Dear Piston Slap,
My mom wants to get a Land Rover and asked me to do some research for her. Right off the bat, I didn’t think this was a good idea due to reliability issues. I’m not sure if she would want a Range Rover or an LR4, but she would probably get a pre-owned one from Carmax. I get the impression that the LR4 is less reliable than a Range Rover.
She and my dad live out in the middle of nowhere, so there would be no Land Rover dealers close by. The nearest one is 86 miles from home. Their house is on a dirt and gravel road that does get extremely muddy and treacherous. They also have a large Weimaraner that they want to take with them on long road trips to New York.
Before my mom got the idea that she wanted a Land Rover, she was seriously looking at a Honda CR-V or Pilot. I don’t want to be a dream killer, but I need to know if Land Rovers are generally reliable, and if not, what would be a good alternative that offers true utility for muddy roads and large dogs.
Go with your gut feeling: of course Land Rovers are not reliable!
Well, that was easy.
Now for the alternative mode of transport: bouncing between a Landy and a Honda CUV/crossover (not SUV) is two extremes I wouldn’t consider for your application. If you live on a dirt/gravel road in the middle of nowhere, get a real SUV with a more sophisticated 4WD setup. Maybe a Subie, maybe a Jeep. While its not on par with an LR4′s luxurious design, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee is probably the best of both worlds.
Don’t get an average CUV, you might get stuck in it. And for heaven’s sake, don’t get a Land Rover: it will break often and you might be stranded in it too! For different reasons than the CUV, naturally.
While I normally hate to use manufacturer’s marketing lingo, a “trail rated” Jeep is probably the best bet here. Off to you, Best and Brightest.
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.