By on February 26, 2013

Some things never change. Lying politicians, for example. And racist YouTube commenters. But also the JD Power Long-Term Vehicle Dependability Study, which was just released for 2013. Like always, Lexus and Lincoln were near the top, proving that old people can’t figure out in-car computer systems well enough to give them low ratings. Porsche was also near the top, proving that at least one German brand still has some idea what it’s doing.

Of course, you already knew who topped the JD Power study because it was covered by every other website, including your local news affiliates, which have those annoying banner ads that expand as the page opens. Note to advertisers: no one in human history has ever willingly clicked on one of those ads, or will ever click on one of those ads, or will ever buy a product just because their screen was briefly invaded by one of those ads. Unless, perhaps, the ad is touting Lincoln’s placement in the latest JD Power survey, and the reader is an old person.

What your local news probably didn’t cover, however, is another aspect of the JD Power survey that never changes: Land Rover’s position. You see, for the umpteenth year running, Land Rover displayed its unending commitment to quality by finishing dead last. And since we’re doing our part to tell the truth about cars, I felt it was my duty to cover this automotive milestone.

The Study

 

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand how the study works. There are two ways you can do this: one, you can read JD Power’s explanation, as I did, which is “summarized” in a 1,500-word press release that includes an embedded video and uses the word “vehicle” 38 times. In fact, the word “vehicle” appears as often as the word “of.” Truly.

Your second choice is to just read my explanation.

Are you with me? I thought so.

JD Power has two commonly reported vehicle studies, both of which Land Rover traditionally wins, provided you hold them upside down. One is the Initial Quality Study, which measures problems in the first three months of ownership. The one being discussed here is the Long-Term Vehicle Dependability Study, which measure problems in the first three years of ownership. That means this study is looking at 2010 models, which explains the Ford Ranger’s appearance.

To collect reliability data, JD Power surveys thousands of vehicle owners. Once it has the numbers, JD Power tallies things up based on the number of problems, on average, faced by 100 vehicles over three years. This is pretty self-explanatory, or – if you’re JD Power – it requires a nine-minute video explanation from a guy whose hair is parted in the middle.

One last word on JD Power’s study: the definition of “problem.” According to the study’s methodology, a problem can be one of two things: either an actual issue faced by the vehicle, or something the customer just doesn’t like. Maybe you think there’s too much wind noise, for example. Problem. Or maybe you think the cruise control stalk looks phallic. Problem. We’ll get to the impact of this definition on Land Rover in a minute.

How did Land Rover do?

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Land Rover had 220 problems per 100 vehicles. The average TTAC reader might be saying, “That’s not so bad over three years! My Crown Vic leaks water every time it rains through the holes for the light bar!” or possibly, “We’re 600 words into this and you haven’t made a joke about Land Rovers and fire yet?”

To them, I say: for perspective, Lexus had only 71 problems per 100 vehicles. And we know most of Lexus’s problems stemmed from the owner’s manual font size being too small, while most of Land Rover’s were because the towing eye is difficult to locate in the vehicle’s charred remains. Boom – there it is.

It gets worse. While most brands were separated by one or two problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover was 30 problems behind the next-worst brand, Dodge. That means Land Rover would have to trim 30 problems per 100 vehicles – or nearly half of Lexus’s entire score – in order to become second worst.

Most importantly, this is not exactly uncharted territory for Land Rover. I went back through the last few Vehicle Dependability Studies and discovered that Land Rover typically ends up in one of three places: dead last, damn near last, or not included because the sample size wasn’t large enough. One year, they had 344 problems per 100 vehicles. Truly.

Is it really that bad?

Beyond customer satisfaction, Land Rover’s resale value is most affected by its reliability woes. No one keeps a Land Rover beyond the warranty period, meaning the market is full of three-year-old Land Rovers with ticking time bomb suspension, electricals, engines and transmissions. Between the abundance of used models and the obvious potential pitfalls, used-car shoppers stay away.

Most people think car companies don’t care about resale value, but there’s one big reason they do: leasing. Remember, leasing a car is basically paying the depreciation for the period you own it, plus a little profit for the automaker. If the car depreciates substantially, one of two things rise: either lease payments or manufacturer subvention. Both are bad news for car companies. Just ask the king of depreciation, Jaguar, whose latest XJ sedan is already in the $40k range on the used market.

But I see Land Rovers everywhere!

And that’s the rub. While you and I view the above as fodder for jokes, there are two highly important camps who don’t really care what we think. That would be Land Rover North America, and Land Rover owners themselves. Land Rover North America doesn’t care because even with the problems and the effect on lease business, they still sell every SUV they make. Except, of course, the LR2, which may exist solely to provide transportation for service customers. Land Rover owners don’t care because they just want to drive a car they think is cool; damn the issues.

The interesting thing is that, given JD Power’s methodology and Land Rover owner attitudes, you’d expect the brand to do better on JD Power’s studies. You’d think, for example, that a Land Rover owner would be willing to overlook a little wind noise here, or a vehicle fire there, just because they love the product.

But the bad survey scores say that isn’t the case. They know about the problems, yet they buy Land Rovers anyway – purely because they like them. In fact, it’s sort of like how you bought that Crown Vic with the holes in the roof.

Maybe you have more in common with the average Land Rover owner than you think.

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151 Comments on “Land Rover and JD Power...”


  • avatar

    Very interesting subject and article :).

    It’s interesting to note that only about one and a half “problems” per vehicle separate the best from the worst, which just goes to show how much everyone has improved.

    Of course J D Power’s methodology doesn’t affect the bad news after the end of the warranty period to Land Rover owners, which from what I understand is pretty much legendary in a bad way …

    D

  • avatar
    Macca

    Hilarious, and spot-on.

    I’ve had a half-dozen coworkers buy a Land Rover and all but two of them have had catastrophic issues (examples: engine failure, steering rack failure, suspension computer failure – this one seems common).

    And you’re exactly right – they keep buying them, even knowing the issues because they simply want that vehicle on their driveway. Reliability ceases to matter to a certain demographic when a $60k+ SUV is simply a impulse-buy toy. There is no plan to keep them beyond the warranty.

    That Dodge ranks so poorly is perhaps even more telling. These are bread-and-butter vehicles, for the most part, that are commonly sold to a less affluent demographic that *should* care about reliability.

    Again, great writing. Really enjoy these articles.

    • 0 avatar
      mr_muttonchops

      I would like to see the results for Dodge after another 2-3 years. Seeing as these surveys go back to 2010 models, and vehicles like the Caliber, Nitro (the only Consumer Report review where I’ve read “none” under “pros”), and Dakota (which I personally like for its category, but I don’t represent a majority) probably don’t do much favor in the quality category.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    To those of us readers and auto enthusiats that actually pay attention to “reliability studies”, there’s one thing about Land Rover that I can never wrap my head around.

    Why is it that the British are so damned in love with these machines that CLEARLY have a knack for keeping thier owners on thier toes… and tows- as well as being maintenance/repair nightmares, yet they consistantly knock brands like Ford, Lincoln, Lexus, Acura, etc. that end up at or near the top of the list with regular frequency.

    I would love to come across a nice condition Range Rover from the early 00’s that didn’t have one billion miles on it, but that’s mainly because I am a compulsive tinkerer- something that I don’t see many Brits (read: typical LR owners) being.

    Can anyone elaborate on this? I know we had that article about the Western Europeans and the difference in comparison material between thier home market and ours- but is there something more?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Why is it that the British are so damned in love with these machines that CLEARLY have a knack for keeping thier owners on thier toes

      So, an extra trip to the dealer every 18 months really enough to totally sway your thinking?

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      British people only feel really alive when they are quietly suffering, so they tolerate rude customer service, incomprehensible bureaucracy, shitty food, trains that stop for leaves on the track, no heating or hot water, etc. It’s a perverse combination of coping and masochism, and a small part of keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’ which you can read all about on wiki…

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      “Why is it that the British are so damned in love with these machines that CLEARLY have a knack for keeping thier owners on their toes?”

      Here in the UK, we like reliable vehicles as much as you guys do. In our country, that means buying a VW or a premium German car. You guys may see them as ticking time bombs, but over here they’re seen as very reliable.

      “they consistantly knock brands like Ford”

      Huh? In 2012 sales charts for the UK, the Fiesta and Focus were #1 and #3 respectively.

      As for Land Rover, they’re bought by the same wealthy impulse-buying demographic on both sides of the Atlantic. Everyone knows they’re unreliable and expensive to maintain, but that doesn’t stop people wanting them.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        Spreadsheet Monkey- I was more referring to the “knocking” when it comes to pickups/SUV’s since that’s a more direct shopping comparison to a Land Rover. Focus/Fiesta owners probably never find themselves cross-shopping an LR4 or Rangie.

        Also, I might be guilty of generalizing the opinion base of all of Britain into the criticisms of Jeremy Clarkson.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    This article is full of pure win. Very well written too. Keep ‘em coming!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Sad but hilarious.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The spontaneous combustion of the “vehicle” is a feature designed to keep you warm at night when you are on safari. It is unfair to report it as a defect.

    • 0 avatar

      It is unfair to report this as a fact.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        It was a joke nzecowitz. However, the fact that they catch on fire from time to time is true. My friend’s father-in-law had one that stalled, set itself on fire, and burnt to the ground on the side of the road when it was less than three months old. The dealer, btw, told him to pound sand, and refused to replace it with a new one at cost.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      @ Thelaine, Best comment EVER!

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Light a man a fire, keep him warm for a night.
      Set a man on fire, keep him warm for the rest of his life.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      You joke about the safari thing, but these things are what you drive in parts of Africa through the safari, and they seem to be kept on the road there pretty well, despite the severe duty. I wonder what differs between US experience with Land Rover vs. African experience with Land Rover.

      Are the African ones all old platforms without gizmos? That wouldn’t even explain it fully, since people complain about Land Rover drivetrains too, which would be roughly similar.

      • 0 avatar
        kkt

        My understanding is that Toyotas replaced Land Rovers for safari duty back in the 1980s and Africa has never looked back.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          Not true. There are still Land Rovers in use on safari, and I’m talking about in the 2000s.

          No doubt there are plenty of Land Cruisers used all over the world in rough conditions too, but it’s not like they’re the only one used.

          • 0 avatar
            Joe McKinney

            I would imagine the Land Rovers still on African safari duty are primarily agricultural grade Defenders, not the upscale Discoverys, LR3s and Range Rovers more familiar to Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            Spike_in_Brisbane

            In the Australian outback, the Landcruiser is so dominant (along with the Hilux) that the terms “car” and “Toyota” are literally interchangeable.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            It would be great to see an article on FJ 40 series Land Cruisers Spike. Another vehicle I love.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “I would imagine the Land Rovers still on African safari duty are primarily agricultural grade Defenders, not the upscale Discoverys, LR3s”

            I double-checked, and you imagined wrong — they were Discoverys.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        I have never understood that either corntrollio. I take great pleasure in bashing Land Rovers for being piles of crap, but I have always loved them. I have seen countless pictures of them in service all over the world (along with the FJ style Toyotas, which I also love). My interest in them has led me read about them and talk to innumerable people. The horror stories are legion. The vehicle is simply infamous for mechanical issues. The most amazing thing about them is that they seem to have always sucked, right up to to the present day. Hell, even Jaguar got better.

        When they run, they are awesome, and some people get good ones. But for most people, it seems like it’s always something and often something significant. I’ve never understood it. Maybe they have always just been run on a shoestring and never had the money to do things properly.

      • 0 avatar
        Boxer2500

        The Land Rovers used on safari have more in common with a garden tractor than with an Evoque. Much less to break in the first place, and if push comes to shove you can fix just about anything with hand tools.

    • 0 avatar
      modelt1918

      There was a reason why it was called “the antichrist” Can’t remember the name of the movie but, the movie was very camp for awhile.

  • avatar
    tuscreen-auto

    “Like always, Lexus and Lincoln were near the top, proving that old people can’t figure out in-car computer systems well enough to give them low ratings. Porsche was also near the top, proving that at least one German brand still has some idea what it’s doing.”

    ROFL.

    Oh so true……

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That means old people are judging the basics. Instead of fussing over “entertainment” they’re judging the serene ride while doing 40 in a 65 zone, with sound isolation that makes them blissfully unaware of honking horns, and such a lipitor-induced level of concentration that they stare straight ahead, unaware of colorful hand gestures in adjacent lanes.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      My father-in-law, in his late seventies, drives an S550 with all the gizmos available. He won’t drive anything but Benz, and although he’s at an age where he really should be driving a C or E class, he still insists on that brand-new S class every two or three years.

      Every time I’ve rode with him, it’s been a hilarious experience. THe man just knows how to start the car and put it in Drive. Wouldn’t know any of the gizmos if his life depended on it. All preset stations on his car’s radio are set to the same AM station.

      A base-model Camry, Impala, or 300 would probably be the ideal car for him, but there’s no talking him out of that S Class…

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        If he is that old, he really should be driving a Lincoln.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        When the new park avenue came out and I’m talking late 80’s early 90’s my grandmother walked into the buick dealership with a copy of “Good Housekeeping” or something and said I want this one (Champaign(sp) pink of course), once weekly I had to go and fuel it for her as (and if you think todays info systems are complicated, imagine the buttons on the buick from that time period) as that was beyond her means, dealer stuffed every option imaginable into that car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I like your father-in-law, knows what he wants and makes sure he gets it.

  • avatar
    jmo

    So, if I buy a Range Rover, over three years I’ll average a trip to the dealer every 18 months. If I go with the LX 570 I’ll have a 70% chance of needing 1 trip.

    At 3 years and 36k the Lexus which was 81,530 new will be worth 53,953. The Range Rover which was 82,650 will be worth 48,012.

    The gaps between the two vehicles exists but they don’t seem anywhere near as big as you seem to indicate in your article.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      The one trip for the Lexus will be a TSB for weather stripping that might come loose.

      And the two trips for the Range Rover will be a suspension rebuild, and a fried engine wiring harness.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “The gaps between the two vehicles exists but they don’t seem anywhere near as big as you seem to indicate in your article.”

      To be fair, you should try it at 4 or 5 years to exclude warranty, however, I’ve noticed this effect generally. People on TTAC talk about how Audis drop in value precipitously out of warranty, but the actual percentage difference between Audi and Lexus when I checked was quite low.

      For example, the 2013 A6 3.0T Premium Quattro vs. 2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD:
      A6:
      Retail: $50,400
      Depreciation in years 1-5 per Intellichoice:
      $9,888 $5,574 $5,202 $4,683 $3,919 for a total of $29,266

      GS:
      Retail: $49,5800
      Depreciation in years 1-5 per Intellichoice:
      $7,253 $5,464 $5,142 $4,662 $3,907 for a total of $26,428

      All that Audi depreciation is effectively in the first year and a grand total of less than 3 grand. The cars are effectively even through years 2-5.

      In a prior survey, if I remember correctly, I found that Audi depreciated a lot more in year 1 as well, but less than Lexus in years 3-5 vs. Lexus, with 2 being about even.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        The market for GS is too small.

        Do you have data for FWD A6 vs. ES?

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          The GS is the A6 competitor. The market for the A6 is tiny too.

          FWD A6 vs. ES is a silly comparison. FWD A4 vs. ES might be a valid one. You could use my same method if you’d like, although buying a FWD A4 is probably not a great idea.

          I used the A6 because many German-car haters on TTAC think A6s, A8s, 5- and 7-Series, and E- and S-classes are too complicated and not to be owned out of warranty, and therefore their values drop precipitously after warranty. I’m not sure that the A4 or 3-Series gets the same criticism, probably partly because these are more affordable cars.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      Lexus isn’t the paragon of reliability. Between my LS430 and ES300, I’ve had the power tilt-away steering motor fail; a battery failure; the GPS intermittently doesn’t talk to the satellite anymore; and my traction control and cruise control briefly stopped working before it fixed itself. That’s 4 electrical issues between both cars, or the equivalent of 200 problems per 100 cars!*

      *: JD Power-sized fine print loophole: over 10 years.

      • 0 avatar

        Of these four problems, we’d only count the first in our car reliability survey (unless that battery failed in the first 24,000 miles).

        One repair to a pair of luxury cars in ten years is the paragon of reliability.

        The larger loophole is that the sample size is two. It’s possible to go ten years with a couple of Land Rovers and have only one repair. For any car that gets a low score in one of these surveys there are plenty of owners who can report that they’ve had no problems with theirs. The odds are just must lower…

        • 0 avatar
          Bill Wade

          I can assure you it isn’t possible to go 10 years with 2 Land Rovers without repairs, even just sitting in the garage unused.

          If nothing else you’ll have to repair whatever caused all the fluids to leak out of them.

        • 0 avatar
          WaftableTorque

          I was being sarcastic of course, though the infrequency of issues over 10 years is real. It doesn’t make my cars cheaper to operate than say a Jetta or Cobalt, but it does make keeping them an easier decision. But I would think that an intermittent issue would be designated as a real problem, because it’s aggravating and doesn’t inspire confidence.

          • 0 avatar
            James Courteau

            For the record, I spent more on my Jetta in maintenance, repair, towing fees, and operating costs in one year than I spent on the downpayment for my house.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I keep waiting for something to be wrong with my GS so I’ll have a reason to get a newer GS. So far, no such luck.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “For the record, I spent more on my Jetta in maintenance, repair, towing fees, and operating costs in one year than I spent on the downpayment for my house.”

            Yeah, but if you got an FHA loan in large portions of the US, that’s not a particularly impressive comparison. Some people’s yearly Starbucks budget is probably more than an FHA downpayment in certain parts of the country.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Go back another year to get out the out of warranty effect.

      Autonation estimates a 2008 LX 570 with 60K at $42,500 trade in. A 2008 Range Rover is estimated at $25,400.

      2009 models with 50K, the estimates are $47,300 and $35,400 respectively.

  • avatar
    Dynasty

    Hmm. I don’t know the best way to word this. People with money, presumably, don’t care about Land Rover reliability. Because: A)not going to keep it long enough to cost them out of pocket, B) can afford an expensive machine that will need fixing a lot. C) its all about the bling baby..

    And purely based on speculation and first hand knowledge, I would wager Dodge (Chrysler) buyers are NOT people with money, and can least afford an unreliable car.

    I would love to see a chart showing demographics and how they correlate with new car purchases. Education level, urban-suburban-rural, income levels, etc.

    For example, what’s the generic demographic differences between someone who buys a Camry vs a Dodge Charger?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I looked into Porsche’s high ranking a few years ago. It seemed odd, since their product line included the Boxster time bombs and the twin to the VW Touareg that routinely was the worst vehicle in CR surveys. What I found was that the Cayenne was much worse than average while the Boxster and 911 sold in statistically insignificant numbers. Put them together though, and the Porsche brand was ranked at or near the very top. Very strange.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Also, many Porsches have quite low milage relative to other cars, so fewer problems manifest in the initial 3 years for that reason. If you only drive 3-4K/year, you don’t leave much room for things to go wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      dabradler

      Yup, I was looking at prices on used Caymans and it’s pretty common knowledge apparently, that Cayman and Boxster engines are very likely to have an IMS bearing failure around 60-80 thousand miles. total engine replacement, north of 10k to fix.

      daily driving a Porsche Cayman definitely doesn’t seem like that great of an idea when you consider it is going to last a 1/3rd as long as a normal car.

      these reliability surveys always bothered me, because I’m always looking at used cars and none of these companies seem to care how cars hold up past 5 years/100,000 miles. Almost makes the whole process deceptive, the only thing you can really rely on is consumer testimonials.

  • avatar

    Doug,

    The VDS covers the third year of ownership–so those are problems reported for a single year–not the first three years.

    For any vehicle, even a LR, the great majority of the reported problems will be minor.

    One reason Porsche scores well is that its cars are driven less. Based on TrueDelta’s data, the sports cars average about 5,500 miles a year, versus an overall average around 12,000. The new VDS is more impressive than past ones, though, because it does include the first model year of the Panamera, which is less likely to be an occasional use car.

    • 0 avatar

      Michael – a wonderful and welcome correction, which puts Land Rover in an even worse light! Knowing that, I wonder how Porsche will fare in next year’s study, which looks at the first model year of the second-generation Cayenne.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the second-gen Cayenne will be at worst even with the last year of the first-gen Cayenne. We have more owners participating in TrueDelta’s survey with the related Touareg. The overall problem rate is about average, and you just don’t hear the horror stories you did back in 2004 and 2005. The parts that aren’t shared with the Touareg (engines, electronics) are shared with the Panamera.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          VW/Audi/Porsche did a lot of engineering on the Touareg platform after the initial issues in 2004/2005 with the Touareg. It got a lot better over the run and very quickly. The Q7 (a very low volume car) had a couple first-year issues that were unrelated to Touareg issues, but those were fixed rapidly too and non-existent in the 2nd year if you check the forums (and probably part-way through the 1st year).

          Some people on TTAC say if you buy a GM product in its last model year, you will receive a reliable car because of all the fixes they’ve made throughout the lifetime of the product.

          From my experience VW/Audi make these changes quite rapidly and put out revised parts regularly to deal with known issues, and they often step up with extended warranties on certain known problem parts (probably more true for Audi than VW, from the forum complaints).

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            Q7 is moving to a modified MLB architecture for its next iteration, due in the next 18 months or so. The goal is to cut a minimum of 700lbs from the vehicle.

            To their credit, yes, Audi/VW have been very quick (relatively) about correcting issues over the past five years.

            The most notable is their work on the 2.0FSI and revised 2.0TFSI engines that debuted in 2005. The original engine had major problems with the PCV, DV, coolant flanges and numerous other faults. This engine was replaced by a substantially reworked 2.0TFSI for the 2008.5 model year and introduced a timing chain versus belt and introduced valve-lift for some Audi models. The changes have substantially improved the reliability of the 2.0T. The new Gen 3 EA888 2.0TFSI was introduced in the form of the S3 last September, but the more pedestrian version will debut next week in Geneva in the form of the MK 7 GTI. This engine rolls up a whole host of additional improvements and hopefully continues the reliability stats.

            For their faults, Audi of America has been on top of some of their major pain points: bad coil packs, failing HPFP, bad PCVs, and issuing “service campaigns” for these, plus 10 year, 120k warranties.

            As I’ve said for years: parts break, suppliers manufacture bad batches of components, engineers under or over estimate various factors and screw the pooch. All of these things I can handle if the manufacturer has my back and takes care of it for me.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Yes, the 2.0 FSI is also what I was thinking of. Don’t forget intake manifold control runner. Also, the HPFP was more a problem with the cam follower.

            The diverter valve had more than one revision, although for many people it never failed, but the last one (piston based) is a great one.

            “As I’ve said for years: parts break, suppliers manufacture bad batches of components, engineers under or over estimate various factors and screw the pooch. All of these things I can handle if the manufacturer has my back and takes care of it for me.”

            Well said.

        • 0 avatar

          I wonder, then, about the Audi Q7, which also sits on that platform (but was conceived after the Touareg and Cayenne, and hasn’t yet been upgraded to the new electronics). Whatever’s going on, they need to fix it before they put a Bentley SUV on that platform…

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            See my comment above for Q7 reliability.

            My understanding is that they won’t be using the Touareg platform going forward at all. The next Q7/Q8 will use MLB instead (dubbed MLB Evo), so the car will weigh at least 700-800 lbs less. The Touareg and Cayenne will move to MLB too, eventually.

            I’m pretty sure the Bentley Falcon would also be on MLB, since it still won’t be out for another 2-3 years.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I forgot to mention- I mean ask- this before, and it’s too late to edit my earlier comment:

      Is there anything significant known about LR reliability during its time under the stewardship of Tata vs prior periods?

      Their lineup (including the Evoque) are still made in Liverpoole with essentially the same machinery, humans & robots, correct?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I will be very interested where particular new model Ford offerings, such as the 2013+ Fusion, Escape, Edge and Explorer end up on JD Power Long-Term Vehicle Dependability Study in several years, since Consumer Reports has them bringing up the rear JUST IN FRONT of Land Rover in terms of problems reported.

    The ecoboost in all forms (not just the 1.6) seems to be a particular point of ass-hassle, as do suspension, transmission, cooling & electronic components.

    • 0 avatar

      CR doesn’t have any reliability stats on 2013 Fords, at least not any based on sufficient data. The reliability stats in their “new” rankings are based on a survey conducted back in April 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The 2013 Explorer and Edge shouldn’t have nearly as many issues as the 2011 models. The inital rollout of those vehicles had more than a few quality control bugs. For example, the Explorer A-pillar noise took 18 months to have a solid fix.

      Now the Escape is a different story. They are still having manufacturing issues in Louisville. That is outside the four recalls already issued. Comparatively, the Fusion has been trouble free at launch. The 1.6T has been the biggest issue.

  • avatar

    Land Rovers are really “Junk” on wheels, even the manufacturer in England would like to find a “White Knight” to take them over, in the UK they are owned and driven by the Queen and have been for years, most owners there don’t know any better, I pity the owners who have them!

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    There is some phenomenally interesting work being done in behavioral economics (see Danny Kahneman, peak-end theory)that explains the psychology behind marketing and how people make purchasing decisions.

    The topic could easily fill a series of articles talking about how our brains don’t recognize time, etc., etc., but it comes down to the fact that our decisions are influenced by our memories of a product, and memories are very selective. Land Rovers, more than any other car I’ve experienced, are damned good at making memories.

    I once had a Maxima that had no problems, and my only vivid memory of that car is doing donuts in a parking lot- I can’t even remember the interior. I also once owned a Range Rover that had a warped valley plate, a broken water pump, blown amp, and broken steering column- and I have memories of blasting through mud pits, climbing fire roads, the ridiculousness of a heated windshield, the feel of the dash leather, smell of the interior, and on, and on…

    Guess which car I deeply regret selling, and I whole-heartedly plan on buying again in the future?

    • 0 avatar

      Tremendous point. Which is why I, the article’s author and a lifelong Land Rover mocker, am currently on my second Land Rover.

      I think there’s a crucial point here, which is that people buy what makes them happy. Yes, my Land Rovers have problems. But I have friends with race-prepped ’80s and ’90s BMWs whose cars always seem to be in some state of disrepair. No one makes fun of them, because people “get it.”

      Not as many people “get” my Land Rover, but I do. It rides well, it’s beautiful, it’s much cheaper than rivals on the used market, and I enjoy spending time off road.

      Oh, and I have a warranty. That’s the most important part. :)

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        What did Bertel say in a recent article about people who tell you they bought a car to save the planet?

        They’re lying. They just wanted the damned car.

      • 0 avatar
        markholli

        Billy Joel’s “Always a Woman” pretty much sums up Land Rovers for me. She will abuse you, leave you broke and broken, and kick you while you’re down, but damned if you don’t love her anyway.

        I made the mistake of sitting in a 2005 Rangie at the auction a few weeks ago, and I fell for it…hard.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh, jeez. Mine’s an ’06. Shoot me an e-mail through my blog (playswithcars.com) or on Facebook and keep me updated on your progress. I’ve had mine three months and I’m already $1,600 in the hole (all covered by warranty, thankfully). Its first true test is a road trip to Miami and Amelia Island next week (1,500 miles total). It’ll be fun, though maybe more so for towing companies in South Georgia.

          Your other comment is spot-on, though. Not the one that says “Long live DeMuro,” although that one is also quite astute. Drive one and you understand.

          • 0 avatar
            markholli

            @Doug

            I should clarify: I fell head of over heals for the Rangie, but cooler heads (my wife’s) prevailed. So I obsessed, dreamed, read a million articles, watched all related YouTube videos, poured over the classifieds, cried, took a cold shower and accepted my lot in life.

            Someday though…

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Not only that, but sometimes you win. I sent in my letter to TTAC when looking for a car 3 years ago. Ended up with a CPO 328xi, despite all the hand wringing about costly repairs and upkeep. I love driving the car…especially when I just drove my wife’s Lexus RX(feels more like a video game or simulator it is so disconnected from the road). Problems in 2.5 years? Zero. It has been more trouble free than the Lexus by far.

        I’ve long been tempted by the cheap used LRs. Figuring that saving 10k over say a used X5 or whatever will cover the repairs. But the MPG is so abysmal that I haven’t pulled the trigger.

    • 0 avatar

      That explains it then. Toyota owners have no life, he car never breaks so they have no memories of adventours, but they never had any in any other car so they buy a Toyota again!

      Perfection is boring.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        “Perfection is boring.”

        My goal has always been to have the most boring furnace, water heater, refrigerator…. and car I can afford.

        • 0 avatar

          Furnace, heater? I understand but a car needs a little character. Small things, quickly and cheaply fixed, preferably with your own hands can be a bonding exprience. Hahaha!

          • 0 avatar
            joeveto3

            @Marcello — You make a great point.

            I bought a new Prius in 2011. It had nice space, cool features (solar roof), would most likely have proven to be reliable over the long haul, and of course it returned very good mileage. Perfect car, right? Well…

            Unlike every other car I’ve owned, and there have been many, I never laid a hand on it. I never changed the oil, I may have waxed it once, but I don’t really remember. When service was due, I just took it into the dealer, they did their thing, ran it through the wash, and I drove off.

            The only time the Prius was truly “fun” was at the gas pump. I would grab the gas receipt, look how far 9.6 gallons took me (I swear, 99% of the fuel fills were exactly 9.6 gallons), and I’d smile. I’d brag to anyone who’d listen — “hey, look at the mileage I’m getting…”

            9 months later, I was trading that “perfect” Prius for a BMW 335i. Since then, my hands have been on just about every part of the BMW, partially out of necessity, but mostly out of desire and curiosity. And joy. I really like working on the car. And I love driving it.

            There’s a lot to be said for that.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey joeveto! Glad you get it. Some people just don’t. And that OK!

            Great purchase! Have fun!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          +1

    • 0 avatar
      vaujot

      I agree, this is a great point. With the modification that one probably buys the first Range Rover/classic car etc. not with memories but with the hope of making memorable drives in them. While appliance-cars are simply bought with the expectation not to ever have memorable mishaps while operating them.

  • avatar

    It’d be interesting to compare Land Rover’s results to those of Jaguar.

    • 0 avatar

      Jaguar is better, but still near the bottom.

      I don’t have data specific to LR. But based on data on cars as a whole, one feature to stay away from if you don’t want expensive problems down the road is a complicated air suspension. These have many problems in Mercedes and BMW SUVs, and probably in the senior LRs as well. IIRC, the latest Jaguars no longer offer a four-wheel air suspension. They went to rear springs only with the new XJ for steering feel, but it should also help the car’s reliability scores.

      • 0 avatar
        salhany

        The guys over at Jaguar Forums often report air suspension issues with their XJ350s and 358 models (2003-2009). There’s a conversion kit available from Arnott that replaces the air suspension with a coil-over kit, which is probably the sensible thing to do if you plan on keeping one reasonably long-term.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        After having used an air suspension, shelling out for an expensive part after 120K+ doesn’t seem so bad if you actually keep an air suspension car that long.

        Are they going bad much quicker than that? An air suspension is relatively simple technology for the most part, although maybe the electronics are more complicated.

        Aren’t most of the systems made by the same vendors? The Touareg/Q7 air suspension seems to have similar specs to the JGC air suspension, for example, at first glance.

        • 0 avatar

          The problems reported to us generally involve the electronics, not the air springs themselves. The rear axle-only air suspensions (used on Panthers and large SUVs at Ford and midsize SUVS at GM) don’t attempt to do nearly as much and have much simpler electronics. We very rarely receive a repair report with those.

  • avatar
    MeaCulpa

    Can’t TTAC compile an actual quality rating based on JD powers scores? If people complain about road noise and interior styling (or, I kid you not, the sound the door makes when they close it) that isn’t mechanical quality, that’s something any buyer should have noticed during the test drive. I don’t particularly like the styling of BMW’s 5 series GT, but I wouldn’t call it a lack in quality, nor would wonky satnavs or small fonts qualify in my mechanical centered view of quality. I want to know if sh*it brakes not if somebody dislikes the sound the car door makes as I’m perfectly capable of deciding if I like the sound something makes.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “(or, I kid you not, the sound the door makes when they close it)”

      Mercedes, to a very considerable degree, built its reputation on the vault like slam of their doors.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Great point, JMO. My wife comments that whenever she opens the door to my Audi, the heft and vault like nature makes her think that her brand new CRV is nowhere near as safe because of how light and tinny the doors are.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        Yes. But unfortunately it isn’t a sign of quality, in the mechanical sense, as the sound is engineered. A friend of mine got a Mercedes W108 with low miles on it as a gift from his grandfather, that door had the most delicious door sound, honest but good is the way I would describe it.

        In Sweden you know if somebody grew up with a Volvo or a Saab, the volvo camp slams the doors with all their might, the saab camp closes the door so gently that the lock isn’t full engaged. This is naturally down to the fact that Saabs are built with all the sturdiness of a model plane kit and that Volvos are basically farm equipment with louder fan-belts. When I drop my girlfriend of somewhere the last thing she usually hears is me screaming “It’s not a god damn vol…” when she’s accumulating and releasing the force required to slam the door at mach 5.

        A Volvo is also called “A socialist container” and saab is believed to be an acronym for Sämst Av Alla Bilar”, that translates to “The Worst of all cars”.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      If subjective defects are removed, it will only buff Toyota even more and know down the Indian brands even lower.

  • avatar
    gregrnel

    Y’all know why the British can’t build a computer?

    They can’t figure out a way to make them leak oil…….

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Great article, especially JD’s incoherent definition of ‘problem’. That’s why I generally ignore JD Power when it comes to cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      JD Power is an industry rating though, something that is marketed to automakers. How many consumers buy detailed JD Power reports?

      I think in that frame, perceived problems and customer satisfaction of the first owner of the vehicle are important.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Great article Doug; funny, insightful, and well-written. I especially enjoyed the little dig against Panther Love… just don’t turn your back on Sajeev whatever you do.

  • avatar
    Power6

    They say the Land Rover is the “first vehicle” seen by the majority of the world. I guess capability to get to those places trumps the reliability, though I’d rather be in a Land Cruiser…

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I remember the Acura and the Sterling, same basic car, except the British version was horrible. electrics, paint, interior while the Acura enjoyed great reliability and you wonder why the British auto industry is dead

  • avatar
    erico731

    These articles and responses have me a little amused. To give you my background —I have been with a LR dealership, in sales, for the past 8 years. Over those years I have seen both the bad and good in the product. When I started here, the one thing that I have noticed is the loyalty the product line has with their owners. I have never once had a client in any other business that I was in love a product more then then the Rover brand. Yes, they have issues now and then. Yes, I have had clients upset with the car and the product. But whenever it is time for them to get a new one they are the 1st ones to lease or purchase them. When I started with Rover I was always surprised that in one breath they could be so mad and then the next one they would get me to price a new one out.
    Here is why.
    They love the car!! Bottom line — they take the good with the bad. They know what they are signing up for. They love the ride,handling and the excellent response in the snow and inclimate weather.
    When I have a client that decides to go to another brand, I beg them not to lease but to buy. The reason…. It is easier for me to get them out of it in 6 months when they figure out they do not like what they purchased and want to get back into a Rover.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Great response Erico. This is my favorite line: “Yes they have issues now and then.” Classic salesman. I’ll bet you have stories for days. May there always be people rich enough to indulge themselves in your product. Some day I would love to be a customer (lease! warranty! matching fire extinguisher!).

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    As I understand it, until not so long ago, they were using a sixties GM design for the engines. Hasn’t this changed? Did tat not improve anything? Or is it build quality?

    I have seen plenty of the older ones for sale with engine swaps, but I have to wonder how much that would help.

  • avatar
    AlphaWolf

    Lincoln this, Lincoln that. Old people. Can I have a job writing for TTAC now?

  • avatar
    TR3GUY

    My family had a1969 Rover TC 2000 and a 1967 Alfa GTv. And a TR-3. When they ran it was heaven. An Alfa is like sex only better. I loved those cars. My mom’s happiest car moment was when she got rid of here Rover and bought a Ford Pinto “Mom! How could you?” “Eric, it starts, even when it rains”

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      That’s something I’ve been pondering.

      When these cars are running are they really that great??? Or is it the elation that they are running just make them seem so much better (when they’re running) to make putting up with these cars worth it.

      Or another perspective. If these cars started up and got you where you needed to go day in and day out like a Toyota, wouldn’t the magic disappear?

      • 0 avatar
        markholli

        @Dynasty

        Drive a Range Rover. It will answer your question. You’ll thank me later.

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          Well, from my childhood memories, a Range Rover had an infinitely more comfortable ride than a Land Cruiser or a Wagoneer.

          It looked heaps better than any of the two.

          The Rangie also had center diff lock, 2 carbs, disc brakes all around, all the gauges you can imagine in the dash and huge windows. And after dad had the distributor converted to Motorcraft electronic ignition, it became reliable.

          Maybe that’s why, to this day, I still love the bloody things.

        • 0 avatar
          wsn

          @markholli, who will pay for the repairs?

  • avatar
    doug-g

    My mother’s cousin, who is in her early 80’s, has owned the same Land Rover for over 20 years and she LOVES it. It has always been problem plagued, but I think that is half of the vehicle’s (I used “that” word, see I did read) charm for her. The Land Rover requires her attention and has replaced her grown children who no longer need her. It seems that people can bond with cars that they spend time taking care of.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I have a buddy who’s had a Rover for 7 or 8 years. He’s very jealous of my Honda. His other car is a Saab. Yeah, he knows how to pick ‘em.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I guess a LR is like a high maintenance girl friend – exciting, fun, and will drive you crazy with the off the wall issues. Nice, some folks love that kind of drama, I don’t – I’ll pick nice and even tempered, even a bit bland over the spectacle on the dance floor. And yes, been there – done that, retired……

  • avatar
    Tstag

    So Land Rover had 220 problems per 100 vehicles and Lexus only 71. Question is does everything else about a Land Rover leave you feeling more than 3 times better off than you would if you owned a Lexus?

    Given that Land Rover is about 20 times more interesting than any rival Lexus and about 100 times more capable offroad than a BMW and about 1000000 times more luxurious than any American brand. People clearly make a judgement call and sacrifice reliability to drive something that’s just more pleasurable as an experience.

    Oh and given that my BMW’s engine has just fallen apart because a technician left a water hose off then I’ll also take a Land Rover dealer over my poor BMW dealer any day of the week…..not that I’m bitter….

  • avatar
    ktm_525

    I guess I am living on the edge driving an 06 LR3 HSE V8. Picked it up three years ago for a song and have put 80k kms on it since. An air compressor, some bushings, brakes and that is about it. Being able to turn a wrench takes the sting out of the maintainence What do I get in return? A true 7 seater SUV in an overall package about the size of the Volvo V70R it replaced. As a bonus it has big windows with a huge greenhouse that I can actually see out of. A tight turning circle, high ground clearance and a fully armored underbody make short work of the urban jungle. On the highway it is whisper quiet and smoooooth. The ace up it’s sleeve and it’s achilles heel is the air suspension. Much more complicated than the garden variety stuff found on MDX’s etc.

    WRT JD power my Land Rover is at the bottom and my Ridgeline is somewhere near the top. Guess which one I prefer to drive?

  • avatar
    ajnoe3

    As someone that has owned one of these pieces of work here’s my two cents:
    Rovers are excellent to drive when they are not in the shop. I still have a passion for the vehicle but for 50+K I want something that not only drives excellent but doesn’t leave me stranded. Under warrant I had multiple suspension failures, an electical short in the power seat switch that nearly burned the thing to the ground, and an engine mount randomly snapped and the engine dropped, causing the fan to hit part of the chassis, the fan broke and shot through the radiator which sprayed the alternator, and…you get the picture. Since then I have had a Hummer (terrible ride, somewhat more reliable) and now have a Lincoln Navigator. Say what you want about the Navigator but it is dead reliable, tows my boat well, and drive very well. I almost bought an Escalade but realized that even with it’s modern powerplant the rest of the vehicle is ancient (No IRS which eliminate adult use of 3rd row seat and fold-flat capability). My LONG two cents, I love the Rovers but expect that when I pay 50+K for a vehicle it will not leave me stranded multiple times, I know some Rover owners don’t care but I want to drive a nice car AND not to be stranded.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      You were lucky to get one of the better ones ajnoe. Anyway, that was not an electrical short, that was a “signal fire.” Feature, not defect. Very useful when stranded in the Kalahari.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I’ll admit I used to be one of those critical of Land Rovers until I drove one and now have an LR3 which has been reliable. It’s one of the few vehicles that I found that can carry 2 mountain bikes upright in the back along with our 2 dogs and camping gear, be camped inside when needed, pull a boat, and get us up the mountain for bike riding and hiking. And as mentioned above they are awesome on the highway as well.

    Plus, I’ve always liked having vehicles that you don’t frequently see on the road.

    So for some of us the capability and unique factor are worth the potential reliability trade off.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Someone has got to be the worst. It’s usually Jaguar or Land Rover.. But all cars are crazy reliable compared to the 80s when I grew up. My dad had a Renault Alliance.. That thing didn’t even make in 30,000 miles.

    I think most cars are pretty darn reliable when you consider how hideously complicated they are.


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