The Rover 200 Series, and the later Rover 25, were a series of Rover-branded compact cars produced by the Austin Rover Group, and latterly the Rover Group, and then MG Rover.
There have been three distinct generations of the Rover 200. The first generation was a four-door saloon car based on the Honda Ballade. The second generation was available in three or five-door hatchback forms, as well a coupé and cabriolet (in relatively small numbers). Its sister model, the Honda Concerto was built on the same production line in Rover's Longbridge factory. The final generation was developed independently by Rover on the platform of its predecessor, and was available as a three or five-door hatchback. After the sale of Rover in 2000, and following a facelift, the model was renamed and sold as both the Rover 25 and MG ZR. Production ceased in 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. Production rights and tooling for the model, but not the Rover name, now belong to Chinese car manufacturer Nanjing Automotive.
Rover 200 (SD3, 1984–89)
The original Rover 200 (sometimes referred to by the codename SD3) was the replacement for the earlier Triumph Acclaim, and was the second product of the alliance between British Leyland (BL) and Honda. Only available as a four-door saloon, the 200 series was intended to be more upmarket than the company's Maestro and Montego models, which the 200 Series came in between in terms of size.
Essentially, the 200 series was a British built Honda Ballade, the original design of which had been collaborated upon by both companies. Engines employed were either the Honda Civic derived E series 'EV2' 71 PS (52 kW; 70 bhp) 1.3 litre 12 valve engine, or BL's own S-Series engine in 1.6 litre format (both in 86 PS (63 kW; 85 bhp) carburettor and 103 PS (76 kW; 102 bhp) Lucas EFi form). The resulting cars were badged as either Rover 213 or Rover 216.
The 213 used either a Honda five-speed manual gearbox or a Honda three-speed automatic transmission. Interestingly, the British-engined 216 also employed a Honda five-speed manual gearbox, unlike the S-Series engine when fitted in the Maestro and Montego. There was also the option of a German ZF four-speed automatic on some 216 models as well.
The Honda-badged version was the first Honda car to be built in the United Kingdom (the Honda equivalent of the 200 Series' predecessor, the Triumph Acclaim, was never sold in the UK). Ballade bodyshells, and later complete cars, were made in the Longbridge plant plant alongside the Rover equivalent, with the Ballade models then going to Honda's new Swindon plant for quality-control checks.
This model of car is well known as Richard and Hyacinth Bucket's car in the BBC Television sitcom Keeping up Appearances (1990–1995). Early episodes show a light blue 1987 216S, but later episodes feature a 1989 216SE EFi model (re-badged for continuity as a 216S, and with the same numberplate).
Trim levels (as of July 1989) were:
|Engine & Transmission||S||SE||Vanden Plas||Vitesse|
|213 – 1.3 L 5 Speed Manual||✓||X||X||X|
|213 – 1.3 L 3 Speed Auto||O||✓||X||X|
|216 – 1.6 L 5 Speed Manual||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|216 – 1.6 L 4 Speed Auto||X||O||O||X|
X = Unavailable ✓ = Available O = Optional