Rover 2000 Automatic
background experience of their strong efforts in international rallying, Rover
took a bold step forward from their familiar image as manufacturers of the
gentlemanīs carriage when the 2000 was introduced in 1963. Instead, the accent
was on the sportsmanīs saloon, so naturally only a manual 4-speed gearbox was
fitted initially. The 2000 was launched as an enthusiastīs car, aimed at the man
who had grown out of two-seater sports cars but still took pride and pleasure in
his driving, and who obviously would appreciate a good gearchange and
well-spaced ratios. It has become established as one of the most successful cars
of the decade, and has gained a well-deserved reputation for safety in its
construction and road performance. With the wider market appeal and greater
production capacity, an automatic option will be welcomed by many.
Type 35 is the transmission used, with D1-D2 control to permit intermediate
starts, and the selector is mounted between the seats. It works in a straight
to-and-fro quadrant, with safety notches beneath the lever to prevent
inadvertent selection of lock-up, park and reverse. A small release button in
the top of the selector knob (just as on the Rover 3-litre gear lever) is pushed
to clear the safety latches. The lever will move freely between D1, D2 and
neutral without the button being pressed.
To move the
lever back into the Lock-up position, the button must be pressed, a practical
reminder not to make this move without first checking that the speed is not
above 70 mph. In the opposite direction, however, from Lock-up to D1, the lever
is simply slipped forward over the ratchet.
conditions the transmission works extremely smoothly in conjunction with the
lively overhead camshaft engine, and it scarcely ever causes any jerk or jolt.
Sometimes, however, as the car is brought very gently to rest in traffic, there
is a slight snatch as the lowest gear dropped in. When moving away on a light
throttle the upward changes are imperceptible. On faster take-offs the
transmission goes smoothly into intermediate at about 25 and to top at about 55
mph. With the accelerator right down on the floor, these change points are
raised to 38 and and 68 mph respectively. As usual, the Lock-up gives overriding
control to hold low or intermediate, depending on the road speed when it is
selected. The maxima then are not automatically governed, and the driver must
respect the limits laid down by the manufacturers. These are marked on the
speedometer for his guidance by yellow spots at 47 (for low) and 78 mph (for
are high for an automatic 2-litre and show that none of the high-geared
character of the manual 2000 has been lost. Perhaps the automatic car is now too
high geared, for the drop in performance compared with the manual car is very
marked. Even at full throttle the car gets away rather sluggishly, taking more
than 6 sec. to reach 30 mph from rest. The 0 to 60 mph time of 18.0 sec. is
almost 3 sec. slower than the 2000 tested on 11 October, 1963.
The lack of
punch is noticed particularly when there is need for brisk acceleration to
overtake in the 30-60 mph speed ranges. Even by slipping the lever to L and
kicking down, low gear cannot be selected above 25 mph, so intermediate must do.
Acceleration in D2, with first gear eliminated, is so slow that it is difficult
to see any purpose for this other than possibly to reduce wheelspin on ice or
Above 70 mph,
the good body shape pays off, but the power loss in the transmission is felt,
and it was thanks only to a perfect day, with negligible wind for testing, that
the car could be timed to 90 mph, in a mean of 56.7 sec. (43.6 sec. for the
manual car). Maximum speed is down by 8 mph, with repeated opposite runs
clocking exactly 94 mph. The gearing is unchanged, giving 19.5 mph per 1.000
rpm, and the 2000 automatic sounds sufficiently unperturbed right up to maximum
speed for it to be cruised on full throttle if one is hurrying across the
Continent. A true 100 mph is obtained easily down gradients.
for the comparatively leisurely performance is superb controllability and road
holding. This combination gives full confidence and enables speed to be
conserved and high averages to be put up in safety.
is not heavy, even at very low speeds; it becomes feather light yet retains good
feel and balance when under way. The car responds immediately to the smallest
movement of the steering wheel at high speed. There is considerable roll when
corners are taken fast; until the cornering attitude has settled it feels a
little "loose" on its suspension and momentarily not as stable. Once it is
leaning into a bend, however, the driver senses the generous amount of cornering
grip in hand and can push the car through tight twists and sweeping bends with
real spirit. Slight understeer is balanced by an outward movement of the tail
end when cornering forces are really high.
on small movements, the springing is very soft yet thoroughly well damped, and
the ride comfort is a match for any of the worldīs best cars. The suspension is
excellently insulated from the body so that no road noise is heard on even the
coarsest surface; not is there any thump over catīs eyes, an unusual achievement
for radial ply tyres. Bad potholes provoke only the mildest jolt. It is most
impressive when cornering hard on an uneven surface to find the wheels follow
the road contours exactly and there is no trace of wheel hop. Just occasionally,
undulations on a motorway provoke slight pitching, but this seems to occur only
when the frequencies coincide with those of the road springs.
whether any car covered quite as many pre-production development miles at the
MIRA test track as did the 2000, so it is not surprising that it rides the
corrugations at up to 60 mph with only a subdued hum from the tyres. Almost the
same speed in possible on pavé, limited only by loss of directional
control - forgivable, since the wheels must be off the ground a large part of
time at that speed. The long-wave pitch test, however, produced rather violent
recoil; the car does much better when it takes a single sharp ridge, such as a
noticeable dive at the front if the brakes are used viciously, but in sustained
braking the car keeps a fairly level attitude and stops all-square - slight
squeal but no locking - and gives a 1.0g stop with only 100lb. on the pedal from
30 mph. Braking is very progressive and gives a great feeling of security from
any speed. Fade tests on the all-disc system produced a small increase in the
effort needed, then they settled to a constant figure showing no further
deteriotation. Although smaller Girling discs have now replaced the original
Dunlops, their performance seems totally unaffected by the change. Those who
like to use the left foot for braking with automatic transmission will
appreciate the wide pedal provided, but it is a pity that there is no rest for
this foot when it is idle; the floor is too flat, and the toe board is too far
away. The handbrake had to be pulled up a very long way to hold the car on the
1-on-3 test hill, and we were afraid we had permanently stretched the cables; in
fact, no damage was done.
For a car
with automatic, the Rover made a difficult job of restarting on 1-on-3; there
was lot of churning and exhaust roar before it gathered way slowly. Exhaust
noise was heard with the test car when accelerating, not a sporty crackle from
the tail pipe, but a deep throbbing under the bonnet and floor; but we suspect
there may have been a small leak in the system. Some mechanical noise is also
heard when the engine is working hard in spite of the thick sound deadening on
the underside of the bonnet. This relatively high noise level contrasts
strangely with the remarkable silence on the overrun and the lack of wind noise.
from cold, the rich-mixture knob usually needs to be pulled out a little way but
the engine is an easy starter. For once, this is an automatic car which does not
stall when the selector is moved to D first thing in the morning. If a traffic
halt comes within the first mile of moving off, however, the engine may stall if
the mixture control is not pulled out again to "catch" it.
fair amount of traffic work, but perhaps slightly less hard driving and
sustained high speeds than our Road Tests normally involve, the 2000 returned an
overall fuel consumption of 21.8 mpg, which is within 2 mpg of the test figure
for the manual change model. The fuel tank holds 12 gallons, and the gauge,
marked in quarters, indicates the fuel level down in the last 1 1/4 gallons.
This quantity is held in reserve and is switched on by pulling out the left of
the two knobs on the small console; the right-hand one is the cold starting
mixture control. The mild oil consumption means that the level needs to be
checked only infrequently. On a journey, one could go some 500 miles without
bothering to glance under the bonnet.
"ergonomics" and the layout of switches and minor controls have received a lot
of detail attention in the Rover 2000 design. The seats are firmly upholstered
in real leather and are well bucketed to give correct support right up to the
shoulders and hold the occupants in place very well on fast corners. The
combination of infinitely adjustable backrests, ample to-and-fro movement on the
seat runners, and about 2in. of vertical adjustment on the steering wheel,
allows each driver to tailor the position to his own taste. Taking the wheel
again after someone else had driven the test car emphasized the choice available
by the vastly altered settings they had chosen. Inertia reel safety belts would
be appreciated, as fixed belts make it difficult to reach the window handles.
under-facia pockets are padded for knee protection in accidents, and will lock.
The left pocket is large enough to take a sizeable brief case; the one on the
right has two compartments to clear the steering column, but still gives ample
space for a camera or other valuables. The arrangement of minor switches on the
facia panel is well thought out, though the lighting arrangement is complicated
by having separate switches for side and headlamps. The latter can be thrown the
other way for foglamps if these are fitted. The sidelamps switch over-rides the
headlamp one and throws the opposite way to light the offside front and tail
lamps only for parking.
night driving illumination is given by the four headlamp system, with a really
broad flood of light along the kerb on dipped beam. Pulled towards the wheel,
the finger tip dipswitch flashes the headlamps on main beam. The matching switch
on the right sounds purposeful wind-tone horns, and also serves as the indicator
switch. Separate front and rear interior lamps are fitted, and each is lit
separately by opening either of the appropriate front or rear doors; front, or
both lamps, can be turned on by the facia switch. The front interior lamp is
concealed behind the driving mirror, and throws a pool of light downwards on the
switches; it is just adequate for map reading. When the panel lamps are on, the
six positions of the transmission selector are illuminated in bright green,
variable with the panel lights rheostat. The diminishing rear mirror makes
following traffic seem farther away than it is.
Not only are
the individual switch functions labelled, but each also has symbols picked out
in white. This may be a convenience for export markets, but the effect is fussy
and detracts from the otherwise excellent neatness of the interior. All the
facia panel and imitation wood trim are high quality plastic mouldings and the
appearance is refreshingly simple and attractive. As well as indicator
repeaters, the oblong instrument block ahead of the driver includes warning
tell-tales for choke - thermostatically controlled, to come on only if the knob
is left out after the engine has warmed up - low brake fluid level and handbrake
on warning combined, oil pressure, and ignition.
vents on the facia edge are directly ahead of the front seat occupants, and can
be adjusted finely. The heater also is responsive to careful adjustment of its
controls, so that the interior temperature can be kept just right in all
weathers. On its slower setting the fan is inaudible from within the car, and it
is still quite when switched to the "fan 2" position, which delivers a torrent
of air into the car. Demisting provisions are really effective. A good flow of
air passes through the car even with all windows closed, but the heater tends to
"cook" the right foot, making the left foot feel cold. The front quarter vents
swivel to let even more cool air in during hot weather.
good, and although the rather high scuttle and bonnet line conceals the little
reflector tip above the left sidelamp from the driverīs view, it is easy to
judge the width. Two-speed windscreen wipers clear big arcs, but could be better
sited. Although the end of the blade goes to within an inch of the screen edge
on the driverīs side, a large triangular section at the bottom righthand corner
is left unswept; when parked, the wipers were 2in. above the base of the screen.
in the whole car are very few indeed, and mainly of a trivial nature. The chief
point in any overall verdict on the 2000 automatic would be the need for more
lively performance, but as explained earlier, the excellent handling
characteristics make up for this to a large extent, and the 2000 remains a very
fast and safe car. It has a tremendously likeable character, arousing enthusiasm
from all who drive it.
Autocar / UK