Fleet News

Rover 75 Tourer 2.0 CDT Club auto--7,400 miles

Review

##tourer--right##IT'S odd how people react to car styling. Our long-term Rover 75 saloon attracted favourable comments from young and old alike, many likening it to the Jaguar S-type.

But extending the boot and adding a tailgate and the estate version, or Tourer as Rover prefers to call it (a throwback to the days of the firm's German ownership?), seems to change people's perception of the vehicle, changing it into a 'family wagon'.

I still think it looks distinctive and strong. As mentioned on previous long-term tests of the 75, Rover has done a brilliant job with the retro styling, particularly inside.

One area where you do notice this is the high waistline. After stepping out of a Peugeot 607, the Rover at first seemed claustrophobic compared to the French car's large glass area. You soon get used to it, though, but the shallower windows and rear head restraints tend to hamper visibility, so it's nice to see our car has the parking distance sensor fitted. Once you're confident in trusting the bleeps, it's easy.

My only real complaints regard the diesel engine. The 2.0-litre powerplant is based on BMW's unit fitted to the 320d but with the addition of common rail injection.

Performance is leisurely, especially with the automatic transmission fitted to our car. When using kickdown you literally floor the accelerator and wait - so now if I need to accelerate quickly, I drop down gears manually.

The manual saloon we have on our fleet with the same engine is much better but in speed performance, is not as good as the BMW and is light years away from Peugeot's HDi and even further from Volkswagen's PD units.

On the plus side, refinement is exceptionally good and the car is cosseting and comfortable. Fuel consumption suffers because of the lack of performance - you tend to push it harder to wring every ounce out of it. Driving with a light right foot and using the cruise control, the best I've managed is 41.7mpg - quite respectable - but drive with the slightest hint of urgency and it drops to below 35mpg.

On a recent 400-mile round trip to Wales in one day, the 75 Tourer proved itself magnificently. It cruised at the legal limit on the motorway in a quiet and fuss-free manner and on the narrow, twisting Welsh roads its handling and comfortable suspension came into their own, with the automatic transmission taking the strain out of what would have been frequent gear-changing.

Our car comes loaded with extras - alloy wheels £350, automatic transmission £1,175, parking aid, rain sensor and trip computer £400, navigation system £1,450, integral load restraint net cassette system £150, £525 electric sunroof, £150 side head impact protection and pearlescent paint £425 - adding another £4,625 to the on-the-road price of £19,620 and making a total of £24,245.

For any company car drivers wanting a stylish, well-built, estate car that combines the best of yesterday's styling with today's hi-tech manufacturing techniques, they should seriously consider the 75 - but if choosing the diesel I'd try to get it chipped or simply change your driving style!

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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