Rover 600 | Auto Express

16 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Rover 600 | Auto Express

Rover 600

1 Jul, 2003 3:37pm Comments

The 600 was a fine-looking mid-sized saloon that offered a brave new future for the Rover brand when it arrived in 1993. Based on the then contemporary Honda Accord, the 600 emerged to receive widespread acclaim – and was even once voted the #039;best-looking car in the world#039;.

The 600 was a fine-looking mid-sized saloon that offered a brave new future for the Rover brand when it arrived in 1993. Based on the then contemporary Honda Accord, the 600 emerged to receive widespread acclaim – and was even once voted the ‘best-looking car in the world’.

But time has been unkind to the Rover, and many early versions are well inside banger territory now. How-ever, later models, or particularly well maintained versions, are still worthy of consideration, while in terms of long-evity the 600 is much better than a lot of people give it credit for. Engines are generally reliable providing they aren’t neglected, while the bodywork stands up well to corrosion.

Although the ride quality is relatively poor for such a large car, the handling is competent. Smaller petrol engines need to be worked hard for decent progress, and the turbodiesel versions feel very old-fashioned by modern standards. But put on a private plate and a clean, straight 600 still looks like a genuinely classy item.

And the manic depreciation suffered when the cars were new means even better news for second-hand buyers – because as little as £2,000 will get you a really mint-condition example.

Checklist

* Bodywork resists rust quite well, but look for scabs on the rear wheel-arches, ends of sills and leading edge of the front wings. Rear bumpers are prone to scuffing, due to poor visibility.

* Be aware exhaust back boxes rot quickly from the top downwards. Replacements cost less than £100.

* Milky deposits under the oil filler cap on 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol models mean head gasket trouble, while on the 2.3-litre this points to a cracked block and some serious bills.

* Second, fourth and reverse become tricky to engage on high-mileage cars.

Glass’s View

The 600 isn’t the most loved of motors, and as such demand and residual values are both low, says trade bible Glass’s Guide. But that’s great news for private buyers who don’t mind being a bit different, as prices are very good value. Go for a high-spec model, as it will be easier to sell on.

The best bargains are older sub-£3,000 cars, which are unlikely to depreciate as steeply as later ones.

Life With A Rover 600

A Rover 600 isn’t perhaps the most obvious choice of car for a 20-year-old – but that hasn’t put off Graham Carson. The security officer from Bonnyrigg, near Edinburgh, likes the cars he drives to have a bit of luxury and owned a Volvo S40 before he bought the Rover.

My Volvo was unfortunately written off in an accident, so I then started looking for something with a comparable level of comfort that would also be great value for money, Graham said. He bought his 1998 618i S 10 months ago after spotting it advertised for sale locally.

I went round to see the car and fell in love with it immediately, added Graham. It was in such good condition, despite having covered more than 90,000 miles, and I also knew that I wouldn’t get anything better for the price that I was willing to pay. Graham loves the 618’s generous levels of equipment, leather upholstery and massive interior space.

However, he does think the Rover’s performance and fuel consumption could be better.

Verdict

For all-out fun on a budget, we would go for the 197bhp 620 ti. It hasn’t the prowess of more respectable sporting saloons, but its performance is rapid.

Otherwise, the Honda-engined 623 models make the most financial sense. They offer similar mpg and insurance costs to the 1.8 and 2.0, but are generally more hardy and free-revving. Avoid low-spec cars, dull blue and white paint and anything with body damage.

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