For car buyers on a budget but with a taste for the high life, there is only one luxury SUV: the Range Rover L322 of 2002-12. It still looks the business, especially the TDV8 Westminster Edition of 2012 with its illuminated treadplates, gloss black trim, and heated and cooled rear seats.
It cost £70,000. Today, you can pick one up with 27,000 miles on the clock for £30,000, or with 100,000 miles for £16,000. This 2600kg Range Rover will consume diesel at the rate of 30mpg but, when occasion demands, launch itself from 0-62mph in just 7.5sec. If you’ve got some heavy towing to do or you just like arriving stirred but not shaken, it’s the SUV of your dreams.
Or nightmares. The thing is, an L322 is a complicated beast with ill-matched mechanicals. Without expert, preventative maintenance, they can fail – expensively.
For example, regardless of which engine it has, the L322 has an appetite for gearboxes. They’re all automatics: the first, a five-speed from launch to 2005, then a six-speed and, from 2010 on diesel models only, an eight-speed. The ZF five-speed and GM six are by far the most troublesome and let go from around 85,000 miles. They’re ‘sealed for life’ units but while that boast helped keep the lid on service costs in the vehicle’s first three years, beyond that they do like fresh fluids and filters, and should then be more reliable.
Cars from launch to around 2006 were the subject of a technical service bulletin (TSB) to check and upgrade the front diff and driveshafts, which had been wearing out prematurely. Chances are the L322 you’re interested in has had the work done but check anyway.