Used Vehicle Review: Land Rover Range Rover, 2003 2009 used car reviews luxury cars landrover
2006 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged; photo by Michael La Fave. Click image to enlarge

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By Chris Chase

The Range Rover is arguably Land Rover’s best-known model and the one that best represents the company’s reputation as a builder of high-end SUVs. The first generation vehicle was introduced in 1970; the second-generation wouldn’t appear until 1995. It was a relatively quick turnaround, then, when the Range Rover was redesigned again for a 2002 introduction in some parts of the world, wearing modern styling that still managed to echo that of the original 1970 model.

The powertrains were modern, too: the sole engine in 2003-2005 Range Rovers was a BMW 4.4-litre V8 (known to Bimmerphiles as the M62) that made 282 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque; the only transmission available was a ZF-built five-speed automatic.

Following Ford’s acquisition of the Land Rover brand, the Range Rover got two new engine options in 2006: another 4.4-litre V8, this time sourced from Jaguar, that made 305 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, and Jaguar’s supercharged 4.2-litre V8, which made a robust 400 hp and 420 lb-ft. Both of these engines were matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2006 model year also saw the introduction of the Range Rover Sport, a smaller, lighter and less-expensive truck that was marketed as a more direct alternative to vehicles like the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. It used slightly less-powerful versions of the Range Rover’s engines.

Used Vehicle Review: Land Rover Range Rover, 2003 2009 used car reviews luxury cars landrover
2006 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged; photo by Michael La Fave. Click image to enlarge

(The 2010 Range Rover got new engines again, and an eight-speed automatic transmission; these models will be covered in a future review).

Driving a Range Rover won’t help you make friends with Greenpeace: Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption estimates for the 2005 model were 19.7/13.5 L/100 km (city/highway). The numbers were a little better with the 2006 model’s new engines, with ratings of 16.7/11.9 L/100 km with the 4.4-litre Jaguar engine, and 18.1/11.8 L/100 km for the supercharged 4.2-litre motor. By 2009, the 4.4-litre V8 was rated at 17.3/11.2 L/100 km, and the supercharged 4.2 at 17.7/11.4.

Used Vehicle Review: Land Rover Range Rover, 2003 2009 used car reviews luxury cars landrover
Used Vehicle Review: Land Rover Range Rover, 2003 2009 used car reviews luxury cars landrover
2006 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged; photo by Bob McHugh. Click image to enlarge

Consumer Reports has virtually no reliability information on the Range Rover, so we have to rely mostly on anecdotal accounts from Land Rover-related web sites and forums. One source is this terrific page at RangeRovers.net, that lists loads of problems that third-generation Range Rover owners have experienced. By no means does a problem’s inclusion here make it widespread, but if it’s listed here, it certainly warrants noting.

Electrical gremlins are common in British cars, something that not even foreign ownership can take out of this quintessentially British off-roader. A battery that becomes drained after the truck has been parked for a couple of weeks (or even a couple of days, in some cases) could be caused by a number of different things. Apparently, the electronics in the Range Rover are so elaborate that interference from other cars’ keyless entry systems can cause the truck’s electrical system to “wake up” and, over time, drain the battery. Another possibility is that a faulty relay in the climate control system causes the system to activate periodically even when the car is off and locked, killing the battery.

If the air conditioning quits blowing cold air after about half an hour, the reason could be an automatic function that prevents the evaporator from icing over in very humid weather. The BMW 5 Series, with which the third-gen Range Rover shares its climate control system, exhibits the same symptoms, apparently.

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