Icon buyer: The top three must-have Land Rovers

Published: 08 November 2016 Updated: 08 November 2016

► We take a look at the best used Land Rovers you can buy
► Advice from Bowler Motorsport’s Jon Chester
► Top used Defender, Discovery and Range Rover

Discovery Series 1: £1k-£5k, 1989-1998 

3946cc V8, 166bhp, 12.8sec 0-62mph, 101mph

> Is this a good idea? ‘Definitely. This is the grandfather of the modern SUV and is now on the verge of classic status. It’s a practical, genre-defining vehicle that offers 95% of the ability of a Defender at less than half the cost, with double the comfort. Values of the remaining good ones will rise sharply in the future. Savvy buyers are snapping up G and H registration examples, and early three-door V8s are ideal for restoring.’

> How much? ‘From £1k-£5k. Buy on condition and history, and avoid those modified for off-road action and LPG conversions. A late five-door ES spec V8 will have leather, air-con and ABS – a brilliant winter or station car for around £3k. And the 86 G-WAC pre-production launch cars are gilt-edged future classics, with Range Rover equivalents now at around £75k.’

> What’s going to break? ‘Look for rust, and then some more rust. Rear floors are notorious, as are rear wheelarches, front inner wings, and sunroofs. The powertrain is very robust, but don’t accept a car without evidence of regular maintenance – once they go, they can be very expensive to get back.’

> Crippling running costs? ‘There’s a whole industry supplying LR parts, but quality varies and the cheapest parts are rarely the best. Most maintenance can be done at home and a full kit of decent service parts is around £120. Budget on £200 for a minor service, and £500 for a major service. Insurance is very reasonable as well.’

Range Rover L322: £6k-£15k, 2002-2012

4394cc V8, 306bhp, 8.3sec 0-62mph, 125mph

> Is this a good idea? ‘Combines BMW tech and reliability with Land Rover capability. Peerless towing ability. Effortlessly superior.’

> How much? ‘From £6k to £15k. Go for a V8 petrol with few owners and you’ll have a long and happy relationship.’

> What’s going to break? ‘Surprisingly little. Avoid the lethargic Td6 with its weak gearboxes. High-mileage TdV8s eat their turbos. Go for Jaguar rather than BMW power. Bodies are very rust resistant.’ 

> Crippling running costs? ‘Expect 18mpg from petrol V8. Budget £250 for a minor service, £600 for a big one.’ 

Defender 50th Anniversary: £15-£30k, 1998-1999

3947cc V8, 190bhp, 10.0sec 0-62mph, 100mph

> Is this a good idea? ‘Prices are rising, but they will stabilise so don’t pay silly money. The 50th Anniversary has character, an auto ’box, rarity and a V8. It’s a nailed-on classic.’

> How much? ‘Pay £15k for a decent one, keep it tidy and standard, and watch it creep up in value. Best ones are now £30k.’

> What’s going to break? ‘The chassis will deteriorate without attention. The auto ’box is a regular Land Rover unit, and the 4.0 V8 is robust and reliable. Some trim parts are now hard to find.’

> Crippling running costs? ‘Don’t expect more than 15mpg. Iffy security makes them easy to steal, so insurance can be expensive. £200/£500 for services.’

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By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars