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Based heavily on the Rover 25 the ZR was MG's stab at the hot hatch market. The cars really handle but there is a lack of refinement and an image that is questionable to say the least. It is easy to overpay as dealers ask cheeky prices for rarity.
If all you want is a cheap hot hatch that is a hoot to drive and cheap to maintain then this is an option. The 160 is a great driver's car. Lesser models make less sense as they are just re-badged Rovers that cost more to insure.
The 160 is the only model that makes sense. A proper driver's car with all that entails. The 2.0 litre diesel is the cheapest way to get BMW diesel power but the car makes more sense as Rover.
Go for the 160 in Rover Sport Yellow.
A 5 year old ZR160 should cost just under £4000. You could pay similar money for a 2.0 Diesel but that would be showing 15,000 miles more on average.
Depreciation is now pretty flat. There is no best time to buy.