Used MG Rover TF 2002 - 2005 review

Category: Sports car

The MG TF is easy to live with and surprisngly practical for a two-seater

MG Rover TF Open (02 - 05)
  • MG Rover TF Open (02 - 05)
  • MG Rover TF Open (02 - 05)
Used MG Rover TF 2002 - 2005 review
Star rating

What's the used MG MGTF sports like?

Although the MG TF is mid-engined, just like the Lotus Elise it shares its engines with, it feels much more like a hot hatch to drive than a trickier performance car.

That's not to say the TF lacks performance, though. Its 1.6 and 1.8-litre engines have to be revved hard to give their best, but they thrive on it.


The MG TF is easy to live with and surprisngly practical for a two-seater

  • It's a pretty and affordable introduction to mid-engined sports cars
  • The driving position and steering are not what you'd expect in such a sporty car

The main problem for a keen driver is that the steering uses electric assistance and feels vague compared with a Mazda MX-5's, and the driving position is set too high.

When MG turned the original MGF into this TF in 2002, it also redesigned the suspension and did away with the F's gas-filled suspension. This means the TF turns into corners a little more crisply than the F, but it doesn't ride as comfortably over poor surfaces.

Generally, though, it's fairly comfy. When the roof's up, the TF is watertight and the hood seals out noise well enough.

Ownership cost

What used MG MGTF sports will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a MG MGTF sports?

None of the TF range will cost the earth to fuel. Even if the engines need to be worked hard, the lightweight TF's slippery shape makes sure economy is excellent for a sporting car.

Insurance is also a strong plus for the TF because it's not seen as such a big risk as a Mazda MX-5 or Toyota MR2 by insurance firms.

You'll need to find a good former MG dealer or independent specialist for servicing, but the costs should be no more than for the average supermini. Don't panic about repairs as there are more than sufficient supplies of spares to keep the TF on the road for many years.

Our recommendations

Which used MG MGTF sports should I buy?

The best TF is the 1.8 VVC 160 model with variable valve timing, which also happens to be the quickest. The reason is that it has the oomph to make the most of the TF's fine handling. It will blast from 0-62mph in less than 7.0sec and, thanks to the TF's relatively light weight, still return fuel economy of more than 35.0mpg in daily driving.

The 1.6-litre TF is the most affordable way into the model, although performance is sluggish, while the 135bhp 1.8 is a good compromise between cost and performance. Avoid the 120bhp Stepspeed model at all costs.

Some former Rover and MG dealers still keep a stock of MG TFs, but the best bet is an independent MG specialist as many now include the TF alongside more classic models such as the MGB.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used MG MGTF sports?