Since the late 40s, Land Rover has stood as a brand that produces the toughest go-anywhere vehicles in the world.
Today, they promise cars that can handle any conditions, be it snow, desert or mud, while also giving passengers a luxurious experience inside. However, there’s one part that does lessen its reputation and that’s reliability.
Are Land Rovers Reliable?
Unfortunately not as Land Rovers keep posting poor reliability records to this day. Recently, management at JLR has promised to address the issues as the brand continues to score very poorly in surveys. This drawback goes back a long way too.
Throughout the decades, Defenders, Range Rovers etc. have suffered from being somewhat undependable. In fact, there’s a saying in Australia, where you take a Land Rover to go into the outback, but you take a Land Cruiser to get back out.
In the present, Land Rovers continue to sell, despite their flaws. This is mostly thanks to the brand appealing to well-off people who enjoy their glitzy, larger than life SUVs. With such riches, poor reliability isn’t as big a concern as it would be with most folks.
What are the Most Common Problems with Land Rovers?
There’s a lot that can go wrong with a Land Rover and I mean a lot. While the cars they make today try to seem solidly built with their posh interiors and modern, clean designs, the truth is less flattering. Very recurring problems include the following:
- Air suspension failure
- Electric parking brake failure
- Crankshaft seizures
- Electrical issues
- Oil leaks (which can turn up before even hitting 60,000 miles)
- Sunroof leaking (can pop up before 55,000 miles)
These are just a few from a big list. It’s no wonder that a Range Rover’s average annual repair bill is around $4,500. On the lower end, the much cheaper Evoque can have repair costs ranging from $95 to as much as $2,845. These can suffer from non-engine electronics like air-con and sat-nav struggling to work properly.
However, be wary of the gearbox too. This can have troubles of its own and if you’re not careful, you could wind up with an eye-watering bill. Keep in mind, I’m giving a broad answer. You could make quite the giant article if it was about all of a Land Rover’s usual faults.
Are Land Rovers Expensive to Maintain?
Before going into specifics, I’ll just open up and say absolutely. Whether it’s an old one or a brand new one, it’s almost a certainty that keeping it going each year will not come cheap. Their yearly average lands somewhere close to $1,174.
Such a high chance of parts breaking will make sure keeping a Land Rover is not a penny-saving experience. Even the cheapest ones won’t take it easy on you.
An Evoque’s average annual maintenance price comes in at $1,102. For its bigger brother, the Range Rover, it gets far, far worse with an annual cost of up to $5000.
Do Land Rovers Rust?
Modern Land Rovers do have decent rust protection (though that can be said about most new cars), but older ones aren’t quite the same. Keep a lookout for classic Range Rovers, Discoveries, and Defenders. These are not only older and possess less protection from it, but their off-roading lifestyles will increase the likelihood of parts oxidizing.
Are Land Rovers Safe?
A crucial area that isn’t disappointing about Land Rovers is their safety. They’ve scored five stars in crash tests and their large, bulky frames allow for a feeling of security.
Sure, there’s a lot about them that has only served to lose fans, but keeping you safe isn’t one of them.
Are Land Rovers Made out of Good Quality Elements?
They might not have the best mechanical and electrical components, but that’s not to say a Land Rover feels entirely low rent.
Their interiors are highly praised for their comfort and, when there’s no fault stopping you, they really are built to handle the rough stuff.
In recent times, they’ve developed unique terrain response systems that can understand what surface the car is driving on and adapt to it. This type of system is complex and you could say it’s another thing to go wrong, but it’s proven to be an impressive piece of tech. Sadly, it’s one that will likely see little use as typical Land Rover drivers do not use them for off-road trekking.
Another good quality is the fact Land Rovers come with a lot of space that easily rivals comparable cars. The new Defender has a vast cabin, while even the smaller Discovery can happily seat seven.
Do Land Rovers Lose Their Value Fast?
This will depend on the car, but in the case of a Range Rover, you can see a value loss of 63% over five years. A reason for this vast drop in resale price is that Land Rover’s customer base behaves a similar way Apple’s customer base behaves. When a new iPhone comes along, owners of old ones will drop them like stones and the same goes for Land Rovers.
A used Land Rover just doesn’t carry the same, flashy weight as an all-new one. Not to mention the poor reliability means a bad reputation that does nothing for it in the used market. This combination accounts for a Land Rover’s struggle in holding onto its money.
On a brighter note, a current Discovery does hold onto its value fairly well over three years compared to rival cars, while the latest Defender could retain up to 59% of its original price tag. That is in the short term though. More issues could arise past that, shrinking the value at a faster rate.
What are the most Reliable Land Rovers?
Old series 1 Discoveries are fairly okay (though best to look for ones that are very well cared for). Later models from around 1996-1998 will be the ones to look for. Also, you might want to stick more towards diesel engines for most Land Rovers.
Perhaps one of the best Land Rovers to keep going (without complaint) is the Freelander. First-generation cars are quite old and can have a few rust troubles, but the second one is both younger and can stick around a while. Its platform has been used by some excellent cars (Ford Mondeo, Volvo S60, etc.) and the engines were very solid (it even used the terrific 2.0-litre Ecoboost engine in its last years).
Which Land Rovers Should You Avoid?
Ironically, the newer ones can be the biggest troublemakers. With so much more electronics than the old cars, it allows for even more stuff to go wrong (and it has). Aside from the first generation, it would be best to avoid the Discovery. Even the latest one does not score well.
The latest Land Rover cars are also a big gamble as their electrics continue to suffer. Used ones are also to be kept at a distance, seeing how many owners will get sick of the faults and try selling them on. Considering how expensive they are, Range Rovers may not be worth all the luxury they come with.
Old Defenders may have fairly simple engineering behind them, but the reliability and rust might just be too much to face. Anything from before the late 90s will carry risk as they are both old and many cars will have seen a lot of punishment if previous owners regularly used them in the countryside or a farm.
Also read: 3 Reasons Why Range Rovers are so Expensive
How Long Does Land Rover Last Compared to Other Car Brands?
After reading all this, you’re probably be coming to the conclusion that comparable cars from other manufacturers last longer with fewer faults. Truth is, your educated guess is very correct.
A Range Rover can go on for over 100,000 miles, but only with the hefty maintenance and repair bills being paid.
Rival cars can go similar, if not greater, distances, but with far less money needed to keep them working. An Audi Q7, BMW X5 or a Volvo XC90 are very worthy, even superior, choices. Their respective brands do not suffer the same reputation for poor reliability like Land Rover does.
Despite such shortcomings, they haven’t dampened sales as the brand has cultivated a permanent image as a fashionable one. With this, they can rely on people who will not only overlook rival cars that might actually be preferable choices but come back to purchase whatever is the new car on the block.