Rover 2000 TC

The Rover 2000 range has grown since the debut of the single carburettor (SC) model in 1963. Automatic transmission is available on the SC, whilst those who seek more performance are now offered 27% more power from the same basic engine, through better breathing and higher compression. This version also has an oil cooler, a bigger starter motor with a tachometer, and TC badges as the only physical evidence of all this.

Let us say from the outset that the TCīs performance figures are a marked improvement over the SC. Both acceleration and top speed show marked improvements whilst fuel consumption remains unaltered so long as the extra performance is not used perpetually. However, the TC does have a harsher feel and isnīt really in pulling away from much below 25 mph (1300 rpm) in top, or idling slowly, so plenty of gear-changing is required to get the best from it in and around town. It also requires 100-octane petrol and our test car displayed a tendency to misfire (probably through plug fouling) after a spell of quiet local pottering, which could be rectified by a short burst of higher revs. We also suffered cold starting troubles and although we are sure that most of this could be eliminated by careful tuning, it remains plain that the TCīs higher tune has been obtained at the cost of some of the SCīs soft, easy-going nature. It seems important to emphasize this for whilst the stringed-glove enthusiast will take such characteristics in his stride, the buyer who is used to threading and waffling his way through traffic with six-cylindered ease would feel out of place. It is on the open road that the TC comes into its own with a high-geared, long-legged feel, quick response to the smooth action accelerator and just purposeful, subdued induction hum and exhaust burble under acceleration. The gear change now seems much more robust than on earlier cars, with unbeatable synchromesh on all forward gears. The short stick is rather notchy and obstructive, however, and felt heavy-going compared with some later designs we have sampled recently, which have a slick, lighter movement. Travel between gears is short and there is a well defined gate with no bias whilst reverse is protected by a pull-up trigger on the stick.

The clutch has a smooth take-up with no drag or judder, and good pedal size and action make up for its heaviness, by modern standards. It coped with a 1 in 4 gradient but 1 in 3 was just too much.

The fuel and oil consumption is remarkably good for a car of this performance and weight and with a little restraint, rural driving produced nearly 30 mpg although performance testing increased it to 21 mpg. This puts our previous comments about high-geared inflexibility into perspective, for waffling six-cylinder engines just donīt give this sort of fuel economy. A range of 330 miles between refuelling, with a reserve tap, emphasizes the carīs suitability for “grand touring”.

There are probably a few saloons which match or marginally improve on the 2000īs cornering agility. There are also a few that can match its level unflurried ride over rough or smooth. But for the price, we reckon the 2000 is unbeatable in combining these seemingly conflicting requirements in one extremely comfortable package. The seats go a long way to establish passenger comfort but it is maintained by absence of pitch and good insulation from road shock and noise, even at low speeds, which is the most difficult period when using radial tyres. We were most impressed by the ride over the cobbles on the noise generating surface at MIRA, and some bad ruts would pass almost unnoticed by passengers unless they were looking. The driver felt more through the steering wheel than his seat, and certain ruts and ridges could cause kick-back or a little rear end squirm.

There is only a trace of lost movement at the 17-inch rim, though, and the wheel requires only light effort for normal cornering with gentle but effective self-centring action. This produces a good feel of the front tyres gripping the road and the car corners as a model of classic behaviour, with moderate initial roll and gentle understeer if one enters a bend on the overrun, turning to gentle, progressive oversteer as the power is applied. In the wet, the limits of front and rear tyre grip are naturally reached sooner but the olderly transition occurs in just the same way, and bends can be taken at remarkably high constant speeds if you donīt upset the weight distribution by using accelerator or brakes. The brakes showed a tendency to fade from their excellent initial best in our test but the pedal still remained fairly light, whilst the carīs weight makes pressures of this order all the more commendable. For normal road use they are progressive and well up to the carīs performance. The handbrake held the car up or down on a 1 in 3 hill but was rather too close on the centre console to get a good pull angle from the driverīs seat.

From behind the wheel, nearly everything has that functional feel and appearance which makes the driving position seem more like the cockpit of a stratocruiser. The seat itself has vast fore-and-aft and rake adjustment and the rather flat cushion can be tilted back by using spacers provided in the tool-kit. In any case, ample legroom ensures good thigh support and the nicest compliment we can pay to the seat shaping is to say that you remain very comfortable and secure on long fast journeys without any exaggerated support or initial impression of sumptuousness. Vision and headroom are satisfactory without being exceptional. A rather high screen rail and thickish pillars with quarter-lights are noticeable and the near-side front wing is out of sight so it is difficult to see the side-lamp marker on that wing at night. Most drivers will see the rear extremities, though, and there is good rear vision, with a new (to Rover) flat glass dipping mirror which covers most of the rear window and gives a tremble-free image.

Variable speed wipers manage to cope with the wrap around screen edges but have to leave a triangular blind spot at the bottom corner on the driverīs side. Ours also skidded and were noisy in light rain, probably because of their firm pressure and the glass curvature. The electric washers are conveniently worked by the same control. Instruments and controls are located with regard to function before style and the designers have provided a layout which works well yet remains in good taste. The main rectangular instrument has an accurate ribbon speedometer with trip and total mileage recorders and is flanked by fuel contents and water-temperature gauges. Above are illuminated warning panels for handbrake, ignition, oil pressure, high beam, flashers and excess choke. To the left, TC models have a circular tachometer and clock which are angled towards the driver, breaking the symmetry of the layout, which serves to emphasize that they are there for a purpose, not decoration. Controls are widely spaced at steering column level along the facia and are named as well as symbol marked and shape-coded. Two stalks on either side of the column work headlamp-flashing and dipping (left) and penetrating horns and indicators (right). Heater, radio, choke and petrol reserve are placed lower in the facia centre before the gear lever.

The large steering wheel has rake but not reach adjustment and only the clock is sometimes masked from the driverīs view by its rim. The pendant foot pedals are well spaced with almost too much stretching room for an idle left foot beside the clutch. The accelerator is comfortably placed lower than the other two but the brake-pedal shaping and height causes drivers with smaller shoe sizes to lift their heel well off the floor to attack it dead-centre. The arrangement is good for heel-and-toe changes, though. Our four headlamps were still set for continental dipping but gave a spread well up to the carīs performance on main beam. Reversing lamps are incorporated in the rear clusters and work automatically in reverse gear, whilst the headlamp control has an extra position for an optional-extra foglamp not fitted in our car.

It is said that the design team responsible for the 2000 were told to style the interior like Scnadinavian furniture. After five years of familiarity we still think the result is the best compromise we know between contemporary and traditional. Leather seat trim is well matched with simulated material on armrests and non-wearing surfaces. The facia has a tasteful and practical pvc shelf and top rail across its entire width with formica wood-grained inserts between, which curve round to continue along top door rails. The headling is an attractive plastic fleck design and unfussy door trims match the upholstery and lower facia trim. Good quality bound carpet covers the floor and sides of deep footwells whilst satin-finish stainless steel tread-plates handsomely protect door sills. Everywhere there is this clever and unpretentious blend of traditional and modern materials to produce a hamonious, well-finished result.

Entry and exit is reasonable except that there is only just enough rear foot entry space, and eep footwells can complicate exit for the less agile. Once seated, you will find four armchairs with little to choose between them for comfort, especially if the front seats are set mid-way, which gives everyone of average height generous legroom. The rear seat is meant to cosset two in shaped luxury with padded rear quarter panels designed to support dozing heads but the wide centre armrest will fold away to give a third adult a temporary perch.

Two ashtrays are located at the front and rear of the centre console and a single central roof light obeys courtesy switches on all four doors, although it is distracting to drive with it on. Pop-up buttons are depressed to lock passenger doors and although there are no separate childproof locks, interior releases are so heavy to work in any case that mothers found it hard to operate them, so toddlers should be secure.

The tuned 2000 TC remains fairly quiet throughout its generous speed range, although it sounds and feels mechanically harsher at low engine speed and exhaust noise intrudes progressively after 65 mph or when accelerating. The Pirelli Cinturato tyres tend to sing at moderate speeds although rumble over coarse surfaces is well subdued. The transmission is now silent and wind noise is low until a front quarter light has to be opened. The rear swivelling windows are quieter and help the flow of air from the facia vents. These were amongst the first attempts at positive face level ventilation and work very well with a degree of direction controlas well as having a variable delivery rate linked to the heater fan. The only snags are that they cannot be aimed at side windows for rapid demisting and air flow in hot weather is less than the lastest systems achieve with extractor vents, so one has to assist by opening noisy quarter lights. The heater is very good, with instantaneous temperature response, just about adequate windscreen demisting, and excellent distribution at foot level which warms both front occupantsī feet evenly and also manages to reach rear seat passengers in sufficient quantity too, under the front seats. The two-speed booster is needed at times but at its slower rate it remains virtually inaudible.

Safety is a very prominent feature of the Rover 2000 design and is not just a tacked on after-thought. The front and the rear of the body skeleton is designed to collapse progessively on major impact and the steering box is well out of the way, high on the scuttle. Anchorage points for safety belts are built in at front and rear whilst our car was fitted with the standard front belts which incorporate adjustment for the shoulder strap. Doors are burstproof and the facia, sunvisors and front seat backs are all generously padded; front occupantsī legs are protected by rounded control shaping and parcel compartments made of padded, collapsible material. Even the friction held rake adjustment for front seats will yield in a violent rear impact to obviate neck whiplash injury which is becoming a matter for increasing concern. The AA Gold Medal for Safety was awarded to the design in 1966 and this impressive list helps to show why. One solitary criticism is that the door controls lock a bit hard and spiteful compared with some later designs. The luggage boot would be generous but for the width-robbing spare wheel location. Our car was fitted with a wheel mounting point on the lid which seems expensive but is a worthwhile extra to make room for holiday luggage. There is no sill and automatic illumination of the lined depths is provided, but we noticed a tendency for rain to drip in from the opened lid in wet weather. Inside the car there are useful lipped rear-window and facia shelves, whilst the lower plastic “bins” swallow sizeable bric-a-brac and are lockable to.

The Rover 2000 has its body panels bolted on to a strong skeleton base unit which simplifies body repairs as well as providing a secure cocoon in a crash. The underseal used in manufacture was providing excellent protection on our test car and the rusted exhaust system stood out in contrast. The car is easy to wash except that the radiator grille is a sponge destroyer and the bumpers are strongly mounted well clear of adjacent panels. Stainless-steel door window frames and wheel hub caps in a satin finish are both pleasing and durable.

Lifting the heavy bonnet, which has to be supported by a crude prop arrangement, reveals a full but orderly layout on the TC. Routine topping-up items are all easilly accessible and the air cleaner does not hinder access to the caburettorsī dashpots. Distributor, spark plugs and oil filter are especially easy to attack although the fuel pump, rear dynamo support, and starter motor are rather obsured by things above. The sensible screw pillar jack is securely mounted in the boot and locates into four points below the doors normally shielded by rubber grommets. A useful tool roll is provided, which includes spanners and a tyre pressure gauge but it does not compare with the array one used to get with earlier Rovers. There are four fuses and just one grease nipple on the prop shaft.

If you are limited to ₤1500, we donīt think youīll find another car that will match the Rover 2000īs blend of ride comfort with high cornering powers. It also offers excellent fuel and oil consumption for such a sturdy build and high performance although its high geared inflexibility makes it more suited to the open road than pottering around town. There are other design shortcomings if you search for them, like restricted boot space, notchy gear change and the interior equipment idiosyncracies we mentioned, whilst the TCīs extra cost is only worthwhile if you are prepared to live with a little more noise and temperament to get its distinct gain in performance. Yet the car has so much individuality and character that it is very easy to forgive its shortcomings as it woos you with its many virtues,

Top speed 112 mph


0-60 mph 11.7 sec.


Fuel consumption

27.5 mpg



UK 1968