20 May 2004

The MG Rover family revamp completes its hat-trick with the 25/ZR facelift, as these first pictures show. On sale from July, the supermini gets new twin headlamps as part of a frontal redesign, upgraded interior and improved levels of spec, as well as subtle engineering tweaks.

The obvious change is the adoption of the new company face, following in the footsteps of the 45 and 75, all undertaken by Peter Stevens’ design team. Front and rear bumpers are new, and the 25 also takes on the new Rover grille badge and name strip across the boot, first seen on the CityRover.

Inside, both models get new circular air vents, and the 25 also gains a centre console with wood fascia insert, while the ZR gets a more sporting satin chrome-effect finish.

On both models, engineers have made adjustments which the company says will lift the driving experience. They claim they have sharpened up the steering, installed more responsive brakes and improved the throttle action, while other changes include new rear suspension bush material and a repositioned clutch pedal.

MG Rover has also made a move to update the ageing 25/ZR with extra security and comfort equipment, such as a boot-release button on the keyfob, automatically relocking if no doors are opened after 30 seconds – and a mislock warning if a door is ajar when the car is locked. Not so welcome, though, is the ‘nominal price rise’ to help cover the cost of the additional kit.

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The mock-SUV Streetwise also gets the same interior upgrades, but retains the exterior look of the previous Rover 25.

Britain’s biggest car maker will unveil the new 25/ZR alongside a number of other new models including the 45/ZS and 75/ZT facelifts at next week’s British Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

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