Used Rover CityRover Hatchback 2003 - 2005 review

Category: Small car

Very cheap, but there's little else going for the Rover CityRover - there are much better alternatives

Rover CityRover Hatchback (03 - 05)
  • Rover CityRover Hatchback (03 - 05)
  • Rover CityRover Hatchback (03 - 05)
Used Rover CityRover Hatchback 2003 - 2005 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Rover Cityrover hatchback like?

Having to rescue an entire company from financial ruin is a tall order for any car, and it's no wonder that the Rover 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.


Very cheap, but there's little else going for the Rover CityRover - there are much better alternatives

  • It's nippy, there's lots of rear space and it's cheap
  • Ride, refinement and quality are horrible

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.

Ownership cost

What used Rover Cityrover hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Rover Cityrover hatchback?

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.

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.

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.

Our recommendations

Which used Rover Cityrover hatchback should I buy?

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.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used Rover Cityrover hatchback?