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Rover Montego (1984 - 1995)

BRITISH BARGAIN (some text hidden)

BY JONATHAN CROUCH

Introductionword count: 67

It's easy to see the Rover Montego as an outstanding used buy. Plenty about, cheap prices, lots of dealers, spares easy to come by. Remember on the other hand, that the Montego comes from an era that earned Rover the kind of reputation it has since successfully lived down. Shop carefully and buy a later model however, and you could still end up with bargain family motoring.

Modelsword count: 40

Models Covered: SALOON, ESTATE 1.3, 1.6, 2.0, 2.0 TURBO DIESEL [BASE, CLUBMAN, L, LX, LXI, HL, SL, SLX, SLXI, SL, SLX, SI, GTI, MAYFAIR EFI, GSI, VDP EFI, MG EFI, MG TURBO, D CLUBMAN, DL, DLX, DSL, DSLX, D COUNTRYMAN]

Historyword count: 281

The Montego was the saloon version of the Maestro launched in 1984, a year after its hatchback counterpart. Early Montegos (originally badged as Austins and MGs) were an embarrassment, plagued by unreliability and niggling faults. Later models carried the Rover badge. As with so many Leyland/BL cars, the company eventually got the product right - after it was too late to win most disgruntled customers back. But get it right they did and later models were very good - and British of course, from badge to bootlid. Early on, there was a 1.3 but it wasn't popular and died in 1988 with a facelift that brought the Rover badge and smooth, rather than ribbed rear lights. Better to go for a 1.6, which was offered with a bewildering variety of trim levels. You had Clubman, L, LX, HL, SL, SLX; all are now priced pretty much identically. Estate buyers additionally had the Countryman estate with its extra row of rear facing child seats in the estate compartment. The 2.0-litre trim line-up was equally confusing and the used trade attaches equally little significance to it. Thus, you'll pay much the same whether you go for L, LX, LXi, SL, HL, SLX, SLXi, Si, GTi, Mayfair or GSi. Interestingly, the identically engined MG Montego is often valued at less than the standard cars. The turbo version (which had so much torque steer it would almost swap lanes under heavy acceleration) is even less prized. Perhaps the best Montego derivative was the turbo diesel version launched with a British Perkins engine in 1988. The estates are particularly well liked and are the only Montego variants that still fetch reasonable money on the used market.

What You Getword count: 27

A lot of car for the money. Higher-spec models were quite well equipped with items such as power front windows, mirrors and sunroof and six-speaker sound systems.

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