The City Rover was developed as a collaboration between Rover and the Indian car maker Tata. It was launched in 2003 and had only a short time in the market before Rover went down the tubes in 2005. Consequently as a second hand car it is a relatively rare find, but if you are looking for an economical town and city car and do not intend to do much rural or motorway driving, then it could be a possible choice.
Although it carries the Rover badge, really the car is a Tata Indica with a few Rover extras including restyled bumpers and nose; different wheels and a suspension that is more suitable for English roads than for Indian. The car was not an immediate success; due to a large extent to its somewhat uncompetitive price tag, especially for an Indian car with a few English whistles and bells.
The car was famously reviewed by the BBC programme Top Gear and the test driver was an under-cover James May who was equipped with hidden cameras. He was forced to go under-cover as Rover was unwilling to cooperate, which aroused suspicions.
So let us summarise some of their major conclusions. The interior quality was considered quite poor and dated and generally poorly equipped; there is only one airbag. The gear shift is also clunky and old fashioned. The ride quality is both bouncy and jarring. The upside is that the car is reasonably spacious and despite it being only 84 bhp, torque is reasonable and the car pulls well, though it is quite noisy. The final conclusion made by James May was that the City Rover was the worst car he had driven for Top Gear.