As I mentioned in another post, stopping to shoot a CC in Europe can be a bit challenging, especially in the cities. But I spotted this rather unusual Rover hatchback, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Ford/Merkur XR4Ti in profile, on the outskirts of a little town. I barely recognized it as I drove by, as these Hovers (Honda-Rover mashups) are not my forte. Which was the main reason I stopped for; it’s not like I’m going to see one again soon, if ever.
The low hood line and cowl give away the the Rover 200’s origins, which was the 4th generation Honda Civic (EC). It was the third generation of Honda-Civic based cars, starting with the Triumph Acclaim. The second generation (SD3) was called Rover 200, and was essentially a badge-engineered version of the Hinda Ballade, a variant of the gen3 Civic. Aspects of its design were collaborated by both company.
This generation (R8) appeared in 1989, as a three and five door hatchback. Perhaps oddly, it was sold alongside Maestro. The sedan version, intended to be a bit more upscale in ambitions, was called the Rover 400.
The badging of the sporty versions (220) reflects the use of Rover’s T-Series 16 valve 2.0 L four instead of the Honda 1.6 in the lesser 200 models. It made a pretty ambitious 136 PS (134 hp), but there was also a Turbo version, which made 200 PS (197 hp), and was perhaps the first small hot hatch with 200 hp.
There was also a coupe version that appeared in 1992, the Rover 200 Coupe (tagged 216 or 220, depending on the engine). Although still based on the fourth-generation Civic, its coupe roof looks somewhat similar to the 5th gen. Civic coupe that also appeared in 1992. But that Civic coupe was not sold in the UK/Europe; just the hatchbacks.
It wouldn’t be hard to misidentify this as a Civic interior, but there are differences too. The UK Integra, if you like.
In fact, that’s what this car is somewhat analogous to, except that its roof is taller, and has that Rover engine instead of the Acura’s little high-winding V-TEC 1.6.
1981 Triumph Acclaim by Roger Carr