1986 commercial for the Rover 200.

The Rover 200-series / 25 is a small car which was produced by the Austin Rover Group, and latterly the Rover Group and MG Rover.

There have been three distinct generations of the car, the first of which was a badge engineered Honda model, and known as the 200 series. However, both the Mark II 200 and its sister model, the Honda Concerto were built on the same production line in Rover’s Longbridge factory. The final generation was developed independently by Rover on the platform of its predecessor, and was initially sold under the Rover 200 name. After the sale of Rover in 2000, and following a facelift, the model was renamed and sold as both the Rover 25 and MG ZR. Production ceased in 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. Production rights and tooling for the model, although not the Rover name, now belong to Chinese car manufacturer, Nanjing Automotive.

The Rover 200 was originally a four-door saloon, based on the Honda Ballade, but in its second (R8) generation form it was available in three- or five-door hatchback forms, as well a coupé and cabriolet (in relatively small numbers). The final (R3) generation was available as a three- or five-door hatchback.

The original Rover 200 (sometimes referred to by the codename SD3) was the replacement for the earlier Triumph Acclaim, and was the second product of the alliance between British Leyland (BL) and Honda. Only available as a four-door saloon, it was intended to be more upmarket than the company’s Maestro model which came close to the 200 in size. Although neither of these cars were produced in the volumes that made it a serious threat to the sales success of the Ford Escort and Vauxhall Astra, their combined sales figures were a very real threat for the market leaders — and often enough to overtake the Astra. Throughout its later life, the first generation 200 Series was the 9th best selling car in Britain with between 55-65,000 sales per year.[citation needed]

Essentially, the 200 was a Honda Ballade which sported the Honda Civic-derived 1.3 L 12-valve engine, or BL’s own S-Series in 1.6 L format (both in 85 bhp (63 kW) carburettor and 101 bhp (75 kW) Lucas EFi form), the resulting cars being badged as either “Rover 213” or “Rover 216”. The Honda badged version was the first Honda car to be built in the United Kingdom (the Honda version of the Acclaim was never sold in the UK); Ballade bodyshells were made in the Cowley plant alongside the Rover equivalent, although they all used Honda engines, apart from the 216 which was a Montego S-series 1600cc.

This (original) version of the 200 series was only offered in saloon form. This version of the 213 / 216 competed against the likes of the Ford Orion, Vauxhall Belmont, Volkswagen Jetta and Renault 9, as small family saloons were still popular in the 1980s in spite of the growing monopoly of hatchbacks in this sector.

This model of car is well known as Richard and Hyacinth Bucket’s car in the BBC Television comedy Keeping up Appearances (1990-1995). Some episodes show a 213S, but later episodes show either a 213SE or 216SE.

Info taken from Wikipedia

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