Shake, rattle and stroll

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Nowadays, there are few compact saloons or hatchbacks which aren’t available without a roof: Golf, Escort, Astra, Peugeot 306, Punto, Renault 19. . . Citroen is about the only mainstream European manufacturer without an alfresco option.

Rover’s contribution to a growing market is the 200, available with either 1.4- or 1.6-litre 16-valve engines. We tried the 216, which at £15,995 is similar in price to the equivalent Renault 19/Ford Escort (and about £2000 shy of the 306, whose alluring profile comes at a price). The test car also featured ABS, a £965 option, but compensation for that extra outlay comes in the standard provision of a power hood, remote central locking with alarm and immobiliser and, usefully, a demister fan to help clear the PVC (ie easily scratched) rear screen. Unlike some of its rivals, it also has a stout roll-hoop, which does rather more for one’s confidence than it does for purity of line. Aesthetes might also wonder why the rear windows can not be retracted fully, which looks a little odd if the fronts are down.

Small beer on the surface, but given the style-conscious profile of likely buyers in this sector, such attention to detail is probably important. One has become accustomed, in recent years, to the quantum leap in build quality chez Rover. In some ways, however, clambering into the 200 cabrio is like stepping back to a time when bat-wing shirt collars were all the rage and the Electric Light Orchestra ruled the world.

It’s not that there’s anything faulty with the construction, per se, but — despite the roll-hoop and the presence of body stiffening materials which make the cabrio 35 kg heavier than its saloon cousin, the 200 suffers more than most from body flex and scuttle shake. On anything other than wellsurfaced dual carriageways and motorways, the 216 squirms uncomfortably most of the time. And you don’t expect a car to feel as though it’s pulling itself apart with only 121 bhp on tap. Small wonder there’s no 220 in the range.

Performance claims are modest (0-60 mph in around 9.0s, and a top speed of 120 mph); truth be told it doesn’t actually feel that nippy.

On a smooth surface, at around 55-60 mph, it’s pleasant enough with the roof retracted. Above those speeds, rear seat passengers start to complain about buffeting. The front of the cabin, however, is well protected against the elements, even in the rain (so long as you are moving).

Plus points? It’s user-friendly in the modern Rover idiom, with crisp gearchange, an engine that is willing within its own limitations and decent brakes. The trouble is that when you touch the brakes the whole car is likely to shimmy in protest. One is always prepared to accept compromises with a hatch-turned-cabriolet; with the Rover, you have to tolerate them to a greater degree than most. S.A.

Related articles

Related products