It’s quite possible that a decade-old Range Rover like today’s Nice Price or No Dice SC represents the greatest bargain in luxury SUVs at the moment. Let’s see what that might mean actually getting into.
Back before Toyota introduced the miserly Prius, the idea of a hybrid car typically stirred up visions of a European sports car or grand tourer with an American V8. The 1982 Mercedes-Benz R107 we looked at yesterday was just that sort of old-school hybrid, albeit not a factory one. Standing in for its original 3.8 liter V8, someone had chosen to install an LT1 late of a far newer Corvette. As intriguing as that might sound, it seemingly wasn’t interesting or unique enough to justify spending $11,500 to own it. That price, and hence the car, ultimately fell in a 68 percent No Dice loss.
To say that today’s 2011 Range Rover SC—as a model— had a tumultuous upbringing is an understatement. Its original foundation was laid out in the late ’90s, at the time when Land Rover was still under the ownership of British Aerospace. Upon BMW’s purchase of Land Rover, the model, code-named L322, ramped up development with time savings found in leveraging significant parts such as electronics and engines from the company’s new German parent. Finally, shortly after the L322's launch, BMW hot-potatoed Land Rover over to Ford. The American-based company partnered Land Rover with Jaguar and gave the range-topping Range Rover several updates, including replacing its BMW V8 with new engines developed by Jaguar under Ford’s guidance and funding.
This SC represents the last of the line for the L322 Range Rover and features the highest power of any model in that line. That’s 503 horsepower, made by the 4999 cc DOHC V8, to which has been bolted an Eaton “Twin Vortices Series” supercharger. Behind that is a ZF 6HP six-speed automatic which sends power to all four wheels through the Range Rover’s incredibly capable full-time 4WD system.
Those mechanicals are swathed in a handsome and stately body that pays obvious homage to the model’s first generation. Inside of that is a cabin laden with leather and wood and pretty much every convenience that Ford/Jag/Land Rover could throw at it. As a result, when new this big luxury SUV would have cost close to ninety grand to drive off the lot.
Now, this Baltic Blue over Ivory SC is not so new. It sports 124,000 miles on the clock and a little bit of noticeable wear for its age and those miles. According to the ad, it’s seen a number of mechanical replacements along the way, including the front air shocks and, in fact, most of the front suspension and the steering components. The Maxxis tires it wears are also just a year or so old.
The bodywork looks clean and unmarred by damage or rust. The 20-inch alloys have been painted black (the spare is still factory silver) and perhaps are the worse for it. That’s not an insurmountable hurdle to correct, just an annoyance.
In the cabin, things look pretty decent for a decade-plus of use and its six-figure mileage. The driver’s seat shows some discoloration but is fully intact and not showing any tears or breaks. All the other seating surfaces look to be as-new. The wood is also in good shape and there don’t appear to be any sticky buttons in here. The cabin offers a nav screen and Harmon Kardon sound system as added niceties. Per the ad, the big wagon is in “excellent condition” and has no dash lights to vex a new owner. The title is clean and the asking price is $14,000.
Now, let’s put that in context. The cheapest new car you can buy in the U.S. today is the Chevy Spark, a spunky but obviously built-to-a-price little econobox. This luxury Range Rover is priced at $595 less than the MSRP of the Spark. And the Spark has been discontinued so you might not even be able to find one on the lot! If you can, and that’s your choice, then the Spark gives you a couple of things this Range Rover can’t offer. Those are that wonderful (and probably carcinogenic) new car smell and a factory warranty. That lack of a warranty might be a big deal when owning an older Range Rover.
For those brave of heart or foolish of wallet, this seemingly decent luxury SUV is still cheaper than any new car you can buy. Plus, it still has that presence for which Range Rovers are known.
What do you think, is $14,000 a screaming deal on such luxury and gravitas? Should someone throw down that much to buy this used but seemingly not abused big wagon? Or, is that just too high a cost of entry into Range Rover life?
H/T to Don R. for the hookup!
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