The MG ZR was released in the UK in 2001 and was an immediate success. The original range consisted of four engine choices, each available either as a three or five door option. The engine choices were the 1.4 litre 101bhp ZR105, the 1.8 litre 115bhp ZR120, the 1.8 litre 158bhp ZR160 and the 99bhp ZR 2.0 TD turbo diesel version. The option of a button-shift transmission was added to the MG ZR120. Trim levels were known as standard or '+' and a range of vibrant paint schemes was available.
The range underwent a major cosmetic facelift in 2004 with improvements made to both the exterior and interior of the car. In 2005 Rover added the Trophy and Trophy SE models to the range. These new models were cheaper than the existing range and came with more features as standard. Their superiority over all other models, combined with their improved price, rendered all previous models superfluous. Production ended in 2005 when Rover MG ceased to exist.
Bang for your buck
Available in three and five door versions with a choice of four engines, the ZT range is fairly complicated. The car represented a marked improvement compared to the Rover 25 upon which it is based. Its profile was lowered considerably, it was fitted with improved suspension and brakes and given a sporty look, with its aggressive spoilers and alloy wheels. The interior of the used MG ZR isn't anything to write home about and the lofty driving position takes some getting used to. However, the gear box and pedals look and feel fantastic.
The + trim (available with all models except the ZR160) added several features onto the standard spec including remote central locking, sunroof and mirrors, electric front windows, a leather steering wheel, a seat height adjuster, an alloy gear knob and front fog lights.
What you'll pay
Used MG ZR cars for sale are now starting to appear more regularly on the second hand market. The top of the range ZR160 is the most common model found due to its huge popularity when new ZRs were still available. £5000 should bag you a decent example of a 2001 Y-plated ZR160 with around 40,000 on the clock. ZR105 versions start at about £4,200 whereas ZR120s open at approximately £4600 on the same 2001 Y plate. The MG ZR TD is in insurance group 8 and the ZR160 in group 16.
What to check
There are no known mechanical faults with the used MG ZR which is not surprising seeing as it is based on the reliable Rover 25 platform. The car was popular with young drivers so it is worth giving the car a good test drive to check that it hasn't been badly treated. Check that there is still plenty of life in the suspension and brakes. Also check that the car has been serviced when it should have been, preferably by an approved service outlet.
Replacement parts are reasonably priced. A full clutch assembly will set you back around £95 and a full exhaust system, with catalytic converter, is about £485. A replacement headlamp will cost about £80 and a radiator £115. Front brake pads should be about £55 and rears around £50. A new starter motor is around £140 and an alternator roughly £175. These prices are approximate and based on the ZR105 model, although prices should be broadly similar right across the range.
How it drives
All models in the used MG ZR for sale range are good to drive with the 2.0 litre diesel version and the ZR160 being the stand out cars. The TD will reach sixty miles per hour in just 9.7 seconds and still manages to average around 54 miles per gallon. It can feel a little heavy around the corners but overall it is responsive and fun to drive.
The ZR160 is the real peach of the range and does nought to sixty in an impressive 7.4 seconds which compares very favourably to its direct rivals, as does its price tag.
Overall, all MG ZR cars are good to drive and represent very good value for money. The TD and ZR160 versions stand out in particular. It is generally agreed that the three door versions look better than the five door option but that the five door is the more practical car. If you are looking for a reliable and affordable bit of fun and something a bit different, we can highly recommend that you test drive a ZR.