Styling, handling, brand heritage
Dated interior, patchy build quality
Rover knew they were onto a winner when they designed the MGF. It revived that famous octagonal badge, was fun to drive, and it cashed in on a demand for affordable soft-top motoring that had been re-kindled by the Mazda MX-5. Too good to be true? Partly. In pre-BMW days, the Rover's MG division had a limited research and development budget, which meant that the 200 and Metro donated switchgear, parts… and faults.
Build quality on early cars was indifferent and MG dealers were thinly spread - not all Rover franchises handled MGs. Later cars - especially from V and W onwards - improved a great deal (although interiors still look thrown together), there’s now a unified Rover/MG dealer network. The MGTF, launched in February 2002, seems to be well-built and is a better drive, but more expensive.