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.