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Click for pictures“It’s stylish, refined
  and it’s
  Made in Britain”

HAVING ESTABLISHED A REPUTATION for being stylish and majestic, the Rover 75 has
won countless international product accolades. It was placed
fifth out of 182 models in the respected JD Power 2001 customer satisfaction survey, achieved high NCAP crash safety performance, and is showing good residual values.

According to Rover the 75 “redefines ‘travelling in style’, delivering advanced levels of comfort, safety, security and performance.” Is it really that good? To find out, we spent a week with a 18,995
2.0-litre V6 Club.

With distinctive styling, the 75’s substantial looks dare to be different and endow it with real presence on the road. The interior is equally impressive and wouldn’t be out of place in a top of the range Jaguar. And it’s worth noting that Rover 75 sales are second only to those of BMW’s 3 Series.

Swing open the driver’s door and settle behind the wheel. The driving position is spot on, seats (velour in our test car) are comfortably padded and well shaped. There’s a reasonable amount of space, especially width and headroom up front and in the back along with good-sized door pockets and plenty of cubbyholes. The third lap diagonal belt and headrest in the rear is functional: there’s room for three adults in the back. It’s even better for two, as the central rear armrest is as comfy as it is large, and includes a useful storage box.

There’s no denying that the 75’s cabin is attractively furnished in a very British way. The air of quality is tangible and all the essentials are present and correct. The switches for the four electric windows are exactly where you’d expect them to be on the door trim, and there is idiot-proof climate control air conditioning and a decent hi-fi.

The chrome and wood veneer and oval-themed instruments look classy and mark out the Rover as being unlike anything else on the road — just check out the classic typeface used on the cream-faced dials.

The power sunroof is a good size too, and there’s no buffeting with it open. Drivers will appreciate the height adjustable, heated seat
with lumbar support (the passenger’s is also heated) and wide footwell with a proper rest for their left foot. Radio controls are incorporated into the leather steering wheel and the column stalks are a joy to use. The central locking button is conveniently sited next to the handbrake, and you can adjust the intensity of the instrument lighting — you’d be surprised at how many executive cars don’t let you do this today!

Beneath the distinguishing bonnet lurks a 2.0-litre V6 petrol engine driving the front wheels putting out 150bhp and 136lb ft of torque. That’s enough to propel the mid-range 75 Club to a soothing 130mph, with sixty coming up in a respectable 9.6 seconds.

The 75 is amazingly relaxing to drive, the impression of being insulated from the outside world enhanced by the fluid and progressive controls for the brakes and accelerator and a slick Getrag gear change.

Styled to be elegant not sporty, the 75 owes its class-leading ride to its tremendously strong floorpan. The brief for Rover’s engineering team was to create the finest handling front-wheel-drive car in the world. Our test car rode delightfully, handled competently and for such a large car (somewhere in between a 3 and 5 Series) was a doddle to place.

Although its chassis is tuned for wafting you can, if required, travel safely at a fair clip indeed. The brakes — ABS is standard — are very reassuring, especially at speed and are certainly a match for anything in this class.

When it comes to fuel consumption the 75 won’t break the bank. We averaged 29mpg over almost six hundred miles of fairly hard mixed driving, much of it in built up areas. The well-trimmed boot seems far, far larger than one would expect when viewed from outside, and it takes a surprising amount of luggage. And there’s even a full-sized spare wheel.

So, would you want one in your driveway? Yes, because apart from being the most debonair motorcar this side of 20k, it also happens to be particularly good value. Don’t take our word for it. The 75 has just beaten off stiff competition to win “Best Used Medium Car 2002” in Used Car Buyer magazine’s annual awards.

Having sampled the Rover 75 in depth we would agree with Used Car Buyer’s Editor, Ian Cushway, who says that the 75 “is a great car that has levels of refinement that set it apart from the crowd...” and that “...compared with the middle-ranking German opposition, the 75 holds its own with a uniquely-British character.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

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Rover 75 2.0 V6 Club
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-60mph: 9.6 seconds
Overall test MPG: 29mpg | Power: 150bhp | Torque: 136lb ft

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Rover 75