Rover 45 (1995 – 2005)

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Originally launched in 1990, the previous Rover 400 was largely based on the facelifted 200, essentially a four-door version of the 200 hatchback, but was slightly longer and offered more stowage space. The primary competitors for this car were the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier, but sadly found trouble putting up a fight with them, with complains largely being based against its dated looks. Attempts were made to get the Rover 400 back into the game with a facelifted estate version in 1994, but again fell short of the goal.

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The early Rover 45 hatchback.

In 1994 however, BMW took over at the helm of the ailing Rover Group, and started work on replacing the older models from the British Leyland era such as the Austin Maestro and Montego, whilst also unleashing a new range of products to get the company back in the game, be it through brand new cars themselves, or facelifts and alterations of existing models. The Rover 400 was one of the latter, being given a complete rebuilt in 1995 as part of this major overhaul.

The 1995 Rover 400 was a more substantial and popular alternative to other large family cars than its successor was, offering impressive equipment levels, but a relative shortage of interior space because it was nearer in size to cars in the next category down. Power was derived from a selection of Straight-4 engines, ranging from 1.6L to 2.0L. Body styles were also variable, with there being the option of a conventional 4-door saloon, or a 5-door hatchback such as this.

The car however continued to maintain Rover’s association with Honda products, being

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The final edition of the Hatchback, produced from 2004, gave the car some much needed flare, but was not enough to save it or the company.

built to pretty much identical principals as the Honda Civic. As part of an agreement between the two companies, the Saloon version of the Honda Civic was not sold here in the UK, but the hatchback version was, and became quite popular. The Rover 400, although still a good car, didn’t sell as well as the Honda equivalent, but was still able to help in killing off the Montego of 1984.

The Rover 400 was built until 1999, whereupon it was rebadged the Rover 45 and given another facelift. The Rover 45 continued to be built until the Rover Company went bankrupt in 2005.