I currently run a Rover 75 diesel and last year it only just passed its MOT because of the dreaded tin worm in somewhere crucial under the car. I’m scared that it may not pass another year and I’ll have to condemn it to the graveyard in the sky. The problem is in replacing it – what should I do? I could pick up a late 75 (2005) for a couple of grand or less, or do you think it’s worth spending a few thousand more and getting something else? My current 75 has covered almost 150,000 miles in getting on for two decade’s worth of use, and aside from the rust that was discovered at the last MOT, it has been faultless. All I’ve had to sort is the front springs on the suspension, changed the clutch and soldered the wires underneath the seat for the airbags to stop the light coming on. So come on Doc, should I go for another, younger model, or should I move onto something else. The big question is what?
Peter Popple, Shepperton
Good to hear from you. I can’t remember the last time I received a letter or email about the Rover 75, so this is quite a trip down memory lane. Firstly, I see no harm in sending your 75 for another MOT. For the sake of £50, you’ll be able to identify any major problems with the car, so you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about the car’s future. You mention it has been faultless aside from the rust, so it probably deserves one last shot at the MOT. You say the tin worm is ‘somewhere crucial’ – can it be welded? If it’s cheap and safe to do so, I’d get it done. The 75 diesel is capable of achieving 200,000 miles, if maintained correctly, and it sounds like yours has been. Send it for an MOT and let me know how you get on.
You’ve given me an excuse to look at the classifieds, which is never a bad thing. As you say, it’s possible to buy a late Rover 75 2.0 CDTi for less than £2,000. When you consider the quality of the engineering and the classy cabin, it’s hard to think of many big cars that offer such good value for money. Diesel engines account for 50 per cent of the used car stock online, so you’re not short of choice. The 2.5-litre V6, which is my second favourite engine in the Rover 75 (don’t tell Ian) commands a higher price, so the diesel offers the best value. The thing to bear in mind is that another 75 could be suffering from the same rust issues as your current car. It would be terrible to scrap a car you know so well, only to discover that the car you bought needed the same level of work.
If you’re going to move on to something else, assuming you’re after a diesel up to £2,000, have you considered a Toyota Avensis? I think you’ll appreciate the quality of engineering, not to mention the ride comfort. It won’t be as plush as your Rover, but you’re unlikely to experience any mechanical issues. They’re only cheap because used car buyers prefer things with a premium badge. Alternatively, the Lexus IS 220d might satisfy your luxury desires, while offering the same reliability as the Toyota. Then there’s the Jaguar X-Type diesel, which would retain an element of Britishness. Finally, for a touch of understated elegance, I’ve always quite fancied an early Volvo S60 2.4 D5, but it might not float your boat.
Before you do anything, give your old Rover 75 another chance. If it’s running well and you can get it through another MOT for less than £500, you’ll have £1,500 left in your pocket for another day. How does that sound?
Keep me posted. Thanks for the excuse to spend an hour looking at used cars.