Are Range Rover and Land Rover Actually Reliable?

So, you’re thinking about purchasing a Range Rover or Land Rover, maybe you just want to know if they are reliable but wouldn’t ever own one. Either way, you’ve probably heard tons of horror stories about their reliability. Are they actually as unreliable as people claim? What if people actually took care of them? What about the older Land Rovers, you know, the safari type ones? Well, first let’s look at Range Rovers and Land Rovers of old.

The “Older” Models

Ah, the golden ages of off-roading. Back when Range Rovers and Land Rovers built their vehicles like absolute tanks, and so were most off-road vehicles. Land Rover based the Defender on the original “Series” Land Rover. They built the Defender for off-road exploration and utility usage. Wanted to go to the middle of the desert and camp-out? The Defender was always up to the task. But, was it reliable? Well, you can’t be in middle of the nowhere, with no cell-phone service, and have your vehicle break. So yes, it was fairly reliable. Was it a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla it terms of long-term reliability? No, but neither was its main competitor the Jeep.

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RELATED: Jeep vs Land Rover: Which One is Better?

Fast forwards in time and Land Rover is producing the Discovery I. You can literally watch any safari type of movie ever, and you’ll probably see either a Defender or a Discovery I somewhere in the film. Much like the Defender, Land Rover built the Discovery I around the off-road lifestyle. It was tough, it was spacious, and it could go nearly anywhere. But, was it reliable? Just like Defender, it was pretty reliable. But it was no Honda Civic.

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Fast forwards even more and you have the Discovery II and the Range Rover P38. Just like the vehicles before them, Land Rover built them for rough off-roading and utilitarian usage. But, Land Rover realized its customer base was looking for more than just an off-road vehicle. They wanted something more. They wanted better on-road handling and more luxury features.

Our Personal Experiences

Well, both myself, and Kristoffer Smith write for this website, and we have both have owned a Discovery II at some point in our lives. How was our experience in regards to our personal Land Rovers?

Bryce’s Land Rover: Well, let me start this off by saying my 1999 Discovery II cost me $1,500 and hadn’t moved in over 3 years. The fellow who owned it before me took the fan off of it and put it on his other Land Rover because it broke on his other one. He never replaced the fan he took off, and let this Land Rover sit for years.

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I purchased it, drove it around for a while until I realized it was eating coolant. I assumed it was head gaskets, so we rebuilt the entire top end of the engine. It seemed fine until a month later it was out of coolant again. Come to find out, the engine had a slipped cylinder sleeve and basically needed a new block. A slipped sleeve can happen if the engine overheats badly. I decided doing a block swap was to much work, and sold it a few weeks later to a Land Rover enthusiast for $2,200.

RELATED: Land Rover vs Range Rover: What’s the Difference?

So my personal Land Rover wasn’t very reliable, but that was because the previous owner had let it overheat pretty badly.

Kristoffer’s Land Rover: My 2000 Land Rover Discovery II has had more issues that I can count. It has minor leaks on everything, the window gear will eventually break on most of the windows including the sunroof, and there are factory flaws in many of the electrical systems.

While I could go on for days about how broken this truck gets every year; at the same time, I have always trusted that it will pull through on an adventure. The solidly built ladder frame and beefy front and rear axles make this truck a tank at heart. I have taken my Discovery through the desert, across frozen forests, and up the summits of dormant volcanos. It did off of this while being my daily driver to work and back every day for the last 5 years.

When you treat these vehicles right, they will be good to you for many years to come. My Land Rover has just under 200k miles now and is in the process of getting some well-deserved upgrades to the suspension after the many years of abuse.

What About The New Models?

The Discovery II and the Range Rover P38 were the pivotal points for Land Rover’s mission. They still had off-roading in mind when designing them, but definitely focused more than ever on how they performed on the street. After all, most Range Rover and Land Rover owners will never actually take them off-road. So it would make sense to make sure the vehicles that they are building perform well on the street because that’s where the vehicle will be for most of its life. The P38 is nearly as off-road ready as the Discovery II, but it featured more luxury features. Basically, Land Rover designed the P38 Range Rover for street use.

RELATED: 8 Reasons to Buy a Discovery II Today

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Essentially, Land Rover designed every Range Rover after the P38 for street use and not off-road use. Can you off-road a newer Land Rover or Range Rover? Of course, but they don’t do as well as they used to. Big rims, super low profile tires, independent suspension, terrible approach and departure angles, these are all things that make newer Land Rover and Range Rover bad off-road.

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What does its off-road ability have to with its reliability? Well, if you know anything about off road racing, then you’d know that the vehicles are built extremely tough. When you are off-roading, the vehicle can go under some major stress. If it’s not prepared to be driven through super rough terrain, in remote locations, then it will end up breaking really easily. When you are in the middle of the 110* desert, 50+ miles away from civilization, the last thing you want is your vehicle to break. Basically, off-road ready vehicles will be more tank-like than standard road-ready vehicles.

So Are They Reliable?

So are they actually reliable vehicles? Well, yes and no. The older ones are much more reliable than the newer ones, but that is true with nearly all automotive brands. The older Land Rovers were known for their off-road ability and could be seen in nearly any Safari movie or video. So, what happened that made them less reliable? Well, a change of course in the Land Rover company.

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RELATED: Is The Discovery II The Last Real Land Rover?

After the P38 Range Rover, they focused less on making their vehicles bomb proof off-road and more on making it comfortable on the road. How do you make something more comfortable on the road? Electronic gadgets and gizmos to make it smoother, quieter, and more convenient. All of these things add up to the vehicle essentially being less tank-like, and less reliable.

Something I hate to bring up, but the British have been known to make fairly unreliable vehicles. (Lotus, Jaguar, McLaren, ETC.). Maybe it’s just a British thing, but the new Land Rovers and Range Rovers are not reliable at all.

Is There Real Proof?

Well, I wouldn’t just tell you that the new Range Rovers and Land Rovers are unreliable without backing it up. From 2007 to 2016 the Range Rover’s best score from JD Power Associates regarding reliability was a 3/5, or 6/10. Out of those 9 years of ratings, 8 of them were 2.5/5 or less than that. So basically for 8 out of the last 9 years, it has scored below average in terms of reliability.

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Further investigation will show that the Land Rover brand has around 179 problems per 100 vehicles. The only companies worse than that are Dodge and Mini. Funny enough its off-road competitor Jeep is basically just as bad at 178 problems per 100 vehicles.

Are They Worth It?

Whether or not they are worth it is a very difficult question to answer. This is because everybody views the Land Rover brand differently. Some people look at them as a “status” symbol and will pay whatever the cost is to look rich, even if they can barely afford it, some people actually have money and just want a really nice vehicle regardless of cost, and some people are just loyal to the Land Rover brand, and always will be.

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In my opinion, the older Land Rovers are absolutely worth it. They are nicer than most modern cars, but are still solid-axle and can take a beating off-road. I loved my Discovery II before the engine exploded, it was hands down the nicest vehicle I’ve ever owned.

Newer Land Rover and Range Rovers aren’t worth it. You might get a ton of cool luxury features, but those features aren’t worth the cost of maintenance and repairs of a newer Land Rover.

As you might have figured out with our personal experiences, previous owners are very important when purchasing a Land Rover or Range Rover. Make sure you buy from someone with service records and a meticulous attitude towards their Land Rover. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a horribly unreliable Land Rover and think that they are all that way. When in fact, they can be reliable.

Why Land Rover Doesn’t Care

In 2014 a customer satisfaction study was done by the folks over at J.D. Power. What they found is rather amusing, but somewhat alarming. They found that all luxury brands had an excellent customer service experience. Those types of dealers will exceed your expectations and make sure you’re always happy. All luxury brands scored a way higher customer satisfaction rating than standard automotive brands, expect for Land Rover.

Land Rover was dead last in the luxury brand study and was actually so bad that it’s comparable to Chevrolet. That’s right, you go in to buy a $130k Range Rover, and you’ll get the same treatment as some guy buying a $15k Chevy Spark. So, not only are modern Land Rovers incredibly unreliable, Land Rover doesn’t even offer good customer service to make up for it. Somehow people are still buying their cars.

Land Rover vs Range Rover: What’s The Difference?

In case you’ve lived under a rock for the past 30 years, Land Rover has taken over the luxury SUV market. Once a super rugged off-roading machine has now turned into a super luxury SUV with a 4×4 badge and fancy traction control systems. Many people wonder what the difference between Land Rover and Range Rover. They look similar, have similar names, both cost a ton, both are from Britain, so what’s the difference?

To save you time I will just give you the short answer: Range Rover is just a model in the Land Rover brand. People often refer to Range Rover as a brand, because saying “Land Rover Range Rover Evoque” sounds kind of stupid. Land Rover and Range Rover have never been, and likely never will be separate companies

Land Rover History

The Land Rover brand all starts with the Series 1. Well, actually it starts before that with the company “Rover”. Rover was a small company that produced mid and high-end vehicles. Because they were a small company their revenue was fairly limited. Rover designed the Land Rover to generate them some short-term revenue while they continued to produce high-end automobiles.

The Land Rover model ended up being so popular that they kept it around. The original Series Land Rover was the first model they produced then came the Defender, Discovery, Freelander, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Range Rover Evoque. Good thing too, because it reshaped the entire Rover brand.

RELATED: Land Rover vs Jeep: Which One is Actually Better Off-Road?

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Land Rover designed the Series 1 for agricultural use and they built it to survive rough usage. To be quite honest the Series 1 is rather ugly, but every brand starts somewhere. Plus, the Series 1 is a pure function over form type of vehicle. Who cares if it’s ugly, it just needs to get the job done when others can’t. Later down the line, Land Rover released the Defender which had lots of design cues taken from the Series 1.

Land Rover has since grown a huge amount and is now a dominating brand in the luxury SUV market. A huge helping factor in growing the brand was the Camel Trophy event. This took a bunch of Discovery I models and put them through absolute hell. This proved to the world that no one built a more rugged SUV than Land Rover.

You can find more Land Rover information on Wikipedia

The “Range Rover” Model

Land Rover had worked on creating a larger, city-friendly SUV since they released the Series 1. Like I mentioned above, Land Rover designed the Series 1 for agricultural use. This didn’t suit everybody so it made sense to make a more city-oriented model. Land Rover launched the Range Rover model in 1970 and it was an instant success. It was a success due to its extreme ruggedness, and it’s city friendliness.

RELATED: Are Modern Range Rovers Actually Reliable?

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A trend had emerged in the 1960s. The trend of leisure SUVs, and how the American market absolutely loved them. This is one of the few reasons why the Range Rover model was a nearly instant success. Today in 2016 the original Range Rover is not only rare but also quickly becoming a collector’s item.

The Turning Point

At what point did the Land Rover brand shift its focus from off-road ruggedness to luxuriousness? Arguably the turning point was the Land Rover Discovery II. It had all the heavy-duty components of a Land Rover, but with a huge amount of luxury features.

The Discovery II was the first SUV ever to have air suspension of any kind. It also featured optional hydraulically assisted sway bars for better on-road performance. Combined with a heavy-duty ladder frame, heavy-duty axles and a super luxurious interior the Discovery II was the perfect balance between ruggedness and luxuriousness.

Land Rovers before the Discovery II looked tough and rugged, Land Rovers after it look like they’re for soccer moms. The P38 Range Rover was also a major turning point for the Range Rover model. After Range Rover after the P38 was less rugged looking, and arguably less capable.

You can read more about how the Discovery II changed the Land Rover brand in our Discovery II article.

Target Demographic

Back when Land Rover released the original Range Rover model, they were  an off-road brand. They were one of the few competitors to the Jeep brand which was wildly popular in the US. Land Rover wanted to increase diversity in their customer base, so they made the Range Rover model a luxury SUV. It still had Land Rover’s off-road prowess, but with more luxury features. The increased amount of luxury features made it much more friendly for the average consumer. This combination was an instant success.

RELATED: 8 Reasons to Buy a Land Rover Discovery II

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To this day the Range Rover’s target demographic is definitely the wealthy, even more than any other Land Rover model. Both normal Land Rover and Range Rover models target demographics are wealthy customers, but the Range Rover is almost like the prestige model. Only the really wealthy buy a Range Rover.

What Is The Difference?

So here’s the bottom line. The Land Rover brand is an off-road oriented luxury brand. The Range Rover model is the most luxurious model of the entire Land Rover brand. Land Rover once produced super off-road capable SUVs, but now they focus mostly on making their vehicles as luxurious as possible.

The Story of my 1999 Land Rover Discovery II

I have now written about my first vehicle, my second vehicle, so now it’s time to write about my seventh vehicle. Some of the other ones were boring vehicles so i’d rather not bore you with them. Anyways, here’s the story of my 1999 Land Rover Discovery II.
Please excuse any poor quality photos, at the time my iPhone 4 had a very scratched photo lens.

Backstory

After I sold my 1986 Suburban I was vehicle-less. My good friend had a Land Rover Discovery II for a very long time, and suggested that should be my next vehicle. I have always preferred American vehicles so I had no intention of getting a Land Rover. Later he sent me a craigslist link to a dirt cheap Land Rover Discovery II.

Our Land Rovers together. Mine is on the left.

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My friend’s Land Rover has been through hell and back. It has been on trails all over Arizona, and been driven very hard off-road. If his Land Rover was still holding together, I figured that the one on Craigslist probably would too.

Going to Buy the Land Rover

The ad was pretty straight forwards, and made clear that the vehicle had been sitting for a while. The next day my friend and I hopped in his Land Rover to go look at what could potential become my Land Rover.

The Land Rover was covered in dust and spider webs, had a dead battery, a flat tire, and looked rough. But, the interior was in nearly perfect condition, and once we threw a different battery in it ran great. The owner needed to find the title and get it notarized so we went down to Burger King for lunch.

At the owners house. Mine is the one in back.

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About an hour later we returned to the owners house and handed him $1,700 cash, and called a tow truck. The tires were in very bad condition from sitting for so long, so I wanted to get it towed (It was all highway driving on the way back).

When it Ran Good

After washing off years of dust and grim, we found a really nice looking Land Rover underneath. It ran pretty good, and drove pretty good. After a few minor repairs I drove it all of the place for about a month. It was so amazing to drive. It rode super smooth, handled great, and it was super quite. It was hands down the nicest vehicle I had ever owned by a long shot.

After being cleaned

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Unfortunately, all good stories come to an end. I was supposed to go to a wedding, and I decided to get some fast food before I left to go to the wedding. While I was sitting in the drive-thru I saw the temperature gauge rise higher than it was supposed to at idle. I immediately shut the engine off knowing that something was wrong.

After painting wheels & side steps

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After eating my food in the parking lot I investigated under the hood and found that there was no coolant in the system. This seemed odd since it had never leaked coolant, so I assumed that the head gaskets may have gone bad. I limped it home and parked it.

Near Engine Failure

Before the issue of disappearing coolant I encountered an entirely different issue that nearly killed the engine. I was driving when all of the sudden the engine started making a lot more noise than normal. I knew it was from low oil pressure and stopped for oil immediately. After putting a quart or two in, it was still making lots of noise.

I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, so I was forced to limp it to my buddies house with nearly no oil pressure. By the time I made it to his house it sounded like a diesel truck. We dropped the oil pan to find that there was a few inches of nearly solid sludge in the pan. The thick sludge had pretty much blocked the small mesh screen on the oil pickup tube.

RELATED: 8 Reasons Why the Discovery II is so Awesome

After hours of oil pan and pickup tube cleaning we reassembled everything and the engine ran perfectly fine. I was very lucky that there was no permanent engine damage at all. I changed the oil a couple hundred miles later and found no metal shavings. Talk about good luck!

Engine Failure

After it was parked for about a week I decided to disassemble the engine. We got the engine torn down completely, and didn’t really find any sign of a bad head gasket. It sat for a month or two taken apart due to lack of funds. After what seemed like forever, I bought a top end rebuild kit and got the heads machined.

Being disassembled

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We reassembled the engine, and it fired right up. It seemed to run great, so I went back to driving it regularly. Eventually though, it tried to overheat. Once again there was a lack of coolant in the system. Just like before it wasn’t leaking, so where the heck was it going?

After reassembly

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After some research I came to the conclusion that the engine essentially was unrepairable. The cylinder sleeve was more than likely slipped. This required replacing the engine block, which I was not game to do. If I cared about that vehicle more then I would’ve found a used engine and thrown it in there. Since it was broken almost the entire time I owned it, it never grew on me and I really didn’t feel like doing an engine swap on it.

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It sat for a little bit longer after I realized the engine was terminally damaged. Eventually, I put it up on Craigslist and a few people looked at it. However, the people that looked at it didn’t seem like they would know how to repair it if they bought it. Eventually somebody drove a couple hours to see it.

RELATED: Jeep vs Land Rover: Which One is Actually Better?

The person who came to see it was an avid Land Rover enthusiast and understood everything I told him. He understood the issues and was up to the challenge of repairing it. So, I sold it to him for around $2,000 (I can’t remember the exact number).

Land Rover Discovery II: 8 Reasons to Buy One Today

In case you’ve never seen any wildlife documentaries, the Land Rover Discovery is the go to vehicle for wildlife videographers. It’s also a very popular vehicle among successful people. Why do outdoorsmen and the wealthy love the Land Rover Discovery II?

There are tons of things that make the Discovery II special. Here are 8 reasons to buy a Discovery II today.

8. World’s Best Leather

Discovery II interior

The leather in the Discovery II is a super high quality and very soft leather. It covers the seats, door panels, dashboard, and basically everything.

Land Rover went as far as adding Kangaroo leather to the door panels. Kangaroo leather is a very soft, and subtle material. Land Rover added it right where you rest your arm on the door, putting your elbow in heaven as you drive.

What other vehicle can you brag to your friends about having Kangaroo leather inside of it?

7. Stadium Seating

The Land Rover Discovery II has what is called “Stadium Seating”, which means the rear seats are elevated. This gives the rear passengers excellent visibility, and allows them to see over the front occupants so everyone can complain about your driving at once.

Since the rear seats are elevated, that means their headroom goes down. But, Land Rover has solved this problem by elevating the roof from the rear seats back by a few inches.

You can clearly see the raised roof from the outside of the vehicle. The back seats in the Discovery II are probably some of the most comfortable rear SUV seats you’ll ever sit in.

6. Sound system

The optional Harman/Kardon sound system is truly amazing for any automobile at that time. It includes no less than 12 speakers, which are scattered about to provide optimal sound for all passengers. The 12 speakers are powered by a 320 watt amplifier, along with an amplified subwoofer.

All of this put together adds up to a near jaw dropping factory sound system. Seriously, the optional sound system in the Discovery II is amazing, especially for a vehicle of its age.

5. Jumper Seats

Discovery II jumper seats

Say you own a family of 7, well Land Rover has you covered. The SE7 optioned Discovery II has rear jumper seats, which fold up to give full trunk room. They’re actually big enough to fit a full grown adult.

The Discovery I had a similar design, but the jumper seats faced each other, instead of facing the front of the vehicle. The design in the Discovery I looked a little cooler, but couldn’t really fit full size adults.

4. Build Quality

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Unlike Land Rovers of today, you really got what you were paying for if you bought a Discovery II brand new, and they weren’t cheap either. The extremely strong ladder frame for example, it’s stronger than most 1-ton pickup trucks. The axles are just as strong as 3/4 ton truck axles. The radius arms are extremely beefy, and almost all the suspension components are extremely beefy as well. Additional Discovery II Info

Even little details like glass headlights, dual sunroofs, and rear climate control, they all add up to a vehicle with build quality that is better than most cars of today (2015). Quite honestly the Discovery II has a better build quality than any other off-road vehicle of the time.

3. ACE System

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When the Discovery I was out, the biggest complaint was its handling, Land Rover customers wanted an SUV that handled like a sports car. Well, they listened, and when they launched the Discovery II one of the options was the ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement) system.

RELATED: Land Rover vs Range Rover: What is the Difference?

What the ACE system does, is stop the body from rolling so much. It uses a hydraulic pump, which is driven by the serpentine belt, and a hydraulic ram attached to the front and rear sway bars. If you turn either direction, the hydraulic rams push the sway bars the opposite direction, and keeps the vehicle flat in a corner.

It also completely disengages at very low speeds, which allows more articulation from the front and rear to help with off-roading.

2. Air Suspension

The Discovery II has air suspension equipped in the rear, and was the first SUV ever to have air suspension of any kind. This allows it ride extremely smooth, and also helps with off-roading because it can lift up the rear of the vehicle 1.6 inches.

This system is also self leveling, so if you have a lot of cargo or are towing something heavy, it’ll automatically level out the vehicle for you. Unfortunately the air bags aren’t the most reliable system in the world, and many Discovery IIs now have coil spring suspension in the rear.

1. Offroad Prowess

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Of course, the heart of any Land Rover is its off-road abilities, that’s the main reason it’s a safari vehicle after all. Features like the hill descent control, and traction control help you get anywhere you want safely. The center diff lock allows you to turn all-wheel-drive into four-wheel-drive, and locks power output to 50/50.

RELATED: Land Rover vs Jeep: Which One is Actually Better?

All of this combined with extremely strong axles and strong suspension components allow the Discovery II to go almost anywhere you want, the Discovery II will almost always keep up with a Jeep except when rock crawling, and as a Jeep owner I don’t say that lightly

Summary

Don’t get me wrong, the Discovery II isn’t the most perfect vehicle ever. But, for what you’re paying, you’re getting a lot of features that most brand new cars don’t even have.

From interior quality and features, to groundbreaking suspension components, and off road durability. Nothing beats a Discovery II when it comes to quality and luxury, especially for less than $8k.

Jeep vs Land Rover: Which One is Actually Better?

If you’re just getting into off-roading, than chances are you’ve heard something about the Jeep vs Land Rover debate. Both are designed with off-roading in mind, and both are exceptionally good at it. One is built in America, the other is built in the UK, but which is actually better? Well, there’s a lot of different aspects to cover, as well as different generations of the Jeep vs Land Rover debate. So, lets dive in, and compare Jeep vs Land Rover.

Jeep vs Land Rover: Interior

Assuming you don’t live under a rock, than you should know that the Land Rover brand is known for its luxury. When you think of high end vehicles, most people will think of a Range Rover, and thats exactly what I’m talking about. The luxury of a Range Rover transfers over into other Land Rover models. For this example lets look at the Discovery II.

Discovery II Interior

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The Land Rover Discovery II was an impressive new version of the loved Discovery. With this new model, Land Rover upgraded nearly everything, including the interior. All Discovery II’s came standard with dual power sun-roofs, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, power seats, heated seats, Home-Link system, all leather everything, dual-zone climate control, and more. So, as you can see from that quick list of features, Land Rover’s are really luxurious. Even by modern standards, the Discovery II is a really nice vehicle.

RELATED: Is The Discovery II The Last Real Land Rover?

Jeep’s on the other hand are a little lacking in the luxury department. For this comparison lets look at the XJ Cherokee. The XJ came standard with cloth interior, manual windows, manual locks, manual seats, a standard climate control system, and nothing else fancy. Yes, you could get higher up XJ models like the Laredo, which came with power everything, leather seats, and an upgraded sound system. But, standard vs standard, Land Rover blows Jeep out of the water.

XJ Cherokee Interior

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Newer models on the other hand are much nicer for both Land Rover and Jeep, but Land Rover’s still have much nicer interior’s in 2016. At this point Land Rover has become a standard for luxury vehicles.

Jeep vs Land Rover: Reliability

Okay, so when it comes to reliability, what do you think would be more reliable? If you said to yourself “Land Rover’s and Range Rover’s are super  unreliable, so of course the Jeep must be the more reliable one!”, than you wouldn’t be alone. I too thought that since Jeep was American made, it would be way more reliable than anything European, but man was I wrong. Don’t believe me? Here’s reliability articles for both Jeep and Land Rover.

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Unfortunately the numbers don’t lie. As a big Jeep fan, it pains me to see this chart. This chart is a list of reported problems/repairs per 100 vehicles. The vehicles are all 2014 models. As you can see, Jeep and Land Rover, are nearly tied. Quite honestly, they’re both absolutely terrible when it comes to reliability.

Jeep 4.0L

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What about the good ole’ 4.0L Jeep engine? Yes, the 4.0L Jeep engine is one of the most reliable production engines ever, but the 4.0L Land Rover engine is also pretty good. While both have their Achilles heel, they’re both incredible durable engines.

Jeep vs Land Rover: Off-Road

These are both off-road oriented vehicles, so it would make sense to compare how they do off-road. As much as I would love to give you a good off-road comparison, its not that easy. “Why?” you might ask, its because off-roading is just more than ground clearance. Its articulation, wheel base, approach and departure angles, chassis strength, axles, and most importantly, the driver. I’ve seen Mazda 3’s go where some Jeep’s couldn’t, because the driver knew what he was doing.

RELATED: Jeep vs Toyota: Which One is Actually Better?

Before I tell you which is better off-road and why, let me tell you this. I am a big Jeep fan, and the other writer (Kristoffer) for this website is a big Land Rover fan. We’ve both taken our vehicles off-road tons of times, so I have a lot of real world experience with both of these vehicles.

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One big difference between the Discovery II and the XJ Cherokee, is how the 4WD system works. In the Land Rover, its actually AWD, which means that there is a differential in the transfer case. The Jeep on the other hand is 4WD, because when 4WD is engaged power is locked 50/50 between the front and rear axle. Why does this matter? Because it greatly changes the characteristics of how it handles off-road. See, the Land Rover is always in AWD, which means if you’re going down the road, and hit a sudden patch of ice you’ll be fine, but the Jeep has to be in 2WD on the road, which can cause that same patch of ice to send you flying off of the road.

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RELATED: Land Rover vs Range Rover: What’s the Difference?

Another big difference between these two, is the traction management. While some Jeep XJ’s came with a rear LSD, most didn’t. If you know how open differentials work, than you know they’re not that great for off-roading. The Land Rover also came with open differentials. The difference here is that Land Rover’s come with a pretty advanced 4-wheel traction control system, whilst Jeep’s don’t. This traction control system is basically the equivalent of having lockers front and rear.

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There is so much more I could go into regarding the off-road performance of these two but it would take all day long. Bottom line, my Jeep(s) have gone places that Kristoffer’s Land Rover couldn’t, and his Land Rover has gone places my Jeep(s) couldn’t. We’ve both gotten stuck countless amounts of times over the years.

Jeep vs Land Rover: Old

Thus far we’ve focused on mainly the older Jeep’s and the older Land Rover’s. The Discovery II has a way nicer interior, and overall is a way nicer vehicle to drive every single day.  The XJ Cherokee is more reliable than the Discovery II, but not by much. When it comes to off-roading its more about the driver than the vehicle, and both Jeep’s and Land Rover’s are incredibly capable off-road machines. So when comparing older Jeep’s vs older Land Rover’s, you’ll find that quite honestly, the Land Rover’s are nicer to drive every single day. But the Jeep’s might be a better choice for reliability. It honestly comes down to personal preference.

RELATED: Why Are Jeeps so Ridiculously Expensive?

I’ve owned both and I can tell you right now that I would rather drive a Land Rover Discovery II every single day, and rather have a Jeep XJ Cherokee for an off-road rig.

Jeep vs Land Rover: New

If you’re not a car/truck enthusiast, and just want to know which one is the better option for you, than this is the part you’ve been waiting for.  When it comes to newer Jeep’s vs Land Rover’s things like off-road ability aren’t that important. Why is this? Because over time Land Rover has become less about off-roading and more about luxury.

One big difference with both Jeep and Land Rover is that now in 2016 they all comes with fully independent suspension, other than the Wrangler. The solid axle suspension design is quite ancient and can only handle so well on the road. The independent suspension might be loads better on the road, but its not so good off-road. Both now come with pretty advanced traction management systems, as well as a ton of other driver assists.

RELATED: 8 Reasons to Buy a Land Rover Discovery II

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One thing that hasn’t changed is the interior comparison. While new Jeeps are much nicer than old Jeeps, they still don’t compare to Land Rover’s. Like I mentioned earlier, the Land Rover brand has become the pinnacle of luxury SUV’s and luxury vehicles in general for that matter.

In all reality, modern Land Rover’s are way better than modern Jeep’s. But, as a die-hard Jeep person I would still rather have a new Wrangler than a new Land Rover.

Jeep vs Land Rover: Summary

So, when it comes to the Jeep vs Land Rover debate, the winner really depends on the age. Older Jeep’s aren’t that nice to drive on the road, but are slightly better than Land Rover’s off-road. Older Land Rover’s are arguably better than Jeep’s off-road, and are way nicer to drive on the street daily.

Newer Jeeps and newer Land Rover’s are both much nicer than their older models, but the Land Rover brand has gone in a different direction. Newer Jeep’s are unquestionably better off-road, but are still lacking when it comes to interior comfort, especially when compared to the Land Rover.

So basically it boils down to this. If you drive off-road a lot, get a Jeep. If you drive on the road and off-road a lot, get a Land Rover. Or just pick your personal preference. I prefer Jeep’s, but thats just me.