I have thought about this post for a while. It’s no secret that Land Rovers have steadily lost some of the overland expedition market especially in Africa, to Toyota. Land Cruisers hold their value like a vault while Range Rovers plummet. Why?
Well when your Range Rover is sitting in pieces in your garage for months as you try to retime it you realize the answer. It’s the reliability. There is a real issue with Land Rover reliability. I am advocating that Land Rover take a page out of the playbook of Lotus and consider using Toyota engines.
Engineering engines has to be expensive, paying for ZF drive train parts, has to be expensive, warranty payments to dealers have to be expensive, court settlements (of which several owners have contacted me about successful litigation) has to be expensive for Land Rover, all while they lose some of their core demographics.
Toyota engines were once under powered and un-refined. However, that’s just not the case anymore. The 5.7L and 5.0L V8s are quite fun, and there are some nice V6 options as well. These engines are rock solid. The running gear is bomb proof. They are nice engines that are smooth and produce prodigious amounts of power for years. While utilizing BMW engines didn’t work for Land Rover, there is quite a big difference between Toyota and BMW engine philosophy with Toyota engineer teams spending hours to refine and build incredibly reliable engines.
Land Rover should seriously consider dropping the Jaguar engines and utilizing Toyota engines because their mission vision values and goals in part rely on reliability. You just can’t take a Land Rover into the jungle or off the beaten path very far without a group of vehicles because there is a too high of a chance it will break down.
While I’ve driven across country in Range Rovers more times than I’d like to admit, there is a bit of a chance of catastrophic failure. While my Range Rovers have always broken down near home, it is time that Land Rover seriously consider reliability especially with their new Defenders.
By using Toyota engines, Land Rover could focus on building the pinnacle of offroader once again, and realize lower warranty and engineering costs, and win back some of the overland market. While it may seem like Land Rover is eyeing a different market now, form over function buyers will always respect performance and reliability, as well as usage in extreme scenarios.
Just imagine waking up and knowing your Land Rover will start and run fine wherever you find yourself looking at the sunrise. Personally, I do not want to have the option of owning a car I love that doesn’t work, or a car I don’t love that always works. I think improving reliability by using Toyota engines is important to Land Rover, perhaps more than Jaguar, because Land Rovers are designed and marketed to be taken off of the beaten path.