Forum Coming Soon

Recently, I’ve had a few requests to set up a forum.  Once I work out some anti-spam measures I will set one up.

 

Thanks everyone!

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Land Rover Should Use Toyota Engines and Running Gear to Improve Reliability

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.

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Range Rover vs Jaguar F-Type

In the previous Avalon vs Range Rover post I concluded the Range Rover is a fantastic truck or car and when you have another car the issues are minimized.  In this post I’m going to look at the Jaguar F-Type vs the Range Rover.  Since Ford ownership Jaguar and Land Rover/Range Rover have been forced to work together in the Premier Auto Group, they were sold together to TATA.  Therefore new Jaguars and Range Rovers share engines, drive train philosophy and other bits.

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If you run oversized tires, Make sure your spare is oversized too.

In my early 20s I had a great job interview.  The economy was shitty so I was looking forward to going to it.  I had a Range Rover p38a on 33″ BFG AT tires, which were great offroad but I had a slow leak from slamming one of the rims into a rock.

On my way to the job interview my bad tire/wheel lost its air.  So I changed it BUT I had only 4 33″ tires, the other was the standard 28.x” size tire.  I thought it would be fine…. It was not.

The car was underivable, I had to drive to a tire shop that was close and just have them repair the 33″ tire because the car was completely unstable and unhappy with different size tires.  The computers were having a fit, the center locker was having a fit, the differentials were upset.  It was not good.

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Range Rover versus Toyota Avalon ( ES350 )

I’ve seen more than one person on the Range Rover forums go from an Range Rover to an Avalon.  Usually from an older out of warranty Rover to a newer Toyota.  I pondered it for a bit.  TBH I picked up a Toyota Avalon as well as sort of an interim car until I can get into an L405.  I think there are several reasons for such a hop, but not all of them materialize to be a positive.

  1. Range Rover buyers want a nice interior.  While the Toyota Avalon and ES350 are not on the same level as a Range Rover even a P38 or Classic, they are better than the average “Camry.”
  2. Range Rover owners get burned out by some nagging issues, or even big ones and may want a reprieve with a “Reliable” car.
    1. My last three Range Rovers had water ingress issues, from the roof, even though they were waded a lot.  So I bought a 2016 Avalon without a sunroof, the XLE.  It still leaked, and it seems like any standing water you drive through will make the floor wet, even an inch.
    2. My Toyota Avalon keys fell apart.
    3. I think the interior is a bit tougher and the exterior are both tougher on the Range Rover
    4. But my Avalon always starts, even when I’ve left it in a parking lot in Illinois for a 8 weeks.
    5. So The Toyota definitely has its issues, however, they are not “big issues”
  3. The Toyota Avalon is much less “solid” feeling than a Range Rover.  There are many rattles and build issues whereas a Range Rover, particularly newer ones feel solid the Toyota feels a bit, rattly.
    1. Driving in my Dads Maserati, Q5, and Jaguar today I noticed the Maserati also feels like the Toyota where as the other cars absorb bumps without rattles the Maserati and Toyota let you know the road is rough with various interior cabin noises.
  4. I think the real moral of the story is buy a Range Rover with a warranty and you’ll be happy with a combination of reliability and luxury in a way that a Range Rover or a Toyota can’t provide, unless you own both the Toyota/Lexus and a Range Rover, which isn’t a bad combination either, as I owned a Prius and Range Rover combo for quite some time.
  5. The upholstery is really different.  One of the things I miss most in the Range Rover is how soft and nice the steering wheel is.  Something subtle but very tactile, the leather wrapped Avalon steering wheel is hard, the Range Rover steering wheel is soft and supple.
    1. The leather seats in the newer Avalon are hard, in the Range Rover they are supportive and comfortable.

My takeaway is that you’ll always regret selling your Range Rover.  They are just endearing cars, even when they are not great.  I look back at the sale of my Range Rovers as I do a break up, or perhaps selling a prized Rolex.  Whereas a Toyota will likely live beyond the time you want to have it.

 

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