RAC Cars News


Buying a used Range Rover

By raccars Published

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What to look out for when buying a used Range Rover.

The Range Rover has always been an aspirational choice. When it was launched in 1970 it was the first luxury off-roader and at a cost of at least £75,000 new, it remains a status symbol to this day. While a new Range Rover remains out of reach of the average buyer, the 2002-2013 generation is feeling the effects of depreciation and can be picked up at a relatively reasonable price. There are, however, some question marks over reliability, so choose carefully to protect your wallet.

The third generation Range Rover

The third and fourth generation Ranges were available concurrently for a brief period of time, with the Mk3 model sent on its way with a special run-out edition. With the third generation running from 2002 to 2013 there were various face lifts along the way with the result that there is a wide model range from which to choose.

This is Land Rover's halo model, the fiver seater SUV demonstrating equal amounts of interior luxury, off-road ability and smooth on-road manners, while the elevated ride height offers a commanding view of the road.

The third generation was released with a choice of two engines, a petrol 4.4 litre V8 and a diesel three litre TD6, both made by BMW. A 2005 update saw a 4.2 litre V8 and a Jaguar 4.4 litre V8 added to the range. Some cosmetic improvements were made at the same time including revised bumpers, lights and a new infotainment system.

A further update in 2006 brought a 3.6 litre TDV8 to the model range, while a petrol 5.0 litre V8 came along in 2009, at which point other petrol units were discontinued. In 2010 the TDV8 went from 3.6 to 4.4 litres.

Inside the Range Rover is full of high end materials, with a capacious boot.

Which model to go for

The models available to you will largely be dictated by your budget. Earlier models are expensive to run in petrol format so look for a TD6, the most luxurious version of which is the Vogue trim level. The diesels are the sensible choice at any budget, compared to the fuel hungry petrols. All models offer a refined and silky smooth driving experience. The later TDV8 in particular is a peach. The highest trim level is the Vogue SE, which is packed with luxury features.

The cost

There is no other way to put it, a Range Rover is expensive to run. You'll get a maximum of 30mpg from a diesel and no more than 20mpg from a petrol, so you're going to be making frequent trips to the petrol station.

There's road tax to consider too, costing from £295-£515 per year and servicing every year or 10,000-15,000 miles at £400-600 a time.


Unfortunately there have been a number of mechanical issues with this model, and the three year warranty is no longer valid. Electrics can be a headache so check all mirrors, seats, windows, air con etc. carefully. Check all dials and instrument gauges as there have been some documented dashboard failures. And the fuse board can be temperamental too.

Gearboxes are struggling to get past the 100,000 mile mark and cost about £5,000 to replace, while the front diff has been known to throw in the towel at 40,000 miles. You'll also want to pay attention to the suspension, transmission and brakes, especially if the previous owner was a keen off-roader or used the car for towing.

There were recalls in 2002 for possible short circuits and in 2004 for problems with the ESP and the dashboard TV screen. Another recall was issued in 2005 relating to the gearbox while there have been brake fluid leaks on cars from 2002-2006. Lastly, in 2009 there was a windscreen bonding recall issue. Make sure these have been attended to.

Whilst this may seem an intimidating list, a professional a carefully chosen model and a professional vehicle inspection from the RAC can help. And these are, after all, fantastic vehicles.

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