Fleet News

Rover 75 Tourer 2.0 CDT Club auto - 9,311 miles

Review

##tourer--right##EVERYONE has their own problems, some real and some imagined. But when an event as cataclysmic as the suicide attack on America happens, it puts our own trifling concerns right into perspective.

The day after the awful event (which incidentally occurred on my 49th birthday and while I was playing host to two American friends), I happened to be proof reading a page in which a road tester was bemoaning the fact that a particular car he was driving did not come equipped with air conditioning as standard.

It made me stop and think hard as I pictured the thousands of innocent victims still buried in the ruins of the World Trade Centre and I apologise if the odd mistake or two crept into the columns of last week's issue. I'd have to admit that my mind wasn't 100% on the job in hand.

So where does this leave the average UK company car driver who is about to choose a new vehicle for the next three years?

It is becoming increasingly likely that action against at least one oil producing country will ensue - so such drivers would be well advised to opt for a car which offers good fuel economy. The spectre of petrol and diesel shortages must surely be looming large. And nowadays, fuel economy means diesel.

While our Rover 75 Tourer isn't the most economical diesel on the fleet at present at 41.2mpg (our Renault Laguna estate has a combined economy figure of 51.3mpg), it certainly stands head and shoulders above our Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE estate, a petrol model, which struggles to top 32mpg. So this car must be in the frame for any forward-thinking fleet user.

There have been innumerable discussions, not least among the testers here at Fleet Towers, about the Rover 75's looks. My view is that the car is a classic - upmarket, quintessentially British and deserving its nickname of baby Bentley. The estate version doesn't cut quite such a dash as the saloon model, but then if you want to move, say, a washing machine from A to B, you would surely forgive its looks and instead concentrate on the extra space at the back (if anyone is thinking of trying to cram a washing machine into the back of a Rover 75 saloon, by the by, my advice would be not to bother!).

Once inside, this car took me straight back to a sunny day at the seaside in 1958 with my father, mother and sister. We didn't have a car of our own then, but dad hired a Rover 90 as a treat one day and - loaded down with buckets, spades, egg sandwiches and home-made ginger beer - we all had a grand old time.

The Rover 75 retains all the hallmarks of this classic old model - loads of wood, big comfortable seats, dials set on cream backgrounds et al -but of course with the addition of a host of hi-tech goodies that were only dreamed of back then.

The diesel's relatively lazy output (it can't hold a candle to some other common rail diesel units) coupled to an automatic gearbox gives the car a 0-60mph times of 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 115mph but somehow it doesn't seem to matter - this car was built for comfort and economy, not speed.

I do have a couple of problems with this particular vehicle, however. Its high waistline and small side and rear windows mean rearward vision is almost non-existent.

Thank goodness for the reversing alarm, or I would have hassles galore squeezing it into the tight parking spaces that exist outside my city centre home. The other problem is this car's dirty brown colour. One of my colleagues has a Rover 75 as a company car and, clad in a glittering ivory white, it looks superb. My car, on the other hand, always seems to look dirty, even when it has just come out of the jet wash at Sainsbury's.

The result of this, as our disposals expert Martin Ward warned in the June 28 edition, is that the muddy brown Rover is likely to make significantly less money at disposal time.

So as MG Rover struggles to re-establish itself in a world in which, suddenly, nothing ahead is certain, I'd recommend the 75 as a fleet choice, but not in this particular hue.

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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