarket motors such as a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class. Insurance won’t bankrupt you either, ranging from group 8 for the non-turbo 1.8 up to 14 for the 2.6 V6. Our favourite model, the 2.0 CDT turbodiesel, is group 9.

The 2.0 CDT is also very frugal (49mpg on average) and even the 2.5 V6 should deliver close to 30mpg.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Has to be priced right, diesel the pick over petrol and must be clean

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The 75 was almost certainly the best-built Rover ever. Early cars had their problems, but these were sorted out reasonably quickly and owners generally report that the 75 is well screwed together and trouble-free.

However, there are weak spots. Front coil springs have broken on some cars and it’s not uncommon for the motor that operates the electric seat adjustment to fail.

The 1.8 is prone to overheating and blowing its head gasket if the coolant isn’t kept topped up. So, check the level in the radiator and inspect the dipstick and inside the oil filler cap for signs of creamy emulsion, which would indicate big trouble.

Also, look for uneven tyre wear – suspension problems can be hard to fix on the 75 – and rusted brake pipes. On diesels, check the clutch carefully.

Finally, examine the bodywork for dings – the sides are prone to car-park scars and the back end can pick up knocks because rear visibility isn’t great, especially in the rain.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Cooling problems bring big bills. Otherwise a good buy

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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