Amazing as it seems, the Rover Cabriolet really did live on to 1999. Based on the Series II Rover 200, which in turn was based on the Honda Ballade, the Cabriolet always needed a refracting telescope to spot the cutting edge, but it was nevertheless an amiable mode of perambulation. Given that most cabriolet owners are undemanding sorts, can a used Rover ragtop be forgiven its somewhat antiquated underpinnings? It certainly makes more sense as a used buy than it ever did new.
The 200 series was originally launched in October 1989 in five-door form, the cabriolet model being subsequently introduced back in October 1992. Based on Honda Concerto underpinnings, the 200 series was the result of one of the more successful alliances Rover forged, and was viewed by many industry observers as the car that saved Rover. In 1995/96 it was replaced by an all-new model which subsequently was developed into the much better known Rover 25. At the same time, the 200 Series Tourer, Coupe and Cabriolet were retained, but were shorn of their '200' designation in order to differentiate them from the newer, rounded model.
The Cabriolet gained a new dashboard and a 111bhp K-series engine, launched in two trim levels, standard and SE. A version with a stepless CVT gearbox was also launched, but these remain a rare sight on British roads. The 200 Cabriolet, like the Tourer and Coupe models, finally met its maker in 1999 courtesy of BMW's steely-eyed rationalisation.