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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any truth in the MGF showing on this Auto Express Survey?

British cars are last for reliability;Japanese models take 18 of top 20 places in survey

BRITISH cars took the chequered flag yesterday as the worst in the country for reliability.

When it comes to breaking down and faults, cars made in the United Kingdom by Rover, MG and Vauxhall fare consistently badly, according to the nation's drivers.

However, Japanese cars come out top of the reliability stakes, claiming 18 of the top 20 places in the Driver Power 2002 survey by Auto Express, the motoring magazine.

The survey was compiled from the experiences of 15,000 motorists, making it the biggest car reliability and satisfaction survey the magazine has carried out.

The most reliable car is Toyota's RAV4, just ahead of the Mazda 626 and another Toyota, the Yaris supermini, which was European car of the year in 2001.

Honda also scored strongly with three models, the Civic, CR-V and Prelude, in the top 10 for reliability.

At the other end of the scale, three of the four most unreliable cars were made in the UK, including Land Rover's 4x4 for the fashion conscious, the Freelander.

When it comes to ''build quality'', things failed to improve. Ten of the 20 cars at the bottom of that table were also made in Britain - including the big-selling Vauxhall Vectra, Rover MGF and Land Rover Discovery.

David Johns, editor of Auto Express, said: ''The findings clearly show that if you want a car that will go on mile after mile, year after year without ever letting you down, you have to buy Japanese.

''Sadly, it's not just reliability where owners find British cars falling short of the standards set by the Japanese and Germans. Build quality too is well below average, with nearly half the bottom cars in our survey coming from the UK - including far too many Rovers and Land Rovers for comfort.

''The Big Four, Ford, Vauxhall, Renault and Peugeot/Citroen, should be concerned by the results of our research. Unlike German and Japanese cars, which set the pace in key areas of importance with motorists, they were found languishing at the bottom of our charts with depressing regularity.''

German car makers took the honours in build quality with the *** 5-Series claiming the number one spot, while Audi had four cars in the top 10.

Survey respondents were asked to rate all areas of their vehicles, from ride to handling, practicality to reliability and comfort to build quality.

Despite poor showings in some categories, there was good news for British car makers in the Driver Power findings, as Rover's impressive 75 topped the rankings for best ride quality and comfort.

Nearly one in four drivers reported electrical problems with their cars and 9% said their cars had suffered engine problems.

All 20 of the worst cars in the reliability chart are either British, French or Italian models, with the Rover 800 posting the lowest score.

Junior MPVs head the practicality rankings with the Vauxhall Zafira taking the top spot ahead of the Renault Scenic, Citroen Picasso and Mercedes A-class.

The survey found that latest models are not necessarily the best - the Rover Mini finished ahead of the new *** version in both handling and steering.

In the performance stakes, the Subaru Imprenza took pole position, ahead of the Porsche Boxster, Toyota MR2 and, in a surprising ranking, Skoda's Octavia. Worst performing were the Peugeot 106, Land Rover Freelander and Ford Escort

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Thumbs down article.

If you look at the survey the 5-series in #1. Who runs this car - companies mainly? Meanwhile the MGF is run by individuals. My point is that we deal with the "Workshops" and not some lacky, which means if you have a bad experiience, you will no longer "rate" your car. Plus the BM* has a lot of snob appeal, consequently folks always say good things regardless.

Get a bad experience and hey presto. Personally, I believe the report to be biased drivel yet again. What do we think?

Premium Member
12,407 Posts
Fully agree.

Wish I was in a position to drive to the office and when I had finished find that the car was back, fully serviced and valeted, and at the companies expense.

5,419 Posts
How things change. It wasn't long ago that Top Gear via their JD Power Survey placed the R75 in the top 10 as best in their survey. Is it really that bad!

They need to have a chat with your's truely. 2 days off the road in 2 years and that was for routine servicing. Unreliable - think not!!!!

Need I say more - Auto Express. I have only bought 1 copy of the magazine ever. Poor mans version of Autocar if you ask me.


1,708 Posts
BTW AutoExpress is a German publication.
I personally know F**d owners who have had heaps of grief and have filled in these surveys, telling lies about how good they are. Some sort of self-justification, I guess.....

A tale is going around work about a guy who has just bought an A3, which started spewing oil from the head at a vast rate. When lifted, they found it had not even been machined!:eek:

The Scarlet one returns...
1,040 Posts
This kind of press coverage makes me fume, especially if you have been around the MGF scene as long as i have, the very same publications which are slating the F now were singing it's praises in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

How can a car which was so hyped up and universally priased become so bad so suddenly? The answer is it can't. So, either the press is lying to us all now, or it was back then, either way the press has zero credibility on this issue.

Some facts.

Yes the MGF isn't the worlds best built car & yes it can suffer from the odd inherrant problem. With the exception of HGF, none of the problems are serious, in fact i would even venture to say that any MGF owner who has even a minor amount of car ownership experience would not be bothered by them.

The 8 'common' problems are:

1. HGF (we shall come to this in a minute).
2. Inner rim tyre wear.
3. The odd leak.
4. Flickering brakelights.
5. The odd squeak or rattle.
6. Split rear screen / broken rear screen zip.
7. Manual wing mirror adjuster comes off.
8. Petrol Smell in the cabin.

1. Head Gasket Failure (HGF) is potentially a serious problem, caused mainly by a batch of poorly fitted cylinder liners on a number of early cars (one of the four liners was a couple of microns out of true, causing pressure on the gasket and eventual failure), this has been largly eradicated through better QC at the engine plant, an altered gasket and steel locating dowells (all since MGR took over). Note that this problem very rarely affects any of the other smaller capacity K series engine, only the 1.8, an engine which was built under ***s tenure! So much for imported German quality control. Other factors in HGF are coolant leaks and poorly carried out coolant changes (due to the complexity of the MGFs cooling system), the former will affect any ageing car and the latter is a dealership issue. 6½ years with my MGF has resulted in exactly ZERO head gasket failures.

2. Inner rim tyre wear is due to poor tracking and ride height settings. MGFs were delivered to the dealership with the Hydragas suspension pumped right up for ease of loading and off loading on the transporter. The dealership, as part of thier PDI, are responsible for setting the ride height and tracking. A number of dealerships have been lax in this regard and this has lead to a number of warrantee claims for new tyres (the vast majority of which were honoured and therefore skewed the warrantee claims statistics). A potential MGF buyer should be made aware that the Hydragas system is also temperature sensitive and thus they should have the ride height and tracking settings checked at least bi-annually. Scarlet had this to start with, but was cured by my dealership. She has since been lowered and now i live with the problem. On average i get around 20,000 miles out of a set of tyres, but when they go, it is always the inner rims that are worn out.

3. Early (3 seam) hoods do not fit as well as later (1 seam) ones. Also, the black rubber triangular wing mirror mountings (known as cheeters) can cause the drain channel in the windscreen frame rubber to close causing a minor seepage onto the top of the door card. There is also a problem with the heater box seal inside the dashboard, silicone sealant will cure this one. Lastly, the rear light cluster gaskets can also leak, replace with a new (thicker) one. On my 3rd hood, all of them had 3 seams. None of them leaked, but occasionally i still get the odd drip from the cheeters. Boot has also leaked a little, but no longer.

4. Flickering brakelights is caused by the self adjustment mechanism in the inverted plunger switch above the brake pedal winding itself up over time making it hyper sensitive. Give the plunger a short sharp tug to reset it. This problem affects some Vauxhalls as well. After 6½ years of MGF ownership, this has happened to me once.

5. Squeaks and rattles are fairly commonplace, inevitably it being a convertable, the body does flex maginally more than a tin top. Factor in Scarlet's firmly tuned suspension and yes she does have her fair share of musical components. Most F's are pretty good in this regard due to the excellent ride qualities of the Hydragas set up and it's superb (was class leading at the time of launch) torsional rigidity. But for some people, there is nothing more annoying than an impossable to pin down rattle - moaning minnies! ;)

6. Split rear screens are caused by heavy handed use, plain and simple. Avoid vertical creases in the screen at all times, take extra special care in cold temperatures. Rear screen zip on early Fs can break if missused, later models have heavy duty zipper (for the clumsy!).

7. Manual wing mirror adjuster comes off in your hand. I'll hold my hands up here, it's a crap bit of design!

8. Petrol smell in the cabin is caused by either a dodgy petrol tank or breather pipe. This has been known to be very tricky to cure, mainly due to difficulty of replacing the tank - quite a tricky job in an F apparently. Although a little unpleasant, this is not an indication of a leak and is therefore not serious. However, if you can't put up with this my advice is to walk away if you are offered an F with this problem, mainly as the cure is protracted and if out of warrantee, quite costly.

and that's it! :D

Not that many are there really? Certainly no where near the horror stories the press seem to think. There have been a small number of people who have had multiple HGF, i feel sorry for them, it's a rotten bit of luck, but bad luck is exactly what it is. HGF is a problem for the 1.8 K series, it affects all cars that use it, including the Freelander, which has the least stressed engine with the simplest cooling system, so is not MGF specific. When it happens it is simply luck of the draw, i estimate it has affected say 5% of MGFs, mainly because the MGF has been fitted with the majority of the 1.8 K engines produced. It was the first car to have it fitted, and has sold in large numbers - 70,000 plus.

Most of the problems are little niggly things, or items that just need a little attention regularly. And there are 2 very good reasons why the MGF suffers from them. It was designed after hours by a small group of enthusiasts as a 'skunk works' type project and therefore the development of the car had practically zero budget. Then, when you would expect the manufacturer to sort them out, *** spent thier entire tenure starving the Rover Group and in particular MG (because of the Z3 competition) of funding.

This has lead to the above 8, IMO a small price to pay for the grin inducing MGF. :cool:
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