Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
You never know when you’re actually going to need a 4x4. I tend to mock people who buy something four-wheel drive with locking diffs and crap like that just to go to Whole Foods. But after seeing what Sandy did to the East Coast, New Jersey in particular, all of those people who’ve never used low-range gearing before might actually find it useful. If their Range Rover hasn’t been submerged already.
Even Jeep fans have to commend the capabilities of a Land Rover (Rover boss Maurice Wilks basically copied a Willys-Jeep to make the original Series I Landie in 1948) and the Range Rover is the ultimate refinement of the line. The new gen-4 model is being thrown around by reviewers right now. Trouble is, it’s going to start uncomfortably close to $100,000.
That’s why a quick poke around eBay finds lots of much cheaper Range Rovers to choose from, and gas prices are probably doing their fair share in keeping those trade-in values down. I found this special edition 2002 Range Rover 4.6HSE in a particularly fetching shade of yellow.
No, this generation Range Rover isn’t as advanced as the one that just ended production, but it does boast all of the requisite modern touches: air suspension, push button-easy four-wheel drive system and lots of leather and wood. And 10 years on, this Range Rover still looks good because it’s free of the trendy design touches that have kind of sullied the more recent models.
At 10 grand, it’s dirt cheap too.
OK, so you have a sometimes-disastrous combination of Lucas and BMW electronics mated to legendarily shaky British build quality. And if you’re the kind of person who thinks a 4x4 shouldn’t have anything resembling a sat nav or automatic AC, you’re going to like this V8 Defender 90 a whole lot more.
The Land Rover Defender is really the icon and a somewhat rare car in the US. The 110 station wagon was sold here in 1993 with the 3.9-liter Rover V8 and a five-speed manual. The shorter, two-door Defender 90 replaced it in 1994. But for ‘97, Land Rover upped the power to 4 liters and added an automatic in an attempt to civilize the old beast. I like that idea. But the reality is that they put the heart of a Range Rover into the mud-ready Defender.
Sure, it’s probably less comfortable than even a Jeep Wrangler and is as useful on Main Street as an ATV. But it looks great, especially with the contrastic hard top. And there’s no friggin’ way you’re going to get stuck.
Trouble is, Defenders don’t come cheap around here. This one has more than 100,000 miles and is still going for about 40 large. While a Defender is the iconic Land Rover, the drug dealer-yellow Range Rover is nice in its own right.
I happen to like the color a lot, and would gladly welcome it into my garage for the day some earthquake decides to make the highway not so driveable.