Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Rover-developed front-wheel-drive three and five-door hatchbacks launched in late 1995 with a good choice of economical engines, from the leisurely 1.1 to the sporty 200vi 1.8. The 220 Di, introduced in March 98, is both lively and remarkably economical – 50 mpg is a realistic all-round average. Even 214 feels quite sporty; 200vi is keen driver’s choice; 216i and 218i are brisk.

A good ride over most surfaces, although it can get caught out when the road gets really bumpy. Roadholding is good, with adequate grip for cornering. The power steering is precise, though rather lifeless. Slick, easy gearchange and clutch.