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…