An estate or station wagon version, the '400 Tourer', was subsequently developed by Rover Special Products, based on the extended floorpan of the 400, offering an alternative to the "sports touring" BMW 3 Series and Audi 80 small estates that had become increasingly popular, a first attempt to move Rover Group estate cars away from the utilitarian end of the market.
The diesel powerplant was supplied by PSA Peugeot Citroën in 1.8 turbodiesel and 1.9 normally aspirated configurations. Petrol Models made first use of the Rover K series engine (along with the MkII 200) in 1.4 litre form. 1.6 L models were powered by the Honda D series engine in both single cam and twin cam versions. 2.0 litre models were powered by the Rover T series engine in both normally aspirated and, in a limited run, turbocharged form giving rapid performance.
It had no official predecessor, though its launch coincided with a winding-down in production of the slightly larger Montego.
A mid-life facelift (also on the 200) saw the reintroduction of the Rover grille which had also reappeared on the R17 a major facelift of the Rover 800. This change was achieved without significant change to the remaining structure, but helped reinforce the family look and establish a certain distance from the Honda Concerto , and support the development of a less 'bread and butter' image for the small Rovers especially in southern European markets where sales continued to grow. This design change was a partial answer to criticism that many cars had become very anonymous during the search for better aerodynamics.
The second generation 400 Series, codenamed Theta or HH-R, was launched in the summer of 1995 as a hatchback and later a saloon. This time it was based on the Honda Domani, which had been released in Japan in 1992, as was the European Honda Civic five-door hatchback. It was no longer closely related to the 200 Series, which was revised independently by Rover but still shared many components with the 400. Power came from 1.4 and 1.6-litre K-Series, 1.6-litre Honda D series SOHC (Automatic gearbox only) and 2.0 L Rover T Series petrol engines, as well as a 2.0-litre turbodiesel from the more luxurious 600 Series.