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Monday 27th August 2012

Farewell Range Rover

The new Range Rover is almost upon us but we still rather like the old one - enough to bid it a fond farewell



The all-new Range Rover has finally shed its disguise and we’ll be expecting a steady drip-feed of info about the car over the weeks building to its Paris debut. An excuse then to book in the last of the line of its predecessor and bid a fond farewell to a car that, even in its final months of more than a decade on sale, continues to be a success story. Some act to follow, the outgoing Rangie is a worthy halo car for the brand and, perhaps against expectation, a bit of a hero car to PHers.

From Home Counties high streets...
From Home Counties high streets...
Recently – and in private - a senior exec from the Jaguar side of the JLR fence referred to the Range Rover as the company’s cash cow, which always seems a slightly pejorative description but reflects the truth of who brings the money in. Porsche refers to the Cayenne in the same terms, the seemingly insatiable demand for such cars in markets like China doing wonders for the bottom line of both companies.

Given that it’s little wonder the new Range Rover is bigger and blingier than before. And perhaps less in touch with the land of its birth than the outgoing one as a result. Fine, that’s the way the market is going and the business case is clear. But that uniquely British identity is strong in the outgoing L322, and is worth celebrating.

...to a spot of mud plugging the Rangie rules
...to a spot of mud plugging the Rangie rules
Milking it
And is, of course, one of the reasons the Range Rover is so popular in the first place. The basic story is oft-told but, for the sake of setting some context, started with Rover engineers looking at the growing trend for crude but versatile ‘civilian’ 4x4s in the US. Using this as a springboard they came up with a ‘100-inch station wagon’ concept, V8 powered, suspended on coil springs, aluminium bodied and, initially, hose-out basic. Intended, according to project leader Spen King, for “senior officers in the army, head guys on building sites, well-off farmers and that sort of person” demand for increased luxury came quickly, not least from the palace, concerned that the exposed tool kit in the boot might cause injury to Corgis flung about by her majesty’s noted no-nonsense driving.

The L322 launched back in 2001, an age ago in model-cycle terms. The first Range Rover with independent suspension and unitary construction the fact that, over a decade later, sales are enjoying a surge (18,240 in 2009, 23,602 in 2010 and 29,626 in 2011) shows quite how good a job was done. And the size of the shoes the L405 has to fill.

Four decades on some things remain core
Four decades on some things remain core
Before we go bonkers for the new one though how does the last of the line L322 measure up? Updates, engines, trims and whatnot have been introduced throughout the Rangie’s lifespan, new JLR petrol V8s in 2009 and the mighty new 4.4-litre TDV8/eight-speed auto combo in 2010 among the more significant.

Derve with verve
That we love a V8 Range Rover here is no secret. But a diesel one? We’ll make an exception in this case, the Range Rover’s engine justifying – just – that much over-used adjective ‘epic’.

It was the availability of the Buick-based Rover V8 that sealed the deal on the original Range Rover concept back in the late 60s. Appropriate then that we should still have such an engine under that castellated bonnet, this parallel-turbo'ed, quad-cam, 313hp monster a world away from that original 156hp, 3.5-litre chugger. That was eight speed too, but you’d have to engage low-range to get the spread of gears the ZF slips through with snooty disregard these days.

It's gained some bling over the years
It's gained some bling over the years
Whisper it but you’d have to really, really hate diesel to choose the supercharged petrol version over this, the TDV8 comfortably capable of 30mpg-plus while dishing out just a hint of warbly V8 under hard acceleration. It is mighty too – over a second quicker to 62mph and from 50-70mph than the 3.6-litre/272hp TDV8 it replaces. The fact you can indulge in this without watching the fuel gauge plummet in inverse relation to the speedo is a novelty previous generations of Range Rover owner can only marvel at.

Give it some (green) welly
The Range Rover of 1970 was crafted to meet green-wellied aspirations of Spen King’s posh farmers and retired generals. That its modern equivalent is geared up to soothe in stop-start M25 traffic and city streets is a reflection of how life has changed but, hell, in this respect the TDV8 nails the needs of motoring in modern Britain perfectly. And, somehow, even in the most tedious of traffic jam there’s just that spark of character to lift your mood a little above those around you. Sure, there are rivals now. But even with nods to the blingier tastes of a new breed of owners there’s an inherent classiness and old-money charm no Q7 or Cayenne could hope to replicate.

Few owners do it but the Rangie can if needed
Few owners do it but the Rangie can if needed
Rear-seat screens or not, those in the back of the L322 aren’t as well catered for as those in the front and this will be one of the major improvements in the new Rangie. But at the helm – an appropriate description in this case – there’s little to complain about. Sure, some of the details are a decade behind the competition but it’s the overall experience that makes the L322 such a pleasure to be in.

Move along…
It does little for your sense of humility but the way it literally elevates you above the hubbub is incredibly soothing. If the Range Rover is about meeting the needs of British drivers the way it pats speed bumps, potholes and rubbish road surfaces on the head and sends them on their way is most appropriate, there being just enough pitch and roll in the L322’s chassis to remind you of its roots as a proper off-roader. A Sport will happily go chasing Cayennes and their ilk but the L322 still feels like a proper Range Rover and you have to hope that in the claimed pursuit of improved and – shudder – sportier handling in the new one doesn’t gloss over that. Stereotype or not, the kind of sportiness a Range Rover symbolises is best observed from the tailgate, not chasing down AMG MLs on the Nordschleife.

A soothing place to watch the world from
A soothing place to watch the world from
Nor do you need to lavish the near six-figure money demanded for this one to enjoy these delights. Plenty lurk in the PH classifieds, waiting to tempt you with sub-£10K pricetags. Which for a car that could hold its head up high alongside brand-new metal is pretty damned tempting, fuel bills be damned…

 

 

 

 

 


Range Rover time line:
1966 – Works starts on the ‘100-inch station wagon’
1970 – Range Rover goes on sale
1981 – First four-door Range Rover goes on sale
1982 – Automatic transmission available
1987 – Range Rover goes on sale in America
1994 – ‘P38a’ second-gen Range Rover goes on sale
1996 – ‘Classic’ Range Rover production ends after 317,615 sales
2001 – L322 Range Rover launched
2005 – Range Rover Sport launched
2009 – New V8 petrol engines introduced
2012 – Fourth-gen L405 Range Rover revealed ahead of Paris debut


RANGE ROVER TDV8 AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Engine:
4,367cc V8, twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp):313@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@1,500rpm
0-62mph:  7.8 sec
Top speed:130mph
Weight:2,580-2,810kg (quoted)
MPG: 30.1mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 253g/km
Price: £84,320 (£90,595 as tested)

Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

British Beef

Original Poster:

694 posts

50 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Brilliant cars.

Although the latest Disco runs it mighty close, for less money and offering 7 seats, albeit with lesser engines.

RRG

115 posts

132 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
There is no doubt these are truly epic vehicles. They do everything brilliantly - EXCEPT go fast. If you want to do that, get a proper sports car.

I was so impressed with mine I drove it from London to Cape Town (really - 18,000 miles through 19 countries). It was phenomenal - they only thing that went wrong was the parking sensors! It's all written up here:

http://www.lilongwedown.com/LilongweDown/Home.html


The new one will have to be something really special to replace it...

RRG


Irish

3,940 posts

124 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
RRG said:
There is no doubt these are truly epic vehicles. They do everything brilliantly - EXCEPT go fast. If you want to do that, get a proper sports car.

I was so impressed with mine I drove it from London to Cape Town (really - 18,000 miles through 19 countries). It was phenomenal - they only thing that went wrong was the parking sensors! It's all written up here:

http://www.lilongwedown.com/LilongweDown/Home.html


The new one will have to be something really special to replace it...

RRG
That was some trip. Well done.

CampDavid

8,672 posts

83 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
RRG said:
There is no doubt these are truly epic vehicles. They do everything brilliantly - EXCEPT go fast. If you want to do that, get a proper sports car.

I was so impressed with mine I drove it from London to Cape Town (really - 18,000 miles through 19 countries). It was phenomenal - they only thing that went wrong was the parking sensors! It's all written up here:

http://www.lilongwedown.com/LilongweDown/Home.html


The new one will have to be something really special to replace it...

RRG
Superb write up. Makes me want to just go out and purchase one immediately.

Chris Harris

487 posts

38 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
RRG said:
There is no doubt these are truly epic vehicles. They do everything brilliantly - EXCEPT go fast. If you want to do that, get a proper sports car.

I was so impressed with mine I drove it from London to Cape Town (really - 18,000 miles through 19 countries). It was phenomenal - they only thing that went wrong was the parking sensors! It's all written up here:

http://www.lilongwedown.com/LilongweDown/Home.html


The new one will have to be something really special to replace it...

RRG
Mine failed to complete two 9 mile journeys. First was a gearbox, second was a gearbox.

We all loved it, but it was the least reliable car I've ever owned.



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I WISH

844 posts

85 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Personally I'd much rather be at "the wheel" of a car that goes where I point it ..... rather than "at the helm" of one that doesn't.
The RR is clearly a fabulous British design and the best of the genre by miles.
But I still wouldn't thank you for one.
I really don't understand the appeal ... particularly if it was your only mode of transport.
Everyone to their own I suppose ..... variety is the spice of life etc.

sperm

matc

4,549 posts

92 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
RRG said:
There is no doubt these are truly epic vehicles. They do everything brilliantly - EXCEPT go fast. If you want to do that, get a proper sports car.

I was so impressed with mine I drove it from London to Cape Town (really - 18,000 miles through 19 countries). It was phenomenal - they only thing that went wrong was the parking sensors! It's all written up here:

http://www.lilongwedown.com/LilongweDown/Home.html


The new one will have to be something really special to replace it...

RRG
Just spent an hour or so reading that, looks like an amazing trip.

CampDavid

8,672 posts

83 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Chris Harris said:
RRG said:
There is no doubt these are truly epic vehicles. They do everything brilliantly - EXCEPT go fast. If you want to do that, get a proper sports car.

I was so impressed with mine I drove it from London to Cape Town (really - 18,000 miles through 19 countries). It was phenomenal - they only thing that went wrong was the parking sensors! It's all written up here:

http://www.lilongwedown.com/LilongweDown/Home.html


The new one will have to be something really special to replace it...

RRG
Mine failed to complete two 9 mile journeys. First was a gearbox, second was a gearbox.

We all loved it, but it was the least reliable car I've ever owned.
From this thread we can deduce that the Range Rover

a: Will get you to the bottom of Africa

b: Will not go sideways everywhere

matfinch

85 posts

64 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
I think the reliability thing varies significantly from car to car, with some having endless issues and others going on for ever.

Gladly I have the latter! I am the very proud owner of a sub-£10k 2003 Diesel Vogue with 150k miles on the clock. I've done over 20k miles in the past 18 months without much more than minor maintenance. OK, so the air compressor failed at 130k miles which was a couple of hundred quid, and I had a horrible vibrator last month which gladly wasn't gearbox or clutch related!! But apart from that the old girl is still going strong, and all the Vogue toys still work beautifully.

Yes, I blessed to have a trio of old porches as recently covered in a carpool ( http://www.pistonheads.com/porsche/default.asp?sto...) but frankly none of them come close to being such a versatile, every day, every situation car! Taking a group of mates to a fancy restaurant, lugging a full size sofa in the back (with the boot closed), towing most of the village and the local bobby in the snow last year, or doing some proper roading! I love it and i'd only sell it to upgrade to the TDV8 in the article (once its nearer £10k money!).

In a couple of weeks time I will be making my 2nd trip 700-mile trip from Hertfordshire to the far north highlands of Scotland, where the Rangie will be put through its paces again on some boggy highland hills. See photo below. Can't wait!


Dave Hedgehog

7,187 posts

89 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
vile car, well giant shed on wheels

Shaw Tarse

22,613 posts

88 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
matfinch said:
I think the reliability thing varies significantly from car to car, with some having endless issues and others going on for ever.

Gladly I have the latter! I am the very proud owner of a sub-£10k 2003 Diesel Vogue with 150k miles on the clock. I've done over 20k miles in the past 18 months without much more than minor maintenance. OK, so the air compressor failed at 130k miles which was a couple of hundred quid, and I had a horrible vibrator last month which gladly wasn't gearbox or clutch related!! But apart from that the old girl is still going strong, and all the Vogue toys still work beautifully.

Yes, I blessed to have a trio of old porches as recently covered in a carpool ( http://www.pistonheads.com/porsche/default.asp?sto...) but frankly none of them come close to being such a versatile, every day, every situation car! Taking a group of mates to a fancy restaurant, lugging a full size sofa in the back (with the boot closed), towing most of the village and the local bobby in the snow last year, or doing some proper roading! I love it and i'd only sell it to upgrade to the TDV8 in the article (once its nearer £10k money!).

In a couple of weeks time I will be making my 2nd trip 700-mile trip from Hertfordshire to the far north highlands of Scotland, where the Rangie will be put through its paces again on some boggy highland hills. See photo below. Can't wait!

Personally, I think that looks better than the new model.

Pistonwot

413 posts

44 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
vile car, well giant shed on wheels
+1

Spot on assessment, no idea what its doing on PH either, not very PH at all or Ive got the wrong idea about PH.
Thought it was about inspired cars for motoring enthusiasts?????

pti

581 posts

29 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Pistonwot said:
Dave Hedgehog said:
vile car, well giant shed on wheels
+1

Spot on assessment, no idea what its doing on PH either, not very PH at all or Ive got the wrong idea about PH.
Thought it was about inspired cars for motoring enthusiasts?????
Sarcasm right...?

Stu R

20,794 posts

100 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Pistonwot said:
Dave Hedgehog said:
vile car, well giant shed on wheels
+1

Spot on assessment, no idea what its doing on PH either, not very PH at all or Ive got the wrong idea about PH.
Thought it was about inspired cars for motoring enthusiasts?????
Clearly you find it difficult to comprehend that there's a ton of people on PH who like different things, so you probably do have the wrong idea, yes.
If you want a website which caters solely to the things you like, nobody's stopping you from finding one elsewhere or creating one yourself.

MSTRBKR

5,908 posts

83 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Pistonwot said:
Dave Hedgehog said:
vile car, well giant shed on wheels
+1

Spot on assessment, no idea what its doing on PH either, not very PH at all or Ive got the wrong idea about PH.
Thought it was about inspired cars for motoring enthusiasts?????
Yes I think you've grabbed the end of the stick with the poo on it. This is a car enthusiasts website, and different people require different things from their cars.

There is a new rule on cliosport.net that says there is a lot of content on the website and some of it won't interest you, so don't come into the thread saying things like the above (Dave's, not Pistonwot) unless you want a warning and then ban. Damn straight.

Side note, was this article proof read? There is a typo where the new RR is called the L402 and I have no idea what this means "We’ll make an exception in this case, the Range Rover’s one justifying – just – that much over-used adjective ‘epic’." A few other weird sentences dotted about too.

Edited by MSTRBKR on Monday 27th August 17:46

Dan Trent

972 posts

53 months

PH Editor Bloke

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
Apologies, it is of course L405, not 402. A simple typo, now corrected.

Thinking back to this car just brings a big grin to my face, especially at the thought of that engine - it really is magnificent. And the way it matches the car's character is just spot on.

And to those who don't like the way it handles it doesn't drive like a Range Rover Sport because ... the Range Rover Sport does and if that's what you want that's what you can have. This is a different thing and a much more relaxing place to be so I really, really hope they haven't made the new one too 'Sport like.

Thanks too for the stories from owners - RRG I'm going to sit down and have a look at yours in a sec and, MatFinch, always a delight to hear of a car being used as intended and have a good trip to the Highlands. Any more for any more?


Pistonwot

413 posts

44 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
CAR is the key word, think about it!

dscam

132 posts

72 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
matfinch said:
?.."I had a horrible vibrator last month which gladly wasn't gearbox or clutch related!! But apart from that the old girl is still going strong, and all the Vogue toys still work beautifully."
Love it! It's amazing what options are available these days :-)

Seriously, nice write-up and great to see some positive news for those of us likely to run one of these on a more meagre budget.

Edited by dscam on Monday 27th August 18:26

billzeebub

3,110 posts

84 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
I seriously love RRs, and my 2008 TDV8 is sensational ( my only quibble being I'm not currently wealthy enough to run the petrol V8)..

..however, the more blingy 'Essex Chav made good' that the LandRover brand gets the less keen I am. I really miss my 95 RR classic V8 Vogue SE Softdash. I loved it so much, the epitome of understated elegance compared to the latest incarnation.

Edited by billzeebub on Tuesday 28th August 00:27

MSTRBKR

5,908 posts

83 months

[news] 
Monday 27th August 2012 quote quote all
RRG said:
There is no doubt these are truly epic vehicles. They do everything brilliantly - EXCEPT go fast. If you want to do that, get a proper sports car.

I was so impressed with mine I drove it from London to Cape Town (really - 18,000 miles through 19 countries). It was phenomenal - they only thing that went wrong was the parking sensors! It's all written up here:

http://www.lilongwedown.com/LilongweDown/Home.html


The new one will have to be something really special to replace it...

RRG
Have you told Land Rover about that? I don't know who you'd contact mind you. They should run some owner profiles like that on their website and to circulate to employees.

Really impressive, and it looks great on those tyres too.
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