Are Land Rovers Reliable?

in Reliability
White Land Rover
Source: Pixabay

From their advertising and branding, one would think Land Rover would be a reliable brand with long-lasting cars. Their models have had names like Discovery, Defender, and Freelander, and it seems like every commercial has to show one of their SUVs taking on dirt roads, crossing rivers, or trekking up mountains. I mean, shouldn’t they be able to rove about the land easily?

But once the cameras stop rolling, are Land Rovers Reliable? Can they handle daily trips to the office through the suburbs, let alone the wilderness? The short answer is no; Land Rovers are not reliable cars. Their design is iconic, and the interior of a Rover is the height of luxury, but their excellent performance isn’t made to last. 

As the Brits would say, these are Chelsea tractors: big, all-wheel-drive SUVs that look ready to truck through the wilderness but are driven exclusively on the pavement in the cities and suburbs by posh drivers. But even in the comfort of concrete and asphalt, you can’t expect a Land Rover to hold up well without often going in to see the mechanic and paying a hefty fee.

How Reliable is the Land Rover Brand?

When buying a car that costs at least $40,000 new and can fetch well over $150,000, you’ll probably expect it to be reliable. But unfortunately, that isn’t the case with Land Rover’s vehicles. Their equipment is very precise and high quality, but that precision does nothing to help with longevity, making them incredibly expensive to repair.

The fact that these parts have to be imported into the country also adds to the cost of parts. According to Repair Pal, the average Land Rover owner has to take their vehicle into the mechanic’s shop about 0.66 times per year, for an average of two unplanned repairs every three years.

This is about sixty-five percent more often than the average car, though it is only ten percent higher than the average luxury SUV (a segment with some of the most repairs needed) on the market today. Out of all these repairs, about 16% are severe issues, costing more than triple the annual cost to maintain the average car. This results in an average cost of $1,174 a year to maintain a Land Rover.

If you want to buy one of these British SUVs, you’ll have to ask yourself if Land Rovers are reliable enough for you or if you need a car with fewer problems and cheaper repairs. The frequency of unscheduled repairs and the high cost of parts and labor gives the brand a weak overall reliability rating. In fact, the only brand with a lower rating from RepairPal is Porsche.


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What Are Common Land Rover Problems?

So what are the causes of the Land Rover’s frequent trips to the mechanic and high prices?

Premature Brake Wear

Brakes are the first and biggest safety feature of any car. With good driving techniques and a well-maintained vehicle, features like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control can be rendered redundant, but good brakes are essential.

The repairs can cost upwards of a thousand dollars if you need to replace all four, but you must get it done as soon as possible. Land Rover brakes provide great deceleration when they are new, but if they wear out early, you can put yourself, your passengers, and the people in other vehicles at risk of injury or death.

Air Suspension Problems

Land Rover’s air suspension system provides a buttery smooth ride and stable platform across many driving surfaces. But if you want to feel like you’re floating on a cloud, you must accept a little added risk. Such a finely tuned, complex system is not as reliable as a conventional spring suspension.

A system that uses electronics and compressed air to keep the car level is susceptible to electrical issues and leakage. If your air suspension springs a leak, the brilliant ride quality is ruined and will be expensive to repair.


While not a severe issue, you would expect a luxury auto manufacturer to have high-quality control standards. But a surprisingly common complaint of Land Rovers is water leakage. This isn’t from drivers thinking their Range Rover is amphibious and driving into rivers, just water seeping into the cabin during rainstorms. Not only is this uncomfortable for passengers, but it can lead to water damage if you don’t catch the issue soon enough and deal with it.

Electrical Issues

Being a luxury brand with cutting-edge tech and features, Land Rovers are quite susceptible to electrical issues. These issues may range from failed switches to more severe ones like full-on vehicle shutdowns.

In 2020, Land Rover recalled over 3,000 vehicles due to the risk of electrical fires. Apparently, some 2020 Land Rover models have 48-volt electrical systems that may overload, resulting in a broken metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) which may lead to a short circuit in the DC-DC converter. The system will warn drivers by displaying a “battery warning” light.

Differential Issues

One of the main reasons why Land Rovers are so popular is due to their excellent off-road capability. Thanks to its sophisticated drive system, which proved to be problematic as well. Many Land Rover owners have complained that their vehicle’s front differential has failed. This is a huge safety issue since it can lead to a “no drive condition.” In some cases, it can place your vehicle in gear even when not in motion.

Many owners have resorted to replacing their differential units which set them back by thousands of dollars. Some owners have experienced this at a relatively low mileage of 40k.


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What Are the Most Reliable Land Rover Models?

While the brand is notoriously unreliable, these models of Land Rovers are reliable.

Range Rover Evoque

The Evoque takes the styling of the classic Range Rover and compresses it into the body of a compact SUV. While there are more reliable options, the Evoque has about an average number of repairs needed each year for its class. And while the $1,102 annual maintenance costs are noticeably higher than the class average of $859, it is still lower than the brand’s average.


The Land Rover LR2 has been phased out of production, but it can still be easily found on the used market. This model has been replaced in the Land Rover lineup, but it is often safer to go with older designs that the engineers have had time to refine and work the kinks out of. It does need more repairs than the average Land Rover model, but it is far less likely to be for a severe issue, and the annual price of $895 to maintain is about average for the compact luxury SUV class.


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What Are the Least Reliable Land Rover Models?

These models either require an excessive amount of repairs or cost more than usual to repair.

Range Rover

While repairs aren’t exceedingly common for the Range Rover, they are often severe and expensive. You can expect to pay around $1,258 to keep this car going. You would expect better from the top-of-the-line model, and unless this is somehow your starter car, you’ll probably be used to more reliable vehicles.

Land Rover Discovery

Also known as the LR4 until 2017, the Discovery is about as unreliable as Land Rover gets. You can expect almost one repair a year, and at $1,241 a year, it is just barely cheaper to maintain than the far nicer Range Rover.

The Verdict on Land Rover’s Reliability

Land Rover is not the brand for you if you want solid reliability.

Once upon a time, Land Rovers were built like a tank and applauded for their off-roading chops. They were once used for towing trailers and other heavy equipment. Unfortunately, those days have passed, and now, Land Rovers still struggle when it comes to reliability. Nowadays, Land Rover vehicles are synonymous with luxury and high price points – not so much in reliability.

It’s safe to say that you could do better than a Land Rover in terms of reliability. According to J.D. Power’s 2020 vehicle dependability study, the Land Rover is dead last in reliability across all vehicle brands. Even with the recent survey and rankings, Land Rover is still close to the bottom of the reliability index, along with brands like Maserati. But like all car brands, some Land Rover models are more reliable than others.

Having said that, Land Rover owners have reported that their vehicles have lasted 150,000-200,000 miles and somewhere between 10-13 years. One of the main reasons why Land Rovers are unreliable is that they generally use cutting-edge technology, making them more prone to electrical issues.

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