Land Rover has become the marquee brand for four-wheel drive vehicles, developing various product lines such as the Defender, Discovery, and Range Rover. All of these remain popular on the used market. When buying something that was designed for rough, off-road terrain, though, it’s crucial that you know what you’re looking for.
Inspired by the company’s original 1948 Land Rover Series, the Defender range is aimed squarely at those seeking a serious off-road machine. Using a manually operated four-wheel system with highs and lows, the Defender is built to tackle any terrain. The most common distinction those looking at the used market marked will find is the 90 and 110 marks. This is in reference to the length of the wheelbase, and both sizes offer a distinct drive style that’s worth trying out for yourself. When shopping for older models, particularly those that use the 200 or 300 Tdi engines, make sure the cambelts and head gaskets have been replaced. The turbochargers and fuel injection pumps are also prone to wear out on models of this period.
The Discovery range aims to strike the balance between off-road potential and comfort. While it will be a noticeable improvement over a 110 Defender, the latter still has the edge when it comes to durability and possible modifications. If you’re looking at older models, such as the Discovery 2 line, take great care examining the motor. Excess cooling system pressure and any raps or ticks are a sign of a block going bad. In fact, those looking for a Discovery model should definitely consider the 2010 Discovery 4 which represented a large improvement in the range, even over 2004’s third generation. So much so that a low-spec Discovery 4 model is advised over a premium third-generation model.
The Range Rover line has become the go-to SUV for celebrities the world over, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t substance underneath the style. Beware of older models, though, as the 15,000 miles oil change interval that was recommended for 2003 models has been criticized by specialists. Engines that have been run this long will develop crud in the oil filter housing and sludge in the engine. The Sport range, from 2005, though, is arguably the most reliable vehicle the company has produced, using a combination of Ford and Jaguar technology.
As with any used car, the main thing to check for is that the legal documents that come with the vehicle all line up. However, with vehicles like this that were often meant to be driven hard, yearly servicing is also crucial. If you aren’t mechanically minded yourself, consult a specialist to give you a better idea about the condition of the vehicle.