Raise a glass to : the MG Maestro 2.0 EFi

Never one to pass up a celebration, David Morgan raises a glass to 30 years of the MG Maestro EFi/2.0i and tells us why the appeal of this MG is still so special to him…

David Morgan

Go on, admit it, you have probably overlooked this milestone in the history of the Maestro, not to mention of hot-hatches in general. This is rather understandable as last year saw LM10, the Maestro, officially celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. Meanwhile, a smaller contingent will be remembering that it was 25 years ago this year when the low volume MG Turbo variant officially went on sale.

This is a shame because out of all the Maestro variants produced, the MG EFi/2.0i is arguably the most consummate in its driving appeal and also the more significant from an engineering perspective.

During the long, torturous gestation period of LM10, no serious consideration had been given to employing a 2-litre engine. Furtive development of a twin-carburettor version of the 1598cc R Series for the MG variant had taken place during the eleventh hour in the Maestro’s development programme. At the time benchmark hot-hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTi and Vauxhall Astra GTE were already upping the game to fuel injection and 1.8-litres, meaning the 103bhp MG Maestro 1600 would be at a distinct disadvantage in terms of performance when it arrived in showrooms from March 1983. Austin Rover Group also wanted to standardise the use of the end mounted Volkswagen gearbox with all engine choices which effectively limited the opportunity to use larger capacity engines in the Maestro’s stumpy engine bay.

Only when the Montego arrived in April 1984 offering a Lucas L type multi-point electronic fuel injected version of the 2-litre O Series engine, married up to a more compact Honda K6 series gearbox design, did this signal the opportunity for a 2-litre powered MG Maestro.

It was a shrewd move as both the Golf GTi and Astra GTE were producing 112bhp and 115bhp respectively. The 2-litre O Series could easily match this, even if its long-stroke displacement lacked the smoothness of the smaller 1695cc unit that had seen service in the Austin Princess, Ambassador and Sherpa van. One early story suggested the 2-litre MG Maestro had originally been built as a development hack for evaluation by Austin Rover’s senior management, including managing director Harold Musgrove. When he drove it he was said to have been more than impressed by its capabilities and asked why it wasn’t in production.

That all-important O-Series engine, whch really did turn around the MG Maestro.
The O-Series EFi really did turn around the fortunes of the MG Maestro.

The MG Maestro EFi was officially announced on 3rd October 1984 which was just two weeks before the start of the British Motor Show. With its 115bhp 2-litre O Series engine delivering 134lb/ft of torque and enabling the 0-60mph dash to be completed in as little as 8.4 seconds, the MG EFi was no slouch. It also represented good value too, with its showroom price of £7,279.41 undercutting both the 3-door Astra 1.8 GTE at £7,344 and Golf GTi at £7,992.

The keen-eyed were able to spot the MG EFi’s subtle differences over the outgoing MG Maestro 1600. These comprised of a new, body colour-keyed grille design and colour-coding to the door handles and mirror cappings. Meanwhile, the carry-over 14-inch alloy wheel design wearing 175/65 HR rated tyres – often casually referred to as the ‘cheese-grater’ design by aficionados – now featured the ‘MG’ letters in the centre trim. Inside were new Flint Grey-coloured Marle Deco and plain velour seat facings.

In those days the array of body colours on offer on the MG Maestro EFi proved to be more comprehensive than those found on other hot-hatches. A total of seven hues were offered at launch: Arum White, Black, Moonraker Blue metallic, Opaline Green metallic, Silverleaf metallic, Targa Red and Zircon Blue metallic.

A further ace up the MG’s sleeve was that it offered a number of equipment and technology-based optional extras. These included a solid state digital instrumentation pack with voice synthesiser featuring the soothing tones of actress Ms Nicolette McKenzie. Essentially the same unit as had previously been fitted as standard to the MG Maestro 1600, it was actually a £194.99 option on the MG EFi. Few owners ultimately subscribed to it and by late spring 1985 it had been consigned to history. More popular were electric front windows (£179.89), power-assisted steering (£296.27), sliding steel sunroof, (291.20), rear seat belts (£83.16), a choice of two upgraded radio/cassette options (£112.68 or £154.11) and black (£54) or metallic (£94.99) paint.

The ad men were clearly in their element with the MG Maestro EFi. ‘Just light the red touch paper!” they eulogised at its launch. This was quickly followed by ‘Now injected with Adrenalin” and, from late 1986, ‘Red Letters, Performance Figures”. By the summer of 1988 the war of words became more blatant when the acceleration figures from a comparison road test published in the August 1988 issue of What Car? magazine enabled them to announce that ‘The Golf GTi will be along in a Second”.

Within two months of its launch the 1,000th example had left the factory gates at Cowley. The 10,000th MG EFi followed in spring 1986 just as customers were getting used to the new Montego style dashboard fascia, locking fuel filler flap and the new colours of Azure Blue metallic and White Diamond. By now its on-the-road price had crept up to £8,049.33.

Despite its strong performance and competitive showroom price credentials, the MG Maestro EFi did not set the hot-hatch sales chart on fire or receive huge amounts of praise. Its awkward styling, questionable build quality and the fact it was an Austin Rover product did not see it winning mass acclaim against more illustrious offerings. At a deeper level it did not help that both the two main MG clubs and their members were less than embracing of the 1980s MG saloons and publicly displayed their discontentment over Austin Rover Group’s strategy for MG. After all, it was still a Maestro at the end of the day!


That said, in What Car? magazine’s group test of an MG Maestro EFi, Vauxhall Astra 2.0 GTE and Volkswagen Golf GTi, published in May 1985, it did draw on some favourable comments. ‘If you are looking for a sense of raw excitement, then the MG has to be the car to go for”. ‘It’s the Maestro that feels the gutsiest”. Praise indeed.

By the autumn of 1987 the EFi identity had been replaced by ‘2.0i’ due to changes in the company car taxation system relating to engine sizes over 1800cc. It was at this time the colour range underwent a minor revision, with Moonraker Blue being replaced by Atlantic Blue and Azure Blue being superseded by Strata Grey. Black, Silverleaf, Targa Red and White Diamond continued to be offered. Inside, standard Flint Grey carpets replaced the red items. However, the changeover from standard alloy wheels to steel wheels with plastic trims and the introduction of a standard fit glass sunroof had actually been undertaken back in the early summer under the ‘EFi’ identity.

Despite these minor changes the MG Maestro still conveyed a somewhat dated profile against the more favoured offerings from Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen, which by now had heavily indulged in the practise of colour coding secondary trim such as spoilers and sill spats. It was not until the doors of the 1988 British International Motor Show were flung open that the MG Maestro raised its profile with colour-coding for the front and rear spoiler treatments, side protection strips and sill spats. Gone were steel wheels to be replaced by new multi-spoke 15-inch alloys sitting on 185/55-sized tyres.

Admittedly the makeover, together with the two new exterior colours of British Racing Green metallic and Flame Red alongside the existing Black and White Diamond in the colour chart, had transformed the MG’s appearance for the better.

What was perhaps disappointing was the interior where those tasteful looking sports seats were anything but supportive or well made, thanks to softer foam now being used. The sculptured velvet and plain velour seat facings were the same spec material from the 1988 Model Year MG Montego, so were prone to losing the stick-on diagonal red stripe and ‘MG’ emblem from the backrests. It was almost as if Austin Rover’s designers had used up the entire development budget for the exterior enhancements.

The 500,000th Maestro rolled off the assembly line in the autumn of 1989, with this example being an MG 2.0i finished in White Diamond. It was sold through the dealer network rather than kept as a milestone car.

Aside from the availability of a catalyst from November 1990 as a £306.52 extra cost option, no further changes would filter through for the MG Maestro. In November 1991 it ended production in a typically low key fashion, its on-the-road price now being £12,910. Electric windows cost £306.52, power-assisted steering £311.63, a choice of two upgraded Philips cassette/radios were £86.84 or £178.80 respectively, while black paint was £132.82 and British Racing Green metallic £209.46.

The final MG 2.0i was finished in White Diamond and built for the home market. It was not retained as a milestone car for the collection of vehicles held by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, but was sold on through the dealer network and registered on a J’ registration. A number of examples, usually those that had not been fitted with power-assisted steering, remained unsold until as late as 1993. Two examples – both finished in British Racing Green metallic – are known to have attracted L’ registrations.

Despite being superseded by the new, better built and more aspirational R8 generation Rover 200 GTi variants, I still mourned the passing of the MG Maestro, despite my enthusiasm for these new Rovers.

My own acquaintance with the MG Maestro first came in 1989 when my parents bought a three-year-old EFi version for my mother to have as her daily use car (where are you now C574 UMX?). As a reward for spending three long days transforming it from a well used dog wagon into a gleaming ‘car of the week’ special, I was allowed to have driving lessons in it. What fun it was. A baritone engine than sounded like it had been on a strict diet of prime British beef and even red seat belts masquerading as the automotive equivalent of a stockbroker’s trouser braces. It was hard not to get seduced by the hot-hatch phenomenon.

I will admit that the non-assisted steering meant that I did not need to take out a subscription to the local gym in order to build up my biceps. The throttle response was always instantaneous and crisp, while the deep grunting sound the engine delivered when changing up early to a higher cog never failed to raise the grin factor. This was a car you never tired of driving.

Even after I had started working as a motoring correspondent for a regional newspaper back in the mid 1990s, I was still driving one; this time a 1989 MG 2.0i finished in British Racing Green metallic and fitted with optional power-assisted steering. In fact driving an MG Maestro proved to be a useful yardstick from which to measure progression (and occasionally regression!) of new car design. The MG’s brakes, for example, always came across as being adequate rather than something assertive, while the 2-litre engine’s healthy low-end torque delivery was something that would often be lacking in more modern engine designs, particularly sixteen-valve units that delivered their torque far higher up the rev band.

The MG Maestro was easily a class leader in space having room for five and heaps of cargo.

Load a 2-litre MG Maestro up to its headlining after a trip to the DIY centre or even when transporting all the props needed for a club stand at a car show, and it still had the ability to muster up a healthy serving of torque to ensure you could maintain your position in the outside lane.

Occasionally I used to praise the seats for their comfort compared to those found in some bigger, more expensive cars. Even the gearchange was noted for being relatively light while the power-assisted steering offered plenty of feedback about the dialogue going on between the front drive wheels and the road surface. In many ways it put me off ever wanting to drive something more, well… sensible and clinical.

Sadly fate would deal me a cruel hand in May 2006 when my own example was involved in an accident caused by another motorist, who obviously thought he was a lone rally driver in a narrow country lane not being used by others travelling from the opposite direction.

Rather than scrap it and say good-bye to a near 13 year partnership, the damaged car was kept. Plans are in place for it to undergo a ground-up professional restoration in the near future, despite the cost far outweighing what it would sell for if it was ever sold in Concourse condition. But that is what love affairs can sometimes do – cause you to take all leave of your senses in pursuit of something that gives you personal reward.

For me, the MG Maestro’s simple ingredients of a torquey 2-litre engine, H frame rear suspension with front and rear anti roll bars and the same wheel-in-each-corner principle as the Mini enabled Austin Rover Group to deliver a cocktail of explicit good fun. It also had a more endearing quality – honesty where it could easily live up to the rather modest hype given to it, while also excelling in other areas not normally rated highly by hot-hatch enthusiasts. Too right I love the MG Maestro EFi and 2.0i!

So, in typical Eighties fashion, raise your can of Quattro fizzy drink with me and salute the thirtieth anniversary of one of the great unsung members of the hot-hatch phenomenon, the MG Maestro EFi/2.0i.

Mike Humble


  1. A truly underrated car! That interior photo brings back memories – I’d fogotten about that MG-embossed rubber mat on top of the passenger side dashboard that would try to slide off on spirited right hand bends!

    In 1991 we got an ’88 F reg silver one for our main family car. My Mum did a 50 mile cross country commute and needed something with decent overtaking ability for not much money. It was the newest car we’d ever had and she loved it, even though it was temperamental to say the least! It had enough space for our family of 5 and could out-run most of my mates’ Dad’s brand new rep-mobiles. I do remember that even though it was only 3 years old when we got it, the liquid crystal in the clock had run, and somehow what was visible ran backwards!

    It had just clicked over 200,000 miles in 1997 when the clutch went and my Dad sold it to some guys for scrap – he then saw it on a forecourt of a dodgy garage a few weeks later with significantly fewer miles on the clock!

  2. (where are you now C574 UMX?)

    Probably scrapped in 2000, as that was when it was last taxed according to the DVLA.

  3. Drove a red MG Maestro 2L, liked the car generally unfortunately the Lucas injection system wasn’t up to the job as the car refused to idle properly, they should have used a Bosch system like the GTI golf

  4. Ive said it before but will say it again

    In the right chassis, the O or T16 with a PG1/T5 gearbox is a damn fine plant!

  5. Good piece, great car.

    I just love the list of optional extras. Unimagineable that you’d pay extra for PAS and elctric windows these days

    • I find it hard to imagine having to shell out for PAS & electric windows in the eighties on what was essentially a car up the high end of the Maestro range. Presumably there was a product planner in Longbridge who was a purist when it came to driving experiences.

  6. I had a C reg in Arum White which was a lovely colour and really suited the car. It was my second car after the obligatory Mini and I was 20. The only downside was that it had the original bitsa dashboard. Also discovered that it should have had intermittent wipe as standard but someone had failed to fit the control unit (visit to scrap yard sorted that).

    Loved it to bits, but the era of joyriders then came upon us and I had it nicked twice on two weeks so I reluctantly sold it and bought my late grandmothers Escort Mk3 with awful borg warner auto! What a come down.

    The bloke I sold it to turned out to be moron, ran out of fuel the day after I sold it and phoned me to complain! Then two weeks later he wrote it off.

  7. Had a C reg in Moonraker blue (C876VDU) with the excellent and essential power steering. Loved that deep gutteral intake sound and thought the internal and external styling features transformed the Maestro into a stylish and functional looker.

    Went on holiday to Italy and travelled almost the whole length of Germany at near terminal speed (an indicated 130mph). For about 100 miles a MK 1 and a MK 2 Golf GTi were in tandem and I’m never seen three cars so evenly matched. The Germans were astonished that the MG competed so well.

    Swapped it for a 216 Vitesse – better built but that was all – not half the car the MG was. Funny how everybody I meet who’s had one (which isn’t many) agrees how good a drivers car the MG Meastro Efi was, whilst everyone else just doesn’t believe you

  8. In the John Major recession of the early 1990s, together with the uncovering of serious misdeeds at Lloyds the Underwriters, there was an Insurance clampdown which affected the boy racer cars such as XR3i etc, overnight the cars were almost uninsurable to many, which meant they were sold on for pennies. The Ford Sierra Cosworth for example, delivery mileage on the clock, down to £9995 in the Ford dealers.

    How did the MG Maestro fare for Insurance in the wake of the Lloyds syndicate problems?

    • The Maestro EFi had a relatively low insurance group, so it stayed very affordable to insure – probably helped by the relatively mature ownership profile. A lot of them were run by middle-aged caravanners as towing vehicles.

      I once towed a flat-bed trailer with a kit car and two sapre engines on it, and the EFi was unfazed.

  9. I remember my Sister’s friends Mum had an MG Metro that cost a lot to insure & at least once someone tried to nick it.

    Another friend’s Mum had a Honda Integra that the insurance company claimed was a sports car.

  10. Totally agree with David about the Maestro EFi – it was a really good all-round package. I had three in succession as company cars, and weirdly, number three suffered the same fate as David’s car – the front offside wing and wheel was wiped out by, as it happens, another Maestro in a narrow lane. There was plenty of room for both of us, but in those pre-ABS days, the other guy just panicked and locked his wheels. I was already chewing the bank with the nearside wheel so couldn’t give him any more space to slide. It was repaired, but never felt quite as taut and agile again. No other ‘hot hatch’ of the time had the all-round vision, usable space and comfort/handling balance. RIP

  11. I never owned one , but drove one belonging to a friend of one of my sons quite a few times, and loved it. I thought the Maestro was in fact a lovely car, and far far better ( for reasons I can’t explain ) than the equivalent Montego . I am still baffled by what happened to AR , because I thought the cars in the late 80s and early 90s had a lot going for them

  12. The Maestro 2.0 EFi was launched before I’d even passed my test and I’ve no experience of driving one. The only Maestro I’ve driven is a late duotone 1.3L.
    However, the Maestro 2.0EFi,2.0i was a car I always admired. I believe even Clarkson said good things about it.
    Thought it looked pretty good too, as could other Maestro derivatives. It was only lower spec models in the wrong colour that looked dowdy.

  13. A beautiful example is shown driving around Picadilly circus in the Pet Shop Boys video of West end girls…..car porn…..

  14. I’ve often thought that AR should have adopted the Montego front for the Maestro when they installed its dash ever since seeing the not aesthetically unsuccessful Chinese attempt.

    • Phil, I think the Montego front on the Maestro is too out of proportion. An MG style grill on more cooking versions could have easily improved things, however. Or how about colour coding the existing Austin grille?

    • You think that was bad – there used to be a pink Montego pickup in Birmingham – probably cut down from a crash damaged estate.
      Meanwhile, somebody in the Welsh Valleys, isnit, used to tool around in an SD1 pickup. V8, IIRC.

  15. This was the Maestro everyone wanted, a lot cheaper than a Golf GTI and cheaper to fix. Also using the venerable O series, it was a lot more reliable than the original 1.6 model.

  16. I think the best way I have seen the MG Maestro 2.0 Injection decribed is:

    “It was not quite as good as a Golf GTI, but then neither was the Golf GTI”

    It simply lacked the Brand value to fight the GTI and XR3i in the market, which is a shame as underneath that dull exterior was a very competent chassis.

    However ARG has to take some of the blame, from the Rover 800 they had a 16v engine that could have slotted straight in and lifted the whole value of the car. But I guess by then the strategy had changed and everything was focused on the Rover brand.

  17. In period you used to see quite a few being used as tow cars. The 2L engine and short rear overhang made them very suitable.

    I nearly bought one myself to join my MGB. However, I took a job that came with a car instead.

    One of the few hot hatches with 5 doors. Just like a Lancia Delta intergrali!

  18. @ mm, another reason for hot hatches becoming almost uninsurable and their used values crashing in the early nineties was their popularity with joyriders who drove them to the limit and then destroyed them. I can remember a stolen MG Maestro Turbo being raced around the Blackbird Leys estate in Oxford as a precursor to the 1991 riots and two joyriders from Meadowell in North Shields being killed in a stolen Renault 19 Turbo during a police chase which led to the riot there. These were becoming precarious cars to own by 1991 as they were favoured by joyriders and also the recession meant many that weren’t burned out by thieves were being repossessed.

  19. Whilst working in car rental in the 1980s, this particular car rental company had a falling out with Vauxhall. The end result was that from 1985 until 1989 they didn’t buy any Vauxhalls. This car rental company was getting through 27,000 vehicles a year so there was a bit of a shortfall to make up. They signed a big contract with ARG and as a bonus they were given (free of charge) 50 MG Maestros.

    Even out in the provinces we got to see one every now again, unfortunately they weren’t quite as easy to come across as the other fleet models, though some of our weekly transporter loads of brand new cars did comprise of Montego 2.0 Vanden Plas automatics.

  20. Had a 1991 model in Flame red as a company car (J152 KBY). I drove it mercilessly hard for 3 years and 84,000 miles and apart from a little issue with a driveshaft popping out of engagement when it was 2 days old it was faultlessly reliable, needing only tyres, brakes and routine servicing.
    It handled like a big Mini and I loved the fact that you didn’t have to thrash the engine to within an inch of its life to hand over the goods, as was the case with the 16 valve motors around at the time. A colleague at the time had an Alfa Romeo 75 Twinspark. Whilst ultimately slower in a straight line, the Maestro was equally quick if not quicker cross country. It was one of my favourite cars.

  21. I loved my MG Maestro’s, both 2000cc, but as mentioned above insurance and security were a bugbear. I went over to the TDi which was an impressive car in its own right. I wonder why they didn’t chip it for an MG version? xxx

  22. i had (seemingly from write up) a changeover model- targa red, efi badged but with wheel trims and glass roof
    bought for £100 it was my midlife crisis car lol
    it needed t-cutting but never was and the bottom of the rear screen was sealed with gaffer tape
    whist with me it got a 1.3 special colour coded grill for q car fun, the seats were replaced with montego ones as was the dash surround which meant you could at least see where the switches were!
    car looked eleventy times better with mg montego cross spokes which were wider than the maestro version with fatter tyres (175 vs 195 section)
    it was the first car i’d had with central locking and i’m sure it had electric mirrors
    i still miss the old heap D43YRN- was replaced by a montego 2.0 gsi with pas

  23. I had a red 2 litre turbo (H reg I think). I loved it. It was a far, far better car than my wife’s XR3i mainly because it was four door and had a proper hatch back and it was also much more comfortable. I loved the red seat belts! Downside was a noisy engine (although I liked that but She Who Must Be Obeyed didnt), some dodgy electrics (electric windows that kept blowing fuses) and an utterly unpredictable and terrifying ability to cut out without warning and for no apparent reason. It would restart immediately but that ain’t fun in lane 3 of the M5!! Tried new injectors (not cheap), fuel pump, fuel filter, even changed the management module but nothing cured it. It wouldn’t do it for months and would then cut out twice in a week. Of course it never misbehaved when a BL mechanic drove it. I traded it in for an MG Metro Turbo. I loved my Metro – and it didn’t cut out on me! Unfortunately the rust worm got hold of it. Finally persuaded to buy an Audi. Absolutely faultless for 6 years! Got a Kia now (my third one – all totally fault free for 10 years apart from a seat belt buckle). In between I had a Chevrolet Captiva. Oh dear!

  24. These cars were much better than most people gave them credit for. In the early 90’s I had a B reg 2.0 EFI in Arum white, with the talking dashboard and no power steering. The car had had a hard life and used a lot of oil, but it went well enough and reminded me of the fun I had had owning a Dolly Sprint a few years earlier. I would happily own either again.

  25. Why BL squandered the opportunity associated with the MG Maestro by lumbering early models with a twin webbered R Series really is beyond me. They could have hung on 12 months and made it 2.0 EFI from the word go and still beaten the Mk2 Astra GTE to the market. God only knows why any development money was spent trying to make a silk purse from an E Series sows ear in the first place when they had the newer 1.7 O series available.

  26. My first fond memories of the mg maestro was when my auntie beryl had a brand spanking new one previous to that she had a maxi 2 i think it was called. The maestro was the light blue metallic and wow had the talking dashboard and the red seat belts. I was 13 at the time and used to go and stay once a year in my school holidays down south in weston beds, i can still remember the brand new smell and sitting in the drivers seat playing with the back windscreen wiper as i had never seen one before lol and of cause making miss mckensie shout all the warnings when you pressed the test button. Sadly it was forever at the local austin dealership with getting hot and not starting obviously reading on years later it was the fuel injection problems that they had at the time but i have fond memories of the little a reg beauty. She then had a austin ammbasador which she hated because of reversing and the back window not quite sure why, so that went and then came a d reg mg maestro 2litre. Sadly i was older then so never went to stay with her as much so only ever saw it briefly if she drove to derby to see us. I went on to owning my own maestro a 1.3 l as i could not afford the insurance of an mg but not to be beaten i made it in to a lookalike buying the spoilers and badges having it sprayed and colour coded. In fact it fooled many but not hardened mg enthuiasts as it did not have a rev counter it also had the mg seats as i managed to get some from a breakers yard. That car did me proud covering well over 155 k during my clubbing days up and down the country and being stopped endlessly by the cops. Now im 46 and have toyotas wanted to stay patrotic but needed reliability for my job my maestro was written off by a woman in a skoda was gutted my pride and joy. Id love another but suppose its ab pipe dream cheers matt…

  27. I had 3 of these in succession, a red 2.0 Efi and 2 white 2.0is. They were the most fun of any car I have owned. Looked like a basic shopping trolley and went like a pocket rocket. The steering on the later ones one so quick and precise, and the grunt from that engine was terrific. I was very sorry when they went out of production and wish I still had one.

  28. I purchased C110JAM in 1989, and despite watching it turn to rust in front of my eyes,(I did strip it down & respray it to no avail) and having to reassemble the dashboard to cure all of the rattles, I’ve got to say I loved driving it in spite of its faults. Great acceleration, sweet gear change, and good fuel economy, were its good points, the bad points are well known I guess; rust, rust, more rust, and that infamous oil leak from the cylinder head, though mine sealed itself if the engine got nice and hot.
    Mine did get stolen when it was literally a few rusty panels on wheels, but unfortunately they abandoned it at the end of my street so I got it back!
    I eventually sold it for £150 and replaced it with a Peugeot 309 SR I, which despite what the motoring press said at the time was never, ever a car to match the Maestro EFi in terms of performance or economy, although it’s ride comfort and handling (in the dry) were superior.
    If only they’d have built them properly more people may have forgiven the dumpy looks and bought one.

  29. I had two of them back-to-back – both red EFis. A C reg, then an E reg, with power steering.
    They are still my favourite cars – effortless acceleration qand overtaking, thanks to peak torque higher than the Escort RS Turbo’s, cobined with a close ratio gearbox, fantastic roadholding combined with a comfortable ride, great economy – just over 56mpg if you cruised at a steady 50-55mph, (which I only did the once, escorting a classic Mini up the motorway) – returning 40mpg+ easily in general driving.

    And really low running costs – about a quarter of a Mk2 Golf GTi.
    The first one did have a tendency to eat front wheel bearings – at least one of them would wear out every two years, and often every year – but they were cheap and easy to get replaced.

    Loads of space for weekends away, even at sports competitions with lots of kit. And my mountain bike easily fitted in the back – all you had to do was turn the front wheel to point down into the rear footwell – and sorted.

  30. Once the quality was improved, these really were a valid competitor to a Golf GTI and were cheaper to buy and own. Also due to being associated with the Austin Maestro, used values for the MG Maestro were always quite low. I always liked the MG in either white or British Racing Green as it suited the car.

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