By 17 November 2009 8 Comments Read More →

Metro: a couple of weeks on…

Keith Adams

Rover Metro 1.4LD

Rover Metro 1.4LD

Against my better judgment, I’ve been tooling around in a Rover Metro 1.4LD for the past couple of weeks in order to save while I drive. In its first week’s of motoring, a £29 refill was all it needed and the old girl’s averaged 68mpg. Okay, so it’s not exactly set the roads on fire and I’m now officially on Cool Britannia’s bottom rung of the motoring motoring ladder, but do you know what? I actually quite like the thing.

Unlike when I’ve been driving my old Rover 216, which seemed to bring out the other motorists’ pathological desire to kill, I seem to be left alone when driving the Metro. It’s been remarkably stress-free in fact. Not sure why that would be, but it’s no bad thing, in my opinion.

The other thought that comes to mind when driving the old girl is just how much of a missed opportunity Rover had in the run up to this car’s launch. Consider that, even though mine has 105,000 miles on the clock, the ride and damping remain excellent and you get the idea. Combine the excellence of Moulton’s suspension set-up with the then-excellent K-Series engines (yes, mine’s a Peugeot TUD, so I am fantasizing a little) and an all-new light weight and aerodynamic body (as with the AR6 or R6X), and it would surely have sold like hot cakes.

The Rover Metro itself went on to sell well until its Rover 100 facelift, but imagine if it had looked half as appealing as the award-winning Rover 200-series of 1989 and perhaps we may just have still had a Rover today. Well, it’s a nice thought…

Anyway, back to the Metro I’m driving. Am I enjoying it? I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t missing something called performance, but it’s amazing how one’s driving compensates when you have none to play with. There’s also an annoying rattle (not that one) coming from the parcel shelf that I absolutely have to cure.

Does it need improvement? Yes – the wheels could do with upgrading to alloy and wider tyres would give me confidence. The interior’s functional and the quality’s okay – but I’d love some wood and leather so, if anyone sees of any plush Metro/100s in their scrapyard, do get in touch. It also has a locked-out stereo, but that’s just an excuse to get some improved ICE in there.

Verdict so far: Good cheap motoring…

Posted in: AROnline Blogs
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

8 Comments on "Metro: a couple of weeks on…"

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  1. roverman68 Neil Rapsey says:

    No your not mad, well I don’t think so anyway. I’m glad you are enjoying the Metro and good on you for saving it from going to scrap.

    I remember having a lift to college from my lecturer in about 1985 -he had a 1982 Metro Mk1 base model which, for some reason, was burning out valves every 4 months or so. Mind you, that may have had something to do with going up one of the steepest hills in Swansea every day with four people in the car.

    Fond memories 🙂

  2. David Mckenzie says:

    Glad to see you’re enjoying the Metro – if you ever want to sell the car let me know. I’m looking for a second car and it would be my fifth Metro.

  3. ChrisM says:

    I’ve had my Metro (111) for a few months now and really love it to bits. Yes it has its faults but it’s a hoot to drive and, as you have noticed Keith, people seem to treat it with more respect than most other ARG cars I’ve had experience of! The small fuel tank took some getting used to, mind, after being able to run the Maestro for weeks on a full tank the Metro needs topping up every time you go past a filling station!

  4. Will says:

    The Peugeot diesel engines are great wee engines.
    To be fair, when you are commuting to and from work on busy motorways / city roads, a little non-turbo diesel is perfect for the job. After all, in a traffic queue, your Metro is moving at the same speed as mr Pushy’s A5.

  5. Duncan says:

    I joined Rover in 1989, just as R6 was getting ready for volume. I remeber asking why there wasn’t a new body (to overcome the original car’s appauling front seating layout – only noticable really if you are talller than 1.75m) and was told at every level that “we just didn’t have the money”. I was generly answered by silence when I pointed out that new press tooling had been purchased for the “new” car and nearly every panel had been altered in some way. They had found the funding (urged by product liability issues) to redo the monoside to allow the fuel filler to be placed above the waist line (where any sensible person would have put it in the first place – ergonomics was never really a strong force in ARG design – remember the Maestro switches placed exactly so they were obscured from view by the steering wheel?)

    The original Metro D (1.4l TUD) was an opportunity for us in the foundry to do a wonderful bit of showboating and steal the contract for clutch housing manufacture from Autocast. It was a shame we made a typical (extremely low cost) hash of it from there!

  6. joe Strong says:

    Message to ChrisM.
    What do you mean small fuel tank? these have the massive 8.5 gallon tank, my two “Y” reg babies have the original 6.5 gallon tanks. Easier to get the exhaust of mind you!
    Joe

  7. darren says:

    I had a Mk1 Black MG Metro. I loved it to bits. I couldnt afford a “real” MG at the time and went for the Metro.
    I was great fun and economical to run. It never let me down but it slowly rusted away and it had to go and an Opel Manta replaced it. (another great car)

    I still think back with found memory of that little MG. I wish I had one now…

  8. Glennb says:

    These little cars look pretty good because of their rarity good gas mileage as well being a diesel . I had a 1.4 K series petrol Gsi as a hire car for my work once and it was a very comfortable nippy and economical car with very plush interior fittings.

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