2004 Range Rover, by Land Rover (493)

This week I tested the 2004 Land Rover Range Rover. Is it just me or should they have named this the Ranger or something like that?

This is an SUV that is noticeably “Substantial” and of high quality. You know, when you go looking for a suit or evening gown and you see one you really like? You just know before you look at the price tag it’s going to be a LOT. It’s the same with cars and in this case the question has to be, “Is it worth all that money”? Will I also have to buy the more expensive suit and go to more expensive restaurants and use the Valet? You know, it isn’t just the car; it’s all the other trappings that go with the price of admission. Know what I mean?

A little history: Land Rover was sold to BMW in 1994 and Ford picked it up in 2000. Both companies have contributed improvements that make this a real contender. The engine is from Germany and the Ford brings organization to the brand as it did to Jaguar. It’s sure to become a heavy weight champion in the class and if I were spending your money, I’d own one.

General Info:

Parts – UK 54%, German 41%, US/Canadian 2%. Engine and Transmission – Germany.

Assembly – Solihull, UK.

Class: – Special Purpose

Cars: – Discovery, Freelander & Range Rover.

Handling & Performance:

This all wheel drive system is arguably the best of all off road vehicles. But you know, I gotta tell you; I have taken all the Jeeps off road in the most unbelievably challenging terrains and most of the other competitors too. It is my opinion that all have capability beyond what we’d ever need, beyond normal driving abilities and when coupled with the fact that few ever get off road anyway, spending the extra bucks for the best of the best is not a good reason to buy.

0-60 is 8.19 seconds which is very good especially when you consider the curb weight is nearly 5,400 lbs. When loaded it is well over 3 tons.

You’ll never want for power getting on the autobahn / freeway or for passing. But putting the pedal to the metal sucks up way too much fuel and we must know carmakers can do much better and should. See my columns on engineering issues with Merkel Weiss in prior issues or my website, www.atthewheel.com.


British cars have their unique and particular look because for the most part the British are practical people and very proper. Designs lean more to substance over form, with exceptions such as the elegant design of Jaguar, Rolls Royce and Aston Martin. Well, this Range Rover follows suit in being a performer rather than a looker. It has not been particularly pretty in the past but shows signs of better design touches in the future.

Fit and Finish:



If it isn’t there you “Bloody well don’t need it”. In fact the navigation system is more sophisticated than most and the off road feature provides longitude, latitude, elevation and heading, etc. It provides “Back Track” routes and elapsed time monitoring and more. If you want simple, this isn’t it. Go to the Japanese and American high tech equipment for simple user-friendly versions.


Way too much for traversing the countryside, but the Pentagon would pay twice as much, for a rather capable all terrain vehicle. Do the math; if they will pay $600 for a toilet seat, what do you think they would be willing to pay for a Land Range Rover? Well, enough of how poorly governments care for our tax dollars, which aggravates us all, and as well it should, mate.

Consumer Recommendation:

Where snob appeal is important and money is no object this SUV will surely be attractive. Of course you can’t have an ecological bone in your body to own it because this Land Rover will burn huge quantities of “Fossil Fuel”. Part of that fact comes from the boxy, out of the mainstream design. But then, if the different look is precisely what you’re looking for then this is your cup of English tea.

The Competition:

Range Rover $72-84,000, Volvo XC90 $35-36,000, Lincoln Navigator $49-56,000, Volkswagen Touareg $36-58,000, Cadillac Escalade $52-69,000, GMC Yukon Denali $50-51,000, Mercedes Benz M-Class $38-46,000, Lexus LX 470 $64,000, Toyota Land Cruiser $54,000, BMW X5 $41-52,000, Porsche Cayenne $43-89,000, Hummer H1 $105-116,000.

Good News:

It has an unassuming presence and communicates a quiet quality that is very British, you feel you’re in the “Outback” even on the streets of West Covina… or East Covina for that matter.

Bad News:

Miserable gas mileage, pricey and more car than 99.9% of drivers can or will ever need to do. Professional race drivers do things with cars the rest of us will never develop the skill to do. In golf we know we’ll never, ever be as good as Tiger Woods. But that doesn’t deter us from entering the games.

Standard Equipment:

4.4 liter 282 hp V8, 5-speed auto trans, permanent 4-wheel drive, traction control, power assist ABS disc brakes, DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), HDC (Hill Descent Control which limits speed), EBA (Emergency Brake Assist), air suspension with auto load leveling, SRS (8-airbag restraint system), heated front windshield and rear window, high intensity headlights with power washers, parking sensors, keyless entry, climate control, power tilt and telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, power front seats with memory for drivers seat, steering column and exterior mirror settings, power heated mirrors and power fold, sunroof, one touch open and close windows and sunroof, trip computer with GPS satellite navigation with Off-Road function, stereo with 6 disc CD changer with surround sound, steering wheel mounted audio controls and speed sensitive volume control.

Gas Stats:

12 City and 16 Highway MPG.


MSRP $73,550.

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