With new Range Rovers today priced from around £84,000, it’s incredible to think you could waft into something akin to the royal enclosure in a used one costing a tiny fraction of that and still feel on equal terms.
That’s the beauty of the P38-series Range Rover of 1994-2002. The original Mk1 looks from another era (and is becoming madly expensive) but the P38 Mk2 bears a closer relationship, design-wise and conceptually, to later generations, culminating in today’s Mk4.
And to think this new home for your Hunter wellies costs from just £1400. That, at least, is what one dealer is asking for his P38, a 1997 P-reg 4.6 HSE described in ‘One we found’ (right). It has full service history, as a surprising number do.
Obviously, that’s good news for a Rangie’s mechanical upkeep (especially its engine and air suspension) but doesn’t tell the whole story, as Tony Hooper of Hereford 4x4 explains in ‘An expert’s view’ (below).
Reading his comments, you may wonder why we’re devoting space to something that could turn around and bite you – hard. Simply, it’s because little for the P38’s money comes close. Limo, heavy-duty workhorse, off-roader – the P38 is all these and more, and for around the price of a tired Ford Fiesta.
It has the carrying space of a medium-sized van and a raised driving position with good visibility to boot. Best of all, fully loaded or dancing lightly on its feet around country lanes, the P38’s air suspension, assuming it has not sprung a leak, will keep it composed.
Even if the 4.6 petrol engine, in particular, is known for dodgy cylinder liners and springing internal coolant leaks, the P38’s basic mechanicals are by and large tough. If they do go wrong, they’re repairable by an experienced mechanic. On that point, it pays to identify a good one and stick to them like glue.
Power comes courtesy of a pair of V8 petrols – a 4.6 and a 4.0, the latter less prone to the engine problems outlined above – and a BMW-sourced 2.5-litre turbo diesel that is a little weedy, so check it hasn’t been thrashed or even chipped, a common mod. The 4.0 petrol and the diesel engine were available with a manual or automatic gearbox, both reliable. The 4.6 was an automatic only. Today, autos dominate the classifieds.