Matt George picks up a new motor for commuting and towing
Confessions of the PC team’s buying habits and daily transport choices.
I wasn’t looking for the Rover – it just kind of found its way to me. On a recent photoshoot I’d mentioned in passing to arch-roverist Craig Cheetham that I was keen on a replacement for my old Peugeot 205 diesel. Having bought a trailer tent, I needed a bigger car (and one complete with a towbar) to, well, tow it with. ‘I’ve got just the thing for you,’ teased Craig. ‘It’s a Rover 600, L-series diesel. It even has leather…’ It was quite cheap, too. Craig showed me a few pics and I was sold there and then: it was only a matter of seconds before the words, ‘I’ll take it’, came out of my mouth.
All this means that, for once, Mr Cheetham is starring on the pages of Bangernomics having sold an old Rover (shock horror!) rather than admitting to buying yet another one, while its replacement is most un-cheetham-esque (see adjoining page).
Craig had only owned the 600 since February himself, so it was a bit of an unknown quantity. I changed the air filter, oil and oil filter immediately as a matter of course, then merely checked the coolant and brake fluid levels before pressing the car into service. I’ve had the car for three months now and it is performing well so far, proving itself to be a good all-rounder. The 2-litre diesel engine doesn’t offer much in the way of ‘oomph’ until you get it spinning beyond 2000rpm (hello Nineties-spec turbo lag) but will cruise all day at motorway speeds without complaint. Even better, the levels of both equipment and sheer comfort on offer inside are streets ahead of the poverty-spec ‘Junior’ trim of the 205 it replaced.
Early in our time together the front brakes began graunching when coming to a halt. This turned out to be due to the front brake pads, which were worn down to the metal… full value had definitely been had by the previous owners! I took a punt on a set of £10 NOS Honda Accord pads via ebay in anticipation and, after half an hour on the workshop ramp, we were back in business.
Since then we’ve been on holiday to Snowdon in the car and it handled the task of towing our Pennine Aztec trailer tent up hill and down dale in its stride, consistently managing high thirties MPG with the trailer on the back. The 600 is doing exactly what I envisioned when I bought it. Yes, I do have to fend off the odd brickbat about my ‘old man’s car but I don’t care. Maybe I am getting old.