Four further reasons not to own a Land Rover

Owning a Land Rover can lead to rather weird behavioural habits. Here’re four that you’ll need to understand before signing your life away to the green oval. 

We’ve already given you six reasons not to own a Land Rover, plus six more reasons where Land Rover ownership may take over your life. Well, after spending more time with Land Rover owners across the country – we’ve discovered EVEN MORE reasons not to own a Land Rover. Read on….

You’ll become a TV spotter

It’s inevitable. You’ll soon revel in the same excitement reserved for children at Christmas upon catching sight of a character on the telly driving a Land Rover. This soon changes into actions destined to drive your family mad, as you pause tense climatic film endings to rewind five seconds and point out the roofline of a Series IIA 109in. Pick your burial spot in the garden; you may need it.

Example: Did you spot the Series IIA in Sylvester Stallone's 'Cobra'? Bet most of you did... 

Look everyone! There's a Series IIA in the corner!

Look everyone! There's a Series IIA in the corner!

eBay will rule your life

Land Rovers enjoy going wrong at the most frustrating moment, forcing you to spend increasing amounts of time looking for replacement parts on the cheap – which means eBay will become your first port of call. Of course, it won’t stop at engine parts. You will spend days setting a budget and venturing off into LaLa land for some Land Rover shopping. And this could be dangerous, you’ll be so distracted that you might fail to notice the house fire going on around you after your daughters try to cook dinner for fear of starving, as you have accidentally spent 18 solid hours trying to find a Discovery 300Tdi for under £800.

You’ll Need To Wave

Have you not read the unwritten rules? Should you see another Land Rover driver on the road it is customary to show your support by waving and wishing them one of four things:

  • All the best on your journey!
  • Congratulations on your stylish choice of vehicle!
  • If that’s a V8 I hope you have a fire extinguisher!
  • Help – I’ve been kidnapped and require urgent assistance!

To many, this wave appears to pay homage to a particular hand signal used by Adolf Hitler – and can startle other motorists within the vicinity. However, once they have witnessed this action a few times they can hopefully stop panicking and return all those axes to Homebase.

However, should you forget to wave then the Land Rover curse will bite. Bear that in mind when crying over a snapped half shaft, warped cylinder head or Hyundai courtesy car.

You’ll fall out of touch with modern life

Life today is all about technology, doing things as fast as possible and therefore driving like you are an enormous doorhandle. Stuck at 15mph under the speed limit at all times, you’ll give up trying to match modern speeds on fast roads with a Land Rover – rather sticking to your own pace, regardless of the wildly flailing traffic behind you. After all, the road is always clear in front of a Landy.

You also won’t be able to hear the radio, meaning that pop songs, celebrity news and Chris Evan’s opinionated rantings will go unnoticed. Although, we aren’t sure that last point would be a bad thing.

You’ll probably miss out on breaking news. Natural disasters, shocking deaths, vicious murders, violent robberies – but then upon leaving Liverpool you’ll also have real-world news, too. If you don’t have a radio, should your chosen Land Rover chariot be a V8 or a 2.25 petrol, you’ll probably not want one either.

You’ll be more than happy, grinning behind the wheel, ignoring contemporary civilisation and emissions regulations like a boss. No other vehicle can take the world's troubles away quite like a Land Rover. 




Disco Sport or Evoque?

Sibbling rivalries don’t get much tougher than the Range Rover Evoque against the Discovery Sport. So, which of these two 21st Century models is the best all-rounder?

The opportunity to put a Discovery Sport up against a Range Rover Evoque is too good to miss. Especially since these two are mechanically almost identical; both have the 2.2 SD4 engine and the same nine-speed ZF 9HP automatic gearbox, although they do have very different suspension set ups.

I’m hoping this test might help to settle the debate about which one of these two vehicles we’d choose for a daily driver.

The Start Line

Before today, I’d have instantly said an Evoque. I like its looks and I love the vigorous performance; at least for a half-hour romp on country roads. If, like today’s example,
its equipped with MagneRideTM suspension, the Evoque has great on-road handling and performance. For me, the standard Discovery Sport is neither agile enough on-road to match the Evoque (Only the new HSE Dynamic Lux models get MagneRideTM in the UK) and is not good enough off-road to really be a Discovery. Perhaps this head-to-head contest will change my mind?

In the interests of balance and fair play, I’ve roped in deputy editor Neil too. But it seems he doesn’t like the Evoque at all and isn’t that impressed with the Discovery Sport either. He thinks they’re both too bland, lacking that ‘specialness’ that previous generations all have. I’m inclined to agree with him to a point, but I do like Evoque’s looks.

We both remain open to persuasion...

On-road appeal

We make our way to a quiet corner of the county to remind ourselves just how the Disco Sport and Evoque handle the twisty country roads we know. Initially, I’m in the Evoque and Watty’s in the Disco. Whether it’s because my right foot is a bit heavier than Neil’s or the Evoque is just more nimble, I find it very easy to keep up with him on bumpy B-roads. But on the straighter sections, both are more evenly matched; not that we’re racing of course. Honestly. 

I’ve dialled-in Dynamic mode on the Evoque’s Terrain Response (the Disco Sport doesn’t have that option) and selected Sport mode for the autobox. The gauges glow red instead of white, and the engine revs hang around a little longer in each gear; kick-down is even more enthusiastic.

The Evoque’s ride is very firm and handling is hard and flat. Although the roads are dry, it’s easy to provoke understeer when you enter a bend quickly and apply the power too early. In the wet, this could really put a dampener on things. I calm things down and select the standard road setting in Terrain Response and ‘D’ rather than Sport mode, for the autobox. Handling remains very impressive, but the ride doesn’t improve that much; it remains fidgety and pitches the car diagonally over the rustic road surface.

The Disco Sport feels more stodgy and prone to body roll, especially if driven exuberantly. Despite its slightly softer suspension, the ride feels just as fidgety and nervous at lower speeds. The big difference is visibility; the view out is much more Discovery-like than the Evoque. The Evoque’s big door mirrors and letterbox rear view seriously limit your ability to see out in certain situations.

Let's Go Off-Road! 

Yarwell quarry is the ideal location to compare these two machines side-by-side off-road. The loose sandy surface, steep hills and water hazards provide everything we need, without taking either vehicle outside their design parameters or our comfort zone. We start with a frisky frolic on a wide, flat-ish area of loose sand. Straight away the Disco Sport looks more at home than the Evoque. Its more supple suspension helps it to romp about far more confidently. There are at least two major factors at play here: firstly, the Disco Sport has tyres more suited to the job – 235/55 R19 Continental Cross Contact Sport LX tyres versus the Evoque’s Pirelli Scorpion 245/45 R20 rubber wear. Secondly, the Disco Sport’s more sophisticated integral multi-link rear suspension improves its off-road articulation, giving more rear wheel travel, compared to the stiffer, sports car style set up on the Evoque.

Don’t run away with the idea that the Disco Sport is a supreme off-road performer, though. Compared to a Disco 4, it’s very limited. It’s just that it feels better than the Evoque – but not by much. A bit like saying Sylvester Stallone can act better than Steven Segal. 

When you crunch the statistics for each, it’s hard to see why this could be. For example, front axle clearances are near identical. And, the Evoque’s departure and ramp over angles are also better than the Disco Sport’s – 33 degrees versus 31 degrees and 22 degrees versus 21 degrees, respectively. One off-road statistic that the Disco Sport wins is wading depth, at 600mm, it’s 100mm greater than the Evoque’s. However, the problem with numbers and vital statistics is that they rarely tell the whole story.

For example, although the front axle clearances are virtually the same, it was the Evoque’s bumper that proved more vulnerable than the Disco’s, confirming to us that the Disco Sport is more suited to the rough-stuff.

So, do we have a winner?

After hours of driving and much discussion before and after today’s testing, we’ve both come to the same opinion; which is a first.

We both agree that the Disco Sport feels more at home off-road than the Evoque – largely thanks to its greater rear wheel articulation and more supple suspension – and we both agree that the Evoque is a better driver’s car on-road; the Disco rolls too much on twisty roads. MagneRideTM equipped Disco Sports shouldn’t su er that particular ill.

We also agree that the internal packaging of the Disco Sport makes it the better family car, compared to the cramped Evoque. But with all seven seats in use there’s nowhere for any luggage in the Disco, so it’s not all good news.

So, which is the best all-rounder? There really isn’t much between them and it all comes down to your priorities. If you have a family, buy the Disco Sport. If you don’t, you’ll enjoy the Evoque more.

Against the odds, it seems all we’ve actually done is prove that Land Rover was right when they told us: ‘The Evoque is designed for “me”, the Discovery Sport for “we”.’ And, we’d both actually rather have a Freelander 2...


Land Rover One Ten Power Steering

What bits do you need to turn your Land Rover One Ten into less of an arm breaker and more of a smile maker? The answer is simple - power steering! 


I want to fit power steering to my old One Ten 2.5 diesel. Which parts do I need?

Thomas Schroeder, Germany


This is an easy job that needs only bolt- on modifications – so you could convert back to original at any point.

There were various power steering systems so it would be difficult to suggest a complete set of part numbers. The simplest way to get the kit is to buy a complete used one and use the steering box as an exchange for a reconditioned one.

The main parts you need are: steering box with drop arm, fluid reservoir with bracket, hoses, crankshaft pulley, pump with bracket and a belt, and a few other small ancillary parts.

It’s a conversion that’ll transform your Land Rover!

Andrew Varrall

Which battery is best for my Discovery 300Tdi?

Which battery is the most suitable for your Land Rover Discovery 300Tdi? Steve Jones tells all. 


Can you tell me what the recommended technical specifications are for my Discovery’s battery, please? It’s a 300Tdi with manual transmission. My battery now is a Brega 70Ah 340A DIN-550A (EN) and I’m not sure this type is the best for this engine.

Peter Erauw, Leuven, Belgium


One battery is not any better than another. If the engine starts easily, that  confirms the battery is big enough for the job and is in good enough condition. There’s no need to change it until it fails.

Land Rover specifies part number STC4757 or size 072 as the battery, but it also specifies
a minimum of 570 cold cranking amps (CCA). That means at -18oC, a load of 570A will reduce the battery voltage to 6v in three minutes. Clearly, if you fit a battery that is rated at 800CCA it’ll last longer.

Now, you need to be careful when considering CCA ratings: there’s auto CCA, which is measured at -18oC; and marine CCA, which is carried out at 0oC. Clearly, batteries such as Numax, which are marine-rated, look better on paper than the auto- rated ones.

The golden rule is to fit the biggest battery the tray can accommodate. This will last you longer in terms of years of use than a smaller one.

You’re only buying a lump of lead. Don’t pay over the odds for a fancy name on a label.

Steve Jones

LRO: Modern Driving is Killing Us All

Some believe that here in Blighty we drive with more consideration, but to those not aware of the UK’s motoring habits, that’s mainly because of the law. However, you can bring the fun back to driving with a Classic Land Rover.

Road works. Traffic jam. Speed restrictors. Endless rows of brake lights. Welcome to Britain.  

Road works. Traffic jam. Speed restrictors. Endless rows of brake lights. Welcome to Britain.  

If you are caught speeding in America then the penalty involves several dollars and a stern appearance in court, where a judge more interested in watching reruns of Dallas gives you a slap on the wrist, before you set off and continue to drive at 90mph into the sunset. Caught doing 63mph in a 60mph zone on one of Britain’s A-roads? You can look forward to a speed awareness course, several points on your license, a hefty financial fine, the loss of your job, losing the respect of your family and friends, watching your partner and kids walk out the door forever and never leaving the house again. And then watching your insurance premium shoot through the roof. Do it again and Theresa May devours your soul.

The UK also seems to be home of the right of the pedestrian and cyclist – as only in modern-day Britain does common courtesy have to be legislated. Every car has to stop, even if the pedestrian is clearly in the wrong. Speeding up and turning on your windscreen wipers will probably land you a prison sentence. Collide with a cyclist and regardless of the situation, being a car driver and therefore worse than Satan, it’s your fault. As is world hunger, the fact we only have one moon and the remake of The Italian Job.

As a civilisation, we seem to be growing ever more impatient on the roads – and it’s not difficult to understand why. There’s 40 million cars on Britain’s tarmac, that makes for some epic queuing when rush hour hits. Looking to escape during the weekend? You can expect to hit stationary weekend traffic then, too. Been on the M25 lately? It’s like you’ve died and gone to hell.

There appears to be no freedom on the roads anymore – and should you even dare to think there is, you can enjoy the crippling fuel tax duty Her Majesty’s government imposes on drivers, the frankly ridiculously-proportioned road tax charge and all the extra money involved when it comes to paying tolls for tunnels and the M6. Then there’s speed cameras on every corner, road surfaces rougher than Ron Pearlman’s face and pot holes deeper than the fracking points causing roads in certain areas to collapse completely.

And the prices keep climbing...

And the prices keep climbing...

Everywhere you look, the Government are imposing legislations and laws alongside the communist-style councils to ensure you only use your car for going to work - mainly to pay the expense for actually going to work in the first place. The days of the petrol head are over – with diesel engines becoming the scapegoat for global warming, new cars being strangled by emission regulations, road manners dissolving alongside any faction of mechanical patriotism, insurance costs spiralling out of control and car crime rising faster than Eric Pickles’ cholesterol. 

What kind of message does that send out to those learning to drive? As if all those lessons at £30 an hour aren’t depressing enough, you’ve got a further £23 per theory test and as much as £150 per go at the actual test itself to look forward to. Then, you’ll pay roughly £3k a year for your insurance cover until – if – you make it to 25.

It’s not like this in other nations, where everything is much more relaxed, and tests aren’t shadowed by a DVLA-enforced fail rate to keep you coming back with more of your hard earned cash.

But we do have one upside – apparently, our roads are safer than the majority of other countries. Apparently. How many times have you had a white van driver sit so close to your bumper that you can only view their bonnet? Or suffered an Audi pull out into a gap so small that you’ve had to brake harshly?  Maybe it’s the weather that does it, or maybe it’s the pressure of modern life. Either way, it appears as though there is no point in trying to enjoy your vehicle. It’ll bankrupt you should all the legal stuff not kill your enthusiasm outright in the first place.

But don’t give up hope – there is one escapism still largely untouched. And it’s called Classic Land Rover ownership.

We are going to prove it, too. Stick with us over the next few weeks as we take on all the restrictions for younger drivers, irritations over road tax and constraints on the tarmac and demonstrate how, with a classic Land or Range Rover, you can regain your motoring freedom and escape from the extremities of modern life. Stay tuned…