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What Car? says

1 out of 5 stars

For It’s nippy, there’s lots of rear space and it’s cheap

Against Ride, refinement and quality are horrible

Verdict Very cheap, but there’s little else going for it – there are much better alternatives

Go for… 1.4 Select

Avoid… Solo trim

Rover CityRover Hatchback
  • 1. We’ve heard reports that oil and water leaks are commonplace
  • 2. There's lots of interior space and the CityRover is quite brisk for a city car
  • 3. The cheap interior can develop rattles, and the door locks have also suffered their fair share of faults
  • 4. Even the newest examples will cost you much less than half the CityRover’s original price
  • 5. The 84bhp 1.4-litre engine manages only 37.9mpg, which is much worse than its rivals
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Rover CityRover Hatchback full review with expert trade views

Having to rescue an entire company from financial ruin is a tall order for any car, and it’s no wonder that the CityRover failed to do the business for MG Rover. What's more, even taking into account the fact that the car was faced with a near-enough impossible task, it missed the mark by a long, long way.

It’s not that surprising that the CityRover had so many limitations. After all, it was a Tata Indica (a supermini from India) that was re-badged and flogged as the saviour of the British car industry.

Granted, it had lots of interior space, it was quite brisk for a city car and it was one of the most practical cars in the class. However, it still managed to be uncomfortable, it was cheaply made with poor materials and the drive was woeful. Refinement was terrible and the ride was even worse.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Did anyone buy one when new? They all seem to be loan cars. Leave alone

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

There’s just one engine available - a 1.4-litre petrol engine with 84bhp - and it gives better performance than you’ll find in most city cars. It feels sprightly around city streets and, unlike most city cars, it feels like it has plenty more to give on the motorway.

There are four versions to choose from. The entry-level Solo comes with a height-adjustable steering wheel, an alarm and a split-folding rear seat. Second-rung Sprite models add alloy wheels, remote central locking and a CD player, while our favourite, the Select model, gets air-con and also provides a full set of electric windows.

The most expensive Style version receives the anti-lock brakes and a passenger airbag that the other models miss out on, but the extra amount you’ll have to pay is ridiculous.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Sells purely on price and needs Style spec to increase limited appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru

This was a very cheap car to start with, and values took a nosedive when Rover went belly-up. Although buyers of the new car were stung, this is good news for used buyers. Even the newest examples will cost you much less than half the CityRover’s original value.

However, the runnning costs don't match its low prices. The 1.4-litre engine will return an average of only 37.9mpg, for example, while many competitors of the same era are up in the 50s and even the 60s.

Insurance costs are pricey for a city car, too, although the difference isn’t as great as you might expect. The Solo and Sprite versions qualify for a group 4 premium, while Select and Style versions sit in group 5.

The only saving grace is that servicing costs will be helped by the fact that you’ll have no choice but to take the car to an independent dealer for routine work.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Did anyone buy one when new? They all seem to be loan cars. Leave alone

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

Rover has an extremely mixed record when it comes to reliability. And, although it seems that Rover’s older models generally fare worst, the CityRover is a different kettle of fish as it’s a re-badged Tata.

We’ve heard reports that oil and water leaks are commonplace, and that the cheap interior develops rattles easily. The door locks have also experienced their fair share of faults.

There’s also the fact that the future supply of spare parts is uncertain, so you're best advised to think carefully before buying.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Sells purely on price and needs Style spec to increase limited appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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