It was 2008, a simpler time. I was full of the joys of classic American muscle ownership and had got carried away regarding my choice of daily driver.
A 3.9 litre V6 Dodge Ram Day Van was not the best choice for me. Great vehicle, don’t get me wrong but it was thirsty and no fun in high wind. It was time to be sensible, I already had one gas guzzling Yank tank, and I needed something down to earth & practical.
I set parameters; diesel for efficiency, 2 litre for pulling power, estate for practicality and a price which I was happy with. This would be (and still is) a long term car purchase.
A search of a popular online car sales website with all of my requirements entered in and it spat out several possibilities, this was the closest.
It was also the only one I looked at.
I was not setting out to buy something “retro” if I’m being honest. I needed something that was cheaper to run than the van (which was pretty much anything) comfortable, good on the motorways, an estate/tourer that I could use every day. This ticked all the boxes.
This was one of the cars I did research on during my hunt. I looked at Mondeos, Volvos & Passats all in estate form. They were all very nice on paper/online but the way I saw it with the Rover 75, I was getting a 2.0L diesel BMW with lower insurance. Plus I loved the look of it and had no issue with its reputation as an old man’s car. My other car was made in 1969(!)
The log book states that it is a ‘Classic SE CDT Tourer’ made in 2002 by BMW. I assume the Classic spec refers to the fake walnut dash that greets me with ironic charm every time I plant myself behind the wheel. Still not sure what the SE gets me, maybe it’s my air conditioning that I never use(!)
Until writing this article I’ve never really thought about the facts and figures of this car, apart from the mpg (which is fantastic) on a good motorway run I can get well over 600 miles to a tank of fuel. That equates to around 60 mpg on a run that drops to around 36 around the doors. All this gives me around 115bhp & 192Lbs/ft which is plenty for a car like this, it’s not a racer. I’ve never been tempted to plant my foot at a traffic light drag race challenge in the Rover(!)
The torque does make it a good tow vehicle however; I imagine it does well with the caravaners. I’ve got a small trailer but it can tow a Cherry Picker without too much trouble(!)
I have owned the car for nearly four years and I’ve only ever had one instance of it letting me down which was due to a faulty component supplying fuel to the engine, a quick fix. The only other issue was recently and that was solved by replacing the battery.
I’ve had all sorts in the back and it’s never given me any issues, a quick adjustment of the headlight angle is all that is required to deal with a full load. The split tailgate is hugely practical, the glass for when you just want to throw a bag in there or the whole tailgate for the dog, lathe, whatever…
I won’t lie, it’s a workhorse. I’ve used it for work a few times when it was insured as a commercial vehicle (no longer) and I can say there’s not much you can’t put in a Rover 75 Tourer. I know there are some complaints about the rear suspension intruding on rear load space but I’ve never found it an issue.
Cables, stands, lamps and sand bags all happily along for the ride(!)
The paint scuff is from the afore mentioned Cherry Picker (grrr, bit of touch up paint required)
I’ll admit I have gone through periods where I wanted to change cars. The Rover is not that exciting to drive but it’s unfair to criticise something for a purpose it was not designed to do.
I can’t fault the car, it’s been hugely practical and a very easy & comfortable car to own & drive. My insurance is high because of my occupation and the Rover actually costs more to insure than my Dodge Charger. For some reason insurance companies think everyone who works on a film crew is constantly doing stunts with celebrities sitting in the back seat(!)
It is my intention to keep the Rover until such time as I physically can’t keep it legal and running. Once you find a trustworthy garage for all your MOT and servicing needs you are all sorted. I’m lucky to have an ex-Rover place just along the road and any problems I might come across that I can’t handle myself will be turned over to them.
I would love to have another car to throw around but I’m already trying to keep an American classic up and running as well, a third car might be being greedy. At least for now.
Seeing quotes and testimonials for the car on websites it seems odd that there is not that many around. Once you bypass the apparently “stuffy” image it has there is a stylish, practical, sleek and – in my case- reliable diesel estate car just waiting out there. Maybe that’s why it’s still being produced under the name Roewe 750 in China, although only in saloon form.
There is lots of praise yet not many folks seem convinced that image is a design flaw and not just subjective. I’m 34 and drive a Rover 75 Tourer and I’m ok with that.
If I was going to replace the car I’d look first at the MG ZT-T 2.0 CDTi 135 bhp version because I love the design of the 75, the load space and if it was just a bit sportier I’d be satisfied completely. Hence the ZT-T.
My favourite quote about the Rover 75 comes from What Car? –
“It’s excellent over long distances and smoothes out bumps like a luxury car. It’s cheap, well equipped and practical, and comes with olde-worlde charm.”
I’d go so far as to say it IS a luxury car and that “olde-worlde charm” is what I like to call character.
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