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Owner’s Vehicle Reviews.

Reviews on Reliant.

Reliant Robin: 2 Reviews:

12. 3.

Reliant Rialto: 2 Reviews:

1. 2. 3.

Review 1:

Reliant Robin - Super (Saloon)

Rating: 9/10

Review by Elvis Payne. URL:

Fun on 3-wheels.

Manufactured: 1973.  Engine: 748cc

Information on Reliant

The Reliant Robin whilst comparatively noisy inside is a great fun car to own and drive and always gets attention. If offers excellent fuel economy and is cheap to maintain though the MOT on older models can sometimes present a shocking bill. Despite its size the engine gives lusty performance and will easily keep up with everyday traffic. Its four seats offer a fairly comfortable but slightly cramped ride for two adults and 2 small people though whilst not impossible longer journeys for tall people will need a break to stretch your legs. For the motorcyclist though the Robin offers great weather protection for those cold frosty days when you really don’t want to take the bike out. Things to look out for are leaks in the rear window as the seals tend to go.  I quite often found a pool of water on the rear parcel shelf after a good downpour. Its quite easy to fix though.

Review 2:

Reliant Robin - (Saloon)

Rating:  10/10

Review by: Malcolm Norris. URL:

Manufactured: 1976.  Engine: 848cc

The car is very good it offers good mpg its very basic and parts have to be ordered. Its a pig to work on the engine and the king pin is a pain to replace it also costs a fortune to have major engine work done but its very fun to drive you certainly get noticed it keeps up with motorway speeds although you would need to take a break every so often to check engine coolant levels and they are prone to leaks also oil leaks can be a problem. I'm hoping to get my car on the road again soon,  its been off the road for the last 7 months.

Review 3:

Reliant Robin - (Estate)

Rating:  10/10

Review by: Adam Grieve URL: N/A

Fun, Practical and Cheap.

Manufactured: 1978.  Engine: 848cc

I was given a Robin and although a little skeptical at first I’ll give any thing a go. So after 2 weeks lying under it fixing it, it was on the road.  Impression; great, fun, nippy-ish, practical, moved a 5ft fridge freezer in it with door closed economical - 45 mpg at worst. On working out the cost of a years motoring excluding petrol and insurance it came to £175 for the year. Would get another and have done several times.

Review 1:

Reliant Rialto - (Saloon)

Rating:  8/10

Review by Elvis Payne. URL:

Manufactured: 1981.  Engine: 848cc

Like its predecessor the Rialto offers great fuel consumption and economic running cost. The Rialto is slightly better than the Robin in a number of ways as whilst it shares the same 848cc engine the chassis is galvanised and due to its wedged shape, offers better road handling at higher speeds, and if you put your foot down it won’t hang about. People always think of Reliant’s as slow cars, maybe in the olden days they were but since the launch of the Robin, Reliant’s offer a respectable speed touching 96 mph if pushed hard. Against the Rialto though it just seems to lack the charm of the Robin.  The Rialto looks a much more practical car and doesn’t have that “cute & fun” factor as a lady friend once told me.  On earlier versions rear access is via a hatch door below the window at the back. It wont leak but its a nightmare if you want to load the rear as you can only half fill it from the back.  You then have to load the rest through the side door.

Review 2:

Reliant Rialto SE - (Saloon)

Rating:  10/10

Review by David Farran.  URL: N/A

Manufactured: 1989.  Engine: 848cc

Eccentric but efficient.

Like all Reliant 3-wheelers, it has plus and minus points. For: Fun to drive, light controls with superb feedback and response. When serviced properly it’s very reliable and economical, fair amount of luggage room, especially the van and hatchback models. Cheap to run and simple in construction, parts are available still for even old models in most cases. Against: Needs a sense of humour to own and maintain.  Jokes are well known, and the maintenance involves some clever ideas in those awkward spaces. Not a motorway car but terrific on B and C roads. Limited room in rear seats. Verdict: Worth trying, you might love them.

Review 3:

Reliant Rialto - (Hatchback)

Rating:  7/10

Review by Mark Hale  URL: N/A

Manufactured: 1988.  Engine: 848cc

A Biker’s First Impressions.

Coming from two failed car tests and 20 years on motorcycles, for me the Rialto was a much needed solution to the winter blues. 4-wheeler driving friends trot out the usual jokes and the yellow paint job draws a few cries of “Del Boy” as we motor around. Fortunately I have the stereo turned up loud to drown out the engine noise and bodywork rattles and squeaks so I rarely hear the catcalls. The sunroof makes the interior nice and light, but having to clean the seal and lube it regularly to stop it leaking is a pain. Compared to a modern bike engine the Reliant 850 is a simple unit. I struggle to understand how the carburettor works but everything else looks easy to work on. However the lack of workspace in the engine bay has had me cursing already.  The   original dim 45W yellow tungsten headlamp bulbs have been junked and replaced by 60/55W halogens so that I can see where I am going at night. At some point Ill have to fit a Lumenition kit to get rid of that infernal ignition points gapping & cleaning embuggerance. Have no illusions It takes an age for the engine to warm up and pull cleanly. You can see the dashboard moving as you turn the wheel in 3-point turns. The interior trim & finish is very poor. The noise as already mentioned at any speed over 40mph is quite intrusive. Steep hills need to be attacked in 2nd gear at 20mph. People just pull out in front of you as if you don’t exist. Everyone will want to overtake you whether there is space for them to do it or not. The Rialto is not a+ abe magnet. Having run the poor car down so much I wouldn’t be without my Rialto now. It can be fun to drive within its 3-wheel limits, sips petrol costs £60 a year for road tax + carries more than 1 passenger and much more stuff than you can ever get on a bike. You don’t have to struggle into all your bike gear if you want to go to the supermarket and you can turn up at social functions looking vaguely human. I’ve hardly ridden my bike in the winter since I got the Rialto. Bearing the above in mind this biker gives the Resin Rocket a thumbs-up.


I submitted a review of my 1988 Rialto recently. In it, I made a comment that it would only go up steep hills at 20mph in 2nd gear. The car went in to to Keygate in Chatham have a replacement radiator fitted under warranty recently. It seems that a combination of ignition components breaking down, a gummed-up carburettor and my relative inexperience had conspired against the little car and that the timing was out and the fuel mixture was super-lean. Keygate sorted all this out gratis and I can't heap enough praise on them. The Rialto pulls like a train now, a lot of the noise and vibration has died down and the engine is a lot easier to start in the morning. I feel that my original review has done the Rialto a disservice.