I hired a Rover 75 for the Dublin trip about 10 days ago, and it was really quite nice, in an unexpected sort of way, especially considering the car in question was a diesel automatic, and a little underpowered (hire companies aren't going to buy the hot engined cars). On Wicklow mountain roads, it stuck to the tarmac like glue, and was one of the nicest driving cars I've been in (I fell in love with my Audi after 50 miles in the driver's seat), while being rock solid on the Irish motorways.
Today, I passed its cousin on the way to the pub at lunchtime. The dealership across from our offices has one for sale, new, for a quite reasonable price. Only, it's not a 75, it's an MG ZT+ 180, which is the sporty rebadged version, with the better ride, bigger discs on the bakes, etc. etc. And it's still remarkably unremarkable - it really doesn't look much different, except for the subliminal rear spoiler, the MG badges, and the 18" alloy wheels (apparently, smaller wheels wouldn't accomodate those brake discs ...). I think it's a very pretty car, in a classic Bentley/Jaguar sort of way.
Checking out the reviews, they say lots of nice things about it. The biggest complaints are:
- Firm ride. I like a firm ride, and some reviews have counted this as a plus.
- Not enormously fast. Well, 140 mph top speed will do me, and a 0-60 of sub 9 seconds is not at all bad for an automatic saloon.
- Depreciation. It's one of the fastest depreciating cars (so bad news new, excellent news second hand) around, wedged in with the Aston Martin Vantage and Jaguar X-Type.
The one on offer is, though, not at full list price. It's at about 30% off, so the usual new car "the value dropped 30% the moment I drove it off the forecourt" syndrome should be tempered somewhat.
Indeed, checking out the prices of second-hand ones on Yahoo, there's a four year old ZT (not the ZT+) on offer for the same price. (A 4 year old car with 30 miles on the clock? What happened, they registered it, and it then got walled in when they rebuilt their showroom?)
Am I mad to go for this? If I buy this and run it for 5 years, I reckon the per-year depreciation should be perfectly acceptable - I do much less mileage than I used to, so it'd be a low mileage sale. And it's not as though it's going to be impossible to keep going - there are a lot of places around that will be able to service it, and parts won't disappear that fast with the number that were built.
So, I'm extremely tempted. Of course, I'll have to try it out, and all sorts of things might scupper it. But I reckon it could be a really nice car.
I've never bought a new car before.
*OK, maybe not. However, Nanjing bought the Rover company, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp bought the copyright for the 75, and Ford has just bought the Rover name. Confused? You will be.