A Range Rover may be expensive, but think how many cars you’re getting: hatchback, estate, off-roader, tow car, luxury car, workhorse… The list goes on. Some might say its list of mechanical and electrical faults goes on, too. Which is why buying the cheapest Rangie you can find isn’t a good idea.
Instead, aim high and buy from a respected dealer that has inspected the car thoroughly and is prepared to put a quality warranty on it. Then borrow it for 24 hours and give it a proper workout, watching for glitches such as the oil service warning light and a creaky infotainment system and taking a note of its fuel economy.
It’s the Mk4 Range Rover we’re talking about here, launched in 2013 and still going strong, as it should continue to until the axe falls in 2021 with the arrival of its successor.
It was updated in 2014 and again in 2016. From launch, power was provided by a choice of 3.0 TDV6 or 4.4 SDV6 diesels and a supercharged 5.0 V8 petrol. They were joined shortly after by a 3.0 SDV6 HEV hybrid with power comparable to the 4.4 SDV8 but producing fewer emissions and claimed fuel economy of 44mpg.
Prices start at around £33,000 for a 2013-reg HEV Autobiography with 45,000 miles compared with £30,000 for a 3.0 TDV6 or 4.4 SDV8 of the same age and mileage but in entry-level Vogue trim. Its complex tech is just another thing to worry about, so we’d plump for that 4.4 SDV8. The supercharged 5.0 is juicy but reminds us of V8 petrol Rangies of old, which were always irresistible. An approved used 2013-reg 5.0 S Autobiography is around £38,000.
A standard-length Range Rover is roomy enough, but a long-wheelbase version arrived in 2014. The same year, the model received updates ranging from fancier puddle lights to a clever Cargo mode that, as the rear seats are folded, senses when the fronts are in the way and moves them forward.
The big refresh was in 2016, when the 5.0 Supercharged gained more power and a new 3.0 V6 Supercharged was slotted beneath it, offering better economy but decent performance. A 2017-reg with 43,000 miles is £48,000. But company car drivers demanded better and Range Rover duly delivered with the P400e, a plug-in hybrid with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, together producing 398bhp. Its pure-electric range is 31 miles. There are quite a few on the market, with an 8000-mile, 2018-reg Vogue SE weighing in at £71,000.
Of all the engines, we’d be drawn first to the 4.4 SDV8 for its blend of effortless performance and bearable economy, but if buying the lower-powered 3.0 TDV6 meant having something younger with lower mileage and a watertight history, we’d leap on it.
Engine Beware of oil dilution issues affecting the DPF and triggering the ‘oil service due’ warning light. Smaller diesel engines (smaller than the 4.4) can suffer crankshaft bearing problems. A troublesome turbo may be suffering a blocked breather pipe.
Transmission Make sure the rotary shift controller rises from the console. A fluid and filter change every 30,000 miles is recommended.
Suspension Check the car sits level on its air springs and scroll through the various height modes. Knocking noises could be the front control arms or rear bottom arms.
Body Especially if a pre-2015 car, check panel gaps and finish.
Interior Pre-2015 cars had their fair share of electrical glitches so check everything (and there's a lot of it) works.
Need to know
In the What Car? Reliability Survey, the Range Rover is bottom of the luxury SUV class. Battery, gearbox and suspension faults are to blame. It’s why you should favour cars with a full service history and a quality warranty.
If you tow, seek out a Range Rover fitted with the Advanced Tow Assist (ATA) available from August 2016. It can automatically reverse car and trailer in the direction you indicate on a dial.
Beware of oil dilution issues affecting the DPF and triggering the ‘oil service due’ warning light.
In light of our increasingly wet climate, it’s good to know a Rangie has a wading depth of 900mm.
3.0 TDV6 Vogue: Smallest but still strong diesel and well-equipped Vogue trim help make buying a Range Rover more affordable. Prices from £22,000 for a 2013-reg with 85,000 miles.
5.0 V8 Supercharged 565 Autobiography Dynamic: A big name for a big hitter. This top-spec long-wheelbase Range Rover has performance figures to embarrass a supercar.
Ones we found
2014 3.0 TDV6 Vogue, 93,000 miles, £24,995
2015 4.4 SDV8 Vogue SE, 80,000 miles, £28,995
2016 5.0 V8 Supercharged Autobiography, 60,000 miles, £40,500
2018 3.0 TDV6 Vogue, 37,000 miles, £49,995