Rover Group (1995–2000)|
MG Rover (2000–2005)
|Predecessor||Rover 200 (SD3)|
|Class||Small family car|
|Related||Honda Civic, Honda Domani|
The Rover 400 (later the Rover 45) is a series of saloon car, estate car and (later) hatchback car models, produced by the British vehicle manufacturers Rover Group and later by MG Rover, under the Rover marque, from 1990 until 2005. The car was mutually developed during Rover's collaboration with Honda; both generations of the car were derived from re-developed Honda chassis, first the Honda Concerto and later the Honda Civic/ Honda Domani.
Rover 400 (R8, 1990–1995)
- See also: Rover 200 / 25#R8
1.4 L K-Series I4|
1.6 L I4
2.0 L M-Series I4
1.8 L Turbo Diesel
1.9 L NA Diesel
The original 400 Series, launched as a four-door saloon in early 1990, was simply a saloon version of the second-generation Rover 200 Series hatchback, both sharing the codename R8 during development. Like the 200, the model was designed in collaboration with Honda (who produced the corresponding designed-for-Europe Concerto model) and both models would share production lines at Rover's Longbridge facility. It used the same core structure and mechanicals as the Honda, but the rear-end redesign of the glasshouse and body were unique to Rover. Interior trim and electrical architecture were all shared with the "R8" Rover 200.
An estate—or station wagon—version was subsequently developed by Rover Special Products. Badged as the 'Rover 400 Tourer', this remained in production alongside the second generation 400 until 1998, as no estate version of the later car was built.
The R8 Rover 200 and 400 were the first applications of Rover's K-Series family of engines (appearing in 1.4 L (1,396 cc) twin-cam 16-valve form). The 1.6 L (1,590 cc) version used either a Honda D16A6 & D16Z2 SOHC or D16A8 DOHC powerplant, while the 2.0 L M-Series unit from the 800-series followed soon afterwards (1991) in the sportier versions. The Rover-engined models drove the front wheels via jointly developed Peugeot/Rover R65 gearboxes (1.4 litre) and licence built Honda-designed PG1s for the 1.6 and 2.0-litre versions. The Rover 420 GSI turbo and GSI Sport turbo, produced in limited numbers, were equipped with the turbocharged 197 bhp (147 kW) Rover T-Series engine.
Also available were two PSA (non-electronically controlled Lucas CAV injection pumps) Indirect injection diesel engines, with the choice of naturally aspirated 1.9-litre XUD9 or turbocharged 1.8 XUD7T engines. They were class leading in their refinement in Peugeot and Citroen installations, but less refined in the Rovers. These engines were installed instead of the non-electronically controlled Bosch HPVE Direct Injection Rover MDi / Perkins Prima used in the Austin Maestro and Montego, because that engine, with its noisy combustion but lower fuel consumption, was deemed too unrefined for the new models.
A mid-life facelift (also applied to the Rover 200) saw the reintroduction of the Rover grille which had also reappeared on the R17 facelift of the Rover 800. This change was achieved without significant change to the remaining structure, but provided a more distinctive Rover "family look" and establish a certain distance from the Honda Concerto.
Rover 400 (HH-R, 1995–1999)
1.4 L K-Series I4|
1.6 L K-Series I4
1.6 L D-Series (automatic) I4
2.0 L T-Series I4 2.0 L Turbo Diesel I4
The second generation 400 Series, codenamed Theta or HH-R, was launched in the summer of 1995 as a hatchback and later a saloon. This time it was based on the Honda Domani, which had been released in Japan in 1992, and was sold as part of the European Honda Civic range in five-door hatchback form. It was no longer as closely related to the 200 Series, which was revised independently by Rover but still shared many components with the 400. Power came from 1.4 and 1.6-litre K-Series, 1.6-litre Honda D series SOHC (Automatic gearbox only) and 2.0 L Rover T Series petrol engines, as well as a 2.0-litre L-Series turbodiesel from the more luxurious 600 Series.
The Rover 400 might have been marketed as a small family car, it compares closely in size and engine range with contemporary models such as the Ford Escort and Vauxhall Astra. Instead Rover priced the car to compete with vehicles like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra.
This was due as Rover's only offering in the large family car segment at the time was the ageing Montego and this gap in the company's line-up needed to be filled. A saloon version was later introduced for the 400.
The related Honda Civic was not sold as a saloon in the UK, although a four door version was available in other markets. This helped to expand the appeal of the Rover model up-market into the executive car segment, and to better differentiate the two cars.
Rover 45 (1999–2005)
- See also: MG ZS
1.4 L K-Series I4|
1.6 L K-Series I4
1.8 L K-Series I4
2.0 L Diesel I4
2.0 L KV6 V6
In the autumn of 1999, the 400 Series was facelifted (under the codename Oyster) and renamed Rover 45. Although instantly recognisable as the same car which had been marketed as an inexpensive alternative to other large family cars during the later part of the 1990s, Rover management now realised the error of their previous strategy and it was priced/marketed as a small family car. From the summer of 2001, a re-engineered hot hatch version of the Rover 45 was sold as the MG ZS.
The 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines were carried over from the 400 Series, but the 2.0 four-cylinder petrol unit was replaced by a 2.0-litre V6 from the larger Rover 75 – although this power unit was only available on saloon versions. The 45 came equipped with the better seating of the 75 and whilst the 400 models handled very well, the suspension was tuned to give much better controlled ride characteristics with quicker steering. This gave the 45, especially post-2003 models which shared suspension mods with the MG version, handling as good as most and better than some of its rivals.
The 45 was available with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) supplied by the German manufacturer ZF Sachs AG which had previously been used in the MGF. This particular design of CVT consists of an oil-cooled laminated steel belt (with external oil cooler) running on variable pulleys. MG Rover had many CVT failures returned to the supplier. Rover's own manual gearbox factory had been retained by BMW during the sale which created MG Rover. After buying its own gearbox designs from BMW for a time MG Rover eventually sourced an alternative supplier and later Rover 25/45 models up to 1.6-litre were fitted with Ford gearboxes.
Initially, the Rover 45 sold reasonably well. The revised model boasted improved equipment levels, comfortable interior and reduced prices, compared with the preceding 400 badged models. While the asking price was now in line with other small family cars, the Rover 45 began to lose market share. Being based on the 1992 Honda Domani, the 45 was by now an outdated car compared with contemporary offerings from other marques like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra as well as the Peugeot 307, Fiat Stilo and Volkswagen Golf.
The Rover 45 was Britain's best selling new car for the month of April 2000, which coincided with the highly publicised sale of Rover to the Phoenix Consortium. Sales soon settled back down to normal levels, and the 45 was never able to seriously compete with the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra in terms of popularity.
A facelift in the spring of 2004 was MG Rover's last effort to boost sales of the Rover 45, including a new front and rear end, a re-designed dash, revised suspension settings, improved equipment and lower prices, necessitated by the end of Domani production in Japan. Production of the car stopped in April 2005 due to MG Rover's bankruptcy.
The Rover 45 design is controlled by Honda, and the company is believed to have seized schematics and tooling relating to the 45 and ZS shortly before MG Rover was sold to Nanjing Automobile Group.
Rover 45 models were tested on three separate occasions by Thatcham's New Vehicle Security Ratings (NVSR) organisation and achieved the following ratings:
|01/00 - 12/02||Rating|
|Theft of car:|
|Theft from car:|
|01/03 - 03/04||Rating|
|Theft of car:|
|Theft from car:|
|04/04 - 05/05||Rating|
|Theft of car:|
|Theft from car:|
|Years||Model & Transmission||Engine||Power||Torque||Top Speed||0–100 km/h||Economy
|1998–2000||1.4 8v Manual||1.4 L, I4||74 PS (54 kW/73 hp)||117 N·m (86 lb·ft)||166 km/h (103 mph)||13.4 secs||39.0 mpg||175 g/km|
|1995–1999||1.4 16v Manual||1.4 L, I4||103 PS (76 kW/102 hp)||127 N·m (94 lb·ft)||185 km/h (115 mph)||11.0 secs||41.0 mpg||175 g/km|
|1999–2005||1.4 16v Manual||1.4 L, I4||103 PS (76 kW/102 hp)||123 N·m (91 lb·ft)||185 km/h (115 mph)||11.2 secs||40.0 mpg||168 g/km|
|1995–2004||1.6 16v Manual||1.6 L, I4||111 PS (82 kW/109 hp)||145 N·m (107 lb·ft)||190 km/h (118 mph)||10.0 secs||39.0 mpg||178 g/km|
|1995–2000||1.6 16v Stepspeed||1.6 L, I4||115 PS (85 kW/113 hp)||143 N·m (107 lb·ft)||190 km/h (118 mph)||12.0 secs||32.0 mpg||212 g/km|
|1997–2005||1.8 16v Manual||1.8 L, I4||117 PS (86 kW/115 hp)||160 N·m (118 lb·ft)||195 km/h (121 mph)||9.3 secs||38.0 mpg||174 g/km|
|1999–2005||1.8 16v Stepspeed||1.8 L, I4||117 PS (86 kW/115 hp)||160 N·m (118 lb·ft)||184 km/h (118 mph)||10.3 secs||33.0 mpg||203 g/km|
|1995–2000||2.0 16v Manual||2.0 L, I4||136 PS (100 kW/134 hp)||185 N·m (137 lb·ft)||200 km/h (124 mph)||9.0 secs||32.0 mpg||210 g/km|
|2000–04||2.0 V6 Stepspeed||2.0 L, V6||149 PS (110 kW/147 hp)||185 N·m (137 lb·ft)||200 km/h (124 mph)||9.5 secs||28.0 mpg||234 g/km|
|1995–1999||2.0 TD 86 Manual||2.0 L, I4||86 PS (63 kW/85 hp)||170 N·m (125 lb·ft)||169 km/h (105 mph)||13.0 secs||49.0 mpg||168 g/km|
|1995–1999||2.0 TD 105 Manual||2.0 L, I4||105 PS (77 kW/104 hp)||210 N·m (155 lb·ft)||185 km/h (115 mph)||10.4 secs||53.0 mpg||166 g/km|
|1999–2005||2.0 TD 101 Manual||2.0 L, I4||101 PS (74 kW/100 hp)||240 N·m (177 lb·ft)||185 km/h (115 mph)||10.6 secs||52.0 mpg||150 g/km|
|2002–05||2.0 TD 113 Manual||2.0 L, I4||113 PS (83 kW/111 hp)||260 N·m (192 lb·ft)||190 km/h (118 mph)||9.8 secs||50.0 mpg||150 g/km|
Replacement model projects
During the late 1990s, replacements for the Rover 25 and 45 models were developed by Rover Group under the codename R30. Intended for launch in 2003 as the Rover 35 and 55, these would have been based on an all-new platform. At launch these would have used K-series engines, but new Valvetronic engines were anticipated to be introduced by 2006. The R30 project was cancelled when BMW divested its ownership of Rover Group in 2000.
Following the termination of the R30 project, from 2001, MG Rover planned to replace the 45 with a model range based on the Rover 75 platform. Collectively referred to as the RD/X60 project (sometimes also written RDX60), the range was intended to comprise the following variants:
- RD60: Rover hatchback
- X60: MG hatchback
- RD61: Rover saloon
- RD62: Rover "tourer" estate
A preview of how the RD62 "Tourer" might appear was given at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show in the form of the Rover TCV (Tourer Concept Vehicle) concept car.
During the design process, MG Rover's design partner Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) went into administration. MG Rover lost access to most of the computer-aided design work for their new vehicle. Efforts were made to reclaim these from the administrators however the resulting uncertainty and delays made it impossible to progress with the project.
The abortive 2004 SAIC deal was to have included bringing a replacement for the ageing 45 to market, and the RD/X60 was a likely candidate for this. Ultimately no such joint venture was entered into. After MG Rover's collapse SAIC bought some of the company's intellectual property and released a concept called the Roewe W2. Like the RD/X60 this was partly based on the Rover 75 platform. It is reported the W2 derived from previous work on the RD/X60 project. The W2 entered production in 2008 as the Roewe 550. A hatchback derivative of the 550 was announced in 2009 as the MG6.
- "New Vehicle Security Ratings | Car Search | Car Results | Thatcham MIRRC". Thatcham.org. Retrieved on 2011-07-15.
- "Rover 400 Hatchback (95-00) Car Review - Facts & Figures". Parkers. Retrieved on 2011-07-15.
- "Rover 45 Hatchback (04-05) Car Review - Facts & Figures". Parkers. Retrieved on 2011-07-15.
- "Models - Rover 25". 3.mg-rover.com. Archived from the original on 2005-11-19. Retrieved on 2010-08-12.
- Adams, Keith (2008-09-20). "RDX60". AROnline. Retrieved on 2009-03-23.
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