Trucks & SUVs

Land Rover SUVs Are a Maintenance Nightmare

Land Rovers have a certain allure. They are a status SUV with an expensive price tag. But they are also pretty capable in terms of off-road excitement. Some, like the Land Rover Defender, have become iconic overland vehicles in their own right. But how are they when it comes to upkeep?

As much of a reputation as they have earned for all-terrain driving, the Land Rover SUVs have doubly earned a reputation for being unreliable. Not only do they cost a few extra dollars to drive off the lot, but they also tend to cost more every year in maintenance than a more reliable off-road SUV like a Toyota 4Runner. Land Rovers tend to be something of a maintenance nightmare.

No longer a king of the tough trucks

Additionally, in this report by OSV, the Land Rover’s problems are among the worst that can be expected. For a brand that is known for being tough and capable, you wouldn’t think that axles or suspension would be a common issue. A vital component of any sturdy 4×4 is a strong and unquestionable suspension.

2020 Land Rover Defender 110
2020 Land Rover Defender 110 | Land Rover via Instagram

But in the report, a total of “36.23% of owners reported that they had found it necessary to take their Land Rover to the garage for repairs to the axle and suspension in the 12 months before the report was compiled.” No longer can these tough trucks be labeled the durable farm vehicle they once were. The brand has moved on from the mud and, in their attempt to appeal to a luxury audience, quality has been sacrificed in places it never should have.

Consumer Reports reliability ratings

The Land Rover SUVs, both compact and full size, are at the bottom of every SUV list on Consumer Reports. The 2020 models get a 1 out of 5 for predicted reliability. This is the lowest reliability rating possible. Plus, if you look back through their history, there isn’t a year within the last decade that any of the Land Rover models earned a higher reliability rating than this.

Yes, we know that Consumer Reports reliability ratings aren’t everything. Still, I don’t think there is any other car brand that has been in the red this bad or this long in terms of Consumer Reports ratings. And that has to count for something. A car or brand can have some bad years, but a 1 out of 5 reliability score for every vehicle for about a decade is unheard of.

Maintenance costs

If you look on RepairPal.com Land Rover SUVs have an average maintenance cost of $1,174. this is about double what some other popular SUVs have reported. The Toyota RAV4, for example, has an average maintenance cost per year of $429. The Subaru Outback’s average cost per year in terms of maintenance is $629, according to RepairPal.

J.D. Powers

In the 2020 dependability study performed by J.D. Powers, the Land Rover brand came in literally dead last. Of all the cars in America that J.D. Powers collected data on for 2020 models, Land Rover vehicles had the most problems per 100 vehicles. A whopping 220 problems per 100 vehicles.

A blue 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR speeding down on a dessert highway.
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR | Land Rover

RELATED: Is the Subaru Crosstrek More Capable Than a Land Rover Defender?

There is not a pair of glasses rosy enough for us to see this in a good light. There aren’t really any redeeming factors, either. Because these unreliable vehicles are not only experiencing issue after issue, but they cost significantly more to buy. And, with all their specialized luxury parts, they cost way more to repair when something goes wrong as well.

Land Rover SUVs are a maintenance nightmare

If you want an SUV that looks cool and expensive, by all means. Buy a Land Rover Range Rover. Try out the Evoque or the Velar. But buy with caution, because we doubt those 2020 Defenders are going to stand a chance at equalling their tried and true, sturdy British farm truck ancestors. Unfortunately for the Land Rover brand, this lineup of SUVs now represents some of the most unreliable vehicles on the road today.

A Land Rover driving through a puddle
A Land Rover Discovery TD5 driving through muddy puddles | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images