Fleet News

Repositioned Rovers turn up the fleet heat

ROVER has announced that its facelifted 200 hatchback - the 25 - will be priced between £8,295 and £14,995, including a three year/60,000-mile warranty first introduced by the manufacturer in the 75 range. When it goes on sale on November 25, the car will be available with a choice of six engines - 1.4 16v, 1.6 16v, with either 83bhp or 101bhp, a 1.8 16v Steptronic, 2.0 turbodiesel and 1.8 VVC - and five badge identities - i, iE, iL, iS and GTi.

The engine range will be added to in the middle of next year when Rover plans to introduce a 1.1-litre entry model in SE and i trim. Each derivative will be available in three or five-door styles. First unveiled to the public at the London Motor Show last month, Rover says the 25 is priced and positioned as a 'premium supermini', competing against cars like the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 206 and aimed at buyers who want a 'distinctive and sporting hatchback, with size, performance and feature advantages'.

Comparing the 25 to competitors, the 206 and Polo, the results are mixed. In terms of base models, the 25 1.1 SE at £8,295 is beaten by the Polo 1.0 L at £8,240, but is cheaper than the 206 1.1 L at £8,500. The Polo also comes with a three year/unlimited mileage warranty, electric headlight and door mirrors and Sony stereo. The 25 1.4i at £9,395 beats these two competitors. The Polo 1.4 L is £9,495 and the 206 1.4LX is £10,000, but comes with an electric sunroof. The 25 1.6 iL, however, costs £12,645 compared to the Polo 1.6 CL at £10,745 and the 206 1.6 XS for £11,450.

Rover will not release price and specification details of its 400 replacement until closer to its on-sale date of January 13. However, it is thought the car will cost between £11,995 and £17,995, aimed at competing with the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra. And Rover is striving to finally lay to rest the notion that the 45 is meant to be a serious contender in the upper medium sector, a belief which has plagued fleet acceptance of the 400 since its inception.

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