Rover CityRover

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Rover CityRover
2004 Rover CityRover.jpg
Manufacturer Rover Group / MG Rover
Production 2003–2005
Assembly Longbridge, UK and TATA India, Pune, Maharashtra, India
Designer I.DE.A Institute[1]
Body and chassis
Class Supermini
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Related Tata Indica
Tata Indigo
Engine 1.4 L I4 (petrol)
Transmission 5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,400 mm (94.5 in)
Length 3,703 mm (145.8 in)
Width 1,924 mm (75.7 in)
Height 1,500 mm (59.1 in)
Kerb weight 1,040 kg (2,293 lb)
Predecessor Rover Metro

The Rover CityRover is a supermini car marketed by the British manufacturer MG Rover under the Rover marque, between 2003 and 2005. Launched in the autumn of 2003, the car was a rebadged version of the Indian-developed Tata Indica.[2] Its interior space and performance were considered good for a small car in contemporary road tests, but its lack of quality, below par road handling and high price were not well received.[3]

Production of the CityRover ceased in April 2005, along with the rest of the MG Rover range, when the company went into receivership.

Technical details[edit]

The CityRover was offered with only one engine: a Peugeot derived 1,405 cc (1.4 L) 4-cylinder, 8 valve engine producing 85 bhp (63 kW; 86 PS) and 88 lb·ft (119 N·m).[4] It could accelerate to 60 mph in 11.9 seconds and had a top speed of 100 mph (160.9 km/h).[5] It could manage up to 46.6 mpg.

The CityRover was manufactured by Tata Motors at their Pune factory in India.[6] Alterations for the British market included new bumpers, Rover badge grille, 14" wheels and new suspension settings.[7]


The high driving position and large glass area affords drivers with good all-round visibility, while the rear lamps are mounted high up on the structure so other road users can see them more prominently. Doors are fitted with anti-intrusion bars with child locks at the rear; the steering column is collapsible and a driver airbag is fitted as standard to all models, with a passenger airbag standard on the top trim level and available as an option on the entry the mid-range trims. All seats have anti-submarine ramps and 3-point seatbelts, with the front getting belt pre-tensioners and height-adjustable head restraints. ABS is included on Style models.[8]


MG Rover was reported to be paying Tata £3,000 for each car and, despite each model featuring a Rover corporate nose and revised suspension settings, the buying public was not impressed by the £6,495 starting price.[9]

In early 2004, Rover refused to lend a CityRover to motoring-show Top Gear to test it. In order to answer the question of "just how bad could it be?" James May went undercover and test drove one at a dealer while carrying a hidden camera. May went on to say, "that is the worst car I have driven on this program".[9]

Sales were well short of MG Rover's targets, so the CityRover was given an upgrade for the 2005 model year, with more standard equipment. Prices were reduced by £900, confirming that the car's previous prices had not been competitive.[10]

According to car reviewer Parker's, the CityRover was the worst-rated Rover car from MG Rover, with a rating of 2 out of 5.[11] In October 2013, Top Gear magazine placed the CityRover on its list of "The 13 worst cars of the last 20 years."[12]


Despite the media criticism of the CityRover, one (the upgraded 2005 version) was chosen in 2006 to be used as the reconnaissance vehicle for the 2007 Himalayan Challenge Endurance Rally. With only minor modifications, the car was driven over the 7,000-mile (11,000 km) planned route from London to Delhi by University of Southampton students Chris Cardwell and Nick Clarke without any major problems, including crossing significant distances of desert and a number of mountain ranges. The reasons given by the event organisers for the choice of vehicle were that it is "the cheapest brand new car you can drive in Britain", and to prove that the route could be driven in an ordinary small car, without the need for a large four wheel drive vehicle. Following completion of the race, the car was shipped back to the UK and sold to a prospective competitor, with the intention of using it on the event in September 2007. To the contrary of what the Top Gear show stated, the City Rover has been widely praised by its owners in terms of reliability. Even twelve years after the first ever City Rover in 2003, it is still listed in the top 100 most reliable cars on the reliability-index list.[13]


  1. ^ Aucock, Richard. "On test: Rover CityRover". MSN Motors. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Cheetham, Craig (December 2003). "Auto Express". CityRover Sprite 1.4i. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Rover CityRover 1.4 Style review - living". Autocar. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Rover CityRover 1.4 Style review". Autocar. 27 January 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Rover CityRover 1.4 Solo 5d – Facts and Figures". Parkers. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Tata Motors rolls out first CityRover". The Hindu Business Line. 16 September 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Hudson, Paul (3 January 2004). "Relax, it's a Rover". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Marriage of convenience? Austin Rover Online
  10. ^ "Rover to cut CityRover prices - What Car?". 2004-12-21. Retrieved 2009-05-10. [dead link]
  11. ^ Parkers car reviews - Rover
  12. ^ "The 13 Worst Cars of the Last 20 Years". Top Gear magazine. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  13. ^ Young, Philip (2009). How to Build a Successful Low-Cost Rally Car. Veloce Publishing Ltd.