Wonderful and rewarding, although not for the faint-hearted
Prior to my ownership (I bought this from a relative), the water pump, cooling fan blade and clutch assembly, spark plugs, ignition wires, and passenger seat fore/aft adjustment motor were replaced. I'm sure there were other items over the years, but those were the things I found receipts for in the glovebox.
When I bought the car it had been sitting for about three years, so I knew it would need some things. I have replaced the following items:
All five tires (Michelin LTX's were replaced with Continental CrossContact LX20 and they are very well suited to this vehicle).
Thermostat assembly (plastic housing was deteriorating, OEM Calorstat unit used for replacement).
Three door lock actuators were not working and required replacement.
Rear brake pads were absolutely shot, but the original discs are still in fantastic shape.
Front and rear differential fluids were changed, with the rear differential fluid being strangely watery when drained, but no noise or oddities when driving.
Shuttle valve on ABS module was replaced due to hard fault, then two ABS wheel speed sensor codes were revealed when the shuttle valve fault was cleared. New Pex speed sensors are sitting on my desk right now.
I will soon replace the head gaskets preventively, since they are known to leak on all of these. The valve cover gaskets are pouring oil, and by the time you replace those on one of these, you might as well do the head gaskets.
So that's a long list of "problems" up there, but to me it is all normal old car stuff, and I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.
Yes, I fully acknowledge this car is financially stupid to own, and I can already tell my friends all think I have finally gone off my rocker by purchasing this thing, when I have a healthy financial landscape going on and a perfect 2008 Audi A4.
I got bored though. I always wanted the A4, everyone thought it was nuts, I proved them wrong with it, and now I'm set to do it again with this big bright red fire truck.
Fortunately I manage an import repair shop, the owner of which is a British car nut, we have parts Land Rovers, and I have a technician who knows these things in and out, because the other technician hates Land Rovers and punts them all to the first guy, who has now become an expert on them. What is all of this for me? A big WIN.
One day I will be working somewhere else and living in a different city where I will be subject to paying retail for car repairs again, so the goal is to get both of these cars absolutely perfect before that happens. Mission accomplished with the Audi, especially since I bought it almost-new anyway, and the Land Rover is in great shape really. For one thing, it does NOT HAVE A SERVICE ENGINE SOON LIGHT ON, which is a gift with one of these. The temperature gauge also stays nice and level, and the drivetrain is free of clunks and weird noises.
The car drives fantastically, but it is definitely a truck, so if you're looking for a car or crossover experience, don't buy one of these. Although it accelerates adequately, stops adequately, and will out-handle other truck-based SUVs, it is not a rocket ship like many modern SUVs, and the brakes are definitely not what I'm used to after having driven a BMW 3-series and Audi A4 for the last ten years.
Everything about the car is clunky, with doors that make very mechanical sounds when opening and closing, and great big live axles that make it sort of amble along the road. Even with this, there is not one squeak or rattle that I've found while driving it.
The ergonomics, well, there aren't any. Do familiarize yourself with where things are before setting off down the road, because this is NO Honda when it comes to locations of controls. Buttons are sort of scattered around with very little logic, but the features are all there and everything works well.
The Harman/Kardon sound system is fantastic, and the A/C is nice and cold. The heated power front seats are wonderful, and the back seat is both very accommodating, and yet disappears nicely when extra cargo space is needed.
This is my hedonistic vehicle. It's just like owning an elephant: ridiculous, but wonderful.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st May, 2014