Fleet News

Rover 45 iXS 1.6 5dr - 3,450 miles

Review

CRITICS of the Rover 45 and its predecessor said that it had been pitched into the wrong sector when the firm attempted to argue it was an alternative to the Ford Mondeo. But, although it is now pitched more suitably against cars like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, in many ways the 45 on our long-term test fleet is more than a match for some larger contenders.

The Rover 45 is an accomplished performer - it is surprisingly good on twisty roads and it is also an adequate motorway cruiser, with excellent seats that ensure you feel absolutely fresh after a long journey. Despite its clearly smaller size when parked next to an upper medium rival, I believe that for a driver, the Rover 45 could provide an alternative to some larger competitors.

The only problem is that as a lower medium contender, its running costs could also be compared to the upper medium sector, with residual values of 30% after three years/60,000 miles and CAP Network estimates the Rover would cost 25.3 pence per mile to run over that same operating cycle. A Ford Focus 1.6 Ghia costs less, has higher residual values and costs 23.4 pence per mile to run, a difference of more than £1,100 over three years and 60,000 miles.

But there is an image problem to contend with. My opinion is that this car should be viewed as a quality alternative to the crowd, something with character that provides large car performance, to a degree, in a lower medium package.

But when I parked at a friend's house recently, she admired the car at first and then asked what it was. On hearing the word 'Rover', she said: 'Grandad car'. My heart went out to the new owners of Rover and I understand their eagerness to use the MG badge on a range of sports models as the key to the heart of younger drivers.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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