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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I am a new driver and I don't really know anything at all about cars.

I've been looking at buying my first car and am coming across a lot of Rovers for around the £1000 mark. Mostly 200's and 214's. Whats the difference?

I also have been told to ask about common problems with the 200 and 214, what is the fuel consumption like and are they reasonable to insure?

Generally are they a good all-round car for a new driver?

Thanks anyone who can advise :)
 

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200 is the later naming scheme for all rover 200 series. Before about R reg they were named noting their engine sizes e.g. 214, 216 etc. They were all later changed to just 200, except the 200vi and BRM, which were named accordingly.

Head gaskets can be a problem although this is more common on the larger engined cars. Evidence of good servicing should be checked.

Fuel consumption on my 214 is 33mpg (an average including all types of driving over 20 weeks) Although this isn't brilliant, performance is above average from this car.

Although insurance group 6, my quotes have always been reasonable. My first year TPFT was £1090 with Quinn Direct, less if i'd have had pass plus.

I'd recommend them as a first car (it's mine!) as they are priced quite reasonably now, even models with a high spec. Mine cost £850 and has remote central locking, electric windows, electric sunroof, alarm, immobiliser, rear wash/wipe & steering wheel radio controls. Parts are also readily available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So essentially a 200 is going to be newer than a 214? I'm glad I asked because I'd actually assumed the opposite! Thanks.
 

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So essentially a 200 is going to be newer than a 214? I'm glad I asked because I'd actually assumed the opposite! Thanks.
Depends on the advert really. Although the later models (mark III, 95-99) have 200 on the car, they are normally still advertised as 214, 216, etc., as that states the engine size (1.4 and 1.6 respectively), and that's how it shows up on the V5. For age I'd rely more on the number plate than the number on the car to be honest. Also if the car is advertised as a 200, be sure to ask what engine size it is, if the ad doesn't mention it elsewhere.

I would advise against the 1.6 as you are a new driver (the insurance would be horrendous). The 1.4 insurance isn't necessarily that cheap though (a lot of places tried to charge me £900 for fully comp despite my 2 years no claims. I eventually got one at £645 though - look around). Make sure you get a quote from Confused or Money Supermarket before buying, just so you know what to expect. They are good at getting a cheap quote (or were for me).

The 1.4 has fairly decent mpg in my opinion, and performance is good. It handles well, and has a really tight turning circle (excellent for bay parking).

As for common faults - make sure the electrics are fine. The wiring that goes through to the boot hatch sometimes frays and shorts. If that's the problem it's a simple enough job to fix, but it's not necessarily that causing the problem. That's the trouble with electrical faults - they can be hard to trace. A short in one section can affect something completely unrelated.

In the same vein, make sure the rear screen washer works, as the pipe takes a similar path to the wires mentioned above. It's a fairly simple job, but is a great bargaining chip if it is faulty, and shouldn't put you off a greet purchase if everything else is perfect.

Also, if it has an electric sunroof, look for signs of leaking.

Lastly, the head gasket has a bit of a bad rep, so ask if the head gasket has been changed (especially if the car's around the 50-60k mileage mark, when they seem to go). It's not definate that the head gasket will go (some people have Rover's over the 100k mark on their original head gasket), but if it's been done that's one more piece of mind. I've never had head gasket problems yet, but if you do you're looking at roughly £400 for a garage to sort it. Also, if it does go and you drive without it, it'll wreck the engine, so you'd have to have it towed away by AA or a friend if that happened.

Apart from those look for the usual bits (full service history, last cambelt replacement, etc.).

To be honest, although there are a few horror stories about Rovers (especially the head gasket), mine (and a lot of other people)'s have been nothing short of completely reliable. It'd make an excellent first car (I'd have loved it as a first car if I'd been able to afford £1000 for my first car). Don't let anything I've said above put you off buying one - just look for one that's been cared for and you'll be fine.

Last advice - check Autotrader.co.uk, and drive more than one example. I always like to try one from a second hand dealer first, as it's easier to say 'I'll go away and think about it' to them - I don't like jerking private sellers around like that if I have no real intention of buying for that time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's brilliant thank you!

Would you advise going for fully comp insurance at this stage? Most people I have spoken to have told me to go for third party, fire and theft.

Based on this most of the Rovers I've found on Autotrader (that is indeed where I've been looking!) would cost me around £500 to insure.
 

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TPFT only covers theft (obviously), and anything you crash into. If you have TPFT you'd have to pay for all repairs to your car should you have an accident, so if you go for that option keep in mind that you could be left without a car or at the very least out of pocket a fair whack should you have an accident. Most people who have TPFT have a £400 car that would be worth less than any insurance excess if they had to make a claim anyway (ie. not worth fully comp).

Overall, TPFT is a bit of a gamble, but you might think it's worth it. I would say if it's for the sake of less than £250 difference on the insurance, go fully comp without question. For anything more I personally would still go for fully comp (and if you can afford it I'd advise you to), but you may have a different view.
 

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if you go for a 214 (or if you prefer, a "1.4 engined 200", same difference), then go for the 16V model, not the 8V (been there done that).

difference is essentially 30bhp which is a LOT on a small car.

insurance is only 1 group higher.

performance difference is.... well the figures speak for themselves:

1.4 8v @ 74bhp
1.4 16v @ 103bhp (iirc)

Chris
 

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In the early days, Rover recommended changing the cam belt at 90,000 miles. That's pushing it, if you ask me, and a change at 60,000 (or even less)is more realistic. Make sure (if you can) that it's been done on any car you're looking at; if it hasn't use it as a bargaining point, or get them to do it as part of the deal.
 
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