This is my first acquaintance with a CityRover and I bagged this 1.4 Sprite at the local car auction recently. I won it for a very princely sum with 11 months MoT and 5 months tax left to run on it and 81,000 miles but with no history and no handbook.
I settled the bill and was handed the ‘key’ to which was attached a flimsy looking box – that appeared to have been made from a recycled video case but turned out to be the remote fob. Bloody hell! Did Rover really think this was acceptable? Fortunately, the remote fob successfully unlocked the car and I was able to get in and start it.
The high driving position was welcome on the rainy night as I eased the car out of the car park and onto the main road, but the lack of air conditioning meant the windows misted up all too readily and even putting the blower on full blast wouldn’t clear it. Still, the power steering and smooth clutch helped progress, but the gearchange was notchy and sloppy and, as they say in the trade, they’re all like that, sir! However, performance has turned out to be very good, the engine revs freely and it’s smooth, quiet and squeak free, so it’s not in any way an unpleasant car to drive.
Despite there being no history, someone did write on the cambelt pulley cover that the belt had been changed at 68,000 miles, so that’s reassuring. The oil and water are clean too, so it looks like as though the car has been reasonably well-maintained. Why don’t people keep their vehicle paperwork together?
This car is seven years old now so how as it fared after Rover’s promise to the consumer that the quality was there? Well, the gear lever gate diagram has worn away, the seats are a bit creased (but not tatty) and the steering wheel rim is a bit scabby, but it’s not distracting. However, there is no way that this is a quality product. I have to say that the grey plastic parcel shelf looks bloody awful!
I suppose that, if you intend to use this for the school run or as a shopping trolley, then it ticks all the boxes. The CityRover’s real selling point is the amount of space inside – it’s very airy, almost stark (would Issigonis have approved?) and, as a piece of packaging, it’s excellent. Some may see the lack of a passenger airbag and ABS as issues but, come on, do you really need them?
Prices for CityRovers are all over the place at the moment, but I will advertise this one for a realistic price and see what happens. Anyway, in this current climate, who can afford to be image conscious when a 2004 car can be bought this cheap?
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.