Rover 75

27 Oct, 2004 11:49am Henry Biggs

After years of being driven in foreign motors, the man at number 10 has at last bought British. Premier Tony Blair's official car is one of these, the new 75 Limousine.

Verdict

The standard 75's key attributes of comfort and calm remain intact in the Limousine, and the rear has all the space passengers could need. But a few more luxuries in the back would not go amiss.
And it's easy to see why, as the long-wheelbase Rover is a mighty beast. By adding 200mm to the regular car's platform behind the B-pillar, the rear compartment is now huge, with enough room in the footwells for several ministerial red boxes. At the front, the 75 V8's grille gives real presence.

Unfortunately, the extra length has been disguised inside with an ugly overhead console that plays host to a clock and reading lights, while a lidded centre armrest hides a cheap-looking cubby. Rover has missed a trick here by not giving the rear passengers more toys to play with - a single- screen DVD player is a £2,500 option. That said, the leather seats are very comfortable.

The driver is equally well looked after, thanks to a fully adjustable steering wheel and heated electric memory seats. The dashboard is standard 75, and although the sat-nav is a £2,325 option, it is one of the best systems around. On the road, the car retains the regular model's cosseting ride and good body control. While the extra weight blunts performance, kickdown response is reasonable. Lifeless but well weighted steering allows unruffled progress in town and on the motorway, where only wind noise spoils the serenity.

Key specs

* Also comes with a 2.0-litre diesel engine, from £27,295

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