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Updated 20/8/04 - I realised I hadn't added enough info after reading the comment from the Operator, hence amending this so hopefully I cover all points for anyone who read this.
I own the MG ZR 105, which has a 1.4 engine. This is the most basic of the MG class. No frills, just a basic car.
I bought it in April 2003 for £7995 with 9000 miles on the clock. To date, I've added 26,000 miles to the clock from frequent trips up and down South, and I have to say that when it comes to long distance driving, the ZR has never grumbled once. It's very very good on motorways, it can keep pace with most cars, so to this end, I imagine the MG ZR 160 would fly on Motorways!!
It's an extremely economical car also. Mainly on long distance driving, though I imagine that's the same for most cars. To be honest, it actually uses more oil than petrol! Funny I know, but true!! Since taking ownership, I've had it back to the Dealers garage twice, to query 8 different faults on it, my main gripe being the amount of oil it was getting through, which is usually a litre or so, after 500 miles. Seems like quite a lot to me, but I was assured by the Rover mechanic, that according to their manufacture spec, an MG ZR is expected to use approx 1 litre of oil to every 1000 miles. He agreed this is a bit excessive, but thinks it's a case of the manufacturer giving themselves a bit of leeway on the figures.
For anyone who's interested, the other faults I have experienced are: - Squealing breaks - even when new. - Driver's door and handle panels coming off - Front passenger seat not lifting forward (cos part of the leverage underneath the seat had snapped off) - Rear driver passenger seat plastic handle (that pushes the seat forwards) snapping on the first attempt at moving it forwards - Boot taking up to 7 attempts to shut - after slamming it really hard! - Car key not fitting the boot lock! (Turns out the wrong lock's been fitted, but they've still not got back to me on this one yet!)
The only other problem I seem to be having lately which I've not reported (and probably won't bother) is that the gearbox doesn't like being put into Reverse or 1st gear. It makes a terrible grinding noise even when my foot is pressing the clutch firmly to the floor. I usually have to pump it a few times to get it in gear. I'm no mechanic by any means, but that doesn't seem right to me!
Please don't be put off by this, cos I'm sure not all ZR's are going to be the same, especially judging by some of the reviews on this page, and apart from the last fault I mention, these don't in any way affect the driving of the car. It's served me well since I bought it, so I have no niggles about that, but I'm not intending on keeping hold of it anyway, because I feel that I need a more robust car to meet my motoring needs, so my next one is going to be a Freelander.
Other things to note about the ZR is: the most technical aspect is the central locking! It has just the basic scroll-down windows, no air-con and no sunroof, and in my opinion, £7995 is a bit of a steep price tag for this kind of spec, but anyway....
The last thing I'm not so sure about is the 'spacesaver' tyre. Personally, I'd rather have lost some boot space (or store it underneath the chassis like they do on earlier Saxo's) just for the convenience of having a proper tyre there. I found this to my disadvantage last June when I had a blow-out on the M1. The existing tyre was blown to bits so had to put the space saver on (or rather the copper did who pulled up to see what was wrong). However, the problem for me was the 50mph speed limit that comes with the spacesaver, and the fact that you're only supposed to go about 30 miles or so on it (obviously because it's only meant as a temp workaround) which is a bit of a bugger if you're 150-odd miles from home!! Luckily the car never grumbled & you couldn't really tell it was on, which was just as well really. But fully functioning tyres are something I take for granted unfortunately, and having a space saver really makes you think twice about being prepared for long-distance journeys.
Overall, the MG is quite a cute car, the 105 lacks power, but what else would you expect from the lowest spec of the range. Also, the suspension is very stiff, so you can take a corner quite fast and make everyone else on the road jealous!! I found it quite fun to drive at first, but I'm used to it now, so the novelty's kinda worn off a bit for me. The bucket seats are comfortable as well. I did find it annoying to handle in a medium covering of snow, but I think now that this could've been more to do with the tyres I had on at the time, rather than the handling of the car. After all it's the tyres that really test it's ability in that white stuff.
As for the layout/looks of the MG inside, I tend to agree with other reviewers on this site - on the outside the car looks like an MG, on the inside, it's got Rover 25 written all over it.
At the end of the day, it's down to the individual if they wish to buy one or not, so I hope this review has given you some decent advice, but it's impossible not to like an MG ZR, just don't pay out over the odds for it. Get a decent 2nd hand one, that's what I would do if I ever went for another. I would also go for a higher-spec model next time as well, because I think you get better performance, as well as more 'toys' inside.
ive wanted this car for ages...lovely review very helpful .
nereesa85 18.08.2005 22:02
I still want this car. I like it for the looks but wouldnt ever buy a new car. Seen them going on ebay for 3-4grand which seems more worth it. Boyf is a total petrol head and recomends telling MG to put a better gearbox in. (This will be expensive win some cash on lottery first.) He heared that reverse and 1st are very close together hence your problem. (No i dont realy know what he's on about either!) Great review all the detail i need and more. Welcome to ciao