The 25 was always a classy thing. Nicely styled, great to drive and well finished with a good choice of engines. It just got dated really quickly and was marketed as family hatch when actually it was only ever a supermini. Oh yes, and brand new it was always overpriced. Never mind.
The interior is welcoming up to a point and looks smart if dated. Otherwise this little car is very agile. Its steering is quick, and it clings to corners although the car’s overall refinement means that it is cruiser rather than sporty bruiser. The ride is soft, but not too soft, and is very relaxing, around town, and on the motorway. Refinement is probably the bet thing about the 25. There are plenty of engine options which all happen to be excellent. Entry level 1.1 is lively and refined. The bigger 1.4 and 1.6 16 valves are very quick, thanks to a slick gearshift. Indeed the 1.6, is a perky performer and most importantly returns, a creditable 42mpg. It is important to make the distinction between the economical 84bhp E and the slightly more eager 103bhp L 1.4. There is a diesel model and the turbocharged 2.0 getting to 60mph in less than 10 seconds and delivers an impressive 55mpg plus. At the top of the range is the hot hatch GTi with the brilliant VVC engine. So there really is something for everyone in the model line-up. There is also a bit of raw appeal with the crude MG ZR versions which are a bit Max Power but whether the arrogant yoof actually take it seriously….
What’s bad about it?
The biggest baggage holding the 25 back has been the so-called Rover heritage.
but what does Rover really stand for? Usually retired couples flying the flag in a chrome grilled and wooden dashed UK built 200/25. Yes, once upon a time the 25 was called the 200, it was also called a family car, which it plainly wasn’t. Sensibly it was reclassified as a supermini, not least because of the cramped rear seats, but moving the car down to the next category did not mean it had a head start. The 25 is now in the most competitive part of the new car market and it is found seriously wanting. Rear legroom is restricted and makes it a pain for rear seat passengers on long jaunts. One problem for some drivers may be the low position of the steering column, even though it is height adjustable. The neat looking dashboard has switches in some odd places. Equipment levels have never been that generous so the 25 has never really been about value. Or security as there are no deadlocks so getting in is easy. Also safety levels could be higher as ABS was only standard on expensive models and passenger airbags were on the options list.
Like the 200, the 25 has proved to be reliable. No major problems just the odd build quality niggle about fit and finish. We have heard about juddery brakes that just need some adjustment and when the miles mount up the camshafts can get a little rattly. If the coolant isn’t changed often then the heads gasket can fail. Buy a full service history, possibly privately owned example and you won’t go far wrong.