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The New Rover 25

OCTOBER 6, 1999 - A clear Rover family identity is established with the launch of the new Rover 25 and with it the Rover 45, both echoing the distinctive four headlamp frontal style introduced with the Rover 75, with each retaining its own individual character.

The Rover 25

Photo: Rover

Particular emphasis has been put on chassis development, to maximise driver involvement and enjoyment. The percentage of new components, which apply to the interior, exterior and major engineering changes, totals 40%.

The Rover 25 is to be priced and positioned very much as a ‘premium super-mini’. It will compete directly with cars like the VW Polo, Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 206 and aimed at younger buyers who want a distinctive and sporting hatchback, with distinct size, performance and feature advantages.


To create the new Rover 25 style, Rover designers took the widely-admired shape of the previous model and gave it greater presence and character. The deeper grille is flanked by Rover 75-style headlamps.

Smoothly-reprofiled front and rear bumpers have extra bump absorption capability built in, and larger door mirrors, with handsome body-coloured housings, give a better rear view. Adding a classic touch to the tailgate is a new  chrome-finish numberplate light plinth / handle, designed for easier grip.


Following a similar approach to customer choice as introduced with the Rover 75, the 25 offers seven levels of trim, three of which have a ‘sports’ theme. These appointment levels are clearly reflected in the upgraded interiors of the new range, which have a completely new selection of high quality fabrics.

To improve occupant comfort all front seats offer improved lateral support and a special new sports seat design is deeply shaped for secure location. Rear seat passengers also benefit from improved seat shaping for better knee-room and trim style, as well as a new folding centre armrest and rear head restraints on higher specified models.

The two sports style interiors emphasise the fresh design of the new range, with a two-tone fabric style or a fabric/leather combination, both available in four colourways. There are four interior option packs available to upgrade the various derivatives, including a leather seat pack that can be applied to any model. New front door casings incorporate deeper storage bins and new cloth inserts. On 3 door models there are new, more luxurious soft-feel rear quarter casings with cloth inserts and new storage pockets flanking the seat cushion.


Substantial changes have been made to the powertrain for Rover 25. All engines available at launch are engineered to meet the strict EU3 emissions standards due in 2001. This includes an uprated engine management system, with full sequential fuel injection and direct ignition on all the 16 valve K series engines. The former 1.4 litre 8 valve 75Ps engine has been replaced by a new 84Ps version with 16-valves, while the full 103Ps unit continues in its latest form.

Apart from the VVC variant, all the petrol engines have extended 15,000mile service intervals to reduce running costs.

A new 100Ps version of Rover’s L series direct injection ‘drive by wire’ electronically controlled turbo diesel engine has been developed for the 25 and 45 ranges. This uses a new high pressure injection system with maximum torque raised by 30Nm to 240Nm (a 14% increase) for even more vigorous performance; at the same time its combined economy figure improves from 50.1 mpg (5.6 L/100 km) to 55.4 mpg (5.1 L/100km).


On the transmission side, the significant development for Rover 25 is the availability of the latest Steptronic version of the proven CVT stepless automatic transmission. This is offered with the 1.8 litre K series engine to provide a sporting, high performance car that offers the combination of relaxing two-pedal driving in traffic and sequential manual shifts between six ‘fixed’ ratios on the open road. In between the two is a ‘sport’ mode with fully automatic operation.


Major revisions to the suspension and steering for the Rover 25 have given it extra stability and an even more sporting, fun-to-drive character. All models have substantially uprated springs and radically changed damper characteristics, plus other roll-control measures. All wheel widths go up by half an inch, and the 25 sports model with VVC engine moves up from 15 inch to 16 inch diameter alloy wheels. New tyre specifications have been selected to optimise the benefits of the new chassis settings. An entirely new power steering rack has faster gearing and new valving providing superior responsiveness and feel. The result has been to transform an already enjoyable vehicle into one that competes with the world’s most highly regarded small sporting saloons and coupes.


In addition to upgraded headlamps, larger door mirrors and tauter handling, the safety improvements made for the Rover 25 include a larger 45 litre driver’s airbag, seat belt load limiters (with all airbag installations) and high-elongation seat belt webbing. Control of the airbag and seat belt pretensioners is now via the latest impact sensing and deployment technology.

The front seat head restraints have been re-designed for more effective positioning and rear head restraint availability is new. The standard fitment of ABS anti lock braking has been extended to all 1.6 litre and 1.8 litre petrol versions, with optional fitment available for all other models.

The new front end structure has reinforcements to improve impact absorption, while new Rover 75-style L-shape door striker hasps and revised fixings for the side anti-intrusion beams enhance anti-burst capability and post-impact integrity.


Many improvements for the electrical system of Rover 25 are the result of technology transfer from the Rover 75.

The four H1/H7 halogen headlamps perform as well as they look, generating up to 60 percent more light power from H1/H7 halogen technology.

The uprated electrical system incorporates the 75 style fusebox and is designed to cope with extreme temperature (50C) market requirements. An LCD display is built into the revised instrument pack, to cover odometer/tripmeter readings and, where applicable, Steptronic mode/gear indication. Electric rear windows have been made available for 5-door versions.



  • Twin headlamp design similar to Rover 75 with better road illumination

  • New bonnet and wings, with a deeper chrome grille

  • All new bumpers incorporating indicators around the bumper inserts

  • New style oval door mirrors, most versions in body colour

  • Five new designs of alloy wheels available

  • Chromed tailgate handle incorporating Rover shield



  • A 45 litre driver’s airbag fitted in place of 30 litre airbag for increased safety

  • New design of seats with new seat foams

  • Door casings are of a new design, introducing new curves to the door shape

  • Storage facility including non-slip mat for non passenger airbag specification

  • LCD odometer/trip within new instrumentation

  • Load limiting seat belts, where passenger airbag is fitted reduce injury



  • A range of seven engines including a new 1.4 84Ps.

  • Increased torque of award-winning L Series diesel (up from 210 to 240Nm)

  • Increased choice of automatic - now 1.6 and 1.8 with Steptronic controls

  • Improvements to engines, engineered for EU3

  • Uprated suspension providing enhanced sportier handling


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