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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Local ZS 180 Observations.

Had a nice surprise when I turned up for work this morning. Parked next to a shiny new Le Mans Green ZS180 on a personal plate. Looked superb in the bright December sunshine. I like these vibrant Zed colours! Rover should have moved away from those duller understated tones years ago. Nearby was a Blue ZR and a silver one two. Last week I saw a Red ZS there and I know there's a red ZT about the place sometimes too! This is good to see as talking to work colleagues, far too many appear determined never-MG-R buyers, but chose cars I consider very dull. Obviously good to see some colleagues are sufficiently impressed with MG-R's latest efforts. Rover saloons are in good numbers too. Let's hope this trend continues and is the same elsewhere in the country. Two years ago that same car park would have maybe only one or two newish Rover products .....

When the Zeds first appeared two summers ago, they were a fairly rare sight on local roads and for several months, I only saw one or two Big Wing ZS180s.... I suspect they were probably dealer demo cars. Later a few ZTs were seen regularly followed by some ZRs. Now the ZRs are a common sight as are the ZTs but ZSs are now well outnumbered. Neighbour's driveways have more MG-R products on them now than I ever remember before.

Be interested to hear how the numbers of Zeds show in other areas. Is the Big Wing ZS180 the rarest one elsewhere too?

I shall keep an eye on local car auctions in the coming months. Be interesting to see if any newish MG-R products show up there .... In the past, many manufacturers disposed of over-production surplus registered cars there sometimes. When that happens some superb bargains can be had so much so that dealers attending tried to get the ordinary punters excluded from such auctions.

John McFeely

John, the 180 like mine in Cambridge area is still very rare.. sed to see another Blue one regular not seen that for a while.
I know of another blue one and have seen a couple of yellow ones!

A fellow Cambridge MG club member has a ZS 120,(in green) the hatchback, its a leased company car.

ZRs, quite a lit of those, mostly yellow!
then blue, and a few Silver.

Hardly any red ones of any model!!

Same in my area, still very few ZS's of any type. More and more ZR's appearing all the time though, including a very nice Le Mans Green ZR160 down the next street. That colour suits the ZR above all other models IMHO. As far as the ZT is concerned most seem to be Anthracite. Have noticed that there seems to be a general increase in Rover models as well, or it could just be that I am now more aware of them having driven Renaults for the last 2 cars, before the ZS, and thus not really been looking.

P Wilkinson

I had the first F in the car park at work - within 6 months another 4 appeared. Back down only one now (not mine). I've now got the only ZS in the car park - a ZS 180 in "lemon" green.


The ZS model is pretty rare in these parts too - although there are plenty of ZRs, and an increasing number of ZTs.

Why are ZS's so rare? I suspect for the same reason why I couldn't persuade my wife to get one (we ended up with a very capable and comfy 75!) - the terribly dated interior - and especially the ancient, nasty hard plastic Honda derived dash.

If MGR could do something about this dash, the ZS would start to fly out of show rooms, primarily because it really is a hoot to drive. Unfortunately this seems unlikely given the expense of doing this coupled to a short life span (although it's production will - hopefully - be shifting to Poland in a couple of years).
Rob Bell

>>I shall keep an eye on local car auctions in the coming months. Be interesting to see if any newish MG-R products show up there ....<<

John - might be worth your while popping down to Westbury car auctions. The MGR car fleet (the ones owned by employees of the company) gets disposed of there once a month (I don't recall the precise day though - drop them a line if you are interested).
Rob Bell


Thanks for that useful MGR fleet disposal titbit of info. I will check out that Westbury auction early in the new year. When I closely checked these auctions some years ago, as I usually do prior to a planned purchase, ARG and other makes used several auctions in various parts of the country for fleet and surplus disposals.

BTW, when I started this thread I mentioned a single trophy blue ZR in my firm's car par. 0/10 for observation on my part as what I thought was only one trophy blue ZR was in fact two cars as they were both parked close together today, one a ZR160. Even better evidence that this car is fast becoming very popular with punters. Other near new Rovers are turning up in the car park to. A year or so ago, any newish Rover product was a rarity there .....

Some neighbours in my street have also decided to fly the MG-R flag ... deserting their Fords and Vauxhalls which they'd had for years .... over twice as many MG-R products as a year ago; R25s, 45s and a couple of 75s. My other half's friend has a newish R25 too - after several years of French car ownership .... (she was very unlucky with her cars - French cars are not usually that unreliable ...) When I was given a lift in her R25 recently, it went so well that I was surprised to learn that it was only a 1.4 considering there were 4 adults in the car at the time. She is delighted with the car ... good eh!

Hope these favourable observations continue ...

John McFeely

John, my wife absolutely loves her Solar Red R25 (purchased new in September).

I checked it over thoroughly when we picked it up from the dealer (Luffield @ Loughborough) and it was faultless in every wayand I am pleased to say still is. Hopefully I am not tempting fate.


Is the ZS dash/interior really so bad ?
Is the ZR much better in these respects?
If not,why so few ZSs ?
My feeling is that we need to have a 140+ HP version of the K series engine to make the product more attractive-at least thats what is mainly holding me back.

The ZS versus ZR interior hmm... which is better? That's down to personal opinion. In mine, the ZR interior is just about adequate, whilst the ZS interior is terrible.

Whilst both interiors are old, at least the ZR interior was trying to banish horrid straight lines and small-radius edges. No such luck with the ZS, whose centre console also looks like an after thought.

Remember, I am, in fact a fan of the ZS!

Hopefully the TCV-based ZS replacement will be lightyears in advance of this bench mark.
Rob Bell

Another vote for the little Rover - the 200 in our case. Had one from new for 2 years and it was a great drive and reliable car.

The downside was however the VERY low rent interior. We had the version with the full leather seats, electric everything, automatic etc and yet your eyes and fingers could not help but notice the cost saving attempts.

The worst was a plastic "flash" on the automatic gear lever. Every time you changed gear you felt this cheap, nasty, lack of attention to detail, plastic flash. Every time I felt it I thought of all the little buggers in Rover who must have tested the design and everyone of them must of had to change gear and everyone must have felt the flash, yet no bugger thought it worthwhile to design it away.

Swapped the 200 for a 75 and the difference is stark. Not only can I found no nasty little cheap bits but rather you find details that are strictly un necessary but delightful!

Please, please MGR remember the quality lessons from BMW and not the how to build cheap from Honda / BMC.

I remember a documentary about Rover and BMW and they asked some young apprentice toolmaker what the difference was. His answer was BMW wanted to use the best component for a job and Rover wanted to use the cheapest - out of the mouths of babes....


Patrick Beet

Some manufactures try to impress with interiors which quite frankly are just a little OTT.

I prefer the interior of my ZS180 much more than say the interior of the the mgtf. I test drove one with the dashboard in that awful 'beige' and so much more plastic too..... YUK!!

The exterior looks of the Zed's are very much in'yer face, this I feel does not need to be carried over into the inside of the car!


Looked over the interior of an anthracite ZS yesterday & did not find it so bad:the dark alu strips etc have improved the dash,seat inlets a bit flashy & maybe too hard for comfort ?
Can people tell me which cars are much better in these respects ?(other than the ZT)

In this area (especially with Kernahan's in Witney a main MG agent) the number of new Zs on the road is amazing to what it was like say 9 months back. I would say it is now impossible to travel a few miles in Oxfordshire without seeing at least a handful of Zs. Strangely, re the comments above, the ZS 180 is not uncommon round here and seems a popular choice...
Incidentally, re fleet sales at auctions where is the Westbury car auction located?

Westbury motor auctions brook lane westbury wilts - you really must get a grip with a search engine John ;-)

I regularly use search engines but lazy in this case. Get (got) the answer quick here anyway! Reason I asked was the way Rob Bell mentioned it (as he's in London I wasn't sure if Westbury was name or place). I know Westbury in Wilts well from years back with Marcos Cars. Just doesn't seem to be the kind of place for large car auction (obviously it's changed a lot) plus there are lots of other Westburys.
Thanks for answer all the same.

oddly there is a branch of Universal Salvage there too :-)

This thread was discussed between 02/12/2002 and 22/12/2002

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