23 May 2020

More than an old car #144: Rover 216

It is always nice to come across cars that others may not immediately consider as 'actual classics', either because of their unreliability or overall 'nondescript-ness'. This pristine 1993 Rover 216 Cabriolet is a personal favourite of mine just because not many would care about it!

The Rover 200 series (known as the 216 in certain export markets) arose as a result of an alliance between British Leyland (parent company of Rover) and Honda back in 1984, when there was a strong demand for small family saloons. Both BL and Honda contributed to the design of the car and its engines, especially for the 2nd generation R8 Rover 200. At that time, it was the first car to be introduced by the newly-privatised Rover Group.

It was initially designed as a 5-door hatchback, similar to the Austin Maestro and based off the Honda Concerto. Some time later, a 3-door hatchback, coupe and convertible version was released by Rover, without any Honda car equivalent. In 1993, it underwent a slight facelift, featuring modified front headlights and a new grille. A variety of engines were available, but units in Singapore were powered by a 1590 cc Honda D16A6 i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 193 km/h with an acceleration of 8.9 seconds [0-100 km/h]. The 216 cabriolet was 4220 mm long, weighed 1112 kg and had an estimated fuel consumption of 8.5 litres/100 km.

Production of the Rover 216 ended in 1995, where it was succeeded by the R3 Rover 200. It was first released to the Singapore market in June 1993, but as it was unable to gain much traction among customers, it faded into obscurity. Very few units are known to exist here, although there is a red one that has been put on sale for quite a long time.

It is really a quirky classic that is unloved by many, but as I aim to cover all types of old cars, it is always nice to cover some left-field vehicles. Since no one would bother about them, why not I fill in the gap? After all, they are part of Singapore's car heritage in their own unique way. Maybe it will help you to be more observant on the roads, who knows what rare cars you may spot!

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