Not a fast accelerating car (165 bhp in 2.3 tons) but has huge torque. It is a very relaxing car to drive, and acceleration at 70mph in 5th is impressive.
Ride and handling are typical 4x4: wallowy, not at its best on a windy country road, but ultimately very secure on its 275 wide tyres. Steering is light, brakes are excellent (it has ABS), clutch not too heavy, gear-change clunky when cold, but OK when warm.
Cabin is comfortable, but not grand. VX model comes with: leather, electrically adjustable & heated seats, (but with not enough front legroom for 6+ footers in the pre-Amazon badged (1997) models.) Also: electric windows, mirrors and sunroof; climate control; cruise control; rear heater; quite nice wooden dash & trim.
The car has three rows of seats: 2 + 3 + 3 making a full 8 seater in all. The 2nd & 3rd rows only have lap belts in the middle, and the third row is too small for adults or large teenagers. Interior space is not great given the overall size of the car, although if you remove the 3rd row of seats the boot is cavernous.
Towing capability is awesome: I bought it to tow our three horse trailer (2.5 tons) which it does with ease; and moreover it has the weight, brakes and suspension to control this load safely. Rated towing capacity is 3.5 tons, and it would do this easily.
Full differential locks (centre, rear and front) mean that it is almost unstoppable off road. I have hauled out Land-Rovers and lorries at "horsey" events in muddy fields. It regularly does farming duty on our few acres.
Wading capacity is rated at 2'6"; but I have (unintentionally) had water from a flooded road coming over the bonnet, and driven out again with no problems.
Fuel economy is 27 mpg average, 29 mpg on longer journeys, 20 mpg when towing. (Note that automatic diesel versions will do significantly worse than this, and auto petrol models (4.7 litre V8) are disastrous: 17mpg or less.)
Engine always starts absolutely instantly in any weather, and appears (at 80,000 miles) not to use any oil or water at all!
Bodywork appears to have no rust at all (after 6 years & 80k miles), including underneath.
Tyres are expensive (up to £200 each) but last at least 30,000 miles - probably 40,000 with gentle use.
- The headlights are poor, especially on dipped beam. This is due to poor wiring (2.5v loss measured on mine), and can be radically improved by re-wiring the lights. Did this myself for about £50.
- When you engage low range the centre diff-lock is automatically switched on. Fine off-road, but if you needed low range to start a heavy trailer on a (tarmac) hill you wind up the transmission and scrub the tyres. Again a simple electrical fix (manual switch on dash, disconnect switch on transmission) fixes the problem for about £55.
- Interior space is poor for a car this size.
- Drive through a deep puddle at 30+mph and a wall of water comes over the front and covers the windscreen. Scary when it happens the first time!
- Steering lock is poor (typical 4x4) making parking in narrow city streets a challenge, but then it's not a city car.
- Expensive to buy and run, but worth it if you need the towing and/or off-road capability.
- Fuel economy is acceptable so long as you go for the manual diesel. Avoid petrol autos unless you own a private oil well!
- Build quality is superb, and mechanically it seems bullet-proof so long as it is maintained properly.
- Comfortable and easy to drive, giving a great sense of security in bad conditions.