12 April 2004

A revamped Rover 45 will go on sale late next month with the tough task of keeping sales alive until an all-new model appears late next year.

The second major facelift of the 45 in its 10-year life brings a more contemporary look and will be displayed at the British Motor Show in May.

A key change is the deletion of chrome trim, added in 2000 as part of BMW’s attempt to push Rover up-market. It’s now been replaced by simpler, cleaner styling with new bumpers, one-piece headlamps and a more integrated grille.

At the rear, the number plate moves to the bumper, making room on the boot for a wide-spaced Rover graphic like that on the tail of the revamped Rover 75 estate and CityRover.

Inside is a revamped fascia incorporating round air vents in place of today’s rectangular designs, a reworked centre console with soft-touch switchgear and revised indicator stalks.

But there are no changes to the suspension and engine line-up, which continues with 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrols and two 2.0-litre diesels. UK buyers won’t be offered the 2.0 V6 sold in some EU countries.

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The saloon and hatchback range starts with a Classic trim level, running through the mid-range Club to the top-line Connoisseur. Prices remain the same, from £9995-£16,200.

Trafficmaster’s jam warning system will be standard on all models, a new 16in wheel is offered on Clubs (shown above) and three new wood trims are optional. Automatic climate control is available for the first time.

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