SOTW: Rover 620ti

The British car industry hasn’t always been completely screwed. This car may look like a mini cab but this is a Rover 620ti - that’s ‘t’ as in ‘turbo’ - and it represents a time when we could at least pretend that Rover was on the up. To be honest we probably all knew it wasn’t but at least it gave us a glimmer of hope.

The Rover 600 was a car that was entering into road tests with the big guns like Ford and Vauxhall, but still managed to hold its head up high. It wasn’t even bad looking and managed topick up a design award or two. But the turbo version had another trick up its sleeve – it was very, very fast. Packing 197bhp in 1994 was headline grabbing stuff, bearing in mind the mighty Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth of a few years earlier made do with only 7bhp more.The 620ti was the car that would take the fight to BMW and as far as bangs for bucks it had the Germans licked.

16” six-spoke alloys? Check. Rubbish wood trim? Check. Dark half-leather seats? Check. Wheelspin of biblical proportions? Highly likely. This car would hit 60mph in seven seconds and as you hammered past people at over 145mph they could only conclude that you were extremely late for a whist drive. To use the car like a hot hatch was to miss the point, this was an effective high-speed cruiser, and the 2.0 litre engine was smooth and refined. Some people said the only way you knew you were going so fast was to look at the speedo, which probably wasn’t a good idea when the turbo was spooling up.

Who cares that it was basically a Honda in drag and you looked like a geriatric joy rider, the 620ti was a (slightly) desirable car that made people proud of Rover. We knew that with the 620ti Britain was back on the motoring map and the rest of the world knew not to mess. Of course it all went wrong not long after that but there are a few examples of this road warrior still around.

We found this example on and I can’t imagine many around this good. It has just 77,000 miles and is in gleaming ‘Nightfire Red’ which has always been my personal favourite. The seller claims it is in excellent condition and has recently had a full service. There appears to be stacks of history to back up the mileage, and it recently had a full service. The cambelt has been done recently, and there is a new clutch and exhaust. New tyres at the front are a huge bonus and should be good for another 50 miles and the other two are nearly new. There are heated mirrors, electric sunroof, ABS, the list goes on, with everything in perfect working order. This is a fast Rover that didn’t need an MG badge stuck on to give it credibility. It really is jolly tempting.

1994 ROVER 600 620 Ti 4dr Saloon £999 ono

Manual, 72,000 miles, This is the 197bhp turbo version of Rover's flagship luxury model (built to compete with BMW / Mercedes). A very refined, well equipped, quick car (0-60 in 7.0 seconds and on to 147mph) with surprisingly good fuel economy (driven well and running high octane (99ron) fuel can achieve 30-35 mpg). In

gleaming metallic nightfire red, this is a stunning example with very rare ultra low mileage. Immaculate inside & out with 6 Months MOT (12th June, 2008). Full service history including a recent full service and loads of receipts. The cambelt has also been done. New exhaust AND clutch last year (less than 4,000 miles ago) plus 2 new Pirelli P6000 tyres on the front - the other 2 are nearly new as is spare. 4 x Electric windows, electric heated mirrors, electric sun roof, ABS, remote central locking & alarm (with 2 fobs / keys). Aircon just regassed and very efficient. 16" 6 Spoke sports alloy wheels. Half leather 'Regency' interior with electric height adjustment on the driver?s seat and a brand new set of tailored floor mats. Everything is in perfect working order. A very clean, comfortable, reliable car - a pleasure to drive and a sought after model. Completely original and well loved / maintained. Surprisingly good on insurance (cost me just over £300 fully comprehensive with protected NCD). Baby on the way forces reluctant sale. £999. ono



If you are wondering what happened to the Peugeot 205 GTI we bought I’ll give you a quick update. Unfortunately we have become rather attached to it so mostly I’ve been driving it around, and it has been totally reliable. We did put it on eBay and the winning bidder backed out without viewing it, and then we learnt the hard way that putting a car on Autotrader’s website over Christmas wasn’t perhaps the best idea. However we need to sell it to move on and get something else, so if you want to bid here it is.

Comments (79) Join the discussion on the forum

  • wile7 04 Jan 2008

    Great value cars but what confuses me is that you say you found this on autotrader when your own fair site features no less than 6 600ti's starting at £375 - real shed money!

  • bencollins 04 Jan 2008


  • Fire99 04 Jan 2008

    underrated.. as bangers go. same engine as the 220 'tomcat' turbo.
    Gotta be careful on gearboxes and driveshafts.. (a mate used to sell Rovers new back in the day!)

    But like a very cheap 220 i once bought to save money on car-hire they seem to stay looking very tidy well into old age where comparable Escorts, Mondeo's etc of the same age are looking very tatty..

  • HeavyRightFoot 04 Jan 2008

    Oh dear!

    The 620ti was one of the few 600's to use a rover engine... not good!

    Whilst it was quick, the rover 2.0 litre was prone to problems (eating head gaskets etc.) and this was only made worse by the extra strain the turbo put on the unit!

    Imho the Rover 623gsi, with it's 2.3 Honda unit was the better (although slightly slower) car.

    Unfortunately they were rare as hens teeth then, so finding a good one now could be an issue!!!!!

  • off_again 04 Jan 2008

    Yeah, those old Rover 2.0 engines had a appetite for head gaskets! Especially so with the turbo with the increased under bonnet temps. But from what I saw (worked for a company that ran a fleet of Rovers), some of the engines were very susceptible while others weren't. Get a good one and they are great, get a bad one and be prepared for lots of cost...

    A real hoot in turbo form though...

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