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Home 4X4 Should I buy a Range Rover Sport or a Defender 90?
Should I buy a Range Rover Sport or a Defender 90?

Should I buy a Range Rover Sport or a Defender 90?

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A reader contacted me to ask for help with a vehicle buying decision.  I will assist with these queries where I can, provided I can use the information in publications.  Happy to change names and details if preferred as long as the gist of the vehicle decision is clear to the readers.  I also edit the emails for brevity.

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Hello Robert

Many moons ago I contacted you about vehicle choice because I had the chance of buying an ‘06 Range Rover Sport 2.7 for $40000 from an acquaintance.

I see that Land Rover have a promotion on the Defender 90 for a driveaway price of $39990 with the new 2.2 litre engine as a no cost option.

Would appreciate your thoughts on this promotion and on this vehicle.

By the way, I miss your regular contributions to the Overlander magazine since its new incarnation. Jury still out for me!!. I particularly appreciate your articles easy to digest technical nature on relevant topics. Try to keep up the good work.

–Jim

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Hi Jim

What do you want from a 4X4?

Cheers


Robert

 Note – this is my standard response.  I can’t give advice on any purchase until I know more about the owner and their intended use, preferences, budget and various other criteria.

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Robert,

Thank you for your prompt reply and the good question ‘What do I want from a 4X4?”

The following points may help:

* it will be our only vehicle – an all rounder

* we have both ‘retired’ and therefore do not need to drive longish distances every day

* our children have ‘left home’ and therefore  the vehicle will only be carrying two people on most occasions

* our children now live and work some 90 kms ‘up the road’

* we would like to be able to visit them fairly frequently and easily

* we are both familiar with a manual gearbox but have not owned a 4X4

* my wife likes to draw landscapes

* we need a vehicle with reasonable carrying capacity which is fairly bush capable to take us to ‘drawable’ spots’ but which are not particularly extreme or challenging to access

* we are not 4X4 enthusiasts  …..yet!!

Maybe I am talking myself out of this!!

Perhaps a used D3 like yours or a used Range Rover Sport – 2006 vintage for example – may be the shot after all.

I just don’t like the idea of spending $75000+ on a new vehicle because I know what I would be like – I would be ‘afraid to use it’ and  go down that rutted track with all those  overhanging branches ready to scratch the new paintwork.

Hence one of the attractions of the promo 90 at $40000 drive away, is the price.  Also the fact that it is new as buying a  good used D3/Range Rover Sport in the $40000 -$50000 price range may be fraught.

Once again Robert, any thoughts would be appreciated but I realise that you cannot make the decision for me.

It is just a pity that new 4X4s have become so expensive  …… and complicated!!

Best Wishes.

Jim

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Hi Jim
* it will be our only vehicle – an all rounder
Sport

* we have both ‘retired’ and therefore do not need to drive longish distances every day
Defender

* our children have ‘left home’ and therefore  the vehicle will only be carrying two people on most occasions

Sport – you have the option for 5, with the D90 not.

* our children now live and work some 90 kms ‘up the road’
* we would like to be able to visit them fairly frequently and easily

Sport – Defenders are not great for long distances

* we are both familiar with a manual gearbox but have not owned a 4X4

You mention you are retired and therefore not in the first flush of youth.  Therefore, I am leaping to the assumption that the Defender’s heavy clutch is not ideal.

* my wife likes to draw landscapes

* we need a vehicle with reasonable carrying capacity which is fairly bush capable to take us to ”drawable’ spots’ but which are not particularly extreme or challenging to access

Sport

* we are not 4X4 enthusiasts  …..yet!!

Either

Maybe I am talking myself out of this!!

Perhaps a used D3 like yours or a used Range Rover Sport – 2006 vintage for example – may be the shot after all.

I think so.

I just don’t like the idea of spending $75000+ on a new vehicle because I know what I would be like – I would be ‘afraid to use it’ and  go down that rutted track with all those  overhanging branches ready to scratch the new paintwork.

Don’t worry about it.  Get some of that film to go over the paintwork.  A few scratches is just the cost of doing business, wear it with pride.  It is amazing what a good panel shop can do with a scratched car.

If you have never really driven a Defender then ensure you do so for at least a half day, intensively, before you buy because they are an acquired taste that not everyone can live with.

Hence one of the attractions of the promo 90 at $40000 drive away, is the price.  Also the fact that it is new as buying a  good used D3/Range Rover Sport in the $40000 -$50000 price range may be fraught.

There’s no question the Defender would be cheapest to own – to buy, warranty, running costs – in the same way an iPhone is more expensive than a base model Nokia.  You get more car, more comfort, more capability with the Sport.

My view is that if you can afford it, get the Sport and by afford it I mean pay the maintenance bills that will come up from time to time that the Defender won’t have or will be covered under warranty.  The Sports are reliable, but like any car that doesn’t mean you should assume it’ll never need a repair.

cheers

–Robert

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Hello Robert,

Thank you once again for your helpful reply and point by point analysis.

Looks like I may be able to buy that Sport.  It has the optional electronic rear diff-lock.

In light of your comments and the distinct possibility that I may be able to buy a very well looked after, very capable Sport at a fair price, I have decided to wait and see what happens.
I gather that you hold the Sport in high regard?

Once again I thank you for your considered comments.

Best Wishes.

Jim

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Jim

Yes, the Sport is my favourite vehicle of all time!  But I don’t own one because it’s not the most practical for my current needs, and I can’t afford to have a playcar of that nature just sitting there not fully earning its keep.

cheers

–Robert

Robert Pepper Automotive journalist specialising in 4X4s, sportscars, camping and future tech.

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