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MG TF: Buying guide and review (2002-2005)

MG TF: Buying guide and review (2002-2005) Classic and Performance Car
MG TF MG TF MG TF MG TF
MG was known for its sporty two seaters back in the ‘50s, and its return to the category in the 1990s after a period of re-badged saloon and hatchback Austin-Rover models in the 1980s was well received. 
 
The MG TF may be an increasingly rare sight nowadays, but it was massively popular back in the early 2000s, with it good looks and competitive pricing it was the UK’s best-selling two-seater sports car for a number of years. So what made the TF such a desirable machine? At the turn of the century, MG wasn’t particularly flush with development funds so while rivals were releasing new models, the MGF received a huge number of upgrades and clever development, turning it into something that looked a bit sharper, and drove a lot better.
 
Making do with minor exterior cosmetic changes, the bulk of the changes were done under the skin. The suspension received a thorough overhaul, ditching the hydragas units of the F in favour of some conventional springs and dampers – improving handling greatly. 
 
Despite a few reliability issues, these little cars have developed quite a following. Turbulent times for the MG brand in the early 2000s meant that the TF was discontinued, along with all other MG Rover vehicles in 2005, however it was re-introduced in limited numbers by the new Chinese owners in 2007. Our focus will be on the cars built up to the end of MG/Rover ownership.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Modern convertibles tend to insulate their occupants from the driving experience a bit better than their older counterparts. This can be a boon on longer trips but shorter blasts down winding roads tend to be a bit less engaging. The TF definitely does not isolate you from the driving experience! The ride is firm, the canvas roof is pretty basic and road noise is ever present. 
 
Not ideal as a daily driver or motorway mile-muncher, but it’s just the thing to blow out the cobwebs on a Sunday afternoon. Practicality is a bit better than front engined rivals due to the extra storage space where the engine would go, with just about enough space to fit a weekend’s worth of luggage for two.
 
There are four different versions of the four-cylinder Rover K series engine available in the TF. First off was the entry-level 114bhp 1.6-litre, which was only available with a manual gearbox. A 1.8-litre version produced 120bhp in automatic form or 134bhp when paired with a manual gearbox. The top option was a VVC equipped 1.8 which produced 157bhp and could sprint to 60mph in under 7.0 seconds. The light weight of the TF means that even the 1.6 is an enjoyable drive, although many say that the best all-rounder is the manual 134bhp 1.8.
 
A number of special edition models were released such as the Sprint SE, Cool Blue SE and Sun Storm LE. Most changes were limited to unique paint and trim options, however the SE models generally came with the desirable wheels and uprated brakes from the TF 160. 
 
Three Sports Pack options were also available, offering lowered suspension on the SP1 and adding 16-inch alloys and ABS on the SP2 and SP3. 2005 model year cars had a hugely desirable glass rear window, which was a great improvement over the plastic items in earlier cars however as production ended in early April it may be easier to find an earlier car and retrofitting this item.
 
Due to their relatively low value servicing may have been skimped on so ensure that there is a comprehensive service history as neglected cars will cost more in the long run. 
 
Performance and specs
 
MG TF 135
Engine 1795cc 16 valve DOHC inline four
Power 134bhp @ 6750rpm
Torque 122lb ft @ 4500rpm
Top speed 127mph
0-60mph 8.2 seconds
Fuel consumption 36.7mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight 
 
Wheelbase 2375mm
Length 3943mm
Width 1628mm
Height 1261mm
Curb weight 1105kg
 
Common problems
 
· Parts are in good supply, reasonably priced and available from a number of sources, the TF was built in relatively large numbers so there should not be any issues in keeping your MG running well.
 
· Head gasket issues due to overheating are a common TF issue. It is a regular problem with the Rover K series engines, and many running changes were carried out in an attempt to alleviate the problem. Keeping the cooling system in top condition is key as well as ensuring that servicing is carried out regularly.
 
· Rust can affect the car in a number of places, especially around the air intakes, sills, indicators and front wings. If the sub-frames show signs of rust then walk away.
 
· Water leaks can aggravate the rust issue so check for wet interior trim in the footwells and boot. Replacement rubber seals are a good investment.
 
· Badly aligned wheels often show up in heavy wear on the inside edge of the front tyres, easy to rectify but worth checking before you buy.
 
· The MG TF dropped the MG F’s Hydragas suspension system so there are no hydraulic leaks to worry about however old dampers can leak and brittle rubber mountings can make the ride very hard.
 
Model history
 
2002: MG TF goes on sale. Major suspension redesign, uprated engines and updated bodywork differentiate it from MG F. Sprint SE special edition released in July, 600 units built. Available on TF135 and TF 160 variants. TF 135 models received uprated brakes and ABS.
 
2003: Cool Blue SE special edition released in March, offering bespoke trim and three unique colour options. Available on TF 115 and TF 135. Sun Storm LE special edition released in October, included standard hard top, and was available on all engine options. 500 units produced.
 
2004: 80th Anniversary LE special edition released in January. Three unique colour options, 16” mag wheels and Anniversary logos distinguish these models from others in the range.
Spark SE special edition launched in July, offering usual SE trim on all engine sizes and some new paint options.
 
2005: Glass rear window introduced on all models Suspension changes carried out including thicker anti-roll bars and re-rated dampers to soften ride. Production ends in April as the Mg/Rover Group collapses. 
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.mgownersclub.co.uk - Owners club
• www.xpartautoservicecentre.com – Parts and servicing for MG’s
• www.mgf.ultimatemg.com – Excellent source for detailed info on MG TF ownership
•www.xpowerforums.com – MG TF information portal
 
Summary and prices
 
If you are looking for a bargain convertible then there are few better options out there than an MG TF, prices start at under £1000 for a tired high-miler while top spec cared for models are generally not much more than £2500. At these prices restoring or overhauling a banger will almost always cost more than getting a good one in the first place and as there are a lot to choose from you can afford to be picky. Arguably, the sweet spot in the range is the TF 135 which provides as much performance as you would need and is less likely to have been abused than the top models. Find a low mileage special edition car and who knows, it may even appreciate in value in the years to come. 
 
Words: John Tallodi
MG TF MG TF MG TF MG TF
Last updated: 14th Jul 2016
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MG TF cars for sale

32 Search results
MG TF
1100 39995 GBP
  • MG TF 135 0 miles

    £1,795 £1,795

    ONLY ONE FORMER OWNER on this very well looked after Convertible.;Covered only 45000 miles from new, ;The soft top is unmarked, as is the interior.;Features include Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Remote Central Locking, ;CD Radio, with aux, 12 months MOT Extendable Warranty.;This is a real cracker of a convertible.;

    • Engine size: 1.796
    For sale
    Shirehampton Motors
    01179 823179 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • MG TF 2004

    £1,295 £1,295

    Finished in stunning Trophy Blue with contrasting Black interior. This ultra low mileage car is in very good condition inside and out. Runs and drives very well. Now ready to go to new owner at a bargain price.

    • Mileage: 38000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.796
    For sale
  • Mg Tf 2003

    £1,950 £1,950

    MG TF Red low mileage 37000 . Full service history. One Year MOT in very good condition.

    • Mileage: 37000 mi
    • Engine size: 1588
    For sale
  • Mg Tf 2004

    £1,495 £1,495

    Lovely little sports car with a new M.O.T and all recent bills for work carried out by an M.G Specialist. Less than 62000 genuine miles with service history and is fitted with a Kenwood Radio/CD. Headgasket, cambelt water pump brake pads have recently been fitted. Private number plate included in the price of £1495 only, so a quick sale is required and an obvious bargain for the enthusiast or someone wanting some summer fun. Please genuine viewers only and no time wasters!! Tel 07766 178410

    • Mileage: 61800 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
  • 1955 MG TF 1250

    £29,995 £29,995

    This beautifully presented MG TF 1250 was supplied new in North America. During the 1980's the MG was shipped to the UK and subject of a top class, professional restoration and right hand drive conversion. The TF was completed by 1989, finished in bright Red with lovely Tan leather upholstery, Beige weather equipment and chrome wire wheels. The car was finished to a high standard and during the 1990's and 2000's has featured at many shows, rallies and events in both England and Wales. The car originally came to us in 2008 having spent many years on the Welsh show scene. The car required very little preparation work and quickly sold to a local MG enthusiast near York. Between 2008 and 2015 the MG has proven totally reliable and has travelled all over North Yorkshire to many classic car shows. Over several years of regular use, the owner spent almost £5,000 on further improvements to include a full engine rebuild. The MG was treated to new main and big end bearings and shells, new camshaft, new pistons and piston ring set, oil pump, cam bearing, re-ground crankshaft and all new gaskets. Further expenditure included regular maintenance. Over the past twelve months the MG has not been

    • Year: 1955
    For sale
  • MG TF 135 2002

    £15,995 £15,995

    New and un-registered MGTF 135 with only 94 delivery miles. Platinum Silver with Black Sebring Upholstery and a blue hood. This 2002 model MG can only be described as time warp, it is in effect a new car having covered less than 100 miles and never registered. The car was purchased by its first owner for his daughter. Due to a separation the daughter never received the car and until now has been in a private collection as a pure investment. The TF comes complete with its factory build sheet and V55 form should you wish to register the car, we can assist you with this process. We are also able to offer delivery or can put the car into secure long term storage for you. Both sets of keys are with the car and please note this is a home market U.K right hand drive car and not a later Chinese model. Absolutely any inspection is welcome. Viewing is highly recommended. All major debit and credit cards accepted. Please contact us for any further information. Delivery and shipping can be arranged.

    • Mileage: 94 mi
    • Engine size: 1.8
    For sale
  • Mg Tf 2002 135BHP Convertable

    £1,250 £1,250

    2002 Dec. (52 reg) X-power grey metallic with black leather seats. Pas, electric windows,cd/radio,rare non Abs model.I bought this car 2 years ago and have only covered 1000mls summer motoring only.The car is garaged/dry stored for the winter.Its been trouble free in my ownership.It was purchased by me from a retiring MG garage specialist who told me all the conversions were carried out by him..updated head gasket,new pipes,waterpump etc,unfortunately there is no documentary evidence to support this. I do however  have some service and Mot history with the car.Bodywork is above average,and mechanically she starts first time and drives well with no nasty noises or smoke.Only selling due to lack of use.please no daft offers or part exchanges.

    • Mileage: 74400 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
  • MG TF 115 2002

    £1,950 £1,950

    2002 02;;**************PART EXCHANGE TO CLEAR**************;;Metallic Silver with Blue Cloth - Next MOT due 08/04/2018, Part service history, Alarm, Electric Windows (Front), Alloy Wheels (15in), CD Player, Sports seats

    • Mileage: 49000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.588
    For sale
  • MG TF

    £1,550 £1,550

    12 MONTH MOT suns coming out !! this has a hard top as per pictureson removal of the hard top it has a soft top .

    • Mileage: 65000 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
  • MG TF 2005 (05) 1.8 135 Special Edition Spark 2dr in X Power Metallic Grey

    £2,500 £2,500

    2005 MG TF 135 Spark special edition in X Power metallic grey with original charcoal grey soft top in very good condition. MOT July 2017. Has covered 79500 miles from new.    Interior has half leather and suede seats, leather armrest and headrests. The specification also includes race-bred AP Racing large front disc brakes and callipers, and 11-spoke alloy wheels with shadow chrome finish (needs cosmetic attention).   New clutch fitted in June 2015 and covered 7k miles. MLS head gasket replacement and ociated parts by specialist MG racing company in October 2015, 5k miles ago.    Also has the original colour coded hard top available if full or near-full asking price reached.    Regrettably selling due to new job abroad. Asking price £2500 ono.

    • Mileage: 79566 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
  • MG TF

    £26,995 £26,995

    The TF Midget, launched 15 October 1953, was a facelifted TD, fitted with the TD Mark II engine, headlights faired into the fenders, a sloping radiator grille concealing a separate radiator, and a new pressurized cooling system along with a simulated external radiator cap. Production ended at chassis number TF10100 on 4 April 1955 after 9,602 TFs had been manufactured, including two prototypes and 3,400 TF1500s. This particular car finished in Old English white with stunning red leather interior and is driving superbly. It comes complete with full weather equipment and has an extremely comprehensive service history. Originally supplied new in the USA this car returned to UK shore in 1991. In that time the car has undergone significant work to bring it into the outstanding condition it is today and has covered around 15000 miles. If you have been looking for an MG TF then perhaps you had better take a look at this one at £26995, it might be very difficult to find one nicer anywhere!

    • Year: 1954
    • Engine size: 1.3
    For sale
  • MG TF - 2004

    £2,995 £2,995

    Finished in Silver with contrasting black/grey interior. Mohair hood with glass heated rear screen, radio/CD. Garaged all its' life and immaculate throughout. Low mileage having covered only 54,000 miles. Regularly serviced by ourselves this future classic will be sold with a new MOT and warranty.

    • Mileage: 54000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.796
    For sale
  • MG TF 1250cc 1954.

    £39,995 £39,995

    Cream with Green hide interior and fawn weather equipment. Silver wire wheels. An original RHD matching numbered example supplied new to Australia from where it has recently returned and benefited from a complete body-off chassis restoration in its original colour scheme to an exacting standard, including the fitting of a 5-speed gearbox. £39,995

    • Year: 1954
    For sale
  • MG TF 2002

    £2,995 £2,995

    Finished in Silver with matching hard top and contrasting black interior. In lovely condition throughout and covered only 66,700 miles. Full Service History and MOT'd until November '17 with no advisories. This future classic drives and runs really well and should give the next owner many miles of trouble free motoring.

    • Mileage: 66700 mi
    • Engine size: 1.796
    For sale
  • MG TF

    £2,695 £2,695

    Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Alcantara Leather, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, ABS, Air Bag, Brake Assist, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, Radio, Stereo, Alloy wheels, Part service history

    • Mileage: 51516 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
  • MG TF 160 Trophy

    POA POA

    A very nice example of this late MG model, a proper sports car, built in limited numbers for this special edition model. 160 bhp. Well balanced, mid engine. 44,000 miles. Factory hard top in matching trophy yellow. Head gasket and water pump done. Great drivers car.

    For sale
  • MG TF 1500 Roadster 1954

    €31,500(£26,368.65) €31,500(£26,368.65)

    MG TF 1500 roadster 1954, matching numbers LHD The MG TF 1500 was produced for only 2 years, 3400 pieces were built. This is a 1954 MG in a beautiful dark green colour. The paint is older and has original patina. This MG has a beige Sonnenland softtop, as good as new and new black wire wheels with two-eared spinners. This MG has a black leather interior and a wooden steering wheel. The car has the original 1466CC, 64 HP engine and manual gearbox and is matching numbers. This original MG TF 1500 is ready for lots of driving fun. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1954
    For sale
  • MG TF 1250 Roadster LHD 1954

    €37,950(£31,767.95) €37,950(£31,767.95)

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT MG TF 1250 Roadster LHD 1954 Old English White in very good condition This is a 1954 MG TF 1250 in very good condition. The car has paint in colour Old English White, black leather interior and chrome wire wheels, a beautiful combination on this English Roadster. This MG TF has the matching numbers 1250 CC, 4 cyl, 58 HP engine and 4 speed manual gearbox. The car also has a chrome luggagerack and a black tonneau cover. At delivery we provide this car with a new black softtop. So a very beautiful, well maintained MG TF Roadster, ready for driving. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1954
    For sale
  • Mg TF2004 £1100 ono

    £1,100 £1,100

    004 MGTF - includes detachable hardtop, Full leather, CD/Radio, 80k miles, MOT until end May 2017, 5 good tyres, new rear pads and battery, great fun for a great price. Cat C - but excellent runner. Softtop not 100% perfect but is OK, rear screen needs replacing soon.

    • Mileage: 80100 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
  • 1955 MG TF 1500

    $19,500(£15,217.80) $19,500(£15,217.80)

    This 1955 MGTF 1500 is a great driver just in time for summer. Red with red interior and a black soft-top. A very straight and solid example that's mechanically very sound as well. For only $19,500

    • Year: 1955
    For sale
  • 1955 MG TF Convertible

    $19,500(£15,217.80) $19,500(£15,217.80)

    This 1955 MG TF Convertible . It is equipped with a 4 Speed Manual transmission. The vehicle is Red with a Red interior. It is offered As-Is, not covered by a warranty. - This 1955 MGTF is a nice solid driver. It comes with a white convertible top and white side curtains. The motor runs strong and the brakes are good. The TF is the Last of the traditional MG midgets with headlights molded into the fenders, sloping radiator grille, and pressurized cooling system with simulated external radiator cap. The car has good tires, a new carpet, and it's original leather seats. The car also comes with it's original blakelite steering wheel with leather cover. Overall this would be an excellent classic to own for only $19,500.

    • Year: 1955
    For sale
  • 1954 MG TF Roadster

    $29,900(£23,333.96) $29,900(£23,333.96)

    Original 1250 cc 4 cylinder with twin S.U. carbs, 4 speed manual transmission, O,E.M. canvas soft top with 4 removable side curtains. Optional luggage rack, dual mirrors, wind wings, knock off wheels and Lucas driving lights. This sporty little roadster has been lovingly restored to a jewel-like level. The show quality paint in Olde English White contrasts beautifully with the Crimson leatherette upholstery with mostly original linings depicting a very gently used vehicle prior to the professional ground up restoration. Every piece of chrome hardware and trim sparkles like new as do the enamel badges. Only 6,200 built and this one is as good as it gets. $29,900

    • Year: 1954
    For sale
  • MG TF

    £6,995 £6,995

    Variant name:135 LE 500 ,Derivative:MK1 ,Variant: 135 LE 500 16" 11 spoke alloy wheels,6 speakers,ABS/EBD,Air conditioning,Auxiliary input socket,Body colour bumpers,Body coloured hard top roof,Cigar lighter,Deadlocks,Driver/Front Passenger airbags,Electric door mirrors,Electric front windows,Front adjustable head restraints,Front armrest,Front floor mats,Front fog lights,Front sports seats,Full size alloy spare wheel,Heated door mirrors,Heated rear window,Height adjustable steering wheel,Hood cover,Leather handbrake,Leather trimmed steering wheel,Leather upholstery,Piano Black trim,Racing brakes,Radio/CD + MP3,Rear parking sensor,Remote central locking,Service interval indicator,Speed sensitive power steering,Thatcham category 1 alarm+immobiliser,Wind deflector

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 23217 mi
    • Engine size: 1.8
    For sale
  • Amasing MG TF 80th Anniversary 2004

    £1,995 £1,995

    Silver 80th Anniversary MG TF with burgundy hood. Brilliant 1.8 135bhp engine with head gasket replaced two years ago, new alternator, new rear brakes, red front calliper brakes, full Goodyear tyres, red/black leather MG seats, tonneau cover, good rust-free condition all round. Fantastic worry-free fast, fun roadster for weekend blasts or daily use and a reluctant sale due to a new company car.

    • Mileage: 59000 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
  • MG TF

    £2,999 £2,999

    Half Leather, Alarm, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Central Locking, Colour Coded Interior, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Multiple Airbags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Premium Cloth soft top, Rear Spoiler, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Radio, 1 YEAR AA RECOVERY INCLUDED, Alloy wheels, Service history Here we have a fantastic example of a MG TF 135, a future classic British convertible sports car. With its sporty shape + performance, you really won't go unnoticed whilst on the road, especially with its Aluminium Silver Finish + 1/2 Leather Interior. Included with the car is good service history as well as a HPI Clear Status. This MG's Nice Spec includes; E/W, E/M, Fog Lights, 1/2 Leather, Multi Airbag & CD+Radio to name just a few of its items. With its LOW MILEAGE & NICE CONDITION, you really will struggle to find an MG TF Sports in as good condition as this one. A good looking, soft top British convertible that really shouldn't be missed! Please call 01403891700 for more details.

    • Mileage: 48067 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
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