Rover’s stylish new 75 Tourer extends range
“It is a product of great originality and style, and the driving pleasure of the saloon has been augmented by even greater functionality.”
John Sanders, Group Marketing Director
The Rover 75 Tourer is the first all-new product from the new MG Rover Group and makes its eagerly-awaited sales debut in July 2001. The Rover brand will continue to represent the mainstream market for the Group with 75% of sales, with the Tourer itself expected to account for one in every four Rover 75s sold.
Derived from the highly-successful Rover 75 saloon - itself an international multiple award-winner and the only European car in the top five of the 2001 JD Power customer satisfaction survey - the Rover 75 Tourer reaffirms the ability of the Rover brand for producing distinctive and stylish cars of great originality.
The lavish specification combines with an energetic engine range to produce spirited and engaging driving experiences, that rewards the driver with long-distance comfort and performance.
This combination of feature specification, value through ownership and attention to detail, define the Rover’s success and strengths in the fiercely competitive car market.
John Sanders, Group Marketing Director, commented:“We already have indications that the Rover 75 Tourer will be a very popular addition to the Rover car range and I am confident that this product will contribute greatly to the future success of the Rover brand here in the UK and in markets around the world. It is a product of great originality and style, and the driving pleasure of the saloon has been augmented by even greater functionality.”
The Rover 75 Tourer is the first production Rover estate car in the upper-medium sector and expands the Rover range, drawing on the class-leading features that have positioned the Saloon at the top of its sector. The combination of style, comfort, flexibility and a capacious load carrying potential of over 1200 litres, will ensure that the Tourer matches the success of the saloon. The flexibility of the Tourer’s load-carrying capacity will give owners greater access and functionality for their daily business and leisure.
The wide 1.1m aperture lift-up tailgate incorporates a separate opening rear window for extra convenience and easy access for smaller loads, up to a metre in width and 250 mm in height, that do not require the full tailgate aperture. By lowering the 60:40 split-folding rear seat backrest, the flat loadspace area extends to over two metres length.
The 75 Tourer has an outstanding body rigidity of around 20,000Nm/o, making it one of the strongest. This body rigidity provides an excellent foundation for optimising suspension tuning, giving the Tourer a consistent and controlled ride characteristic. Self-levelling rear suspension will be available as an option.
High levels of detail features are standard on all Rover 75 Tourers. Additional stowage compartments are built into the sides and underfloor, accessed by an assisted hinged floor panel.
Four robust chrome-lashing points are sited in the floor behind the back seat, with each side of the loadspace including a retractable push-push hook, for added stowage and security.
The standard roller blind loadspace cover has an innovative optional integrated load restraint net. Where the net sits behind the top of the rear seat backrest and can be lifted and latched into sockets located in the roof (two positions behind the rear seats or when folded behind the front seats).
Bootspace is recorded at 400-litres and 680-litres if filled to the roof when the loadspace cover is removed. Maximum capacity with seats folded is 1222-litres.
The Rover 75 Tourer range structure mirrors the current saloon line up. The same engine and transmission availability exists and the specification differences between Classic - Club - Connoisseur remain (including Classic SE, Club SE and Connoisseur SE in UK specification).
In addition to the standard saloon specification, all Tourer models feature:
- Black satin-finish roof rails
- One piece top hinged tailgate with separate opening tailgate glass section
- 60:40 spilt folding rear seat (genuine fold flat system)
- Rear wash wipe (with automatic feature when reverse gear is selected)
- Roller blind loadspace cover
- Underfloor stowage compartment with gas strut support
- Four load lashing points
- Innovative flush fitting loadspace side securing push-push hooks
Additional options exclusive to the Tourer are:
- Self levelling suspension (available from September) - £350
- Integral load restraint system - £150
Tourer pricing will be £950 above the saloon model prices, with the range starting at £17,445 for a 1.8 Classic Tourer to the fully specified 2.5-litre V6 Connoisseur SE with High-Line Navigation at £25,835.
CONCEPT AND MARKETING BACKGROUND
Developed under the code names of ‘R41’ and latterly ‘RD11’, the Rover 75 Tourer is the first upper-medium sector Rover estate car ever to achieve factory production status. Exploratory prototype estate car versions of the 1958-67 ‘P5’ 3-litre and the 1976-86 ‘SD1’ were built but not progressed. A low-volume niche market Tourer version of the ‘R8’ 400 Series was available in the mid-1990s, but apart from these, Rover estate car versions of any model have only previously been aftermarket conversions by coach-builders.
The decision to create an estate car version of the 75 was taken early on in the overall product programme, in response to a marked growth in demand for such vehicles. Over a quarter of all upper-medium cars sold in the EU’s five biggest markets are now estate cars. An allied factor was the parallel growth in premium ‘lifestyle’ estate cars, where the emphasis was as much on style, performance and luxury as on carrying capacity.
Vehicles like the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 series Touring and the Volvo V40 typified this new breed, which successfully escaped the slightly ‘commercial’ stigma attaching to traditional estate cars. In Germany, Italy and Holland, estate cars now make up between 30 and 40% of upper-medium car sales. It was clear that a 75 Tourer would be exactly the right kind of product to capitalise on this strong trend.
The engineering brief for the 75 Tourer was that it should combine the extra versatility of an estate with the supreme refinement and distinctive style of the 75 saloon. There were to be no compromises in quietness, ride quality and cabin ambience, and its load-carrying capability was not to diminish driving pleasure or safety. It should reflect true Rover attention to detail in all its special estate car features, making it a delight to use in every respect.
BODY STYLE AND STRUCTURE
The close integration of the design processes for the 75 Saloon and Tourer shows in the sleek, well-proportioned shape of the Tourer. There have been none of the common estate car ‘short-cuts’, such as using the rear door windows of the saloon; unique rear door windows follow the smooth sweep of the roof line, providing optimum rear seat access and vision.
The Tourer bodyshell is slightly longer than that of the saloon, with an extra 45mm of rear overhang bringing the vehicle length up to 4792 mm. The extra length enhances the load space and helps to accommodate a ‘ring of steel’ continuous box section, which frames the tailgate aperture and is very firmly ‘rooted’ into the floor structure.
This substantial rear frame, which incorporates very complex corner pressings, combines with the massively strong floor pan of the 75 to help produce a torsional stiffness of over 20,000 Nm per degree. This is far higher than that of most equivalent saloon bodies and really standard-setting for an estate car. Such strength is important in achieving the overall refinement and accurate suspension geometry that are central to the driving appeal of both saloon and Tourer versions of the 75.
Robustness is also a feature of the tailgate itself. It is deep, opening well down into the bumper section for a low loading lip. In order to provide a rigid housing for the independently opening tailgate glass, there is an inner frame reinforcement pressing sandwiched between the main inner and outer pressings of the tailgate.
The roof structure has been designed to handle an unusually high allowable roof rack/box loading of up to 100 kg, via the integrated mountings of the standard fit roof rails.
All the comprehensive Rover 75 engine and transmission options are available in Tourer form. The only powertrain-associated changes made for the Tourer in each case are uprated radiator cooling capacities to allow for operation with increased laden weights, and modifications to the exhaust system to suit the slightly longer bodyshell.
Careful attention was paid to developing the suspension characteristics of the 75 Tourer models, in order to achieve the optimum blend of ride and handling with higher load carrying capability. Compared with the equivalent saloon models, the spring and damper rates have been uprated. The low velocity damping in particular has been increased by up to 30% to give improved roll control, but with a minimal effect on the excellent ride quality. Rebound springs have been added to the front dampers, and the relevant rear subframe mounts have been stiffened for greater steer control. Even with a full load, the 75 Tourer retains good steering feel and straight line stability.
A self-levelling rear suspension option is available on Rover 75 Tourer, using the well-proven Boge Nivomat self-pumping rear dampers in their latest, most efficient form. The installation on the 75 Tourer provides a consistent ride height at all loads, with good resistance to static sinkage to avoid grounding issues. The Nivomat units automatically stiffen in response to increased loading, and operate effectively under all climatic conditions.
Again with the higher load capacity in mind, the braking system of all 75 Tourers has been uprated, with an increased-displacement master cylinder, while the 2.5 litre V6 Tourer models also gain vented rear discs.
SPECIAL ROVER TOURER FEATURES
Thoughtful attention to detail is the keynote of the Rover 75 Tourer. It has been designed for maximum versatility and convenience of use, adapting readily to a wide variety of lifestyle activities.
One of its most attractive features is the ‘double hatch’ arrangement, whereby the tailgate glass can be opened independently of the tailgate. This allows easy access for smaller loads (up to a metre in width and 250 mm height) that do not require the full tailgate aperture, or else access to items in the upper loadspace when loaded above the glass line. A further advantage is that the opening arc of the glass is entirely within the plan area of the car – it can be fully opened when there is little or no clearance behind the car, as when backed right up to a garage wall or another vehicle. (The full tailgate requires the normal clearance of 400mm behind the bumper line to swing open). To avoid potential conflicts with the roof panel, there is an interlock arrangement, which prevents the tailgate from opening if the glass is already open (and vice versa).
Ergonomically designed central pressure pad releases for glass and tailgate are positioned so that releasing and opening either is a smooth and continuous one-hand action - useful when carrying items to be loaded.
Hand grips are recessed into the lower edge of the internal tailgate trim to assist closing without handling dirty external surfaces in bad weather. The loading sill height is a conveniently low 544mm (21.4 inches), with full-width mouldings protecting the upper bumper rebate and the sill edge, while the flat, fully carpeted load floor is flush with the inner sill.
To allow a variety of loading configurations, the folding rear seat squabs are split 60/40, with a central load-through hatch in the larger squab. When folded, the seat backs are flush with the rear load floor, and they are trimmed with matching carpet. Each of the squabs can be released and folded down in an easy one-handed movement, and the three lap and diagonal rear seat belts are arranged to avoid any obstruction or tangling.
In the normal seats up condition, the space available behind the seat is 400 litres to the glass line and 680 litres to the roof. Seats folded, the maximum capacity is 1222 litres. The maximum load floor length is 2060mm, and the width varies between 960mm and 1480mm.
For access to the underfloor stowage area, the entire loadfloor panel is hinged at its forward edge, with a central gas strut to lift and then support the panel in the open position. The spare wheel well is flanked by moulded foam with shaped pockets for items such as tools, jack and wheel chocks, providing tidy and rattle-free stowage.
In order to achieve 75 saloon levels of interior quietness, special arrangements for cabin air extraction were developed. The extractor vents are positioned each side at waist level behind the rear seats, and hence are close to rear occupant ear level. To give quiet air flow, the extractor vent mouldings incorporate labyrinths lined with foam and spun polyester acoustic deadening materials.
SAFETY AND CONVENIENCE FEATURES
Special attention has been paid to ensuring that the main rear seat squab is correctly latched in the upright position before the centre lap and diagonal belt can be used. This is important because the upper anchorage of the centre belt is built into the squab. So, in addition to the familiar ‘red stub’ warning indicator that remains conspicuously proud of the squab top until the latch is engaged, there is also an interlock between the latch and the centre belt reel, which prevents the webbing from being pulled out of the reel if the latch is not fully engaged.
Where a warning triangle is required by law (or carried at the owner’s discretion, as in the UK), the 75 Tourer has a convenient stowage box built into the tailgate behind a quick-release carpeted panel. This can be accessed quickly even when the vehicle is fully loaded.
A roller-blind type vinyl security cover for the bootspace is standard equipment.
Four chrome flush-fitting hinged lashing eyes are provided, one at each corner of the main load floor, for tying down loads securely. In addition there is a load restraint net system available as an option. This is integrated with the loadspace cover unit, with the net stowed behind the top of the squabs when not required. It can either be pulled out from this position to latch into the roof sockets to act as a barrier above the waistline when the rear squabs are upright, or it can be re-positioned on the backs of the squabs when they are folded down, allowing the net to extend right from load floor to roof. This restraint system has been designed and tested to meet DIN safety standards.
A retractable push-push hook is provided on each side of the loadspace, suitable for hanging items such as shopping bags that need to remain upright. Full rough road/hard cornering dynamics tests were carried out to ensure that these hooks perform satisfactorily. Also on each side of the loadspace are oddment stowage compartments which, where appropriate, provide protected installations for the satellite navigation computer and/or the harman/kardon hi-fi amplifier and sub-woofer.
Navigation-equipped Tourers have a small ‘shark’s dorsal fin’ type GPS aerial on the rear section of the roof. The basic audio aerial is built into the rear right-hand side window, and an additional aerial is included on the left-hand window when the Alpine ICE upgrade is fitted. Other electronic adaptations made for the Tourer include the re-tuning of ICE amplifiers and the intruder-detection ultrasonics to suit the changed size and shape of the cabin. In addition, the optional ultrasonic parking aid has been revised to suit the rear bumper profile.
The rear wash-wipe facility incorporates the familiar Rover benefit of automatic operation if reverse gear is engaged when the windscreen wipers are in use, and has an intermittent setting. It is controlled via the steering column stalk. Although the rear wiper blade is parked below the lower sight line of the rear window, the heater element is extended to de-ice the park area.
The Rover 75 saloon offers very high standards of crash impact protection, and the Tourer was required to maintain these, with particular attention naturally being paid to the impact absorption characteristics of the new rear end structure. During the Tourer’s development, safety engineers even had to deliberately reduce the strength of specific items to enhance energy absorption and crash safety. One such item was the one-piece pressing around each rear side window.
The load floor board, made of substantial plywood (chosen for its excellent strength/weight ratio and acoustic qualities), has two break-initiator grooves in its top face so that it safely ‘concertinas’ under severe rear impact. Comprehensive crash testing has shown that the Tourer readily meets or exceeds world wide safety criteria.
FULL ACCESSORY RANGE
In parallel with the Tourer development programme, a comprehensive range of specific Tourer accessories has been engineered and tested to Rover standards, to complement the general accessories already available. The new accessories, designed to maximise the versatility of the Tourer, include dog guard/load retainers in plastic-coated steel that can be positioned behind either the front seats or the rear seats as required. There are also flexible loadspace liners for full length or boot length protection, plus a rigid liner for the boot space. A luggage net set, including a floor net and two side nets helps maximise effective use of the cargo area. Fitting neatly above the spare wheel in the underfloor compartment, an accessory plastic storage tray is designed to house a First Aid Kit and similar loose items.
Roof cross bars are available to slot into the standard-fit roof rails, and these harmonise with all the existing Rover 75 saloon roof carrying accessory systems, such as ski clamps, luggage boxes and cycle carriers. Purpose-designed fixed or detachable tow brackets make towing easy and safe. The detachable swan-neck bracket can be stowed in a moulded space already provided in the underfloor stowage area.
There is a rear cycle carrier frame, which attaches to either the fixed or detachable tow brackets and has a tailgate/number plate lighting board, which plugs into the towing electrics socket. A tilting mechanism allows opening of the tailgate when the carrier is fitted. The basic capacity is two cycles, and there is an extension kit to carry a third cycle. New accessory rear mudguards have been designed to suit the different tailgate configuration of the Tourer.
UK RANGE TRIM LEVEL SUMMARY
Classic - Plain velour seats, five lap & diagonal seat belts, driver and passenger and side airbags, rear compartment heating ducts, electric front windows, mirrors and tailgate release, remote central locking, courtesy light fade and headlights-off courtesy delay, passive engine immobilisation, ABS with electric brake force distribution, steering wheel radio controls, leather steering wheel and power steering. Underfloor stowage, roller blind loadspace cover, roof rails, folding rear seat and perimetric alarm.
Classic SE - Air conditioning and 15” 8-spoke Contour alloy wheels.
Club - Classic plus, ATC air conditioning, 15” 8-spoke Contour alloy wheels, Speckle velour seats and electric rear windows.
Club SE - Integral front fog lamps (not CDT auto) and 16” Union alloy wheels.
Connoisseur - Club plus, Leather seats, Chrome mirrors and Crown multi-spoke wheels and power/heated front seats.
Connoisseur SE - Driver intelligence pack, cruise control, driver’s seat position memory, CD autochanger.
The Saloon specification also includes folding rear seats and rear sunblind, while the Tourer will feature instead the integral load restraint cassette system.
DERIVATIVE LINE UP
The listing below represents the engine and trim range line-up:
Classic, Classic SE, Club, Club SE, Connoisseur, Connoisseur SE
Club, Club SE, Connoisseur, Connoisseur SE, Connoisseur SE (Hi-line Navigation)
Club SE, Connoisseur, Connoisseur SE, Connoisseur SE (Hi-line Navigation)
Classic, Classic SE, Club, Club SE, Connoisseur, Connoisseur SE