The new 800 Series has been engineered to provide the high level of structural integrity, with a strong passenger safety cell protected by body members designed to progressively absorb the forces of an impact. Right from the earliest design stages, the use of advanced computer-aided engineering allowed the performance of every key component to be evaluated under a wide range of conditions. The final proving ground was
the EEC barrier test where the prototype is catapulted into a concrete barrier at a speed of 50 mph, and then minutely inspected. For the Rover 800 to pass this test, the ‘safety cage’ surrounding driver and passengers had to remain completely secure, and the doors neither burst Open nor jam shut. The steering column must progressively collapse, and there is a tightly prescribed maximum allowable rearward movement. In the rear
collision test, not only the safety cage but also the petrol tank must remain undamaged. On the new Rover 800 Series, a further safety feature is the fuel cut-off system; this is operated by an inertia switch which senses the rapid deceleration caused by an impact, and immediately shuts down the fuel pump.
The new Rovers high levels of structural safety are complemented by the careful design of interior features. Flame-retardant materials are exclusively used.
The new-style steering wheel reflects the pioneering design first seen in the Rover 200 Series, with all major structural components located away from the driver and thickly padded The front seats hare special features which help to retain the occupant in the event of a collision whilst the effectiveness of the seat belts is increased in two ways. The upper seat belt anchorage is height adjustable, so that occupants can ensure that the belt fits them correctly. In addition, the seat belt buckle is attached directly to the front seat frame, maintaining the belt in the right position regardless of the seat adjustment.