Rover has confirmed the specifications and UK-market pricing for the 75 Tourer estate car (station wagon) which goes on sale first in the UK in July. It will subsequently be launched in export markets across Europe and will also go to Australia.

The 75 Tourer is the first all-new model launched since the MG Rover Group was bought - for a symbolic £10 - from BMW in May 2000 and it is also the first large Rover station wagon ever made.

Based on the Rover 75 saloon, the new Tourer has a load area of about 1200 litres, 1.1m-wide rear door opening and a lift-up tailgate with a separate opening rear window. The rear seat backrest is split 60/40 and, when the seat is folded, the resulting flat loadspace area is over two metres long.

The 75 Tourer has body rigidity of around 20,000Nm/o, making it one of industry's strongest. MG Rover says this rigid body has allowed optimal suspension tuning, giving the Tourer a consistent and controlled ride as good as the saloon's. Self-levelling rear suspension is optional.

Storage compartments are built into the sides and under-floor of the load area and are reached by an assisted hinged floor panel. Four chromed tie-down hooks are also fitted in the load floor.

The standard roller blind load space cover has an optional integrated load restraint net which sits behind the top of the rear seat backrest and can be lifted and latched into one of two pairs of sockets located in the roof.

Boot space is 680 litres if filled to the roof with the load space cover removed or 1222 litres with the rear seats folded.

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The 75 estate cars cost £950 ($US1,350) more than the equivalent saloons. The Tourer range mirrors the sedan line-up with the same three petrol engines, a turbodiesel and the choice of five-speed manual or automatic transmissions and six trim levels.

Prices in the U.K. range from £17,445 ($US24,800) for a 1.8-litre four-cylinder Club model to £25,835 ($US36,700) for a satellite navigation-equipped 2.5-litre V6 Connoisseur SE.

Though the 75 Tourer is the first big Rover wagon to make it to the showroom, such a car was nearly introduced in the late 1970s.

Driveable wagon prototypes derived from the large SD1-series five-door hatchback were made, and one was even driven for a time as a company vehicle by then-chairman Sir Michael Edwardes, but production plans were subsequently scrapped.

One example of the Rover SD1 wagon is preserved at the Heritage Motor Centre car museum at Gaydon in Warwickshire.

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