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CUT YOUR ROVERHEADS. (some text hidden)
By Andy Enright
Introductionword count: 83
Amazing as it seems, the Rover Cabriolet really did live on to 1999. Based on the Series II Rover 200, which in turn was based on the Honda Ballade, the Cabriolet always needed a refracting telescope to spot the cutting edge, but it was nevertheless an amiable mode of perambulation. Given that most cabriolet owners are undemanding sorts, can a used Rover ragtop be forgiven its somewhat antiquated underpinnings? It certainly makes more sense as a used buy than it ever did new.
Modelsword count: 11
Models Covered: Second generation 200 (Cabriolet [1996-1999] 1.6 petrol [base, SE]
Historyword count: 163
The 200 series was originally launched in October 1989 in five-door form, the cabriolet model being subsequently introduced back in October 1992. Based on Honda Concerto underpinnings, the 200 series was the result of one of the more successful alliances Rover forged, and was viewed by many industry observers as the car that saved Rover. In 1995/96 it was replaced by an all-new model which subsequently was developed into the much better known Rover 25. At the same time, the 200 Series Tourer, Coupe and Cabriolet were retained, but were shorn of their '200' designation in order to differentiate them from the newer, rounded model. The Cabriolet gained a new dashboard and a 111bhp K-series engine, launched in two trim levels, standard and SE. A version with a stepless CVT gearbox was also launched, but these remain a rare sight on British roads. The 200 Cabriolet, like the Tourer and Coupe models, finally met its maker in 1999 courtesy of BMW's steely-eyed rationalisation.
What You Getword count: 237
The Rover Cabriolet is something of an oddity. It's not sufficiently stylish to rival the admittedly more expensive Peugeot 306 Cabriolet, but it has a relaxed personality that makes it a refreshingly mature alternative to the increasingly hard-edged convertibles that were borne from the roadster boom of the mid-nineties. Whereas sport-oriented Rover buyers opted for the MGF, the Rover Cabriolet was left to plough a mellower furrow, thus ensuring that few used examples will have been thrashed to within an inch of their lives. Space in the rear is reasonable, although headroom is a tad pinched with the hood down. Drop the hood and you've got 93 million miles to play with, the downside of which is quite significant wind buffeting. The hood itself is manual in the standard model and electric in the SE, but neither version is particularly slick. Likewise the fascia shows where modern rivals had forged ahead, the dashboard was all-new for 1996, but still looked slightly jumbled. Little of this will matter if you buy the Rover for the long term. It was never particularly modern in the first place, so it's best to think of it as the fast track to entertainingly nostalgic obsolescence. Viewed in this manner, it has a certain period charm that shouldn't really appeal in a car built as recently as 1999 but somehow manages to worm its way into your affections. Competent? Not really. Loveable? Yes.
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